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Citizens Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Citizens Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

NerdWallet’s rating: 3.0 / 5.0

 

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Citizens Bank’s overdraft fees are on the high side and its savings returns on the low side. But the bank can 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
Overall

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: To waive One Deposit’s $9.99 monthly fee, you just need to make one deposit — of any amount — per month, as the account’s name suggests. Citizens Bank offers two other checking accounts for customers with high average balances.

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

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

ProsCons
  • 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: Interest rates on the basic Green Savings and premium accounts are nothing to write home about. If you’re looking for good rates, take a look at our list of best savings accounts.

Savings programs can be useful: Want to save for a house or your kid’s college tuition? Citizens Bank offers accounts for these goals with one-time bonuses 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.

» Looking for better rates? Find a savings account with an APY higher than 1%

ProsCons
  • 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 features three types of certificates of deposit online: Get a 14-month CD, 48-month CD or 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 two. All three have relatively high minimum deposit requirements.

Rates are low unless you have a premier Citizens checking account: The highest rates for these CDs are available to those who have a high-end checking account with Citizens, but those accounts have a $25 monthly fee and steep minimum balance to waive that fee. CD rates for those who don’t have a high-end checking account are pretty low.  You can use our rates tool to find better CD options for your money.

ProsCons
  • High rates ranging from 1.00% to 1.55% are available to those with premier checking accounts at Citizens
  • Few CD terms offered online

  • Low APYs ranging from 0.05% to 0.10% 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

  • 12-month breakable CD and 48-month CD have much lower APY than 14-month option

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

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 solid ratings on both iOS and Android app stores.

Overdraft fees


2.0 / 5.0

Citizens Bank charges relatively 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 has a flat $30 annual fee and interest.

Citizens+Bank
Learn more
at Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank could make sense 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 — browse them here. And though customer service is solid, overdraft fees can get pricey and interest rates are close to rock bottom.

Updated December 11, 2017.

Spencer Tierney is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: spencer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @SpencerNerd.


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, customer 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.