Updated December 13, 2021

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 500+ 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.

Account Types and Features

First Citizens Bank offers many accounts and services, including banking, investing, loans, and more. Check out their top bank accounts compare.

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 credits, 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 every day from 7 a.m. to 11 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 $100,000 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 cash back 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 auto, property, life, pet, and umbrella insurance.

Is First Citizens Bank Trustworthy?

First Citizens Bank is a longstanding bank with more than $50 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.

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 on 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 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 fee 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 10 different states. Citizens Bank offers a large number of checking and savings account options as well as CDs and IRAs. They also offer a GoalTrack program that helps you track and meet your goals, with bonuses offered in certain situations.

  • BB&T: BB&T operates in 13 different states and has deposit accounts that meet the needs of people of all ages. They have accounts that cater to seniors and teens. They also have savings accounts that offer high-yield interest rates for those who are in between investments and need a safe place to park their money.

  • 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 once 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 500+ branches.

CIT Bank
Member FDIC

Money Market Account - Get a Year of Amazon Prime

Expires 9/23/2022
To get your year of Amazon Prime ($139 cash value):
  • Open a new Money Market account using promo code AMZN22.
  • Fund your account with $15,000 within 15 days.
  • Keep a minimum balance of $15,000 for 60 days.
After 60 days, if you've fulfilled the requirements, CIT will send you an email with your Prime membership code. Existing Amazon Prime members can use the one year of Amazon Prime to renew their membership for an additional year. Limit one Money Market promotion per account and per customer. Conditions apply. See advertiser website for details.
Chase
Member FDIC

Chase Total Checking® - $200 Bonus

Expires 7/20/2022
  • New Chase checking customers enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
  • Access to 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℠: $0 overdraft fee when you overdraw your account $50 or less*

*We won't charge an overdraft fee if you are overdrawn $50 or less at the end of the business day. Chase may pay, for a $34 fee, overdraft transactions at our discretion based on your account history, deposits and transaction amount. If you've enrolled in Debit Card Coverage, everyday debit card purchases like groceries, may be approved at our discretion when you don't have enough money in your account.

Citibank

Citi Priority Account - Up to $1,500 Cash Bonus

Expires 7/17/2022
  • Earn up to $1,500 cash bonus when you open a new account with required activities
  • Open a new eligible checking account in the Citi Priority Account during the offer period 1/5/22-7/17/22
  • Within 20 days of opening, deposit $50,000 in New-To Citibank funds between the new checking and savings accounts
  • Maintain a minimum balance of $50,000 in the checking account for an additional 60 consecutive calendar days from the 21st day
  • After all required activities are met, the cash bonus will be deposited to your account within 90 calendar days
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, by phone or Discover App). Enter Offer Code CY622 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 09/15/2022, 11:59 PM ET. Offer may be modified or withdrawn without notice. See advertiser website for full details.

Expires 9/15/2022

Donna Tang is the head of purpose and audience 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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