Citizens Bank Personal Loan Review: Low Rates and No Existing Account Required

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Citizens Bank Personal Loan Review: Low Rates and No Existing Account Required

We'd recommend a Citizens Bank personal loan as a good option if you have good to excellent credit, especially if you are an existing customer of the bank. However, you don't have to be a customer to apply.

Good for

  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Existing customers

Bad for

  • Using funds for business, educational or home improvement purposes
  • Borrowers with low or no annual income

Editor's Rating


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For existing Citizens Bank customers with good credit, Citizens Bank can be a great option for a personal loan. The bank offers unsecured personal loans from $5,000 to $50,000 with fixed or variable interest rates, with rates starting at 6.8%. Citizens Banks looks for borrowers with good credit history and annual incomes of at least $24,000. One downside to Citizens Bank is that its personal loans cannot be used for home improvement, educational or business purposes.

Citizens Bank Personal Loan Review: Should You Apply?

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We'd recommend a Citizens Bank personal loan as a good option if you have good to excellent credit, especially if you are an existing customer of the bank. One disadvantage we found is that there are restrictions on the use of funds - you cannot use a Citizens Bank personal loan for home improvement, educational or business purposes.

Good for...Bad for...
  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Existing customers
  • Using funds for business, educational or home improvement purposes
  • Borrowers with low or no annual income

Citizens Bank is not a good choice for borrowers with average or lower credit scores. The bank looks for borrowers with strong credit history, which means a few or more years of credit history and a credit score of at least 680. The bank also requires borrowers to have a minimum annual income of $24,000. However, these stricter eligibility requirements do translate into better rates and terms. APRs at Citizens Bank typically range from 6.8% to 20.91%, and borrowers have the option of getting a fixed or variable interest rate. Borrowers can also choose between three and seven years for their loan maturity.

If you already have an account with Citizens Bank or plan to pay automatically, you could qualify for a lower interest rate. Citizens Bank offers two interest rate discount programs, allowing you to reduce your interest rate by up to 0.50%. You can receive a 0.25% deduction on your interest rate if you have an existing account with the bank, including a checking account, savings account, money market account, CD, auto loan, home equity loan or line of credit, mortgage, credit card, student loan or personal loan. You can receive an additional 0.25% deduction if you elect to enroll in automatic payments on your personal loan. For example, on a $20,000 five-year loan with a 9.54% APR, you would repay a total of $25,226. If you received both deductions, you would only repay a total of $24,933, saving $293 over the life of the loan.

Personal loans from Citizens Bank come with restrictions on their use, so if you’re planning on remodeling your home, paying for postsecondary educational expenses or starting a business, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a personal loan. Currently, you can only use a Citizens Bank personal loan for debt consolidation, vacation or wedding expenses, major purchases, special occasions or adoption. However, Citizens Bank is available to residents in all states and Puerto Rico.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Citizens Bank personal loan, you must meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Annual income of at least $24,000
  • Good to excellent credit history
  • Must be age of majority in state of residence

Meeting the criteria above won’t guarantee that you’ll be approved for a loan, but it will improve your chances of getting approved.

Citizens Bank Personal Loan Terms and Requirements

Citizens Bank makes unsecured personal loans up to $50,000 with fixed or variable rates generally ranging from 6.8% to 20.91%. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties.

Loan Amount Range$5,000 - $50,000
APR Range6.80% - 20.91% with AutoPay
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: 5% of monthly past due
  • NSF/returned payment fee: Not provided
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan Terms3 to 7 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsNo

Application Process

You can receive a rate quote within a few minutes on the bank’s website (you can also apply by phone or in person at a branch location). You’ll begin the application process at Citizens Bank by filling out a quick form. The form asks for your personal information, your address, Social Security number, contact information, employment and income information, your housing situation and the details of the loan. You’ll also need to specify whether you are applying with a co-applicant and if you are a current Citizens Bank customer.

Application ProcessOnline, by phone or in person
Time to Get Funds3+ days
Credit Check
  • Soft credit check to get rate
  • Hard credit check when you apply
Credit ReportingYes
Cosigners/Co-borrowers Allowed?Yes

Once you enter this information, you’ll be able to review the information before submitting it to the lender. Citizens Bank will conduct a soft credit check when you submit this information and if it’s satisfactory, present you with a personal loan offer. If you choose to accept this offer, Citizens Bank will conduct a hard credit pull before approving your loan and disbursing funds.

How Does Citizens Bank Compare to Other Lenders?

If you’re thinking about taking out a personal loan with Citizens Bank, we suggest shopping around before you commit. We evaluated some of the bank’s top competitors below.

Citizens Bank vs. Discover Personal Loans

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In general, we’d recommend a personal loan from Citizens Bank over Discover. In comparison with Citizens Bank, Discover has lower loan amounts and higher rates: you can only borrow up to $35,000 and rates range from 6.99% to 24.99%. However, you can use a Discover personal loan to make home improvements, which is something you cannot do with a Citizens Bank personal loan. Moreover, some borrowers taking out a debt consolidation loan may prefer their lender to directly pay their creditors -- this is something Discover has, but Citizens Bank does not.

Citizens Bank vs. SoFi

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If you need to borrow more than $50,000, consider a personal loan from SoFi. Like Citizens Bank, SoFi offers unsecured personal loans for borrowers with strong credit history, but you can borrow up to $100,000 through this lender. Fixed and variable interest rates are available and annual percentage rates are generally between 5.99% to 18.82%. SoFi personal loans come with three-, five- or seven-year terms. SoFi also has fewer restrictions on loan use, allowing borrowers to use a loan for almost any purpose besides postsecondary educational expenses, making SoFi a better choice if you need a personal loan for home improvement or your business.

Citizens Bank vs. Citibank

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Personal loans from Citizens Bank and Citibank are very similar, and you’ll likely qualify for comparable terms at each bank. You may want to choose the bank that you already have an account with to get any extra perks or discounts for existing customers. We’d only recommend Citizens Bank over Citibank if you think you can qualify for the lowest rate. Rates start slightly higher at Citibank -- at 7.99% -- but the maximum rate at 17.99% is lower than what is offered by Citizens Bank. Like Citizens Bank, Citibank makes personal loans up to $50,000. You can borrow money for one to five years. If you have a checking account with Citibank, you may be able to earn ThankYou Points if you take out a personal loan. One downside to Citibank is that you’ll need apply by phone or in person if you want a personal loan over $30,000.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.