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
- Decent online and mobile experience with savings goal programs
- Low savings rates; overdraft fees can add up
|Savings and money market accounts|
|Certificates of deposit|
Read on for more details about Citizens Bank’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, customer experience and fees.
Citizens Bank checking
3.5 / 5.0
Citizens Bank offers three checking accounts: basic One Deposit Checking and two accounts for customers with high average balances. 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.
The ATM network includes more than 3,100 ATMs, mostly in the Northeast; you’ll fork over $3 in out-of-network ATM fees plus any ATM operator fees if you’re using a non-Citizens ATM.
Citizens Bank savings
3.0 / 5.0
Interest rates on the basic Green Savings and premium accounts are low, but Citizens Bank has some useful savings programs. If you’re focused on saving for a home or for your kid’s college, there are specific accounts for these goals with a one-time bonus upon completing goals and fulfilling requirements.
You can track other savings goals over months or years with a feature called GoalTrack Savings and potentially earn a gift card after reaching each goal.
Citizens Bank CDs
2.5 / 5.0
Citizens Bank features three main certificates of deposit online: 14-month, 48-month 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 the lowest yield of the three CDs. All three have relatively high minimum deposit requirements.
The highest rates for these CDs are available to customers 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. Citizens offers more CD terms, from one to 120 months, but they’re not available online.
4.0 / 5.0
Citizens Bank has a considerable presence mainly in the Northeast with more than 1,100 branches in 11 states. 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 product offerings. The mobile app receives high ratings on both the iOS and Android app stores.
But Citizens Bank paid $20.5 million in federal penalties and $11 million in consumer refunds in 2015 for withholding money from customers: If there were discrepancies between the amount customers actually deposited and what was shown on their receipts, Citizens Bank kept the difference.
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 that a transfer occurs, and the line of credit also has a flat $30 annual fee and interest.
Updated June 8, 2017.
NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: checking, savings, CDs, 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 tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to each financial institution’s ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.
What the ratings mean:
— Among the very best
— Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
— Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
— Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
— Poor; proceed with great caution
(or below) — Best to avoid