Citizens Bank Review

Citizens Bank

Overall Rating

8

Bottom Line

With a wide variety of accounts, plenty of in-person support, and options for traditional online banking, Citizens Bank is a solid choice for your financial needs.

Pros

  • Best in class checking account sign up bonus
  • Both traditional and online account options
  • 1,000 physical branches
  • High-yield online savings

Cons

  • Lots of fees
  • High initial deposit requirement for Citizens Access
  • Not available in most states

Citizens Bank is the retail banking wing of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. The firm is headquartered out of Providence, Rhode Island, and has been around since 1828.

Citizens Bank offers deposit accounts, credit cards, personal loans, student loans, refinancing, and other financial services.

The financial institution operates mainly in the Northeast and Midwest, with physical branches in each of the New England states (except for Maine), plus Delaware, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

In This Article

Citizens Bank Checking Accounts

Citizens Bank offers four accounts when it comes to checking.

Each comes with 24/7 access to online banking, a debit card and digital wallet, and no minimum deposit requirements.

Let’s take a look at their checking account options.

Student Checking

Student Checking is a bank account for anyone 25 or younger and has no monthly maintenance fees.

It’s a pretty standard, low-risk account and comes with the added benefit of not charging any fees on the use of non-Citizens ATMs.

At least one account holder needs to be 25 or under to open an account.

Once you turn 26, your Student Checking account automatically converts into a One Deposit Checking account.

One Deposit Checking

One Deposit is Citizens’ flagship checking account and comes with a monthly fee of $9.99, which you can avoid the checking account fee by making just one deposit in each statement period.

You can enroll in direct deposit, and there are no minimum balance requirements.

Overall, One Deposit is a solid, simple, everyday checking account.

Platinum Checking

Platinum Checking is a step up from One Deposit because it pays interest on any balance at the rate of 0.02% annual percentage yield (APY).

There’s a monthly fee of $25. To get around it, you’ll need a combined balance of at least $25,000 across all of your Citizens accounts.

Platinum Checking also comes with some premium perks, like preferred interest rates on savings, Money Market, and CDs.

You also get more flexibility on fees for checks, stop payments, and overdrafts.

Platinum Plus Checking

Platinum Plus is effectively the same account as Platinum but with more flexibility on how you can waive the $25 monthly fee.

In addition to the option of maintaining a combined balance of $25,000, you can also opt to avoid the fee by making a monthly deposit of at least $5,000 or maintaining an average daily balance of $10,000 or more in your checking account.

Interestingly, Platinum Plus is advertised as a higher-earning account on interest, but at the moment, the account comes with the same rate of 0.02% APY across all balances.

Citizens Bank Savings Accounts

Citizens Bank also has four options for savings accounts, allowing for automatic transfers and online banking.

One Deposit Savings

One Deposit Savings has no initial deposit requirement and earns interest with an APY of 0.01%. There’s a monthly fee of $4.99, but you can easily get around it with a single monthly deposit of any amount.

Platinum Savings

You’ll need a Platinum Checking account to qualify for Platinum Savings, and there’s no monthly fee associated with the account.

Platinum earns at a slightly higher rate than One Deposit with an APY of 0.02%. It also comes with protection from overdraft fees and premier financial guidance.

Platinum Plus Savings

Platinum Plus Savings requires a Platinum Plus Checking to qualify.

Otherwise, it’s very similar to Platinum Savings and comes with the same benefits and interest rate.

CollegeSaver

CollegeSaver is an account for parents who are looking to put money away for their child’s educational future.

If your child is under six, there’s a minimum initial deposit requirement of $25. If they’re between six and 11 years old, the minimum initial deposit requirement goes up to $500.

CollegeSaver can only be opened in-branch or over the phone. The account’s main selling points are that there is no monthly fee, and your deposits can earn 0.01% APY.

Citizens Bank Money Market Accounts

Citizens Bank offers three money market options. As with savings accounts, you can earn interest on your deposits, but you also have more flexible access to your funds.

Personal Money Market

Personal Money Market has an APY of 0.01% and a monthly fee of $10. The fee is waived if you carry a balance of at least $2,500.

Otherwise, there are no minimum deposit requirements.

Platinum Money Market

Platinum Money Market follows the same pattern as Platinum Checking and Savings.

You can only open an account if you already have Platinum Checking, and it comes with a preferred interest rate of 0.03%.

There’s no monthly fee, and account holders will get the same preferred service and financial guidance that come with the bank’s other premium options.

Platinum Plus Money Market

Platinum Plus Money Market requires a Platinum Plus Checking account. There is no monthly fee, and the same APY of 0.03% applies that you’ll find with Platinum Money Market.

The value-add here is in the opportunity to take advantage of a promotional APY of 0.05%, which is the highest you’ll find with a Citizens account.

But before you start celebrating, you will have to deposit at least $25,000 to earn that top rate.

Citizens Bank Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Citizens Bank has three options for CDs, each of which comes with fixed interest rates and varying term lengths.

All Citizens CDs require at least $1,000 in deposits to open and come with early withdrawal penalties if you need to take funds out before your account matures.

Aside from the APYs and term lengths, there’s no real difference between the three accounts.

The 10 and 25-month options promise preferred rates for Platinum and Platinum Plus Checking account holders, but at the moment, rates are standard no matter your account status.

Here’s a look at each option:

  1. Online-Only 14-Month CD: 0.05% APY
  2. 10-Month CD: 0.03% APY
  3. 25-Month CD: 0.03% APY

Citizens Bank Credit Cards

Citizens Bank keeps it simple with credit cards and only offers two options: one for cash back and one for low interest on balances.

Cash Back Plus World Mastercard

Cash Back Plus is a straightforward cash rewards credit card that pays 1.8% cash back on all purchases, meaning you won’t have to keep track of spending categories to max out your rewards.

There’s no annual fee, and the card comes with an intro APR of 0% for the first 15 billing cycles.

Travelers will appreciate no foreign transaction fees and built-in travel insurance that covers trip cancellation and interruption.

Clear Value Mastercard

Clear Value a great option for balance transfers, with an intro APR of 0% for your first 18 billing cycles.

If you are currently carrying a high-interest balance on another card, this might be a great choice.

There are no points or cash back to earn, so this card only makes sense for those trying to pay down debt or re-build their credit score.

Citizens Access

Citizens Access is an online-only retail bank division of Citizens Bank that offers online savings accounts and CDs.

Like many online options, the interest rates and fee schedules with Citizens Access are better than with its traditional banking products — the tradeoff being no access to in-person branch support.

Here’s a look at the account options within Citizens Access:

Online Savings Account

You’ll need an initial deposit of at least $5,000, but the online savings account is by far Citizens’ highest-earning deposit account with an APY of 0.40%.

There are no fees whatsoever, and the APY is the same across all balance tiers.

Online CD

The Online CD requires a $5,000 initial deposit and offers term lengths ranging from one year to five years.

The APY is tiered and maxes out at 0.25% with a five-year CD.

Liquid CD

A Liquid CD comes with a lower APY of just 0.05% but gives you the flexibility to pull funds from the account without fees if you need to.

Citizens Bank Features

  • 1,000 Branches In 11 States: The majority of Citizens Bank locations are consolidated in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, with more than 200 local branches in each state. Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, Ohio, and Vermont all have 100 or fewer branches.
  • 3,100 Free ATMs: Citizens Bank has 3,100 ATMs across the states that it serves, and they’re all fee-free for customers. Citizens ATMs allow customers to check balances, take out cash, and make cash or check deposits.
  • Online Banking: With Citizens’ online banking platform, you can keep tabs on your accounts and credit cards, pay bills, find ATMs or branch locations, and make electronic transfers with Zelle. You can also customize account alerts for mobile or email and review your eStatements.
  • Mobile App: The Citizens mobile app seems pretty well-liked overall. The app currently holds a rating of 4.6 stars (out of 5) in the App Store but drops off a bit in the Google Play Store, with a 3.8-star rating.

Citizens Bank also made our list of the Best Banks in PA!

Citizens Bank Fees

With Citizens, as with so many banks, you can expect to navigate around some fees.

Thankfully, you can avoid most of the banking fees, but it’s important to stay aware of where they can pop up.

Here’s a look at the most common fees that you can expect to run into:

Monthly Maintenence Fees

Most deposit accounts with Citizens come with a monthly fee, but the good news is that they’re all avoidable.

Here’s the breakdown of the fee for each account option:

Citizens Bank Account Type Monthly Fee Avoidable?
Student Checking $0 N/A
One Deposit Checking $9.99 Yes
Platinum Checking $25 Yes
Platinum Plus Checking $25 Yes
One Deposit Savings $4.99 Yes
Platinum Savings $0 N/A
Platinum Plus Savings $0 N/A
CollegeSaver $0 N/A
Personal Money Market $10 Yes
Platinum Money Market $0 N/A
Platinum Plus Money Market $0 N/A

Overdraft Fees

If you overdraft your account balance, the fee is $37 per overdraft item, which can hit you up to seven times per day if you continue to make transactions.

This adds up to $259 per day in fees if you mess up big time. Ouch!

Fortunately, there are options for overdraft protection. The first is $5 Overdraft Pass, which gives you a break on the fee if you overdraft your balance by $5 or less.

The other option is to take advantage of the Savings Overdraft Transfer Plan, which automatically pulls funds from your savings to cover any checking overdrafts.

The fee for Savings Overdraft Transfer is $12 each day that you use the service.

ATM Fees

If you use a non-Citizens Bank ATM, there is a $3 ATM fee.

This fee is avoidable with certain accounts, so just be sure to understand whether or not your account comes with this perk before you withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM.

Other Fees

  • Checks: Varies based on check style and your account
  • Paper Statement Fees: Varies based on account and delivery but can be up to $3
  • Wire Transfer Fees: Varies depending on account and delivery, but can up to $30 per domestic outgoing, and $29 domestic incoming
  • Excessive Transaction Fees: $15
  • Stop Payment Fee: $35 (waived with certain accounts)

Getting Started

You can sign up for most new Citizens Bank accounts online, at a branch, or over the phone.

The online sign-up process is simple, and all you need is your Social Security Number, ID, email address, and phone number.

Citizens Access accounts are online-only, so you’ll only be able to sign up from the website. Also, you will need to call or stop by a branch to open a CollegeSaver account.

Citizens Bank Promotions

Here are the current bank promotions that Citizens Bank is offering:

BankAmountExpiresRequirements 
Citizens Bank LogoCitizens Personal Checking Account $400 October 28, 2021
  • Direct Deposit
  • Card Spend (Optional)
see all bonuses

Citizens Bank Security

Like most banks, Citizens puts the security of your funds and personal information at the forefront of everything it does.

When you apply and enroll, your information is protected by Single Socket Layer (SSL) encryption, and all physical and electronic safeguards are up to federal standards.

Citizens Bank is also FDIC-insured, so all of your deposits are protected up to $250,000 if anything should happen to the bank.

Customer Service

When you have questions or need help, Citizens customer service is available in-branch, over the phone, or online.

Customer service phone hours are 7 am to 10 pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday. On the weekends, phone support is available from 9 am to 6 pm. You can reach them at 1-800-922-9999.

One thing to watch out for, though, is that Citizens Bank only has a 1-star rating with the BBB, which you may want to consider before signing up.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Best in class checking account sign up bonus
  • Both traditional and online account options
  • 1,000 physical branches
  • High-yield online savings

Cons:

  • Lots of fees
  • High initial deposit requirement for Citizens Access
  • Alarming BBB rating
  • Not available in most states

Alternatives to Citizens Bank

If you happen to live outside of Citizens’ service area, you might want to look into another regional bank that operates where you live.

For a couple of examples, Huntington Bank serves more of the Midwest and South, and PNC Bank has a large Mid-Atlantic presence.

As for online-only Citizens Access, some of the most popular alternatives include Axos, Ally, CIT, and Chime.

FAQs

Is Citizens Bank a good mortgage lender?

Yes. Citizens Bank offers mortgages to customers within its service area and provides rewards and discounted rates for qualifying activities.

One drawback is that Citizens Bank doesn’t offer specialized loan options, so it really depends on what you’re looking for in a lender.

Is Citizens Access bank legitimate?

Yes, Citizens Access is a legitimate online-only bank that has the backing of Citizens Bank. Citizens Access provides online savings accounts with generally higher interest rates and lower fees than the traditional bank’s options.

Is Citizens Bank a black-owned bank?

No. Citizens Bank has been a publicly-traded company since 2014, and before that, it was owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

There are, however, two similarly named black-owned banks: Citizens Savings Bank and Trust in Tennessee, and Citizens Trust Bank in Alabama and Georgia. Those two banks are among the oldest minority-owned financial institutions in the US.

Is Citizens Bank Right For You?

If you live in one of the 11 states where Citizens Bank operates, you’ll have full access to its products and financial services.

With a wide variety of accounts, plenty of in-person support, and options for traditional online banking, Citizens is a solid choice for those looking for a smaller bank that offers a little bit of everything.

Above all, the bank’s checking account sign-up bonus really makes it stand out from the competition.

On the downside, Citizens Bank isn’t available in most areas and there are other online banks out there that bring more to the table.

Now that you know what to expect from Citizens Bank, you’re well on your way to finding the perfect banking partner for your situation. The next step is signing up, or continuing your search.