Review of Citizens Access’ Savings Accounts and CD Rates
Citizens Access bank is an online banking brand of Citizens Bank. Online banks like Citizens Access offer exceptional rates that tend to outshine traditional, established banks. Citizens Access has focused its efforts on only a few, very attractive high-yielding accounts.
Citizens Access account features
Citizens Access offers two online banking products: a savings account and a unique certificate of deposit (CD). If you have the cash necessary for the online savings account, you can hit their high-interest tier, which is very competitive with the best online savings accounts listed on our site. If you have under $5,000, the interest rate drops significantly. The CD option also offers competitive rates, although it requires a $5,000 minimum deposit to open, which is pretty steep.
One of the best features of a Citizens Access account is that they’re a no-fee operation, with no monthly service fees and no maintenance fees. Another great advantage: The bank offers a liquid CD, which is their name for a no-penalty CD. The liquid CD account lets you make one withdrawal after seven days, as long as it’s the entire balance.
Citizens Access online savings account
This online-only savings account pays 1.70% APY, but only if you have a big chunk of change to deposit. You’ll need $5,000 to open the account, and you’ll need to keep it above that level if you want to earn the higher-tier interest rate. If your balance falls below that level for even a single statement cycle, you’ll only earn 0.25%.
There’s one caveat with this account, however: You can’t make cash deposits, and you won’t have any ATM access. But all things considered, this account is a save-and-forget-it account, where you park money you won’t need to access regularly.
- Deposit limits: Citizens Access publishes no upper deposit limits on this account, but remember that keeping your balance above $5,000 will ensure you receive the highest interest rate.
- Minimum balance: You will need $5,000 to open the account, but after that, you could allow your balance to fall to $0.01 without the account closing. This could be a benefit if you feel a need to withdraw cash from your savings.
- Withdrawal limit: As a savings account, Federal Reserve Regulation D is in effect with this account. That means you can only make certain types of telephone and electronic withdrawals, including transfers from savings accounts up to 6 per statement cycle. Citizens Access may close your account if you exceed six withdrawals.
- Overdraft fees: There are no overdraft fees with this account. If you do happen to overdraw this account, you are responsible for covering the full amount of any overdraft.
Deposits to this account start accruing interest as soon as they are deposited, and all funds are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) up to the legal maximum.
Citizens Access online CDs
The certificates of deposit offered by Citizens Access function like any CD: A minimum amount of $5,000 is required to open an account, and you will collect both your principal investment and the interest accrued when the CD term ends.
One great feature of CDs is the ability to withdraw your interest payments that can then be deposited to an outside account, or you can choose to have them rolled back into the principle. The flexibility can help to offset the early withdrawal penalties, which are:
- For terms under 12 months: 90 days of interest
- For all other term lengths: 180 days of interest
You have a grace period of 10 days in which to withdraw funds after your CD matures before it automatically rolls over into a new CD of the same length.
Citizens Access CD ladder option
If you want to take advantage of CD rates without the hassle of constantly opening and closing accounts, Citizens Access offers a CD ladder strategy. You will need $25,000 to spread across five CDs, but it can be a better way to stagger your investment so you’ll always have access to capital.
Citizens Access Liquid CD Account
Sometimes, investors can be hesitant to invest in a CD since it means their money might be “locked up” for too long, and understandably so. The withdrawal penalties are usually steep and can wipe out a significant amount of interest.
To assuage investor worries, Citizens Access has an alternative option in their Liquid CD. There is only one term length, 11 months, but the interest rate of 1.35% APY is pretty solid, considering you can make your withdrawal at any time without penalties.
Opening a Citizens Access online account
Because Citizens Access is an online-only division of Citizens Bank, all your account maintenance, including opening, either on the phone or online is done online. To open an account, you need to be 18 years old or provide basic information such as your address, your Social Security number, date of birth and occupation.
There is an option to add a joint owner to your Citizens Access account. To open the joint account, you’ll need documents showing you’re either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. There’s no credit check to open the account, and it can be processed almost immediately.
Overall review of Citizens Access account
Citizens Access offers products that exemplify the best of online banking: low costs, high yields and zero fees. The zero-fees are especially appealing, and the online interface is clean and easy to understand.
Citizens Access accounts are ideal if you’re a saver who doesn’t need to manage their savings or maximize total return. The accounts offered are very much “set it and forget it,” and those who leave their account as is will see their patience rewarded with some of the highest interest rates on the market today.
Rates listed in this article are accurate as of
The $5,000 minimum still applies to open a new account. Rep said Chex Systems should be unfrozen if you have it frozen. Rep also said no need to unfreeze any of the 3 major credit reports as they don't do a soft or hard pull. Beneficiaries still must be phoned in, and the SS numbers are required.
On the ChexSystems web page, you will see a link to request your report.