While Citibank is fairly accessible thanks to its proliferation of branches and ATMs, only people with substantial investment, loan or credit card accounts at Citi will get outstanding value from this bank. People with higher balances may also be interested in Citibank's current bonus offers: Until Jan. 5, 2021, new customers who deposit between $5,000 and $200,000 can qualify for bonuses between $200 and $1,500, depending on the account package they choose.
Review: Should you open a Citibank bank account?
You should open a Citibank account if you intend to have a full-service, comprehensive banking relationship with Citi, and if you plan to make large deposits. Citibank has an assortment of banking “packages,” and the more money you deposit with the bank, the more benefits and services you’ll receive.
Currently, there are seven banking packages offered by Citi, listed here in order of increasing services:
- Access account package
- Basic banking package
- Citi Elevate account (in select markets only)
- The Citibank account package
- Citi priority package
- Citigold® package
- Citigold® private client package
Which package is appropriate for you will depend on the level of services you need and how much you have available for deposit. For example, the bottom two tiers offer only basic banking services, but starting with the Citibank account package and above, customers have access to benefits such as higher yields on savings and money market accounts, the ability to earn Citi ThankYou rewards points and ATM fee waivers.
Just as services increase as you climb up the Citi package ladder, so too do account fees, which start at $10 per month for the Access account package and reach $30 per month for the Citi priority package. There are no account fees for the top two Citi banking packages, but you must maintain balances of at least $200,000 and $1,000,000, respectively.
For each tier, you can avoid account fees with various qualifying activities or account sizes. For the Access account package, for example, a $1,500 balance, one qualifying direct deposit or one qualifying bill payment per month avoids the $10 monthly fee, while a combined balance of $50,000 is required to avoid the $30 monthly fee of the Citi priority package.
Citibank is currently offering sign-up bonuses for new accounts. The amount of the bonus depends on the package you sign up for and the amount of money you deposit, as follows:
|Citibank Sign-Up Bonuses for New Accounts|
|Bonus||Package||Minimum Deposit (and Maintaining Balance)|
|$700||Citi Priority Account||$50,000|
Note that for the Citibank account, Citi priority account and Citigold® account, a savings account is also required to earn the offered bonus.
Citibank checking accounts
|Checkless Regular Checking|
Citibank has three types of checking accounts, but the amount you’ll pay in fees and earn in interest depends on the Citi banking package you select. For example, there are no fees for the Interest Checking account if you’re a Citigold customer, but that requires a $200,000 account balance. For the Citi priority package, you’ll pay $30 for the Interest Checking account unless you have at least $50,000 in your account.
If you want to earn interest on your checking account at Citi, you’ll have to select the Interest Checking account. However, yields are hardly worth the effort unless you select the Citi Elevate package, which is only available in select markets. Overall, rates for most Citi packages are in line with many national banks but far below the yields available from many online banks. The Citi Elevate APY is respectable, but still falls short of the top checking APYs available at other banks.
Fees are high on most Citi checking accounts, so unless you're confident you can meet the fee waiver requirements, we can only recommend Citibank as a backup choice for the typical checking account shopper. The best way to use these accounts is in conjunction with your Citigroup investments, loans and credit cards. If your finances are already tied into Citigroup accounts, opening a checking account at Citibank will make it easier to manage everything in one place.
Citibank savings accounts
|Citi Accelerate Savings|
Citibank’s primary savings account is dubbed the Citi Savings account. Rates vary depending on the banking package you select. Compared to the current average national savings account rate, the Citi Savings account doesn’t seem so stingy. However, compared with online savings banks with high-yield accounts, the Citi Savings rate has room for improvement.
The Citi Accelerate Savings account, which is available in select markets only, operates more like an online high-yield savings account. Yields are high enough to compete with many online banks, and the $4.50 monthly fee is easy to avoid. For customers who have access to this account, it makes for a much better choice than the more pedestrian Citi Savings account.
How does Citibank compare to other banks?
We matched Citibank against several other banks that operate in its footprint. These comparisons should help if you're looking for ways to tell the difference between two similar banking options. The bottom line is that Citibank looks a lot like its fellow national banks in terms of breadth of service, but for those with smaller account sizes, Citi can’t compete with online competitors that offer higher yields and lower fees.
Citibank vs. Bank of America
Citibank and Bank of America are two of the largest banks in the world. While Citibank claims the title of the world’s biggest credit card issuer, Bank of America holds a sizable lead in global customer deposits, holding $700 billion versus Citibank’s $291 billion.
While Citibank's Access Account is free for customers with just a single direct deposit of any amount, avoiding the $12 fee on Bank of America's Core Checking account requires at least $250 in direct deposits each month, or a $1,500 average balance. This makes Citibank a better choice for anyone whose direct deposit income falls below that number.
Overall, both banks fit the mold of a traditional, full-service bank: Accounts generally don’t offer very competitive yields, with some exceptions, and fees can be high if customers don’t take steps to avoid them.
Citibank vs. Chase Bank
Citibank may not have high deposit interest rates overall, but they look downright lucrative compared to Chase. The Chase savings account pays a meager APY on all balances, well below the top rate offered on the basic Citi savings account and far below the Citi Accelerate rate.
Credit cards are a strength with Chase, which offers countless affiliate cards that can help account holders generate copious amounts of airline miles, hotel points or even cash back. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are generally hailed by industry analysts like airfarewatchdog.com to be superior to the Chase ThankYou points, especially in terms of the quality of transfer partners and the offered benefits.
However, those interested solely in banking options will have an easier time obtaining free checking with Citibank. Its Access Account comes free each month you make a direct deposit of any amount, while Chase requires a direct deposit of at least $500 for the same feature, or a $1,500 average balance.
Citibank vs. Capital One
Capital One doesn't provide as much physical coverage as Citibank. On the ATM front, Citibank boasts 65,000 fee-free machines nationally, more than 50% more than Capital One’s 40,000.
Capital One’s online bank, dubbed Capital One 360, makes things easier than Citibank with its fee-free accounts that have no minimums to open and have no complicated “package” structure, as Citibank has. However, this online bank won’t provide you with the breadth and depth of in-person services available through Citibank.
Capital One 360 Savings pays a competitive APY on all balances, which offers a far better deal than the APY customers will earn with the basic Citi savings account. The Citi Accelerate account does pay a higher APY, but you may have to jump through a few hoops to avoid the monthly service fee. The Capital One 360 Savings account, on the other hand, is entirely fee-free.
The Capital One 360 Checking account also has no fees or minimums, and it currently pays an APY on all balances that is well above the maximum APY earned by many Citi Interest Checking account holders, but below the maximum APY earned by those with the Citi Elevate package.