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Citibank Raises Yields: 3.50% Savings Account, 4.00% 6-Month CD


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):
12/08/09: 1.01%
11/10/09: 1.15%
10/10/09: 1.20%
08/11/09: 1.25%
07/14/09: 1.30%
06/09/09: 1.40%
05/13/09: 1.50%
11/27/08: 2.75%
11/08/08: 3.15%
08/30/08: 3.50%

Related Pages: Citibank, CD rates, savings account

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
If you already had a Citi Ultimate Savings Account at the lower rate will you now automatically get the higher rate of 3.50% APY?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
I'm confused; how can this account be opened as a "stand-alone" account without any Citi checking accounts? The "apply online" form clearly states that I have to apply for Checking EZ account (by default). Even the tiny print says "You must apply online at citibank.com or by phone to open a Citibank® Ultimate Savings Account in one of the following qualifying relationship packages: Citibank® EZ Checking, Citibank Account, Citibank Everything Counts®, or Citigold® Account... No monthly maintenance fee applies when held as a stand-alone account in the Citibank Account relationship package. Other account charges may apply." It's an oxymoron; "stand-alone account in the Citi relationship package".
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
The Citibank Rate Accelerator Money Market Account has varying rates based upon balance and presently has the highest rate at Citi. If your account meets the requirements (bill pay, balance, etc) the highest rate is presently 3.75%
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
Citibank is not a standalone account at all. Requires checking account for the 3.50% with no fees.

HSBC has no checking account requirement and 3.25% with a linked 2.25% Online payment account if one chooses it.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
HSBC and Countrywide still get my business even with others offering higher rates right now because of how it all works.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
I have a Citi Ultimate Savings Account with a balance under 150- and have never been charged a fee. I opened a CD today. It seemed easier than the HSBC process which required me to mail in the money instead of using of my checking that was already linked. Seems like a waste since the rate could change before the check reaches them.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
HSBC gives you ATM access to its direct account and payment account. Its online payment account, while only gives 2.25% sofar, also reimburses you fees/surcharges from non-HSBC ATMs (and HSC doesnt charge for using non-HSBC ATM.) Citi charges $1.50 for non-Citi ATM use.Citi during this year had a period where their savings was giving only 2.65% while competitors were giving 3.5% or more. Some people opened Citi when Citi gave away 16k TY points, plus triple bonus relationship TY points for 12 months if you opened up The Citi Account, and at that time rates were 2.65% or 2.5, and CD was at 3-3.25-3.5% and for 9 month. Now that that deal is gone, they are offering 4% 6-mo CD (no Citi accounts needed.) Citi is aweful. Poor CSR, as usual with big banks that outsource first-line CSR's.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
I don't think is true that: "Citibank has a new policy in which they no longer do hard credit pulls for deposit account applications with no overdraft protection."

This is what I received from citibank on 10/29/2008:
"When applying for any new account with Citibank, we do get information from the credit bureau. This includes credit behavior and your credit score. For information regarding how this will affect you credit score, please refer to any of the three major credit bureaus...". So, they still doing a hard pull from your credit history.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
Citi Ultimate Savings Account lowered rate to 3.15%.

I still think it is easier to open their 4 month CD than HSBC's. HSBC is so slow you don't know what your rate will be when it finally opens.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
I should have said 6 month Citi CD.
scott (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #12
Just a heads up, Was told the 4% 6 month CD will no longer be offered after this week
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
Ultimate Savings Account yield is now 3.15%.
scott (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #14
6 month CD now 3.50%
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
I think this account requires a checking account now to avoid a fee. If this is so I will close it as soon as my 4% CD's mature.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
Ultimate Savings Account rate now 2.5%. It still lists the information that no checking account is required for this account. The e-Savings Account (1.25%) and Ultimate Money Account (2% if you make 2 bill payments and 1.27% if you don't) do require a checking account with those accounts. The Ultimate Savings Account does require that you have a Citibank "relationship" package included, not that you have a checking account.
Bank account
Bank account (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #17
I was confused on the "stand alone account". Nevertheless, I read your post a year later, so I am wondering if it still stand and if it is I really need help on that matter.
Anyway, It is really kind of you to update your posts even if it had been a year since you have written them. It is true that the 3% is now down to 1%. The recession really hit us hard. I do hope that things will get better and soon.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #18
In order to open a Citi Ultimate Savings Account, currently 1.25% apy, as mentioned, you need a bank relationship. And the bank relationship requires a checking account! If you click apply for Citi Ultimate Savings Acct, you are automatically required to open at least the EZ Checking...as shown on the "open account" webpage.
Separately, CSR at Citibank are notorious and horrendous. They're from India, and they only read a script. Does anyone know how to speak to a Citi CSR in the USA? (besides going into a Citi branch and hope the bank teller/manager wont say just call CSR)?!?