Updated November 14, 2022

First Citizens Bank Review

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First Citizens Bank offers many account options with low opening deposits and fees. But there are downsides. Find out if First Citizens is a good bank for you.

First Citizens Bank

Overall Score

2.9

Savings

1.0

Checking

3.0

Customer Service

3.0

Mobile App

4.5
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Low opening deposit on some accounts
  • Monthly fees can be waived
  • Overdraft protection available
  • Low APYs
  • Only available in 19 states

Bottom Line

Full-service bank with waivable fees and low APYs

First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and has now expanded to 550+ branches in 19 states. It offers everything from banking to investments, to credit cards and loans.

There are many account options to choose from, and all their monthly fees can be waived if you meet their requirements.

But the interest rates are low.

Is it still worth it to open an account? Keep reading to see if First Citizens Bank suits your banking needs.

Is First Citizens Bank Trustworthy?

First Citizens Bank is a longstanding bank, that operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of First Citizens BancShares, Inc. which has more than $100 billion in assets.

The bank has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Plus, their track record is free from major problems or controversies.

First Citizens Bank is FDIC insured. This means your bank deposits are automatically protected up to $250,000 in the unlikely case that the bank fails.[1]

Account Types and Features

First Citizens Bank offers many accounts and services, including banking, investing, loans, and more.

First Citizens Bank has branches and ATMs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Free Checking

If you want a no-frills, free checking account, this may be a good choice for you.

There's no minimum balance and no fees if you're enrolled in paperless statements. The account comes with a Visa debit card, digital banking, mobile deposits, and free access to First Citizens ATMs.

Be sure to enroll in paperless statements within 60 days of opening your account. Otherwise, your account will be changed to an account with a monthly fee.

Premier Checking

If you want to earn a little interest on your checking, consider the Premier Checking account. It comes with additional perks like preferred rates on CDs and home equity lines of credit, and free checks.

Unfortunately, the fee is a little harder to waive.

Prestige Checking

This account is similar to Premier checking, but it comes with more benefits built in. Prestige Checking has no overdraft transfer fees, higher purchase/ATM limits, and no fees for out-of-network ATMs.

Since the requirements are higher, Prestige Checking is best if you want to do most of your banking with First Citizens.

First Citizens Bank Customer Service
You can reach customer service at 1-888-323-4732. Customer service reps are available Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. The automated system is available 24/7.

Online Savings

First Citizens offers a simple savings account with a low opening deposit and no monthly fees. But the interest rates are really low, especially compared to other online savings accounts.

You're also restricted to only 2 free withdrawals per month. Each withdrawal after that has a $3 fee. This gives you a lot less flexibility. But it could be a good thing if you need extra motivation not to touch your savings unless you absolutely need it.

Like any other savings account, you're limited to 6 withdrawals per month (according to federal law).

Money Market

This account has a tiered interest rate depending on your balance. Unlike the online savings account, you'll need a balance of $500,000 or more to earn the highest APY. Balances below that will get a lower rate.

On the bright side, you can make up to 6 withdrawals per month free of charge. Plus, waiving the fee is pretty simple: You just need to keep a $1,000 daily balance.

CDs

A First Citizens certificate of deposit lets you earn a bit more interest than a savings or money market account. You'll have to tie up your money for a specific term between 6 months to 5 years. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate.

You do need at least $500 to open a CD at First Citizens Bank. Keep in mind that if you withdraw your money before the term ends, you'll pay a penalty fee.

Other Accounts and Services

First Citizens is a full-service bank. In addition to personal banking, it also offers:

  • Military Bank Accounts: Military members have access to special checking and savings accounts. These accounts have easier criteria to waive monthly fees. Plus, you can get preferred rates and free out-of-network ATM transactions.

  • Business Banking: First Citizens offers banking, financing, and more for small business and commercial clients.

  • Credit Cards: First Citizens Bank has a range of cashback and rewards credit cards. They also offer business credit cards.

  • Loans and Mortgages: They offer a wide range of personal, auto, and home mortgage loans.

  • Investments: Investment accounts include Roth, traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs, 529 college savings plans, and Coverdell education savings accounts.

  • Insurance: First Citizens offers vehicle, property, life, pet, and umbrella insurance.

Reasons We Like First Citizens Bank

  • The Together Card can help your kids manage money. The Together Card is a reloadable Visa debit card. Once the funds run out, your child can't use it. This eliminates the risk of overdrafts and teaches financial responsibility. It's free with the Prestige or Premier checking accounts.

  • You can enroll in Overdraft Protection. First Citizens Bank offers a variety of choices to help you with overdrafts. You can link your First Citizens Bank savings account or apply for a Checkline Reserve account, which is a line of credit to help you in case of an overdraft. Fees apply for each type of overdraft protection, so make sure you understand the bottom line before enrolling in any type of protection.

  • Manage your finances on the go with the mobile app. You can do many of the same tasks you can do in the online portal with your mobile app. In addition, you can deposit your checks right from your cell phone without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

  • You can get alerts via email or text about your bank accounts. You can decide which notifications you receive, whether it's when your account balance is low or when your password is changed. This way, you can know right away if someone has hacked into your account.

  • Pay friends or family right from your mobile phone. With just an email address or phone number, you can pay your friends and family. If you go out to dinner and want to split the bill or you are splitting the cost of a gift, paying friends and family is simple and done on the spot, although transferring the funds may take one or two business days.

  • Set up automatic deposits into your savings account. If you find saving money difficult, consider setting up automatic deposits on paydays so that you pay yourself first. This takes the thinking out of saving money.

  • Get traveler's checks in foreign currency. First Citizens Bank will make sure you understand how the currency differs when you travel so that you don't risk losing money or misunderstanding how much you may need while traveling abroad.

  • Earn relationship interest rates on CDs with certain checking accounts. First Citizens Bank provides higher rates on CDs when you have a Premier or Prestige checking account. This helps you grow your money faster for staying loyal to First Citizens Bank.

First Citizens Bank Routing Number
You can find your First Citizens Bank routing number at the bottom of your checks. It's the first set of numbers on the left side of the check. Each state has its own routing number.

Reasons to Look Elsewhere

  • High balances are required if you want to earn interest on checking. The free checking account doesn't earn interest. If you don't meet the minimum requirements to waive the fees on the interest-bearing accounts, it could cost you quite a bit of money each month.

  • Low interest rates overall. Even the highest interest rates at First Citizens Bank are pretty low compared to some other banks. If you want the best rates possible, you're probably better off looking somewhere else.

  • Requirements to waive fees can be difficult to meet. Some accounts require a high balance or direct deposit to waive the fee. These accounts aren't easily accessible to everyone. But, they do have a couple no-fee accounts available.

  • First Citizens Bank isn't a national bank. If you want easy access to your funds, you will need to live in one of the 19 states in which they are located.

How It Compares

  • Citizens Bank: Citizens Bank is a Midwest and East Coast bank with branches in 14 different states. Citizens Bank offers a large number of checking and savings account options as well as CDs and IRAs.

  • Truist Bank: Truist was formed in 2019 by the historic merger of BB&T and SunTrust. Truist operates in 17 different states and the District of Columbia. They offer a wide range of banking products and services including checking accounts, a prepaid money account, and a range of savings and money market accounts.

  • Bank of America: Bank of America is a household name. People tend to choose Bank of America because of its many locations across the country. It makes it easy to access your own money even when you travel. Keep in mind, though, you'll only have a few accounts to choose from, as their account selection is much lower than many other banks, First Citizens Bank included.

Bottom Line

First Citizens Bank offers many accounts and services for those who want to do all their banking in one place. All their bank accounts are either free or have monthly fees that can be waived. But some criteria for waiving fees can be difficult to meet unless you have a large balance.

Although First Citizens isn't available nationwide, it's a decent choice for basic banking if you live near one of their 550+ branches.

References

  1. ^ FDIC. Deposit Insurance, Retrieved 11/13/2022
First Citizens Bank
Member FDIC

Free Checking

  • $0 monthly fee when you enroll in paperless statements
  • $50 minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance
CIT Bank
Member FDIC

CIT Bank Savings Connect - 3.60% APY

  • Earn 15x the national average
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fee
Chase
Member FDIC

Chase Total Checking® - $200 Bonus

Expires 1/25/2023
  • New Chase checking customers enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
  • Access to more than 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches
  • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
  • Open your account online now
  • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit locator.chase.com.
  • Chase Overdraft Assist℠ - no overdraft fee if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day or if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day*

*With Chase Overdraft Assist℠, we won't charge an Insufficient Funds Fee if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day OR if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day (you have until 11 PM ET (8 PM PT) to make a deposit or transfer). Chase Overdraft Assist does not require enrollment and comes with eligible Chase checking accounts.

Citibank

Citi Priority Account - Earn up to $2,000 Cash Bonus

Expires 1/9/2023
  • Earn up to $2,000 cash bonus when you open a new eligible Citi Priority Checking Account with required activities
  • Within 20 days of opening, deposit the minimum amount of new-to-Citibank funds.
  • Maintain a minimum balance for 60 consecutive calendar days from the 21st day.
  • If your balance falls to a lower tier at any point during the maintenance period, the bonus changes.
  • Bonus will be paid within 30 days after you successfully complete all required activities.
Discover Bank
Member FDIC

Discover Online Savings - $200 Cash Bonus

To get your $150 or $200 Bonus: What to do: Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account, online, in the Discover App or by phone. Enter Offer Code CY922 when applying. Deposit into your account a total of at least $15,000 to earn a $150 Bonus or deposit a total of at least $25,000 to earn a $200 Bonus. Deposit must be posted to account within 30 days of account open date. Maximum bonus eligibility is $200.

What to know: Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers or existing or prior customers with savings accounts that are co-branded, or affinity accounts provided by Discover. Eligibility is based on primary account owner. Account must be open when bonus is credited. Bonus will be credited to the account within 30 days of the account qualifying for the bonus. Bonus is interest and subject to reporting on Form 1099-INT. Offer ends 12/15/2022, 11:59 PM ET. Offer may be modified or withdrawn without notice. See advertiser website for full details.

Expires 12/15/2022

Donna Tang is a content associate at CreditDonkey, a bank comparison and reviews website. Write to Donna Tang at donna.tang@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website 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. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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