Citibank review: Numerous account options, high-yield savings for some

Our #1 pick for the best traditional bank in the U.S.

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Becca Stanek

By

Becca Stanek

Becca Stanek

Insurance Expert

Becca Stanek has worked as an editor and writer in the personal finance space since 2017. She previously served as the managing editor for investing and savings at LendingTree and as an editor at SmartAsset focused on financial advisor content.

Published November 9, 2021|6 min read

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4.0 / 5

If you're looking for the best brick-and-mortar bank, Citibank may be worth checking out. According to our rankings of the best banks & credit unions of 2021, it's the best traditional bank among the "Big Four" national banks, thanks to its range of account offerings and high savings APY. Just because it's big doesn't mean it's accessible everywhere though — Citi has nearly 700 locations but they're in fewer than a dozen states. Its highest yield account also isn't offered across the U.S. Still, its numerous customer support options and broad ATM network could help make up for that.

Citibank

OVERALL

Out of 5. See our Methodology section at the bottom of the page.

4.0

THE GOOD

    Competitive APY on Citi Accelerate Savings account

    Wide variety of basic and premium accounts available

    Ample customer support options

    Over 60,000 fee-free ATMs

THE BAD

    Citi Accelerate Savings account not offered in a number of states

    Low APYs for CDs

    Monthly fees may apply if account balances fall below minimums

    Middling mobile app rating

THE BOTTOM LINE

Citibank scores a respectable 4 out of 5, standing out for its variety of account and customer support options and vast ATM network. Its high-yield savings boasts an impressive rate — but you can't get it in every state. You'll also need to look out for fees with Citi.

Savings APY

See our Methodology section at the bottom of the page for more details.

10.0

Offerings

See our Methodology section at the bottom of the page for more details.

10.0

Mobile App

See our Methodology section at the bottom of the page for more details.

6.0

Fees

See our Methodology section at the bottom of the page for more details.

4.0

Support

See our Methodology section at the bottom of the page for more details.

10.0

The good

Competitive APY on Accelerate high-yield savings

Citibank currently offers an impressive 0.50% APY (annual percentage yield) on its Accelerate high-yield savings account, which puts it in line with some of the best savings account rates currently offered. Even better, there's no minimum required to open an account and the rate is offered on all account balances, with no cap.

Variety of account offerings

Citibank offers an impressive lineup of accounts. There is a variety of checking and savings accounts offered across both the everyday and premium categories, though you have to open an account package, which includes both checking and savings, to access them.

Additionally, Citi offers a range of certificate of deposit (CD) and banking IRA accounts (either traditional or Roth). With CDs, you have the option for a fixed rate and no-penalty CD, as well as a step-up CD, where your rate automatically increases every 10 months. Terms for the fixed rate CD range from three months to five years.

Numerous ways to access customer support

With Citibank, there are a number of ways to get in touch with customer support. You can call, message the bank online or through the mobile app, visit a branch, or even connect by mail. The bank also offers a helpful FAQ page on its website where you can easily search for an answer to your question.

Wide-reaching ATM network

Citibank offers its customers access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs throughout the U.S., including in Citibank branches and in retail stores. There are also Citibank ATMs in more than 20 countries.

Citibank in the news

The bad

High-Yield Savings not offered in all locations

Only those in 42 of the 50 states can access the high APY offered by Citibank's Accelerate high-yield savings account. The account is not offered in the following states:

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • District of Columbia

  • Illinois

  • Maryland

  • Nevada

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • Virginia

Additionally, the account is offered in Florida but only in select markets.

Low APYs for CDs

Citibank doesn't stand out when it comes to the APY for its CD offerings. Currently, its best APY is 0.25% for its 7-month CD, which is well below the current best rate offered on the market of over 0.70% APY. Meanwhile, though the average APY for a 5-year CD is 0.27%, [1] Citibank offers just 0.15% APY.

Monthly fees to look out for

The category in which Citibank scores the lowest in our rankings was fees, where it landed a 2 out of 5 due to the number of fees that may apply to account holders. In particular, customers of Citibank should be aware of the monthly fees that may apply if they don't meet minimum account balance requirements. With the Basic Banking Package, for instance, you'll generally face a $12 monthly service fee if you don't maintain a combined average monthly balance of $1,500 in linked accounts, or make one qualifying direct deposit or bill payment per statement period. Even the Accelerate Savings account, Citi’s high-yield account offering, may charge a monthly fee of $4.50 if you don’t maintain a balance of at least $500.

Middling mobile app rating

Citibank rates fine enough for its mobile app, but its scores are certainly nothing to phone home about. It currently scores in the 3.50 to 3.90 range out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store. In J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study, Citi's app fell in the 850-859 range. Meanwhile, the top rankers, Bank of America and Chase, garnered scores of 871 and 870, respectively.

Reputation

Citi got its start in the early 1800s, when a group of merchants aligned with President James Madison set up the bank in New York to compete with banks in Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore. Shortly after its founding, Citi was designated as a government depository for its help financing the U.S. government in the War of 1812. Today, it serves clients in over 160 countries, with more than 100 million customers in total.

While in 2019 Citi was rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction across the retail banking industry by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, [2] its rating dropped a bit in 2020. It now sits behind Chase and Capital One on the list, but still ranks highly. [3]

The bank has also faced a number of pandemic-related complaints from customers. According to a report by Consumer Reports, Citi accounted for nearly 37% of 456 credit card complaints filed between March 16 and May 20, 2020, ranging from unwaived late fees to a lack of response from customer support. Citibank did push back on the findings, however, describing them as "misleading." [4]

The bank has also faced action from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for issues related to its mortgage services and student loan servicing.

Methodology

To compare Capital One with other options and determine the best banks and credit unions of 2021, we collected quantitative data on more than 50 major U.S. financial institutions. Specifically, we looked at savings account APYs, product offerings, fees, mobile app satisfaction, and customer support. We rated each aspect on a scale from 1 to 5, then averaged the five scores into a single rating. Here’s a detailed breakdown of each scoring matrix.

Savings account APY

We rated the highest APY that each bank or credit union offers on a savings account (excluding accounts or rates with a minimum balance requirement greater than $1,000).

Rating

Best Savings APY

1

Less than 0.1%

2

0.10%-0.19%

3

0.20%-0.29%

4

0.30%-0.39%

5

0.40%+

Offerings

We counted how many product lines each institution offers, since many people enjoy the convenience of keeping multiple accounts at the same bank. We included deposit accounts (checking, savings, money market, certificates of deposit), credit cards, loans (personal, student, auto, home equity), mortgages and mortgage refinancing, retirement accounts, and investment accounts as distinct qualifying offerings.

Rating

Offerings

1

1 offering

2

2 offerings

3

3 offerings

4

4 offerings

5

5+ offerings

Mobile app satisfaction

Since mobile apps are increasingly becoming the primary way people manage their bank accounts, we consulted the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study. For any banks or credit unions that weren’t included in the study, we used mobile app customer ratings from the Google Play store.

Rating

J.D. Power Score

App Store Score

1

Less than 840

Less than 3.0

2

840-849

3.0-3.4

3

850-859

3.5-3.9

4

860-869

4.0-4.4

5

870+

4.5+

Fees

We consulted every bank’s fee schedule and terms and conditions to search for any of the following: monthly maintenance fee, overdraft fee, insufficient funds fee, debit card replacement fee, account closure fee, and stop payment order fee.

Rating

Qualifying Fees

1

4+ fees

2

3 fees

3

2 fees

4

1 fee

5

0 fees

Customer support

Since different people prefer different support options at different times, we counted how many customer support channels each bank offers, including telephone, email, online chat, mobile app, online forums, online learning center, and physical branches.

Rating

Support Channels

1

1 option

2

2 options

3

3 options

4

4 options

5

5+ options