October 20, 2018

Citizens Bank Review: Account Good for You?

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Are you looking for a bank that will not only keep your money, but also help push you to meet your financial goals? If so, you may want to consider Citizens Bank.

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Citizens Bank is the 13th largest bank in the United States. It's also one of the oldest banks in the nation. It has one of the largest product offerings we've seen in a bank, and they also offer a large variety of tools to help you become financially knowledgeable.

Keep reading to see if Citizens Bank might be the bank for you.

Services Offered

You'll find a variety of services at Citizens Bank, including checking, savings, CDs, money market accounts, and IRAs.

Checking

Whether your goal is to earn interest, or you want an account that allows a small balance without penalty, you'll find them at Citizens Bank.

  • One Deposit Checking: This account lives up to its name. As long as you make one deposit each month, you won't pay a monthly service fee. In exchange for the simple way to waive the service fee, though, you will not earn interest on your deposits. You do get a debit card, access to online and mobile banking, and the ability to set up automatic transfers to a savings account. In addition, you may be eligible to save on your home equity loan or mortgage interest rate.

  • Student Checking: If you are under the age of 25, you can open this account, which has no service fee. Once you turn 25, the fee goes up to a few dollars per month. This account also doesn't offer interest on your deposits, but you get the same benefits as adults who open the One Deposit Checking account, including online and mobile banking and even the savings on your mortgage interest rate.

  • Platinum Checking: This interest-bearing account offers personalized financial advice and access to preferred products. In order to be eligible, you'll need a minimum average balance of $25,000 in any of your deposit accounts combined. You'll also have access to "Platinum" rates on your money market, savings, and CDs.

  • Platinum Plus Checking: If you know you will deposit $5,000 in your primary checking account each month or have an average monthly balance of $10,000 each month, you can earn higher interest rates with this checking account. You still need a combined $25,000 balance to waive your monthly service fee, but you get access to Platinum Plus savings and CD rates, which are the highest rates Citizens Bank offers.

Savings

The Citizens Bank savings accounts help you turn that dream into reality. They offer the following savings accounts.

  • Green Savings: Citizens Bank gives you the first four months free of charge when you open this savings account. After that point, you can get the fee waived by keeping a balance of $200 in your account. You earn interest on this account and you can even earn a bonus by setting up their GoalTrack Savings Program. If you reach your goal, Citizens Bank pays you a bonus.

  • Platinum Savings: This coincides with the Platinum Checking account. You can only open a Platinum Savings account if you have Platinum Checking. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. You get the Platinum interest rate and access to the platinum rates on all other Citizen Bank products.

  • Platinum Plus Savings: This savings product is only available for Platinum Plus Checking account customers. This account gives you access to the highest tier interest rates, as well as preferred service and financial advice.

  • College Saver: You can open this account for your child's education before their 12th birthday. You must then deposit at least $25 per month for children ages 6 years and younger or $50 for children older than 6 years. Citizens Bank will provide a $1,000 bonus to the account when your child turns 18 years old. You do need a minimum $25 opening deposit if your child is 6 years old and younger or $500 if your child is over the age of 6. There is no monthly maintenance fee and the account does earn some interest.

Money Market Accounts

Money market accounts give you access to higher interest rates while also providing you easy access to your funds with an ATM card and checks.

  • Personal Money Market: You can open this account with any amount, but you'll need a minimum average balance of $2,500 to waive the monthly service fee. It earns a fixed rate of interest and you have 24/7 access to your account with online and mobile banking.

  • Platinum Money Market: Again, Platinum Checking Account customers benefit from higher interest rates on this Platinum Money Market account. You'll receive platinum interest rates and no monthly service fee. As an added bonus, if you deposit "new" $25,000 (not already on deposit with Citizens Bank), you receive a higher interest rate. If you can't reach the $25,000 threshold, any deposit will open the account, but for a lower interest rate.

  • Platinum Plus Money Market: This account is only available to those who have a Platinum Plus Checking account. In exchange for the relationship banking, you'll get some of the highest interest rates and you won't pay any service fees. If you deposit $25,000 in new money, you'll receive top-of-the-line interest rates, or you could receive the standard offer with any size deposit.

CDs

Citizens Bank offers three CD options to help you make the most of your savings.

  • 13-Month Online CD: This CD is only available for purchase online. It offers a guaranteed rate and has no monthly fees. You need at least $1,000 to open the account and will pay penalties if you withdraw the funds earlier than the maturity date.

  • 12-Month CD: With $1,000, you can open a 12-month CD that offers a fixed interest rate. You can open this CD online, over the phone, or in person at a Citizens Bank branch.

  • 36-Month CD: If you have long-term goals, the 36-month CD may provide you with a larger return on your investment. If you are a Platinum or Platinum Plus customer, you'll receive even higher interest rates. Make sure you are willing to tie your money up for 3 years, though, as there are early withdrawal penalties.

IRAs

  • IRA Savings: You can open a traditional or Roth IRA and set up automatic transfers to it according to your budget and timeline. You don't need a minimum amount to open an account, but you do need an average daily balance of $200 to waive the monthly service fee.

  • IRA CDs: If you already have retirement savings established, you may want to roll them into an IRA CD to earn the higher amount of interest. Since you won't need to touch the funds just yet, they can earn more interest while they wait. You get the same tax advantages as you would on a regular IRA and you only need $250 to open the account.

Reasons We Like Citizens Bank

  • Your One Deposit Checking account includes a $5 Overdraft Pass. If you make an overdraft of $5 or less, Citizens Bank won't charge you for the overdraft. This could save you a significant amount of money for a small financial mistake.

  • You can set up Overdraft Coverage. You can link an eligible Citizens Bank savings account to cover your checking account overages or apply for an Overdraft Line of Credit. The line of credit does have an annual fee and each transfer from savings or your line of credit incurs a transfer fee. The fee is much lower than what you would pay for overdraft charges, though.

  • You can set up GoalTrack Savings on any savings account at Citizens Bank. This program tracks your savings and keeps you updated on your progress. You can open a savings account for each "goal" you set up, and Citizens Bank will help keep you motivated to meet that goal. In some cases, they even offer bonuses when you reach your goal.

  • You can set up automatic transfers to your savings account. The program is called Steady Save. You set up the amount and frequency of the deposits according to your need and abilities. Citizens Bank then does the rest for you. If you decide you can't afford the savings any longer or you want to change the amount, you can make changes as you see fit.

  • The Platinum and Platinum Plus Checking accounts charge fewer fees. For example, you won't pay a fee for paper statements, stop payments, or money transfers via money orders or certified checks. You may also open additional Platinum accounts free of charge.

  • Platinum and Platinum Plus Checking account customers receive free platinum-designed checks. While it's not a large expense, even small fees can add up over the course of a year or more.

  • Citizens Bank has a monthly budget calculator tool on their website. With basic information about your income and expenses, you can have a bird's-eye view of your spending and saving habits. This may be a good way for you to see where you need to cut back in order to put more in your savings accounts.

  • You can bank on-the-go with the Citizens Bank app. You can perform many of the same tasks you can do with their online platform. This includes bill pay, transfer funds, pay friends/family with Zelle, see account history, check balances, and remotely deposit checks.

  • Citizens Bank customer service representatives are available 24/7. This means you can always reach someone when you are having an issue or just have a question. This can be a relief for those night owls who tend to balance their checkbook when they can't sleep at night.

  • Even if you have a basic checking account, you can save 1/8th of a point on your mortgage or HELOC with Citizens Bank as a part of their relationship banking.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • Unless you live on the East Coast or in parts of the Midwest, you won't have access to Citizens Bank's products. They are headquartered in Rhode Island, but have branches throughout Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

  • The overdraft fees are excessive. Citizens Bank allows up to seven overdraft fees per day. This could amount to as much as $245 per day. If you keep your account in overdraft status for more than 4 days, you will then pay an additional $30 fee for sustained overdrafts.

  • Citizens Bank doesn't have a high-yield savings account. The interest rates you earn on your savings is minimal compared to other high-yield savings accounts. If you have a significant amount of money to deposit, you may want to consider other options where you could earn more interest.

How It Compares

Bank of America
If you need a bank that is outside the East Coast, Bank of America may provide services for you. They operate in 35 states and have more than 4,000 branches. Their checking and savings options are a bit more limited than Citizens Bank, but sometimes convenience trumps interest rates.

First Citizens Bank
You'll find 500 First Citizens Bank branches throughout the United States as well as a large number of ATMs throughout the US. First Citizens Bank offers a large variety of personal deposit products that cater to people with little money all the way to those with a large amount of money to deposit. They are a close-knit community bank that offers that "personal" feeling many people want out of their bank.

Bottom Line

Citizens Bank offers a large number of personal deposit products to meet the financial goals of many consumers. In addition, they offer a large number of additional benefits when you open a specific personal deposit account. As is the case with any bank account, take your time to read the fine print and determine if this is the right type of account for you.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on October 20, 2018. Information including rates, fees, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the bank's website for updated information.

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