Citizens Bank (RI) unveiled its new internet division, Citizens Access, in July 2018. The new bank's Online Savings Account offered an initial 2.00% APY on balances of $5k and above; balances below $5k earned 0.25% APY. Two rate increases in September and October added a total of 25 bps, although the lower rate tier remained static.
Since October’s increase, the Online Savings Account rate hasn’t changed until this morning: the new rate is 2.35% APY ($5k+). Balances below $5k continue to earn 0.25% APY.
|2.35*%||$5k||-||Citizens Access||Online Savings Account|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.25% → Up to $5k|
The minimum opening deposit is $5k, with Citizens Access reserving the right to close an Online Savings Account if the balance remains “below $5,000 for an extended period of time.”
Unlike most banks, Citizens Access charges zero fees, no account opening
or maintenance fees, no ancillary service fees. No fees for anything.
In my first blog post about Citizens Access in July, I quoted a sentence that was found on several of the Bank’s website.
We offer market-leading rates, with no promotions or teasers.
That sentiment has been replaced with,
We have committed to consistently offer our customers some of the best rates available.
Accessing Your Money
The Online Savings Account has no ATM/debit card and any withdrawal must be done by logging “in to your account, select Transfer Funds from the Move Money menu, and transfer the desired amount to your external bank.” You can also request a check be mailed. The limit for ACH transfers is $250k for each of the six monthly transactions allowed. In keeping with the Bank’s “no fees for anything,” there is no excess transaction fee beyond the monthly six withdrawals, but,
If you exceed these limits 3 or more times during any 12 consecutive monthly
statement cycles on your savings account, we may close your account without prior
notice. We may do this sooner if you significantly exceed these limits in any one month.
Citizens Access has also increased the rates on its shorter-term CDs, adding 15 bps to the 6-, 12-, and 18-month CDs. There was also a 5-bps rate increase on the 24-month CD. While the CDs had competitive initial rates in July, with only one rate increase in November, the CDs lost their edge in the flurry of rising rates. The new APYs put these CDs in good stead in tomorrow’s CD Summary, but they are not challenging the current rate leaders.
|2.95%||$5k||-||Citizens Access||Online 2 Year CD|
|2.90%||$5k||-||Citizens Access||Online 18 Month CD|
|2.85%||$5k||-||Citizens Access||Online 12 Month CD|
|2.35%||$5k||-||Citizens Access||Online 6 Month CD|
There are no partial withdrawals allowed. As stated in the Deposit Accounts Agreement,
If we permit you to make an early withdrawal, your CD account will be closed and we may assess you an early withdrawal penalty if you close your CD account prior to its scheduled maturity date.
- Short-term CD (one year or less) - 90 days interest on the CD balance.
- Long-term CD (more than one year) - 180 days interest on the CD balance.
In May 2018, Citizens Financial Group, Inc. announced its intention to “launch Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer digital platform.” In other words, a new internet bank. One of the country’s oldest and largest financial institution, Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is also the parent company of Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank.
The Online Savings Account must be opened online. There are two ways to fund a new Online Savings Account: either through an online funds transfer from a U.S. financial institution or by depositing a check (either electronically or via snail mail) drawn on a U.S. financial institution (no foreign checks are permitted).
Trust accounts are currently not available at Citizens Access, but account beneficiaries are permitted. According to CSR, Social Security numbers are required when naming a beneficiary.
As an online division of Citizens Bank, Citizens Access operates under Citizens Bank’s FDIC Certificate and shares its financial history.
Citizens Access/Citizens Bank has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.72% (excellent) based of September 30, 2018 data. In the past year, the Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $1.52 billion, an above average annual growth rate of 1.82%. Please refer to our financial overview of Citizens Access/Citizens Bank (FDIC Certificate # 59757) for more details.
According to Citizens Access’ Deposit Account Agreement,
Citizens Access is a division of Citizens Bank, N.A. Deposits of Citizens Access and
Citizens Bank, N.A. are combined and not separately insured for FDIC insurance purposes.
Citizens Bank traces its origins to High Street Bank, which was founded in 1828 in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1871, the Bank established its own savings bank, Citizens Savings Bank. Through more than 30 acquisitions and natural growth, Citizens Bank evolved from the fifth-largest bank in the smallest state in the U.S. into Rhode Island’s largest bank and the 22nd largest bank in the country. The Bank’s expanded footprint, from New England into the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest, encompasses more than 30 percent of the U.S. population.
How the Online Savings Compares
When compared to the Savings Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide and require a balance of $5k or less, Citizens Access’ Online Savings APY currently shares ranks fifth.
|Interest Rate||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|2.45% APY||Savings Builder (no min/no max)||CIT Bank|
|2.40% APY||MySavings Account (no min/no max)||MySavingsDirect|
|2.39% APY||Agility Savings (no min/$1m max)||CIBC USA|
|2.36% APY||Popular Direct Plus Savings Account ($5k min/no max)||Popular Direct|
|2.35% APY||Online Savings ($5k min/no max)||Citizens Access|
The above rates are accurate as of 1/14/2019.
To search for the best Savings Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to DepositAccounts.com’s Savings Account Rates page.