Bank of America vs. Citibank: Which Is Best for You?

Melissa LambarenaJune 20, 2019
On a similar note...
On a similar note...

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Citibank and Bank of America both offer what national banks are known for: convenience over high savings rates. Each has a wide range of accounts and extensive ATM access, plus perks such as top-shelf technology, but their accounts don’t earn much interest.

Here’s a quick look at how they stack up against each other:

Snapshot comparison

Bank of America

Citibank

Checking accounts

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking

  • Monthly fee: $12 (See below for 4 ways to wave it).

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100.

Citibank Regular Checking

  • Monthly fee: $12 (See below for 3 ways to waive it).

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0.

Savings accounts

Bank of America Rewards Savings

  • APY: 0.03% APY on all balances for standard accounts.

  • Monthly fee: $8 (See below for 3 ways to waive it).

Citi Savings

  • APY: 0.04% APY (may vary by state).

  • Monthly fee: $4.50 (See below for 2 ways to waive it).

Certificates of deposit

Bank of America interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.03% APY.

  • 5 years: 0.75% APY.

  • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

Citibank interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.25% APY.

  • 5 years: 0.25% APY.

  • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $35, maximum of four per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12 per day.

  • ATMs: Over 16,000.

  • Branches: about 4,400.

  • Customer service: Available via phone, email and social media.

  • Overdraft fee: $34, maximum of four per day.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $10 per day.

  • ATMs: More than 60,000 fee-free.

  • Branches: About 700.

  • Customer service: Available via email and social media, and 24/7 by phone.

Bank of America Bank of America Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
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Citi® Citi® Overall Star Rating
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Choose Bank of America if:

  • You want access to more branches.

Choose Citibank if:

  • You want a larger ATM network.

  • You’ll need live customer service during irregular hours.

Or go with an alternative

Unlike these brick-and-mortars, online banks don’t have thousands of branches. But they do have excellent annual percentage yields, or APYs, that make your savings grow faster. And fees tend to be low or nonexistent.

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Basic checking accounts

Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking

Citibank Regular Checking

Monthly fee

$12.

  • Receive a direct deposit of $250 or more at least once a month.

  • Keep an average account balance of at least $1,500.

  • Enroll in Preferred Rewards (which requires $20,000 as an average three-month balance).

  • Fee waived for students under age 24.

$12.

  • Have one direct deposit and one bill payment each month.

  • Keep an average monthly balance of at least $1,500 (can include money in a linked Citibank savings account).

  • Fee waived for ages 62 and older.

Minimum deposit to open

$100.

$0.

APY

None.

None.

ATM fees and network

  • More than 16,000.

  • $2.50 at out-of-network ATMs.

  • More than 60,000 fee-free ATMs, including partner networks.

  • $2.50 at out-of-network ATMs.

Sign-up bonus

$100 (expires 12/31/2020); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

$200 (expires 1/5/2021); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

Fees are steep and you have to jump through hoops to waive them. Both banks have interest-bearing checking accounts that could offset some fees. But the rates, starting at 0.01%, aren’t worth much attention. The sign-up bonuses these accounts offer, however, might be worth a look.

» See more options on our list of best checking accounts

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Basic savings accounts

Bank of America Rewards Savings

Citi Basic Savings

APY

0.03% APY on all balances for standard accounts.

0.04% APY on all balances for standard accounts.

Monthly fee

$8.

  • Have a daily balance of at least $500.

  • Have a linked Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking account.

  • Enroll in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards relationship banking program.

$4.50.

  • Have an average monthly balance of at least $500.

  • Link to a Citibank checking account.

Minimum deposit to open

$100.

$0.

Sign-up bonus

None.

None.

With below-average rates, the basic savings accounts won’t help your money grow much. Other banks and credit unions have rates that top 2%.

» For more great options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Certificates of deposit

Bank of America

Citibank

Minimum opening deposit

$1,000.

$1,000 (may vary by state).

APY on one-year term

0.03%.

0.25%.

APY on three-year term

0.03%.

0.25%.

APY on five-year term

0.75%.

0.25%.

Rates may vary by location.

Neither bank earns competitive rates compared to online banks.

» To compare, see the latest top CD rates

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Banking experience

Bank of America

Citibank

Branches

About 4,400.

About 700 in the U.S.; more overseas.

Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.5 out of 5 for Android.

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.3 out of 5 for Android.

Customer service

  • Available by phone 8 a.m.-11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET weekends.

  • Live chat also available.

  • Available by phone 24/7.

  • Live chat also available.

Both banks have great technology and tools. Bank of America has many more branches, but Citibank has a larger ATM network. If you need live customer service in the middle of the night, Citibank has the edge with its 24/7 staffed call center.

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Overdraft fees

Bank of America

Citibank

Overdraft fee

$35, maximum of four per day.

$34, maximum of four per day.

Overdraft protection transfer fee

$12 per transfer.

$10.

Extended overdraft fee

None.

None.

Bank of America and Citibank charge hefty overdraft fees up to four times a day on most accounts. For those concerned about racking up charges, both banks offer specialized checking accounts — SafeBalance Banking at Bank of America and Access Account at Citibank — that don’t allow paper checks and automatically decline transactions which would send the account into the red.

Convenience at a cost

Like most of the best national banks, Bank of America and Citibank offer convenience but lag in savings rates. If rates are important to you, consider other options such as online-only banking or a local credit union, where your money can earn returns above 2%. Ultimately, the best bank for you will depend on your location, preferences and financial circumstances.

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