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Citizens Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Dec. 11, 2017
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
Citizens Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs
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3.5 NerdWallet rating
Citizens Bank

at Citizens Bank,

Member, FDIC

Citizens Bank’s CD rates and savings rates are low, and overdraft fees are high. But the bank might be a convenient, cost-effective choice for basic checking and savings if you live in its core coverage area in the Northeast.

The bottom line

  • Easy-to-avoid monthly fees on basic checking and savings accounts
  • Convenient brick-and-mortar bank in an area that stretches from Michigan to New Hampshire
  • Good online and mobile experience with savings goal programs
  • Low savings rates; overdraft fees can add up

» Want to see other options? See our full list of bank and credit union reviews

Our ratings for Citizens Bank
Checking accounts
Savings and money market accounts
Certificates of deposit
Bank experience
Overdraft fees

Read on for more details about Citizens Bank’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, customer experience and fees.

Citizens Bank checking

4.0 / 5.0

It’s easy to waive the fee on One Deposit Checking: Avoid the $9.99 monthly fee by making one deposit — of any amount — per month. Citizen Bank also has student checking, as well as two other checking accounts that require high average balances.

More than 3,100 free ATMs: The bank’s ATMs are primarily in the areas it serves, the Northeast and in a few states in the Midwest. But if you’re using a non-Citizens ATM, you’ll pay the bank’s out-of-network ATM fee plus any ATM operator fees.

» Not what you were looking for? Browse NerdWallet’s best checking accounts

  • No minimum or opening balance required for One Deposit Checking
  • Monthly fee on One Deposit Checking is easy to waive; you need to make only one deposit of any amount per month
  • $3 out-of-network ATM fee
Account reviewed for rating: One Deposit Checking

Citizens Bank savings

2.5 / 5.0

Interest rates are low: Rates on the basic Green Savings and premium accounts are below the national average of 0.10%.

» Looking for better rates? Find a savings account with a highly competitive APY.

Savings programs can be useful: Want to save for your kid’s college tuition? Citizens Bank offers an account with a one-time bonus upon fulfilling requirements. You can track other savings goals through a feature called GoalTrack Savings and potentially earn a gift card after completing each goal.

  • No opening deposit requirement for Green Savings
  • First four monthly fees waived
  • GoalTrack Savings program lets you create goals and track progress
  • 0.01% annual percentage yield on basic savings account

  • Must have minimum daily balance of $200 to avoid $4.99 monthly fee on Green Savings
Account reviewed for rating: Green Savings

Citizens Bank CDs

1.5 / 5.0

Citizens Bank CD rates are low, with some exceptions. You can earn 1.00% APY on an online-only 13-month CD, but some online banks have rates twice as high. Having a premier Citizens checking account can boost the 14-month CD rate to be the same or higher than the 13-month rate. But you need to keep steep minimum balances for those checking accounts.

» Looking for better choices? Check out NerdWallet’s list of top CD rates

The bank features four terms for certificates of deposit online: The terms are 13 months, 14 months, 48 months and a “breakable” 12-month CD. The breakable CD lets you make one withdrawal during the term without incurring a penalty — but that CD has a much lower yield than the other three. All four have relatively high minimum deposit requirements.

  • 1.00% APY on 13-month CD
  • 0.10% APY on 14-month CD for premier checking account holders
  • Few CD terms offered online
  • Low APYs, including 0.03% for 48-month CD and 0.10% for a 14-month CD, if you don’t have a premier checking account with Citizens
  • High $10,000 minimum for 12-month breakable CD and $1,000 minimum deposit for 14- and 48-month CD

Bank experience

4.5 / 5.0

Solid customer service and strong presence in the Northeast: Citizens Bank has more than 1,100 branches across 11 states, mainly in the Northeast and Midwest. The bank rounds off its customer support with a 24/7 call center, online chat and an active Twitter account.

The online experience includes a savings goal program and the ability to compare different product offerings. The mobile app receives average to above average ratings on iOS and Android apps.

Overdraft fees

2.0 / 5.0

Citizens Bank charges high overdraft fees: $35 per occurrence and up to seven fees per day. This brings the daily maximum to $245, which is higher than at other big banks. There’s also a $30 sustained-overdraft fee if you leave your account overdrawn for four or more days.

To avoid overdrafts, you can link a savings account or line of credit to your checking account. But the fee is $12 per day a transfer occurs, and the line of credit also charges a flat $30 annual fee plus interest.

Citizens Bank

at Citizens Bank,

Member, FDIC

Citizens Bank could work for you if you’re looking for a brick-and-mortar bank in the Northeast and want an easy way to avoid checking fees. The savings goal programs can be helpful, but savings rates are higher at online institutions. And though customer service channels are a plus, pricey overdraft fees are a minus.

Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, bank experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

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