What Is Citizens Bank?
Citizens Bank, more formally known as Citizens Financial Group, Inc., is one of the largest regional banks in the United States. Though best known in the private student-loan space, it has a significant banking presence in the Northeast and extending into the Midwest and South.
Citizens Bank operates a chain of more than 1,000 brick-and-mortar branches located in 11 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, the bank was founded in 1828. And it ranks as the 13th largest bank in the United States as of August 2020.
The bank’s business is split between consumer and commercial banking, with an even distribution between the two.
Citizens Bank has a Better Business Bureau rating of “B.” That’s on the higher end of the ranking the agency assigns, which is a scale of A+ to F. It offers several accounts, including checking, savings, money market, CDs, mortgages and home equity loans, personal loans, credit cards, and business and commercial accounts.
Citizens Bank Features
|Accounts||Savings, Checking, Money Market, CDs|
|Access||Web Based, iPhone App, Android App, Blackberry App|
|Amount of Branches||1018|
|Customer Service||7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. on Saturdays and Sundays|
How Does Citizens Bank Work?
Citizens Bank works with multiple plan levels, including Basic, Platinum, and Platinum Plus levels.
Each represents a family of account types. For example, under the Platinum Plan, you get a Citizens Bank Platinum Checking Account, a Citizens Bank Platinum Savings Account, and a Citizens Bank Platinum Money Market. With that plan, you qualify for higher interest rates than are available with the standard plan. And your monthly maintenance fees can also be waived.
Citizens Bank offers both mobile and online banking, including mobile check deposits. And you can send and receive money using Zelle.
You also get customized alerts. You can set up online, mobile, email and text notifications, as well as bill payment reminders and security alerts. And you can even get notifications alerting you of a cleared check or a completed direct deposit.
Online and mobile banking come with in-app 24/7 customer service.
Citizens Bank’s Deposit Accounts
Citizens Bank offers several accounts, which are based on various tiers. But its product offerings differ from region to region, so you’ll need to check with them to confirm the following apply to your situation.
- One Deposit Checking from Citizens Bank: This is a simple checking account with no minimum deposit requirement. There’s a monthly maintenance fee of $9.99, but it is waived if you make one deposit (any amount) each month.
- One Deposit Savings from Citizens Bank: This savings account has no minimum balance requirement. And it pays interest on all balances. There is a monthly maintenance fee of $4.99, but it is waived if you make at least one deposit a month. And you automatically receive a waiver on the first four monthly maintenance fees.
Citizens Bank Platinum Checking: This is an interest-bearing checking account. The account has no required minimum balance requirements. But to waive the $25 monthly maintenance fee, you must maintain at least $25,000 in combined monthly balances in deposit and investment accounts.
There are no fees for stop payments, money orders, bank checks, or other services. And the account comes with four fee waivers per month for the use of non-Citizens Bank ATMs. You’ll also enjoy higher interest rates on savings, money market, and CDs if you have this account.
Citizens Bank Platinum Savings: There’s no minimum balance requirement on this account either. And it also pays interest. And there’s no monthly maintenance fee if you also maintain a Platinum Checking Account.
Platinum Plus Service
Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Checking: Platinum Plus is another interest-bearing checking account. It comes with many of the same perks as the Platinum checking account but has higher interest rates. There’s no minimum account balance requirement, except to waive the monthly fee.
The $25 monthly maintenance fee is waived if you have combined monthly balances in your deposit and investment accounts of $25,000 or more and either make a monthly deposit of at least $5,000 into your primary checking account or maintain an average daily checking balance of $10,000 or more.
Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Savings: Once again, there’s no minimum balance requirement. And it pays interest on all balance amounts. There’s no monthly maintenance fee if you also maintain a Platinum Plus Checking Account.
- Student Checking: Available for applicants under the age of 25, the account comes with no minimum balance requirement, no monthly fees, and no fees for the use of out-of-network ATMs (though the ATM owner may charge a fee).
- College Saver: You can use this account to save for your child’s education. This account comes with a $1,000 bonus when your child turns 18.
It has a minimum balance requirement. It’s $25 if your child is under age six and $500 if your child is between the ages of 6 and 11. (Open the account before your child’s 12th birthday to qualify for this account and the bonus.) There’s no monthly maintenance fee. And the account pays interest on all balance levels.
There is no required minimum monthly deposit to maintain the account. But you get the $1,000 bonus for college only when you make a minimum monthly contribution of $25 or more. If you do not continue the $25 monthly deposits to obtain the bonus, though, the account may be converted to a standard savings account.
Citizens Bank’s Money Market Accounts
Citizens Bank offers three different money market accounts with various annual percentage yields. The annual percentage yield (APY) can vary, so double-check the rate with Citizens Bank.
- Personal Money Market: There’s no minimum balance requirement. And the account pays 0.01% APY (as of July 1, 2020) on all balances. The $10 monthly maintenance fee is waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500. You can access your account using up to three checks per month.
- Citizens Bank Platinum Money Market: There’s no minimum balance requirement and no monthly maintenance fee if you also have a Platinum Checking Account. The standard interest rate is 0.03% APY (as of July 1, 2020) on all balance levels, but it rises to 0.15% if you open the account with new funds (not transferred from another Citizens Bank account) of at least $25,000. You can access the account using up to three checks per month.
- Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Money Market: Once again, there’s no minimum balance requirement with this account and no monthly maintenance fee if you also have a Platinum Plus Checking Account. Standard interest is 0.08% APY (as of July 1, 2020), on old account balances, but rises to 0.40% with a minimum opening balance of $25,000, which must be new funds deposited into Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank’s Certificates of Deposit
Citizens Bank currently offers three different certificates of deposit (CDs). Each has a minimum balance requirement of $1,000.
- 11-Month CD: Pays 0.05% APY as of July 1, 2020. However, the rate rises to 0.15% if you have a Platinum Checking Account, and 0.40% with a Platinum Plus Checking Account.
- 14-Month CD: Pays a 0.50% APY as of July 1, 2020, on all balance tiers, and is available only through the online banking platform.
- 24-Month CD: Pays 0.05% APY as of July 1, 2020. However, the rate rises to 0.20% if you have a Platinum Checking Account, and 0.45% with a Platinum Plus Checking Account.
Citizens Bank’s Wealth and Investing
Citizens Bank offers wealth management, education planning, retirement, investing, and wealth protection. And it helps business owners with their financial planning. It also offers its Clarfeld Citizens Private Wealth, management service for high-net-worth clients.
Investing is offered through Citizens Investment Services, which optimizes your strategy based on your timeframe and risk tolerance. It provides guidance to help you create a diversified portfolio to meet your goals. Financial advisors are available by phone. And the service comes with a low advisory fee.
Citizens Bank’s Business and Commercial Banking
Citizens Bank offers business bank accounts, business loans, and credit cards, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, and Paycheck Protection Program loans. It also provides merchant services, cash management, and payroll services, as well as employee benefits solutions, insurance protection, and investment management.
Commercial services include access to capital markets, card and payment services, commercial financing, treasury management, and access to global markets and international solutions, among other services.
Citizens Bank’s Loans and Credit Cards
Citizens Bank provides home mortgages and home equity lines of credit. Mortgages are available for purchasing or building a home, as well as for refinancing an existing loan.
It also offers unsecured personal loans, available in terms of 36, 48, and 60 months. Loan amounts range between $5,000 and $15,000.
The bank offers two credit cards, the Cash Back Plus World MasterCard and the Clear Value MasterCard.
Citizens Bank Student Loans
Student loans are what Citizens Bank is best known for. It offers student loans for current students, as well as refinancing options for previous loans. Loans are available for both undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as for parents of students. Citizens Bank student loans have no application, disbursement, or origination fees.
Citizens Bank Alternatives
Citizens Bank Pros & Cons
No minimum balance requirements on most accounts
— That includes no minimum initial deposit and no ongoing balance requirement.
Citizens Bank is one of the biggest student loan lenders in the country
— You can bank with the same lender that holds your student loan.
— Offered through Citizens Investment Services.
— Offers checking, savings and money market accounts, as well as CDs, mortgages, personal loans and credit cards.
Business and commercial banking
— Includes dedicated business banking accounts, commercial loans, merchant services and other business-related services.
Extensive branch network
— There are over 1,000 brick-and-mortar branches available in the 11-state service area covered by the bank.
Very low interest
— Rates paid on checking, savings and money market accounts are below national averages.
Limited ATM Network
— Access to only 2,800 network ATMs located in the 11-state service area.
Low interest rates on CDs
— Rates are well below those being paid by high-interest online banks and require very large balances to get the more attractive rates.
Final Thoughts on Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank is a good choice if you live in its 11-state service area and can take advantage of its extensive branch and ATM networks. And it can be an excellent choice if you already have a student loan with the bank. Citizens Bank is, after all, one of the largest providers of private student loans in the country.
The main advantage of its checking, savings, and money market accounts is that they have no monthly fees, or at least not if you have two accounts at the bank. However, the interest rates on all three account types are below national averages, even for brick-and-mortar banks.
We recommend using Citizens Bank primarily if you are interested in its very extensive banking services, which includes loan services and credit cards.