Update 12/08/09: Ultimate Savings Account APY has fallen to 1.01%. See bottom for the rate history. CD rates have also fallen. Please check Citibank's website for the latest rates.
Citibank just increased the yield on its Ultimate Savings Account to 3.50% APY. Citibank also raised the yield on its 6-month CD to 4.00% APY. The CD has a minimum deposit of $500, and you can apply online.
Unlike Citibank's other two online savings accounts, the Ultimate Savings Account does not require a checking account and has no monthly maintenance fees. There's an asterisk after "no monthly service charge." The small print states that "When held as a stand-alone account." I'm not sure exactly what this means. Last December I opened this Ultimate Savings Account and closed my e-Savings Account and checking account. I have not been charged any fees. The rate has been under 3% for most of this year. It seems like Citibank's Ultimate Money Account had the best rates most of the time, but even this was low. Just last week the Ultimate Money Account yield was raised from 2.65% to 3.00% APY. Ultimate Money Account has the downside that it has to be linked with a Citibank checking account and requires at least 2 online bill payments a month to qualify for the top yield.
In addition to the less-than-competitive rate, Citibank accounts have some other downsides including a restrictive online funds transfer service in which outgoing external transfers are limited to a daily limit of $2,000 and a monthly limit of $10,000. About a hard credit pull, readers have reported that Citibank has a new policy in which they no longer do hard credit pulls for deposit account applications with no overdraft protection.
Citibank still has a $100 checking account bonus. It should be noted that it's not as good as previous promotions (see post).
Yesterday it was announced that Citi agreed to buy Wachovia's banking operations (see post). This new combined bank will have around $1.3 trillion in deposits worldwide making it the largest in the US (see article). Update: This deal fell through, and Wells Fargo ended up taking over Wachovia.
Ultimate Savings Account Rate History (APY):