Citibank’s New Attempt at a High Yield Online Savings Account


Citibank has started to execute on a new digital strategy which seeks to grow customers and deposits without branches. In March, Citibank announced the major expansion of its mobile banking app with in-app account opening and account aggregation services. The digital move comes after several years of closing branches. According to this March WSJ article, Citigroup to Again Be a Nationwide Bank, but in Digital Form, “Citigroup has reduced its U.S. branch network by more than 300 locations since 2009.” This branch network reduction may be one reason for reduced deposits. The article also stated that “Citigroup’s North American consumer deposits fell from $185 billion at the end of 2016 to $182.5 billion at the end of last year.”

The latest piece of Citibank’s digital strategy is a high-yield online savings account. This reminds me of Citibank’s e-Savings account that was introduced during the last rising rate environment. My first post on the e-Savings account was in March 2006. This time, Citibank is not quite jumping into the online savings account rate race. Citibank is introducing the high-yield online savings account as a promotional rate for its Citi Savings Account. There are several requirements and limitations which I describe below.

The promotional rate as of 6/6/2018 is 1.60% APY. Here’s a summary of what’s required:

  • Open a new Citi Savings Account in the Access Account Package by 7/16/18
  • Must deposit at least $10,000 or more in new-to-bank funds into the new savings account
  • Maintain minimum balance of $10,000 in the new savings account under the terms of the offer

The Access Account Package is one of five banking account packages. These packages appear to be the focus of Citibank’s consumer deposit offering. Each package includes both a checking account and a savings account. The Access Account Package requires the Checkless Regular Checking. As the name suggests, there’s no paper checks. Instead of writing checks, customers have access to debit or ATM card and online bill payment. Another highlight of this account is that there are no overdraft fees. Citibank will never approve transactions that exceed the amount of funds in your account.

The Access Account Package has a $10 monthly service fee. This can be waived by any one of the following:

  • Make one qualifying direct deposit, OR
  • Make one qualifying bill payment per statement period, OR
  • Maintain a $1,500+ combined average monthly balance in eligible linked accounts

The promotional rate of 1.60% APY is guaranteed to last for 12 months after the savings account is opened. However, the promotional rate may expire early if the $10k deposit of new-to-Citibank funds does not clear by 10 business days from account opening. The promotional rate may also expire if the balance drops below $10k. Once the promotional rate expires, it cannot be reinstated.

Combining This With the Checking Bonus

For many readers, this might be the main reason for considering this savings account promotion. As I described in this previous blog post, you can earn up to $600 in a Citibank checking account promotion. The main requirement of this checking promotion is depositing and maintaining a large balance. If you can keep that balance earning the promotional interest rate, that helps make the checking promotion more valuable. In the “Terms and Conditions” section of Citibank’s promotion page, a section reads as follows:

Can I enroll and fulfill multiple savings and checking offers during the Offer Period?

Yes, with the following limitations. When multiple savings offers are available within an Offer Period, customers may participate in more than one savings offer during the Offer Period. However, customers can only participate in each savings account offer once per Offer Period. Further, if you enroll in multiple savings account offers during the Offer Period, you must fulfill the requirements of each offer in which you are enrolled to qualify for each offer’s bonus. Customers may be enrolled in a Citibank retail banking checking promotion and savings promotions during the same Offer Period unless expressly prohibited; however, the requirements of each promotion must be met separately.


For this savings account promotion, Citibank is targeting states where it does not have branches. If you live in one of these states, Citibank will let you open the Citi Savings Account in the Access Account Package with the promotional rate of 1.60% APY. If you don’t live in one of these states, you’ll be presented with another savings account promotion with lower rates and a shorter guarantee period of 90 days. The promotional rate is either 1.25% or 1.35% depending on which Account Package is chosen.

Here is the list of states and territories that qualify for the 1.60% APY promotional rate:

AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, DE, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, OK, ME, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI and WY and the following territories, possessions and military addresses of AA, AE, AP, AS, GU, MP, PR and VI

To open a Citibank account and to qualify for these bonuses, you must be at least 18 years of age, and have a valid W-9 or W-8BEN on file with Citibank and are not be subject to backup withholding.

To review the full promotion details and to apply, please refer to the Citibank link at our Citibank information page.

Bank Overview

Citibank has an overall health grade of "A" at, with a Texas ratio of 3.40% (excellent) based on March 31, 2018 data. In the past year, Citibank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $40.24 billion, an excellent annual growth rate of 4.45%. Please refer to our financial overview of Citibank (FDIC Certificate # 7213) for more details.

Established in 1812 as The National City Bank of New York, Citibank is one of the world’s largest financial institutions with more than $1.4 trillion in assets. Citibank is a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., which was formed when banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate Travelers Group merged in 1998. The Bank was rebranded as Citibank in 1976 and relocated its headquarters to South Dakota in 2001.

How the Promotional Rate of the Citi Savings Account Compares

When compared to the 217 Savings Accounts tracked by that are available nationally, there are 20 savings accounts with higher rates than this Citi Savings Account promotional rate.

The above rates are accurate as of 6/6/2018.

To review the best Savings Accounts rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our Savings Account Rates page.

Related Pages: savings accounts

  |     |   Comment #1
The following ten states plus DC are excluded - CA, FL, MD, VA, NV, TX, IL, NY, NJ, and CT. Possibly because these banking regions have big populations with a lot of capital and do not want to open higher paying savings accounts in large numbers.

Back in the 1990s, Citibank opened an online division called Citi Fi. I had an account with them back then. Then they abruptly closed the division a few years later and moved those accounts to other bank products.
Bad FED policy
  |     |   Comment #12
#1, Correct, over 50% of the US population is excluded from this offer.
  |     |   Comment #22
Those states happen to be where Citibank has B&M branches. I doubt that is a coincidence!
  |     |   Comment #2
No thanks...I'll take Synchrony or PurePoint Financial rates.
  |     |   Comment #6
No *hitty Bank for me either. Why jump through their hoops when there is better the ones you mentioned.
  |     |   Comment #4
its garbage , just like their credit cards
  |     |   Comment #7
I guess I like garbage. Citi's double cash reward card (1% cash reward on purchases; 1% cash reward on payments) is some pretty good garbage. Here's a piece from WalletHub describing the card, including some negative features.

I'm not interest in Citibank's new savings account, but I think it's a positive sign when a megabank introduces a savings account paying 1.60% (even with hoops and provisos).
The Mighty Sven
  |     |   Comment #8

You are correct that this new Citi savings account is not a great alternative at just 1.6%. But why label their credit cards as trash? I have the Citi DoubleCash card and it is a desirable credit card having a 2% reward across the board. What's not to like about that?
deplorable 1
  |     |   Comment #9
Citibank has some of the best rewards credit cards in the market. I have 3 of them:
1. The double cash card 2% cash back on all purchases with no cap.
2. The Dividend Platinum Select card(discontinued) 5% on rotating categories plus a discount shopping network.
3. The Costco anywhere visa card 4% gas 3% restaurants and travel 2% Costco and 1% everywhere else.(I just use this for restaurants and Costco)
Their banking leaves much to be desired and this 1.6% is a non starter for me but they also have very good bank bonuses like the current $400 one.
  |     |   Comment #10
Careful with the discount shopping network...they beat me out of the bonus cash twice...
deplorable 1
  |     |   Comment #13
I usually use topcashback or ebates for shopping networks but once in a blue moon The Citi bonus cash center beats them. I have never had a issue with them paying the bonus when I use it though. In fact they have even paid the standard 1% plus the bonus.
  |     |   Comment #14
Had the Citi Dividend Platinum card but stopped using it for a while when the Chase Cash Plus Rewards card came out (now discontinued).

About a year later, I received a letter with an update to my Citi Dividend card. I would now have to pay an annual fee for the card. So I closed it immediately and never looked back and considered another Citi card. Still the only credit card I ever closed.
deplorable 1
  |     |   Comment #15
There is no annual fee for the dividend platinum select card. Citibank was trying to get people to convert it to another card that had a lower reward structure and that card may have had a annual fee. They called it a upgrade to make it sound good and get folks to switch. I still have the old card and it is a good companion to the Chase freedom card.
  |     |   Comment #21
deplorable 1, just to clarify what I said, I had the Citi Dividend Platinum Select card for several years and it was a no-fee card, as you mentioned. I think the letter I received may have mentioned my recent low usage; I don't think it asked me to convert to another program, only to start paying an annual fee. In any case, I didn't like that they even considered auto-converting me from a no-fee card to a fee-card in this way, so I never considered another Citi card after that.
  |     |   Comment #5
Sorry, Silly Citi. Too little, too late.
  |     |   Comment #11
Memory Bank is paying 1.60% on a regular checking account with no requirements. Why would I opt for Citibank?
Pay the Piper
  |     |   Comment #16
Please show a minimum level of respect to DA's advertisers.
  |     |   Comment #20
Well, we can give them credit for making a gesture to savers who are determined to only do business with the mega Banks. Chase and Bank of America have made it clear they have NO intention to raise deposit rates no matter how many times the FED raises short-term interest rates.
  |     |   Comment #25
In the news, Bank of America is making good profits, so it is opening new branch offices in many states where they had no presence before. Divide and conquer.
  |     |   Comment #17
$100 in order to earn interest) and the best customer service in the industry - Game, set, and match.
  |     |   Comment #23
Huh? I've never had Citibank give anything even approaching good service, let alone "best in the industry". What are you smoking?
  |     |   Comment #18
The first two lines of my reply didn't print . They were:
Alliant is offering the same $1.60% rate with no hoops to jump through (other than your balance must exceed
  |     |   Comment #24
Oops, now I got it. My bad!
deplorable 1
  |     |   Comment #19
Discover savings is now paying 1.6% with no hoops. Citi needs to hike their rate to 2% minimum to get any takers.
  |     |   Comment #26
Discover Bank needs to correct their junk mail promotion mailing lists. They have sent me several $100 and $200 bonus letters enticing me to open a savings account. I closed my savings account recently with them when they refused to honor the bonus code that I used when I opened the account a few years ago. The letters all say if you already are or were a customer you are ineligible for the bonus offer. What a waste of bulk mail postage and paper.
  |     |   Comment #27
We have to remember that Citi markets to a pretty broad audience. I'm sure Citi will find a lot of customers that are very happy with the 1.6%, compared to what they are currently getting. But probably not a lot of DA readers. :)
  |     |   Comment #28
Ah, a little old, a little new. Citi once had a "true" ultimate savings account circa 1976 or so that paid an astounding 14% !!!!!!! with a ten year maturity term !!!!
Yes, the days of hyper inflation (double digits) and as a bonus, the US government waived federal taxes because they were trying to slowdown the disintermediation of bank deposits.
so now the new 37 year old wonder boy who runs Citi's Consumer bank and never experienced single dramatic economic cyclical swing, believes people all over the USA will flock to a virtual relationship with Citi due to 1.6%
WOW is that compelling or what !! My God, fire every director who just sat there as this school boy naivete is implemented. Is this the BEST they can do ???????

Poor Walter Wriston is turning over in his grave
  |     |   Comment #29
Citi currently offers a CD @ 2.50 rate with 18 months or @ 2.35 rate with 13 months.
  |     |   Comment #30
Watch out for these guys! This same offer was revived this summer, and I went today to the same local branch where I originally opened my account -- today is day # 61 -- to cash out $3,500 (from the $5,000 deal -- retaining $1,500 to waive fees). Fortunately, before withdrawing, I spoke with a CitiRep to confirm "All-systems-go?" . . . telling her, half-jokingly -- when asked why I wished to speak with her -- that I was there to do some "date arithmetic."

Here's what I learned:

1) Citi does not start counting days [1-60] until your initial deposit check CLEARS! So that could throw your timing off by as much as a week (5 "calendar" days) for a typical, domestic, personal check; official bank checks (teller's checks) are said to clear after one day. If I had transferred out $3,500 today, as originally planned, my rewards deal would have been down the drain.

Curiously, I recall that Citi refused to accept cash to open my account. So it seems that, from the get-go they're either planning to cheat you out of a week of legitimate interest at another institution, OR deliberately setting a trap to cheat you out of your bonus (if you mistakenly lower the balance below $5,000 after 60 days of account opening, rather than 60 days after they say it takes your check to clear).

2) The 90 days when you receive your bonus is NOT 90 days from account opening. Neither is it 90 days from when your check clears. It's 90 days AFTER the 60 days (after your check clears). In other words, a successful round trip -- from opening account, to closing it with rewards -- is expected to take five months, [+ five days] not three months (90 days) as originally presented to me.

Anyone else fall into this trap? Or find out just in time to save your a$$ from losing the bonu$? Or was I the only lucky one to get a deceptive rep?

All I know at this point is not to expect a bonus until early January 2019 (5+ months); my cue to close the account will be when the bonus posts. But I also need to wait a few more days this month, with the entire $5,000 initially deposited still on deposit, until 60 days after my check "clearance" has transpired.

Caeat emptor: Buyer, beware!
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The financial institution, product, and APY (Annual Percentage Yield) data displayed on this website is gathered from various sources and may not reflect all of the offers available in your region. Although we strive to provide the most accurate data possible, we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The content displayed is for general information purposes only; always verify account details and availability with the financial institution before opening an account. Contact [email protected] to report inaccurate info or to request offers be included in this website. We are not affiliated with the financial institutions included in this website.