Citibank checking review: A checking account that could cost you

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Citibank checking accounts at a glance

Physical locations Yes, more than 600 U.S. branch locations.
Getting started No minimum deposit, and U.S. residents 18 and older can apply online with Social Security number, date of birth and U.S. address.
Monthly service fee $12, unless you meet one of several requirements to waive it.
Overdraft feesNo overdraft, returned item or overdraft transfer fees.
Other fees $2.50 for using a non-Citi ATM.
How to deposit Citibank ATM, at a branch with a teller, at a Deposit Express box at a branch, by mail, mobile check deposit, direct deposit, Citibank Global Transfer, ACH or wire transfer or Inter Institution Transfer Service.
How to withdraw/payVisit a branch, use an ATM or debit card, write a check or transfer between linked accounts.
Notable feature Citi offers a variety of different checking options — more than some other big banks.

Citibank offers several types of checking accounts aimed at serving your everyday or “premium” banking needs. There’s a large fee-free network of bank branches and ATMs, but you’ll need to read the fine print and watch out for hidden fees.

Starting with its Basic Banking account, members get access to unlimited checking, in-person banking, fraud monitoring and digital tools.

You can upgrade from there, but this review will focus on the Basic checking option.

5 things to know about a Citibank checking account

Here are some important things to know about opening a checking account with Citibank.

1. Lots of account options

Citibank offers a range of everyday and premium checking accounts. Each one provides checking services, but the more money you deposit, the less you’ll pay in fees.

Here’s a brief overview of the account options available. Note that the checking products available to you will depend on where you live.

  • Access Account: This is an entry-level checking account with no paper checks and a $10 monthly service fee if your linked accounts don’t meet certain requirements..
  • Basic Banking: Basic Banking is your standard checking account with paper checks. The monthly fee of $12 is avoidable if you meet certain requirements, which don’t necessarily involve a minimum balance (more on that in the next section).
  • Citibank Account: This is a full-service checking account. The monthly service fee is $25 for linked accounts unless you maintain at least a $10,000 balance.
  • Citi Priority: This checking account includes investment guidance from Citi Personal Wealth Management. Account holders with less than $30,000 deposited in eligible accounts are charged $30 per month.
  • Citigold Account: This preferred checking account includes Citi Personal Wealth Management and Citigold Concierge. There is no fee if you keep more than $200,000 in eligible accounts.
  • Citigold Private: This checking account includes wealth-planning services. There’s no fee if you maintain an average of $1 million deposited in eligible accounts.

Again, in this review, we’re focusing on the Basic Banking account, which allows you to write paper checks (unlike the bare bones Access Account) and doesn’t require a minimum monthly balance of at least $10,000 (like the next-tier Citibank account).

2. Plenty of perks

The Basic Banking account at Citi comes with unlimited check writing. While there’s a $12 monthly fee, you can avoid it if you have a combined monthly balance of $1,500 in all linked accounts or have one qualifying direct deposit and bill payment per statement period.

Citi Basic Banking also comes with fee-free access to Citi ATMs, fraud monitoring and digital tools. And depending on when you join and where you live, you may be eligible for a cash bonus after completing certain activities.

3. Potential for some fees

In addition the potential monthly account fee, you may pay a $2.50 fee to use non-Citibank ATMs.

But effective June 2022, Citibank eliminated overdraft fees, returned items fees or overdraft protection fees.

4. Physical branches in some locations

Citi Basic Banking comes with fee-free access to more than 65,000 ATMs in the U.S., including locations in Citibank branches and many stores including Target, Rite-Aid, Duane Reade, CVS and Walgreens.

But as convenient as it may be to find fee-free ATMs, it may be more difficult to find a local branch. There are hundreds of Citibank branch locations across the country, but they’re clustered in major metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles.

5. Full-service banking

Citi offers other services beyond checking basics. When you open a Basic Banking account, you get access to a full suite of bill pay, fund transfer and digital services. You can also link to a Citi savings account.

What do I need to open a Citibank checking account?

Opening a Citibank checking account is easy. Any U.S. resident can apply online with their Social Security number, date of birth and home address.

Is Citibank checking free?

Yes and no — Citibank doesn’t offer free checking. There’s a $12 monthly fee for the Basic Banking account, but that fee is waived if you meet certain requirements, like having one direct deposit and one bill pay per statement.

Not sure if Citibank checking is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • Alliant: If you want an online checking account that pays interest, Alliant offers a high-rate interest checking account.
  • Discover Bank: If you want a checking account with cash back, Discover pays up to 1% on all debit card purchases (up to $3,000 monthly).

About the author: Renee A Butler is an experienced writer and consultant who helps explain complex ideas simply. For more than 15 years, she has been a leader in financial management, business strategy, and marketing. Butler has worked… Read more.