Citibank review: An assortment of checking accounts, savings accounts, and CDs, with terms that vary by state

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • Citibank (Member FDIC)  is a national US bank with ATMs around the world and with branches in 10 US states, DC, and Puerto Rico.
  • Citibank groups its checking accounts and savings accounts into "packages," and you can access more benefits with higher-tier packages.
  • If Citi's F in trustworthiness from the Better Business Bureau worries you, you may want to bank elsewhere.
  • The Citi Accelerate Savings Account pays one of the highest APYs you can find, but it's only available for residents of certain US states.
  • See Business Insider's picks for the best high-yield savings accounts »

Citibank (member FDIC) is a national bank with 690 branches scattered across 10 US states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. You have free access to roughly 65,000 ATMs around America, and Citibank has free ATMs around the world. 

You may choose to open an individual checking or savings account, but Citibank bundles its checking and savings accounts into "packages," so you can open them together. 

The package system comes with some benefits over choosing a checking or savings account individually. For example, you may qualify to earn interest on your checking account if you also have a savings account.

However, choosing between the various packages can be overwhelming, and they don't necessarily give Citibank an edge over competing banks.

Should you use Citibank?

You might like Citibank if you: You might not like Citibank if you:
  • Live near a branch OR are comfortable banking digitally
  • Frequently travel and want free access to a Citibank ATM overseas
  • Want to earn a high APY on your savings, AND live in a market where the Citi Accelerate Savings Account is available
  • Want a variety of options for checking accounts, savings accounts, and CDs
  • Don't live near a branch, OR aren't comfortable banking digitally
  • Value earning a high APY on your savings account balance, but don't live in a market where the Citi Accelerate Savings Account is available
  • Want to earn a high rate on your CD
  • Find the Citibank "package" system overwhelming
  • Are worried about Citi's low score from the Better Business Bureau

The bottom line: Citibank's strongest product is its high-yield savings account, so the bank could be a good option if you want to bank digitally and earn a high rate on savings.

Citibank checking accounts review

Citibank Access Account

Citibank Citibank Access Account

Citibank doesn't require an opening deposit for any of its checking accounts, which gives it a leg up over many other brick-and-mortar banks. It's also fairly easy to waive the monthly fees for its two lowest-tier checking accounts, the Citibank Access Account and Basic Banking account.

Citibank savings accounts review

Citi Accelerate Savings Account

Citibank Citi Accelerate Savings Account

Citi Accelerate Savings is a high-yield savings account that pays a competitive rate, and it's clearly superior to Citi Savings  — but you can only open an account if you're a resident of certain markets. The account isn't available to residents who live in most states where Citibank locations are available, so if you live in one of the states with branches, DC, or Puerto Rico, you're out of luck. (The account is available in South Dakota and select parts of Florida, though.)

You don't need an initial deposit to open either a Citi Savings or Citi Accelerate Savings account. There is a monthly fee, but you may be eligible to have it waived if you meet the requirements of the package you choose.

Citibank CDs review

Citibank Fixed Rate Certificates of Deposit

Citibank Citibank Fixed Rate Certificates of Deposit

It's nice that Citibank offers three types of CDs, but you can find higher rates with other banks, especially online banks. Some of these banks also offer their equivalent of some or all of Citibank's types of CDs.

Citibank features

Citibank is a national bank with 690 branches sprinkled around the US, including in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, and Virginia, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. You'll also have access to over 65,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide, plus free ATMs all over the world.

Citibank offers five types of checking accounts and two types of savings accounts. Citibank groups its accounts into "packages," so you can have one checking and savings account in a package. Although there are technically only two savings accounts, the terms of your savings account depend on which package you choose.

Citibank also has three types of CDs, which are listed separately from its packages.

Some of Citibank's terms depend on where you live. For example, the high-yield Citi Accelerate Savings Account is only available for residents of certain states, and the minimum opening deposit for your CD is contingent upon where you live.

Citibank's customer service is available 24/7 over the phone, and you can chat online from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. The bank also has an easy-to-use mobile app, which has 4.9 out of 5 stars in the Apple store and 4.6 stars in the Google Play store.

Your Citibank accounts are FDIC insured for up to $250,000, or $500,000 for joint accounts.

Is Citibank trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau gives Citi an F in trustworthiness. In the last few years:

  • Citi had to compensate credit card customers for neglecting to change their interest rates (2018)
  • The bank incorrectly sent $900 million to customers (2019)
  • Citi was fined $400 million by the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for failing to recognize money laundering by its customers (2020)

If Citi's history worries you, you can find other banks with great scores from the BBB.

How Citibank compares

We compared Citibank to two banks with branches in many of the same state: HSBC (Member FDIC) and Wells Fargo (Member FDIC).

Citibank
HSBC
Wells Fargo

Locations

10 US states, DC, Puerto Rico

Locations

9 US states, DC

Locations

36 US states, DC

Savings APY

Up to 0.70% APY

Savings APY

0.50% APY

Savings APY

0.01% to 0.02% APY

Monthly fees

Up to $30

Monthly fees

$0

Monthly fees

Up to $30

BBB rating

F

BBB rating

B-

BBB rating

F

Open an account Open an account Open an account

Citibank review vs. HSBC review

Citibank and HSBC are similar in that they both offer checking accounts, savings accounts, and CDs. HSBC also has a lower-rate savings account (similar to Citi Savings), but if you open a savings account through its online operation, HSBC Direct, you can score a savings account with a much higher rate than its basic savings account.

HSBC doesn't have anything comparable to the package system Citibank offers, so if you like the package system, you may prefer Citibank — but if you find the package system annoying, you might want to go with HSBC.

Citibank is more convenient for international travelers, since it has fee-free ATMs around the world. But if you can't waive fees at Citibank, you may prefer HSBC, which doesn't charge monthly fees.

Citibank review vs. Wells Fargo review

Citibank and Wells Fargo have checking accounts, savings accounts, and CDs. Like Citibank, Wells Fargo has several types of each account, but it doesn't have the package system.

Wells Fargo has many more branch locations in more states than Citibank, so it's more likely you'll have a Wells Fargo branch near your home. This can also make it easier to find a Wells Fargo branch when you travel within the US. However, Wells Fargo doesn't have international ATMs, so you still may prefer Citibank if you travel to other countries.

This post was reviewed and updated on October 27, 2020.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

Source: Read Full Article