Citibank Review

Citibank was originally founded as The City Bank of New York on June 16, 1812. Today, Citibank represents the consumer banking division of Citigroup, a multinational financial services corporation headquartered in New York City.

Citibank has over 2,600 branches in 19 countries. These include 723 branches in the U.S., as well as 1,494 branches in Mexico, operated under Banamex, a subsidiary. Citibank offers the standard fare you’d expect from a multinational bank, including checking and savings accounts, small business and commercial loans, as well as mortgages, certificates of deposit and money-market accounts.

Citibank was named “Best Bank for High-Net-Worth Families” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance for the third straight year in 2019 due to the many benefits allotted to Citigold® members, including a dedicated financial manager and reimbursement for out-of-network ATM usage.

This makes the bank a good choice for high-income individuals and families. It’s also a decent choice if you live in a metropolitan area — as most of Citibank’s branches are located in large cities — or if you often travel abroad.

How Citibank stacks up

Pros
  • High-yield savings accounts available
  • No minimum deposit for checking account
  • Variety of CD options
  • Branches available outside U.S.
Cons
  • Must maintain $200,000 among accounts to achieve Citigold® status
  • Must maintain $500 to waive savings account fee
  • Checking accounts must be paired with “packages”
  • Poor customer service reviews

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What’s interesting about Citibank?

One of the most prominent features of Citibank is its special offers. If you can meet the requirements, you can earn up to $600 for opening some accounts while the promotion lasts.

As a global bank, Citibank is also located in several countries outside the U.S. It is most prevalent in Mexico through its Banamex subsidiary, but branches and ATMs can also be found in Australia, India, Germany and many other countries.

Citibank offers a free online bill-paying service through your checking account. Their app, Citi Mobile®, has high ratings in app markets because it enables you to view all your accounts, credit cards and investments in a single location.

Things to consider

Compared to other multinational competitors, Citibank doesn’t have quite as many branches available in the U.S. Its branches are generally concentrated in metropolitan areas like New York City and Chicago. If you’re a rural or suburban banking customer, you may have to travel far to get face-to-face services or rely on Citibank’s customer hotlines to get things done.

Citibank’s best products also tend to have high thresholds for entry. For example, you must maintain an average of $500 in your savings account if you want to waive the monthly maintenance fee. However, the bank does offer a credit card with a low introductory APR and no late fees. Citibank’s CDs and money-market accounts also have a relatively low APY.

Based on consumer ratings on various websites, including Consumer Affairs and Trustpilot, Citibank has some progress to make in the customer service department. Customers have complained that there is a language barrier when speaking to customer service representatives and that the bank’s customer service apparatus is disorganized.

Checking and savings accounts

Citibank has five core banking packages that are specialized for different types of customers. High-income individuals can enjoy the perks of the Citigold® package, but there are basic packages available as well if you just want a Citibank checking and/or savings account.

Citibank’s Access Account and Basic Banking accounts both have $0 deposits and relatively low monthly service fees. However, the monthly service fees for the Access Account and Basic Banking can be waived if there’s a $1,500 combined monthly average balance across all accounts. These accounts would be beneficial to those who are beginning to accumulate savings and are able to keep up that minimum balance to avoid the monthly fee. The Citibank and Citi Priority accounts both have $0 minimum deposits as well, but come with a $25 monthly service fee. This can also be waived with $10,000 or $50,000 monthly balances for The Citibank Account and Citi Priority, respectively.

For those with accumulated wealth and savings that are looking for a bank that can handle it all, the Citigold® requires a $200,000 monthly balance in all linked accounts to even qualify for the account itself. But the bright side is that there are no minimum deposits, no monthly service fees and with that $200,000, customers can begin investing in CDs, MMAs or other investing services.

Each checking account must be paired with a savings account by Citibank, but the Citi Accelerate Savings account is available to any customer and is rounded out with an APY of 2.05%.

Money market accounts

As part of its financial services, Citibank offers money-market accounts to customers through its Citibank Savings Plus Account and Citi Accelerate Savings Account. While these are named savings accounts, Citibank advertises the two products as money market accounts.

First, the Savings Plus Account does require a minimum deposit of $100 to begin the account, but the APYs on the account are abysmal. Until a balance of $5 million, the APY for the Savings Plus Account will not top 0.10%. On the other hand, the Citi Accelerate Savings Account will begin with 0.04% for balances under $25,000 but shoots to 1.70% for any balance above that. With Savings Plus, customers can write checks, but not with the Accelerate Savings product. Both of these accounts compound interest daily to add to your account on a monthly basis and are linked to your other accounts to maintain the minimum for waiving account fees.

CDs

Citibank’s CDs all have minimum deposit requirements and its rates aren’t as good as some other options, and CDs through Citibank also come with withdrawal penalties in some circumstances.

The No Penalty CD has a minimum deposit of $500, but lets customers withdraw from the CD for the first six days after depositing without any penalties. The APY on the No Penalty CD varies between 0.50% and 1.0% and has a term length of 12 months. Another certificate of deposit product that Citibank offers is the Step Up CD. This CD product is slightly different from other traditional certificates of deposit, as the interest rate increases every 10 months for the 30-month maturity of the CD. Starting at 0.50%, the rate will increase to 0.75% and then top out at 1.0% for the final 10 months.

Finally, customers can opt for the fixed-rate CD that Citibank offers. This is most like a traditional CD you would find at other financial institutions and banks, as it offers varying term lengths of three months to five years. The APY on these CDs also vary depending on term length and can be anywhere between 0.05% and 1.25%. Whichever interest rate, between 0.05% and 1.24%, that you land on, will be the interest rate for the life of the CD.

Credit cards

Like many other credit card issuers, Citibank has curated a wide selection of credit cards that boast 0% intro APR, cash back rewards, points and miles. What’s important for consumers is to sift through the pile of credit card offerings in front of them and find the one that best matches their financial situation and spending habits.

For example, Citibank’s Citi Rewards+ Card offers 15,000 ThankYou® points if you spend $1,000 within three months of opening the account. With these points, you can apply them to rewards like gift cards, travel credits and pay certain bills. This card would best suit someone who wants to use those points to mitigate their spending in other areas — like dining, shopping or travel.

If you’re someone who has to travel a lot for work, family or leisure, then a travel rewards card like the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp card offers great advantages like 2 AAdvantage Miles® for every $1 spent on American Airline flights, at grocery stores and grocery delivery services. Tack on another mile for $1 spent on every other purchase and you can find yourself with plenty of miles left over to travel somewhere else for vacation.

But to start out, some people enjoy simple, no-frills, no-fees cards. The Citibank Simplicity offers 0% APR for 21 months on balance transfers and 0% APR for 12 months on purchases before the rate shoots to 16.24%–26.49%. However, this card has no late fees, no penalty rate and no annual fees. It’s a solid card for someone who wants a line of credit to push them from “fair” to “good” or even to “excellent” credit with FICO — as long as it’s paid off and used correctly.

Personal loans

Citibank offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $50,000; for any amount over $30,000, you must apply in person. Loans of $10,000 or more include fixed-rate APRs and can be repaid over terms of 12, 24, 36, 48 or 60 months. Citibank is also one of the only banks which permits joint-application personal loans, making it possible to access funds for large purchases or credit management even if your personal credit score or annual income don’t meet Citibank’s requirements. The bank also offers custom credit lines between $1,500 and $25,000 if you have a Citibank deposit account with a minimum $500 balance that has been open for at least three months along with a linked Citibank mortgage or credit card.

Mortgage loans

If you’re looking to buy a home, Citibank has multiple mortgage offers to choose from. Consider the 7/1 ARM with 1.0 points that come in lower than the market average, while the 15-year fixed with 1.25 points and 30-year fixed with 1.0 points are slightly above other banks. Citibank also notes that both your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio significantly affect your offered mortgage rates, meaning that currently advertised rates will not always correspond with your mortgage offer.

Mortgage refinancing

Citibank offers multiple mortgage refinancing options, including general conforming loans, jumbo loans that exceed the general loans, FHA refinance loans that offer lower down payments and fewer credit score restrictions, and VA home refinance loans for current and former members of the U.S. armed forces. If you plan to stay in your home and need to access equity for home improvement options, repair work or credit payments, a fixed-term loan provides the most stability. If you plan to pay off your mortgage or move in the near future, adjustable-rate mortgages can provide quick access to equity.

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)

Both HELOCs and fixed-rate home equity loans are available from Citibank. The bank’s HELOCs offer industry-average variable rates that can be paid as principal and interest or interest-only during the draw period. Citibank’s fixed-rate loans come with slightly higher rates and are repaid at a fixed amount over time. Choose a HELOC if you’re not sure exactly how much money you need but don’t want to pay interest on money you don’t use. Choose a fixed-rate option if you prefer the security and manageability of 10- or 30-year repayment terms.

Car loans

Citibank doesn’t offer car loans. If you need a lender for new or used vehicle purchases, consider online options such as Springboard. Designed for customers with less-than-ideal credit, you can apply for car loans from $7,500 to $40,000 without affecting your credit score and get approved almost instantly after applying if you meet the requirements.

The final word

Citibank might be a good choice if you live in a metropolitan area and need easy access to ATMs, or if you travel often and want to be able to bank overseas or avoid foreign transaction fees on purchases. The bank also offers some great perks for high-income individuals.

If you’re looking for savings and investment accounts that can produce a good yield, however, a low-APR credit card or a highly recommended customer service department, you can probably look elsewhere.