Citizens Bank Reviews – Get All the Facts Before Using Citizens Bank
When you look at most Citizens Bank reviews, one thing sticks out: It seems as if the reviewers either love or hate the bank, and there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.
There are numerous five-star Citizens Bank reviews on various sites, but there is also a significant number of reviews with just one star. In this case, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at the bank for an understanding of how it can be loved and hated all at once.
Citizens Bank is owned and operated by Citizens Financial Group, which is one of the oldest and largest financial services companies in the United States. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, the company traces its roots back almost 200 years to the establishment of High Street Bank in 1828.
There have been many changes and a lot of growth over so many years, and Citizens Bank currently features 1,200 branches and more than 3,000 ATMs across 11 states as well as a significant online presence.
Citizens Bank services for the average banking consumer include:
- Citizens Bank mortgages
- Citizens Bank checking and savings accounts
- Citizens Bank auto loans
- Citizens Bank loans for general purposes
- Citizens Bank student loans
- Citizens Bank credit cards
For its commercial customers, including corporate, institutional, and not-for-profit, it offers a large number of banking products and services, including investment accounts, specialty financial products, foreign exchange, and debt products.
Essentially, Citizens Bank claims to offer something for everyone, and there seems to be little reason to doubt that.
Citizens Bank Pay My Loan Product
Citizens Bank online services are actually very robust, and they feature some of the most innovative products in the industry. For example, one of the bank’s most wildly popular products is its Citizens Bank Pay My Loan, which allows loan customers to make loan payments online with a single click on the Citizens Bank Pay My Loan page.
You can also set up auto debit, which will have payments deducted automatically from your checking or savings account when bills are due.
Overall, the Citizens Bank online services are very comprehensive, especially when compared to competitors. In addition to the usual offerings, such as account statements and loan and payment information, customers can also link all of their personal and business accounts, including all of their Citizens Bank credit card online accounts, which would allow them to access all of their accounts using one dashboard.
Let’s take a look at other products that Citizens Bank offers and see how they stack up.
One Deposit Checking from Citizens Bank
Looking for a free checking account? Then you’ll be interested in Citizens Bank’s One Deposit Checking. With this account you can make one deposit of any amount each statement period and the bank will waive the monthly maintenance fee. It’s really that simple.
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After your account is open, there’s no required minimum balance, and the monthly maintenance fee is waived with at least one deposit – of any amount – each statement period.
Other checking accounts offered by the bank include the accounts below:
- Value Checking: Includes a low monthly maintenance fee, unlimited paper statements, free checks, and one transaction at another bank’s ATM with no fee from Citizens Bank
- Personal Checking with Interest: A checking account that allows you to earn interest rates.
- Circle Gold Checking Interest: This checking account rewards you with discounts, preferred rates and more.
Savings Account Offerings
Among the most popular Citizens Bank offerings are savings accounts, which come in several varieties:
- Green Savings: A very simple savings account that allows the customer to save and reach savings goals that he/she personally sets, both short-term and long-term. There is a $1 minimum to open an account, and there is a $4.99 monthly maintenance fee which is waived with a minimum daily balance of $200.
- Circle Gold Savings: This is a relationship savings account that works in concert with a Circle Gold Checking with interest account. This account features no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement. It can also be used to provide overdraft protection. Citizens Bank claims it has a “relationship preferred interest rate,” but currently, the rate for this savings account and the Green Savings account is 0.01% APY, which means that most accounts will earn virtually no interest.
- CollegeSaver: These accounts are very specialized in that they allow parents to open an account to help pay for college for a child. There are specific criteria that must be met with this type of account. For example, if the child is under 6 years old, the minimum needed to open the account is $25, with a minimum monthly contribution of $25, but if the child is between 6 and 12 years old, $500 is required to open the account, with a minimum monthly contribution of $50. These accounts feature a variable interest rate, which is currently 0.05%, but there is a $1,000 bonus when the child turns 18 if all program requirements are met.
- Citizens Bank HomeBuyer Savings: These accounts are also very specialized; they are designed to assist new home buyers in saving the money that they need for a down payment. These accounts can be opened with as little as $100, and if a customer contributes at least $100 per month for 36 months or more and works with Citizens Bank to find the right mortgage for his/her new home, that person will receive a $1,000 credit toward closing costs. These accounts feature a variable interest rate, which is currently 0.05%.
Citizens Bank has a number of offerings for those who want to save money for various purposes, but, as you can see, if you’re looking for a good return on investment, its interest rates are no better than those of any big bank. The current average interest rate for any basic savings account right now is 0.06% nationally, and the highest interest rate in the country on a basic savings account, as of November 2015, was 1.25%, so interest isn’t high anywhere.
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Citizens Bank Certificates of Deposit Accounts
If you’re looking for a little more return on your investment, a Citizens Bank certificate of deposit (CD) might be more your style. Given current interest rates, it might not be the best idea to place your money in a long-term CD, but if you want one, Citizens Bank has a 48-month CD with a current rate of 0.25% for a standard CD or 1.05% for a Gold Circle CD.
However, with the likelihood of interest rates rising at some point soon and with competition beginning to heat up, better options might be Citizens Bank’s 14-month CD, which requires a $1,000 minimum balance to open and offers a 1.00% fixed interest rate for the 14-month term. The downside is that you’ll be hit with a penalty for early withdrawal if you pull out your money too soon.
f you’d like to avoid that penalty, Citizens Bank offers what it calls a 12-Month Breakable CD, which allows for one withdrawal without penalty during the term. These accounts require a minimum of $10,000 to open, and they feature less attractive interest rates of 0.05% for a standard account and a 0.20% interest rate as part of their Citizen Bank Circle Gold Banking program. However, when interest rates rise, you’ll be able to take advantage.
While you get peace of mind in knowing that your money is safe and secure, thanks to FDIC insurance protection, don’t expect any significant return on any type of savings. Among big banks, Citizens Bank’s current CD rates are among the lowest.
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Citizens Bank Loans
No Citizens Bank review would be complete without looking at how it lends money, and this is one area where Citizens Bank seems to excel. It handles all lending and credit card programs through a subsidiary called Citizens One, which it refers to as the National Lending Division for Citizens Bank. Citizens Bank’s online pages tout the company as being extremely helpful and committed to making sure that its customers understand its products, both the good and bad points, and it tries to make the process of receiving and paying off loans as easy as possible.
Earlier, we noted the Citizens Bank Pay My Loan program, which is a great way for loan customers to keep track of their loan products and to make sure that they pay on time, thus preventing negative consequences on their credit scores. This demonstrates a desire on part of the bank to make payments as easy as possible.
Citizens Bank Mortgage Reviews
Through its Citizen One subsidiary, Citizens Bank and Citizens Bank online provide a wide variety of mortgage-related needs, whether someone is buying an existing home, building a new home or refinancing an existing home. Citizens Bank promises to help by offering nearly all types of mortgage products available:
- Fixed rate mortgage: This is what most people think of when they think of a typical mortgage, and it’s perfect for people who plan to stay in their home long-term, as well as for those homebuyers who believe that interest rates may rise in the future, because interest rates stay the same through the life of the mortgage.
- Adjustable-rate mortgage: This type of mortgage is the ideal type if you plan to stay in your home for fewer than 30 years. The interest rate starts out as fixed for a number of years, and once the fixed period ends, the interest rate becomes variable and can go up or down every year. Again, this is not the best choice if you plan to keep the house for the term of the mortgage because the payments are unpredictable.
- Jumbo mortgage: This type is a specialized type of loan for borrowers who need to borrow more than the current conforming loan limits, which can vary based on which state you’re in.
- VA mortgages: This is a special fixed-rate mortgage program that makes mortgages available to qualified veterans. Quite often, these loans feature a zero down payment and otherwise favorable terms.
- FHA mortgages: These are mortgages which are insured by the federal government, and they’re designed for borrowers with credit that is less than perfect. They offer flexible guidelines for qualification as well as fewer down payment requirements.
- Doctor Loan mortgage program: This mortgage program is a special program for licensed medical doctors and dentists. There are specific requirements and time limits for borrowers, but most doctors will qualify, including many who are self-employed.
Most of these mortgage offerings seem to be very popular because Citizens Bank mortgage reviews mostly praise the bank, not just for the wide variety of offerings but also because the bank seems to be very customer-oriented and offers top-notch service when administering the mortgages.
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Citizens Bank Home Equity Auto Loans
Another interesting product comes to mind if you need a loan: the Citizens Bank auto loan equity program.
The bank offers an innovative program in which customers can actually use the equity that they’ve built up in their home to buy a car. For anyone who is in excellent financial shape, this may be a great way to buy a car, primarily because of the great interest rates offered through a Citizens Bank home equity auto loan as compared to a typical Citizens Bank auto loan. Using your home equity for an auto loan means lower monthly payments.
Also, whereas the interest on a typical auto loan is not tax deductible, the interest on a home equity loan may be deductible depending on the circumstances. Plus, when a person walks onto a car lot and knows exactly what he/she can afford and the terms he/she can afford, then that person has a lot more bargaining power.
If you already have a Citizens Bank auto loan, you can also use a Citizens Bank home equity loan to consolidate your debt and reduce your monthly payments.
Since this is a Citizens Bank review, it’s necessary to point out that while there are benefits to buying a vehicle using the equity in your home, there are also risks and expenses to doing such a thing. For one thing, your home becomes collateral for your car, which means if you fail to make payments, you could conceivably lose your house.
Also, the repayment terms for a home equity loan usually run ten years or more, which means it’s possible that you could end up paying for your car long after it’s gone. That said, it’s an interesting alternative to a typical auto loan.
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Conclusion (Citizens Bank Reviews)
As is the case with any bank, there are pros and cons to using Citizens Bank services. Citizens Bank certainly deserves kudos for its wide variety of innovative products and its attention to meeting customers’ needs, but it seems to lag way behind when it comes to interest rates on its savings products.
No one is paying high interest these days, but Citizens Bank’s rates are lower than other big banks. This is one key reason why customers either love or hate Citizens Bank.
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