November 12, 2023

First Citizens Bank Problems and Solutions

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First Citizens Bank provides affordable banking with fee-free checking and savings options. However, they may not be available for you.

First Citizens Bank is a well-established institution that offers diverse products and services. But like all banks, it has its imperfections.

You may encounter problems or restrictions which could negatively impact your banking experience.

Read on to discover potential issues and figure out if it suits your needs or if you should explore other options.

What is your biggest challenge with First Citizens Bank?

What is First Citizens Bank known for?
First Citizens is best known as a regional bank with a long track record, which began more than a century ago. On March 27, 2023, they announced their purchase of Silicon Valley Bank, becoming their division focused on commercial banking services.[1]

Low Savings APY

First Citizens Bank has an Online Savings Account with a 0.03% APY, which is well below the national savings interest rate.

While it may not have fees or balance requirements, your funds won't increase much given the low rate. Unfortunately, this is a common issue among many traditional banks.

First Citizens Bank imposes a limit of only 2 withdrawals for each month on their Online Savings Account. A $3 fee applies for each withdrawal or transfer beyond that.[2]

What You Can Do:
If you really want to open an account with First Citizens Bank, consider looking at their other savings options.

They have a money market account with unlimited withdrawals and slightly higher rates. But don't expect too much, as the increase is minimal at best.

You can also check out their 11-month CD, which has a high promotional APY. But it requires a minimum opening deposit of at least $5,000, which is a rather large amount for many.[3]

If your goal is to earn a higher savings interest, it's best to consider alternatives. Look for online banks with high-yield savings accounts that have no fees and balance requirements.

Compare Savings Account Offers

Difficult Criteria to Waive Checking Fees

First Citizens' Premier and Prestige checking accounts both have a monthly service fee of $18 and $25, respectively.[2]

While there are several ways to waive the charges, the requirements are quite difficult to meet. The criteria include maintaining a high daily balance, having large ACH direct deposits, and such.

What You Can Do:
If you are a fee-wary person, you can open a First Citizens Free checking account instead. You only need to enroll in paperless statements to avoid fees.

But keep in mind that the Premier and Prestige accounts offer better APY, making them more appealing overall.

Branches in Select States Only

First Citizens Bank only serves 23 states,[4] with the majority of its branches in North Carolina, South Carolina, and California.

Though they allow users to open some accounts online, you still need to be a resident in one of the regions they serve for it to push through.

What You Can Do:
Unfortunately, only those who live in a state that First Citizens Bank serves can open an account with them.

It would be best to consider banks in your state or online banks for better accessibility, regardless of location.

Compare Checking Account Offers

Fees for Overdraft Items

It is normal for banks to charge for overdrafts when they cover it for you. Sometimes, they charge you a non-sufficient funds fee if they don't.

With First Citizens, even if you use a linked account to cover your overdraft, they still charge you $10 per item, which can be frustrating.[5]

What You Can Do:
The most sensible thing is to stay on top of your finances. You must diligently monitor your transactions, from the checks you write to your incoming credits, so you can avoid accumulating passive fees.

There seems no way to avoid overdraft charges. Unless the overdrawn transaction is under $5 or bounces, you are bound to pay an overdraft fee.

Is my money safe at First Citizens Bank?
First Citizens Bank deposit accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per account holder and ownership category.[6] So, if your funds are within that amount, you'll be covered in case the bank closes for some reason.

Longer Clearing For Mobile Check Deposits

Funds from mobile check deposits are typically available within the next business day for many banks.

With First Citizens, however, the money is credited within 3 business days.[7] Certain circumstances can further prolong the processing time as well.

What You Can Do:
Make sure to be aware of the cutoff time because checks deposited after will be processed the next business day. The cutoff for First Citizens is 9 p.m. Eastern time.

If you have any scheduled bill payments, don't depend solely on check deposits. Lastly, wait for your check to clear before using its funds for other transactions like bill payments to avoid overdrafts.

It helps when your check is properly endorsed according to the bank's guidelines. Typically, you just need to sign the back of the check to endorse it. Make sure it matches the payee's name found on the front side of the check.

Bottom Line

Before committing to First Citizens Bank, it's really important to take a close look at their problems. Some of their products and services have limitations that may not suit your financial situation and preferences.

Which solution would you most like First Citizens Bank to implement?

Ultimately, if you are eligible to open an account with them and none of the issues above are deal breakers, they are a good option to consider!


  1. ^ First Citizens Bank. First Citizens Bank Enters into Whole Bank Purchase of Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A., Retrieved 10/28/2023
  2. ^ First Citizens Bank. Personal account disclosures, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  3. ^ First Citizens Bank. 11-Month CD Addendum, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  4. ^ First Citizens Bank. About Us, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  5. ^ First Citizens Bank. Overdraft Protection and Service, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  6. ^ FDIC. First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Retrieved 11/14/23
  7. ^ First Citizens Bank. First Citizens Bank Deposit Account Agreement, Retrieved 10/28/2023
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