Citibank Business Checking: 2021 Review

Citibank's business checking accounts offer simple brick-and-mortar banking with high monthly cash deposit limits.
Randa KrissMar 16, 2021

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Citibank offers four main business checking accounts: CitiBusiness® Streamlined Checking, CitiBusiness® Flexible Checking, CitiBusiness® Analyzed Checking and CitiBusiness® Interest Checking.

Citibank also offers industry-specific banking programs designed for health care, legal, accounting and property management professionals, as well as the CitiBusiness® Preferred Banking programs, which allow you to customize a banking package for your unique business needs.

The CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking and CitiBusiness Flexible Checking accounts cater to the general small-business owner, providing straightforward banking from a brick-and-mortar institution. With these Citi business checking accounts, you have access to competitive monthly cash deposit limits, free online and mobile banking tools and over 60,000 fee-free ATMs across the country.

Citibank business checking is best for small-business owners who:

  • Want a simple brick-and-mortar bank account to store and manage their everyday finances.

  • Can pay a monthly fee or qualify to waive it.

  • Don’t exceed 250 transactions per month (Streamlined Checking) or 500 transactions per month (Flexible Checking).

  • Prefer to open an account in person at a branch, instead of online.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • $1 minimum opening deposit.

  • High monthly cash deposit limits: $5,000 or $10,000 (depending on your location) for Streamlined Checking and $20,000 for Flexible Checking.

  • Access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs across the U.S. including at Citibank locations, within retail stores and participating MoneyPass ATMs.

  • Option to connect your account to CitiBusiness Checking Plus line of credit (subject to credit approval).

  • Ability to upgrade to CitiBusiness Analyzed Checking or CitiBusiness Preferred Banking to accommodate higher transaction volume and growing business needs.

Cons

  • No free business checking options; high average collected balance to waive monthly fees.

  • Limited perks with Streamlined and Flexible Checking, e.g., no waived incidental fees or discounted/included business services.

  • Can’t open an account online.

  • Availability restricted by state.

Citibank business checking at a glance

CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking

CitiBusiness Flexible Checking

Monthly fee:

$15, waived with an average monthly collected balance of $5,000.

$22, $25 or $30 (depending on your location), waived with an average monthly collected balance of $10,000.

Minimum opening deposit requirement:

$1

$1

APY:

None

None

Transactions:

Up to 250 fee-free transactions per month, then 45 cents per transaction after that.

Up to 500 fee-free transactions per month, then 45 cents per transaction after that.

Cash deposits:

Up to $5,000 or $10,000 per month with no fee (depending on your location). After that, fee per $100-deposit ranges from 17 cents to 35 cents based on location.

Up to $20,000 per month with no fee. After that, fee per $100-deposit ranges from 17 cents to 35 cents based on location.

Bonus:

None

None

How Citibank business checking works

Account options: The four business checking accounts are CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking, CitiBusiness Flexible Checking, CitiBusiness Analyzed Checking and CitiBusiness Interest Checking.

Citi also offers specialty accounts for different industries, as well as the customizable CitiBusiness Preferred programs.

CitiBusiness Streamlined and Flexible Checking are designed for standard banking needs, whereas the Analyzed Checking account caters to larger businesses with higher transaction volumes.

Although the CitiBusiness Interest Checking account has similar features and fees to the Streamlined and Flexible Checking accounts — $5,000 or $10,000 in fee-free monthly cash deposits and a service fee of $22, $25 or $30, depending on the state — it only includes 25 fee-free transactions per month.

Business owners can contact Citibank for current rates to determine whether the interest is worth that trade-off.

For business checking accounts that earn interest and offer more competitive transaction limits, you might consider BlueVine or Wells Fargo.

Location availability: Citibank has nearly 700 branch locations in the U.S. Citi business checking accounts are available in 11 states: California, Nevada, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas, plus Washington, D.C. Fees and account features vary slightly by state.

How to apply: Visit a branch location to complete and submit your application. Not all locations offer CitiBusiness accounts, so you should contact your local branch to confirm that they process applications ahead of time.

  • Required information: Basic details about you and your business, including your date of birth, residential address, Social Security number, business name, employer identification number, number of employees, etc.

    • Citi also requires that you provide basic information for all individuals associated with the business, such as account or authorized signers, owners of the business (10% or more), owners of a personal investment company or business trust, and controlling persons (e.g., president, managing member, general partner, chief executive officer).

  • Required documentation: One form of government-issued ID and business formation document (varies based on your entity type).

Next steps: After you’ve been approved, you can make deposits or transfers to fund your account, enroll in online banking, download the mobile app and customize your alert preferences. Use your Citibank business debit card to withdraw and deposit cash at Citibank and other participating ATMs across the country; plus, request debit cards for your employees, if needed.

Where Citibank business checking stands out

Cash deposits: The CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking account includes up to $5,000 per month in fee-free cash deposits in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York; in the remaining seven states, plus Washington, D.C., the account includes up to $10,000 per month in fee-free cash deposits.

In particular, this $10,000 threshold stands out among base-tier business checking accounts from brick-and-mortar competitors. For comparison, the Chase Business Complete Checking℠ account and Wells Fargo Initiate Business Checking account both have fee-free monthly limits of up to $5,000. Citi Streamlined Checking even exceeds Bank of America’s initial limit of up to $7,500 for their Business Advantage Fundamentals account.

Additionally, this limit increases to $20,000 per month with the CitiBusiness Flexible Checking account, regardless of location. This threshold is on par with comparable offerings from Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo, but it exceeds other competitors like PNC Bank and U.S. Bank.

ATM access: While you can only open a business checking account in a handful of states, once you do, you’ll have access to a fee-free network of over 60,000 ATMs across the U.S.

Citibank’s ATM network includes those located at Citi branches, Citibank-branded ATMs at other locations and MoneyPass ATMs.

CitiBusiness Checking Plus: This revolving line of credit can be used with either the Streamlined or Flexible Checking accounts (as well as other account options) as a means of protection for overdrafts and uncollected funds — with associated fees.

In addition, CitiBusiness Checking Plus can be used as a standard business line of credit, giving you the ability to withdraw funds or write checks for more than the available balance in your checking account, up to the balance of your credit line.

It’s important to note that this product is subject to credit approval, meaning you must apply separately and receive approval from Citibank in order to attach this line of credit to your business checking account.

CitiBusiness Preferred Banking programs: For business owners who want to customize their banking — or upgrade from a standard business checking account — Citi offers the CitiBusiness Preferred Banking programs.

With Preferred Banking and Preferred Banking Plus, you receive up to $20,000 in monthly fee-free cash deposits, up to 500 (Preferred) or 750 (Preferred Plus) fee-free transactions per month and waived online stop payment fees.

You also receive discounts on merchant services and checkbooks, included wire transfers and specific rates to add-on services like ACH origination and remote check deposit.

For the Preferred Banking program, you’ll pay a $40 monthly fee, waived with an average monthly collected balance of $15,000, and for the Preferred Plus, a $95 monthly fee, waived with an average monthly collected balance of $50,000.

Where Citibank business checking falls short

Limited perks with Streamlined and Flexible Checking: Other than the monthly fee and included fee-free monthly transactions and cash deposits, there aren’t any noteworthy differences between the CitiBusiness Streamlined and Flexible Checking accounts.

In comparison, many banks provide additional perks between checking account levels, such as waiving certain fees or offering free tools. As an example, Wells Fargo’s Initiate Business Checking account doesn’t waive any incidental fees, but the second-tier Navigate Checking account waives stop payments, cashier’s checks, money orders, incoming wires and the first two outgoing domestic wire transfers each month.

With Citibank, you can only access these types of additional benefits with the Preferred Banking program — which also requires a higher monthly fee and higher average collected balance to waive — but with the same fee-free monthly cash deposit and transaction limits as the Flexible Checking account.

Can’t open an account online: Regardless of the Citi business checking account you choose, you have to visit a branch location to open an account. According to a 2019 survey by BAI, a research and training nonprofit for business owners, nearly 70% of small-business owners would prefer to open a deposit account online.

Many competitors, including national brick-and-mortar banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase, offer the option to open business checking accounts online in addition to visiting a branch location.

Website issues: The Citibank website can be difficult to navigate, showing two different versions of the small-business banking section. In general, the website is limited in comparison to brick-and-mortar competitors that offer more detailed account and feature descriptions, easily searchable frequently asked questions and additional resources.

Compare business checking accounts

Chase Business Complete Banking℠

Chase Business Complete Banking℠
NerdWallet rating 

at Chase, Member FDIC

Citibank Business Checking

CitiBusiness® Streamlined Checking
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Bank of America Business Checking

Bank of America Business Advantage Fundamentals™ Banking
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Wells Fargo Business Checking

Wells Fargo Initiate Business Checking℠ Account
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Monthly fee $15

Monthly fee $15 for Streamlined Checking, $22, $25 or $30 for Flexible Checking (depending on your location).

Monthly fee $16 for Business Advantage Fundamentals Checking, $29.95 for Business Advantage Relationship Checking.

Monthly fee $10 for Initiate, $25 for Navigate and $75 for Optimize Business Checking.

Minimum opening deposit requirement $0

Minimum opening deposit requirement $1

Minimum opening deposit requirement $100

Minimum opening deposit requirement $25

APY None

APY None

APY None

APY None for Initiate and Optimize accounts; Rates for Navigate account vary based on location.

Transactions Unlimited electronic deposits; 20 free teller and paper transactions per month.

Transactions Up to 250 fee-free transactions per month for Streamlined Checking. Up to 500 fee-free transactions per month for Flexible Checking. 45-cent fee per excess transaction for both accounts.

Transactions Up to 200 fee-free transactions, then 45 cents per item for Advantage Fundamentals, up to 500 fee-free transactions, then 45 cents per item for Advantage Relationship; Unlimited fee-free electronic transactions for both accounts.

Transactions Up to 100 fee-free transactions for Initiate account, up to 250 fee-free transactions for Navigate- and Optimize accounts, then 50 cents for each additional transaction on all accounts.

Bonus $300 sign-up bonus (with qualifying activities)

Bonus None

Bonus None

Bonus None

Open account online Yes

Open account online No

Open account online Yes

Open account online Yes

Branch access Yes

Branch access  Yes, 11 states and Washington, D.C.

Branch access Yes

Branch access Yes

The information related to these Citi Business checking accounts has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.