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Bank of America vs. Citibank: Head-to-Head Comparison

April 16, 2018
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions
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If you value convenience over the highest savings rates, a big national bank such as Bank of America or Citibank could be the right one for you. Both offer a wide range of accounts and 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

BankOfAmerica
Citibank
Checking accounts
Bank of America Core Checking

  • Monthly fee: $12 (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Citibank Regular Checking

  • Monthly fee: $12 (How to waive it)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Savings accounts
    Bank of America Rewards Savings

  • Interest rate: 0.03%
  • Monthly fee: $8 (How to waive it)

  • Citi Savings

  • Interest rate: 0.04%
  • Monthly fee: $4.50 (How to waive it)

  • Certificates of deposit
    Bank of America interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.05%
  • 5 year: 0.75%
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Citibank interest rates on CDs

  • 1 year: 0.25%
  • 5 year: 0.80%
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000

  • Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service
    • Overdraft fee: $35, maximum of four per day
    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $12 per day
    • ATMs: 16,000
    • Branches: about 4,500
    • 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

    Choose Bank of America if

    Choose Bank of America if


    Bank of America

    at Bank of America,

    Member, FDIC

    • You want access to more branches

    Choose Citibank if

    Choose Citibank if


    Citibank

    at Citibank,

    Member, FDIC

    • You want a larger ATM network
    • You’ll need live customer service during irregular hours

     

    Ready for more detail? Read on for a breakdown of their offerings.

    » Want to see other options? Browse NerdWallet’s best banks and credit unions

    Basic checking accounts

     Bank of America Core Checking
    Citibank Regular Checking
    Sign-up bonus$100$300
    Get the details
    Monthly fees
    $12



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

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

    • Be a student under age 24



    $12



    • Have one direct deposit and one bill payment each month

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

    • Be age 62 or older



    Minimum opening deposit$25$0
    ATM networkMore than 16,000More than 60,000 fee-free ATMs, including partner networks
    ATM fee$2.50 at out-of-network ATMs$2.50 at out-of-network ATMs
    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.

     

    Basic savings accounts

     Bank of America Rewards SavingsCiti Basic Savings
    Monthly fees$8


    • Have a daily balance of at least $500

    • Have a linked Bank of America Interest Checking 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


    Interest rate0.03% APY 0.04% APY (rates may vary by state)
    Minimum opening deposit$100$100
    » For more great options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
    With below-average rates, the basic savings accounts won’t help your money grow much. Other banks and credit unions have rates that top 1%.

     

    Certificates of deposit

     Bank of America Standard Term CDsCitibank CDs
    Minimum opening deposit$1,000$1,000
    APY on 1-year CD 0.05%
    0.25%
    APY on 5-year CD0.75%0.80%
    CD rates may vary by state. Those displayed above are based on ZIP codes in the state where each bank has its headquarters.
    » To compare see our latest top CD rates
    Citi’s certificates slightly outearn Bank of America’s CDs. But compared to other financial institutions, both banks offer little in the way of returns.

     

    Bank experience

     Bank of AmericaCitibank
    BranchesApproximately 4,500About 700
    WebsiteUncluttered and well-organizedEasy to navigate, but many disclosures are in fine print
    Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)4.7 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.4 out of 5 for Android.4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.0 out of 5 for Android.
    Customer service
  • Call center staffed Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

  • Live chat Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Call center staffed 24/7

  • Live chat Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 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.

     

    Overdraft fees

     Bank of AmericaCitibank
    Overdraft fee$35$34
    Overdraft protection fee$12 per transfer$10
    Extended overdraft feeNoneNone
    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 well above 1%. Ultimately, the best bank for you will depend on your location, preferences and financial circumstances.

    Melissa Lambarena is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com.

    Updated April 16, 2018.