Citizens Bank Business Checking: 2021 Review

Citizens Bank operates in 11 states and offers a free business checking account.
Kelsey SheehyMar 20, 2021

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Citizens Bank’s Clearly Better Business Checking has no monthly service fee or minimum opening deposit, making it an appealing option for small-business owners who live in the bank’s service area. Citizens Bank operates in 11 states throughout New England, the mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.

Citizens Bank business checking is best for small-business owners who:

  • Live in the bank’s service area and work or live near a branch.

  • Don't anticipate making more than 200 transactions per statement period.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Free business checking with no minimum opening deposit and a high transaction limit.

  • Nearly 1,000 branches and 2,700 ATMs across the bank’s 11-state service area.

  • Nonprofit organizations can open an interest-bearing checking account.

Cons

  • Citizens Bank isn't part of a nationwide ATM network and customers are charged $3 for each use of an out-of-network ATM.

  • High overdraft fees could prove costly if an account dips into a negative balance.

Citizens Bank business checking at a glance

Clearly Better Business Checking

Business Advisor Checking

Monthly fee:

$0

$25

Minimum opening deposit requirement:

$0

$0

APY:

None

None

Transactions:

200 free transactions per statement cycle; 50 cents for each additional transaction

500 free transactions per statement cycle; 30 cents for each additional transaction

Bonus:

None

None

How Citizens Bank business checking works

Account options: Citizens Bank offers two primary business checking accounts — Clearly Better Business Checking and Business Advisor Checking — as well as Citizens Analysis Business Checking, which is geared toward high-volume businesses. Citizens also offers two specialty checking accounts: a trust account for law firms and Association Checking with Interest I, an interest-bearing option for nonprofit organizations.

Citizens Bank caps cash and currency deposits at $5,000 per statement cycle for Clearly Better Business Checking and Association Checking with Interest I, and $20,000 per statement cycle for Business Advisor Checking. Beyond that, there's a fee of $2.50 per $1,000. These limits aren’t unusual for business checking accounts but can prove inconvenient for some businesses.

Location availability: Citizens Bank has nearly 1,000 branches across 11 states:  Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Citizens Bank also operates roughly 2,700 ATMs in its service area.

How to apply: You can schedule an appointment with a banker via Citizens Bank’s website, but ultimately will need to visit a branch to open a business checking account.

  • Required information: Identifying information — date of birth, Social Security number, tax identification number and address — as well basic details about your business.

  • Required documentation: You’ll need a valid government-issued photo ID, along with any relevant business documents, such as partnership agreement, operating agreement, articles of incorporation or company charter documents.

Next steps: Once you’ve opened a business account, you can use your business debit card, sign up for online banking, download the Citizens Bank mobile app and order business checks. Citizens Bank’s digital banking platforms allow you to pay bills and transfer funds from your computer or smartphone. You can also deposit checks via the mobile app.

Where Citizens Bank business checking stands out

Free checking: Citizens Bank’s Clearly Better Business has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, which means more of your money stays with your business. Consider how many transactions you’ll execute each month before enrolling, as exceeding the account limit (200 per statement cycle) will result in additional fees.

High transaction limits: Transaction limits are commonplace among business checking accounts. But Citizens Bank stands out because it allows a greater number of free transactions than many of its competitors, even on its free business checking account.

Clearly Better Business Checking has no monthly service fee and includes up to 200 fee-free transactions. By comparison, U.S. Bank’s free business checking account allows 125 fee-free transactions and PNC Business Checking ($10 per month) includes 150 free transactions.

If you want a bank with no transaction limits, consider a free online business account like those offered by NBKC or BlueVine.

Where Citizens Bank business checking falls short

ATM network and fees: Customers have free access to roughly 2,700 Citizens Bank ATMs, but that’s a fraction of what other banks offer, particularly those that are part of the MoneyPass or AllPoint ATM network. Citizens Bank charges $3 for out-of-network ATMs.

Overdraft fees: Draw your account negative and you’ll be hit with a $39 fee for each item paid. You may also be subject to a sustained overdraft fee of $30, which is assessed at intervals if your account remains in the red. That fee applies on days four, seven and 10 of a sustained negative balance.

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Monthly fee

$15 (multiple ways to waive)

Monthly fee

$10 (waived with balance of $5,000+)

Monthly fee

$0 for Clearly Better Business Checking, $25 for Business Advisor Checking

Monthly fee

$0 for Silver, $20 for Gold, $30 for Platinum

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$100

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$0

Minimum opening deposit requirement

$100

APY

None

APY

0.10% on balances of $5,000+

APY

None

APY

Gold Business Checking: 0.01% on balances of $20,000 or more

Transactions

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

Transactions

Unlimited

Transactions

Clearly Better Business Checking: Up to 200 free; 50 cents for each additional transaction

Business Advisor Checking: Up to 500 free; 30 cents for each additional transaction

Transactions

Silver: Up to 125 free; 50 cents for each additional transaction

Gold: Up to 300 free; 45 cents for each additional transaction

Platinum: Up to 500 free; 40 cents for each additional transaction

Bonus

$300 sign-up bonus

Bonus

None

Bonus

None

Bonus

None

Open account online

Yes

Open account online

Yes

Open account online

No

Open account online

Yes

Branch access

Yes

Branch access 

Boston only

Branch access

Yes

Branch access

Yes