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Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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History of Citibank Bonus Payouts

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Citibank has a long history of offering checking account bonuses. Have you participated in a past Citibank checking promotion? If you have, did they pay the the bonus as promised? Please take my poll to answer this question.

Since Citibank continues to come out with new promotions, I decided it would be useful to have a poll for readers who have participated in past Citi promotions. It asks if the bank has paid the bonus as promised. If they did pay, did you have to call or visit a branch to get the bank to pay? If they didn’t pay, was it the bank’s fault for not paying (You think you should have been paid since you met all of the bonus requirements.)

The results of this poll should help readers decide if current and future Citibank checking promotions are worthwhile. If many people report not receiving the bonus, you might not want to waste your time on the promotion. It’s common for readers to leave comments when the banks didn’t pay, but it’s less likely for those who did receive the bonus to comment. Hopefully, the poll will encourage both sides to respond.

Citibank’s checking account bonuses have typically required direct deposit and online bill pay. If the customer fails to meet these requirements within 60 days of when the account was opened, no bonus will paid. Last year one reader commented about how Citi can decide not to pay you the bonus and the hoops you might have to go through to get the bonus:

if they decide you aren’t eligible for whatever reason, even if its not disclosed they will not give you the bonus, they may eventually pay, but they are so disjointed it will take months of calls and messages to get resolved.

Even if you receive the bonus at Citibank, you may not come out ahead in the long run. You have to be careful that you avoid monthly service fees. Citibank has a useful summary of its checking accounts and the fees in its Compare checking accounts page.

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To view polls of other banks’ reputations with honoring bonuses, please refer to this list of bank promotion polls. These include banks like Chase and Bank of the West.

You can view my latest bank bonus blog posts in this bank bonus page. I and DepositAccounts.com readers often post on bonuses in the bank deals forum.


  Tags: Citibank, checking account

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Comments
7 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I've received this promo to open a checking account on my credit card statements and by mailed letter invitation numerous times  In order to get the highest payout, you have to open a Citigold package which I believe requires a balance of at least $50,000 in the checking account.  Since their checking account pays nearly zilch, the bonus money is essentially your interest earnings for the foreseeable future of this account.  I could "play the game" of moving tens of thousands to a new checking account and then close it in a few months to get the bonus money.  However, I had a checking account with them several years ago and they could refuse to pay the bonus based on the previous customer rule.  Not worth the trouble.

5
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Citi is notorious for finding a reason not t payout the bonus,  be sure to get confirmation in writing they have the bonus on file after the account is opened.  also be sure you NEVER opened any type of checking  account with them before as they wll deny the bonus LATER stating it is ony for new customers.

The most important consideration,  Are you willing to risk your money with a company with a reutation for mishandling accounts, and incompetence

4
Comment #3 by Joe O (anonymous) posted on
Joe O
I have had a checking account with Citi for years. Opening one paid a bonus. Received. I have 3 Citi cards and all pay me 1 point for every $1. Never a problem. The last card I opened paid 10,000 bonus points after charging $1000 in 3 mo. Received. I am over 62 so there is no fee on checking. I also have a direct deposit and one bill pay and that also qualifies for free checking. The checking account gives me 550 points each month plus my charges. I apply the points to Best Buy gift card purchases ( some applied for a new desktop ) and Walmart gift cards ( helped buy an iPad mini ). I do have a branch near me and have always been treated well if anything arises or if some new offer comes in. The rewards program for bonus points is very good.

2
Comment #4 by me1004 posted on
me1004
And, Joe O, how much do you think those points are worth on the credit card? After Citi misled me to believe they would be work in effect 1%, I found that if I wanted to use them to have a check sent out or to apply credit to my bill, they were worth only 1/2%! 

The only way to make them worth 1% is to buy from the select, pricey stores ion their their Website, and at maybe double what you otherwise would have to pay -- so not really 1%. 

Yes, you got points. But what are they really worth?! 

3
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Never opened an account just for the bonus. Not worth the trouble and hussle. Why spend money ($50K in this case) just to receive a gift card and buy an over valued items at selected stores which I don't need.

2
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Don't forget Cit will report "the value of the rewards from the redeemed ThankYou points" to the IRS as miscellaneous income on Form 1099-MISC in the year redeemed, if value of rewards plus other taxable miscallaneous income awards received from Citi is in aggregate $600 or more for a calendar year. For tax purposes, Citi values your ThankYou points differently; 10,000 ThankYou points could be "valued" at $200, for tax reporting purposes. Some people on finance forums on Citi bonuses for checking accounts tax have reported this.

5
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I also got a promo from Merrill Lynch if you open a brokerage account and deposit at least @200K, you can get a $600 bonus.  If I did open and account and move the money over, the bonus will not be paid until the account is open for at least 6 months.  Putting $200K in a bank account paying around 1% will provide about $2,000 of interest income for one year.  A six month period would be half that amount ($1,000).  So moving my money to Merrill Lynch would cost me about $400 in loat interest.  Money market mutual fund rates are near 0%, so the $600 will be the expected total interest earned for the indefinite future of the account.  So opening the account just to collect the bonus money is foolish.

1