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A Comparison Between Citibank vs. Chase


Written by David Rodeck | Published on 4/22/2019

When it comes to banks, they don’t get much bigger than Chase and Citibank. Chase is the largest bank in the country, in terms of assets, with over 54 million customer accounts, and Citibank isn’t that far behind, as the 4th largest in the country.

Chase Bank is the consumer and business banking division of J.P. Morgan Chase and Co., one of the oldest financial institutions in the country with a history going all the way back to 1799. Chase Bank has its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. It has 5,000 branches spread throughout 25 states, along with roughly 16,000 ATMs.

CitiBank is part of an international conglomerate called Citigroup. It’s another historic organization that launched in 1812, over 200 years ago. Citibank has close to 700 branches in the United States, and another 1,800 in other countries.

With both Citibank and Chase, you get access to plenty of branches and ATMs. But there’s more to a quality deposit account than that. In this article, we compare the details between Citibank vs. Chase to see what they do well and where they could improve.

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Citibank vs. Chase: Rates

Citibank and Chase don’t offer just one set of rates and products. Instead, they may change details based on the location. For this review, we used the rates and details for their respective corporate headquarters: Columbus, Ohio for Chase and Sioux Falls, S.D. for Citibank. Rates could be different in your area so make sure to double check before deciding.

Citibank Chase National Average Online Bank Average
Savings Citi Savings = 0.04% to 0.15% APY (depending on balance and account status.)

Citi Accelerate Savings = 2.36% APY
Chase Savings = 0.01% APY

Chase Premier Savings = 0.05% APY

With relationship bonus, rates range from 0.10% to 0.40% APY.
0.272% APY 1.52% APY
Checking No interest for Basic Banking.

Interest Checking = 0.01% to 0.03% APY (depending on account status.)
Chase Total Checking = No interest

Chase Sapphire Checking = 0.01% APY

Chase Premier Plus Checking = 0.01% APY
0.191% APY 0.41% APY
1-year CD 0.25% APY Starts at 0.01% APY.

With relationship status, rates go from 0.02% to 0.05% APY, depending on balance.
1.373% APY 2.09% APY
5-year CD 1.50% APY Starts at 0.50% APY.

With relationship status, rates go from 1.40% to 1.55% APY, depending on balance.
2.249% APY 2.70% APY

For the most part, the rates between Citibank vs. Chase are quite poor. Neither company offers a competitive checking account. Their regular accounts do not pay any interest, while their premier accounts pay very little, despite having high fees and balance requirements. If you qualify for the best rate, you can earn slightly more with Citibank, but the difference is so small that it may not make much of a difference.

Citibank is the clear winner for a 1-year CD. It pays five times more than even Chase’s top rate, which requires a $100,000 deposit. For 5-year CDs, it’s a little closer: if you qualify for relationship status and make a large deposit with Chase, they will match Citibank’s 5-year CD rate. Still, you can earn the same amount with Citibank for less work. But while Citibank is better for CDs, it still pays a below average rate compared to the typical bank and doesn’t come close to online banks.

The best option at both banks is their savings account. You can earn a decent rate with Chase, but once again it means having multiple accounts to earn the relationship bonus.

At the same time, Citibank’s regular savings account isn’t great, but their Accelerate Savings account is fantastic. All it takes to qualify for this specialty account is opening one of their banking packages at the same time, a requirement for any of the Citibank deposit accounts. Overall, Citibank has better rates than Chase, but the only truly attractive account is Accelerate Savings.

Citibank vs. Chase: Account options

Both Citibank and Chase provide checking accounts, savings accounts and CDs, but neither bank offers a personal money market account. One notable difference between the two is that Citibank offers IRA CDs, but Chase no longer offers these accounts. Keep this in mind if your goal is to save for retirement.

Both banks have two options for savings accounts: a basic plan with a lower interest rate and balance requirement, as well as a premier account which pays more. Chase has three different checking accounts, ranging from a basic, low-cost account with fewer benefits to a premier account with additional bank perks, but also a much higher balance requirement and potential fee.

Citibank uses a different approach. Rather than different accounts, they ask you to sign up for a banking package, like Citi Priority or Basic Banking, that determines your service level. The outcome is the same though as Chase — for more service and benefits, you’ll need a larger balance or you’ll owe a higher fee.

Since there are five packages to choose from at Citibank, they have a few more options than Chase. For example, they offer a budget option that doesn’t include paper checks, something Chase does not have.

On the other hand, Chase gives more flexibility for their CDs because they let you pick the exact number of months for your term. They have ranges for their rates, like 30 to 35 months. You can pick any number of months in a range and receive the same interest rate. Citigroup does not let you customize; you can only pick between their available set terms.

Citibank vs. Chase: Fees

Citibank Chase
Standard savings account Depends on account package. Basic banking monthly fee = $12.

To avoid the fee, each month meet one of the following:
  1. Make a direct deposit and pay a bill through your Citibank deposit accounts.
  2. Maintain a combined average account balance of $1,500.
  3. Be 62 or older.
Chase Savings monthly fee = $5

Chase will waive the fee if you meet any of these conditions during the month:
  1. You keep a minimum daily balance of $300.
  2. You make a repeating transfer of at least $25 from a Chase checking account or Chase Liquid Card.
  3. Your savings account is linked to a Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Sapphire Checking or Chase Private Client Checking account.
  4. You are younger than 18.
Standard checking account Basic banking monthly fee = $12.

Citibank will waive the fee if each month you meet one of these conditions:
  1. You make a direct deposit and a bill payment.
  2. You have a $1,500 average balance.
  3. You are 62 or older.
Chase Total Checking monthly fee = $12.

Chase will waive the fee if each month you meet one of the following:
  1. Make $500 of direct deposits into your account.
  2. Keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 in your account.
  3. Have an average daily balance of $5,000 across Chase deposit accounts.
ATM fee Free at Citibank ATMs. For out-of-network withdrawals, Citibank charges $2.50 per transaction and will not refund any fees from the ATM owner. Free at Chase ATMs. Chase will charge $2.50 per transaction at out-of-network ATMs. They also will not refund any ATM owner fees.
Overdraft fee $34, max of four charges per day. $34, max of three charges per day.

The fees at Citibank and Chase are very similar and on the high side, something you’d expect from large national banks. With their standard accounts, you can make free withdrawals from their ATMs but if you go out-of-network, both banks charge a $2.50 fee per transaction. They also do not refund out-of-network ATM fees.

Citibank and Chase charge the same $34 overdraft fee. Chase caps it at three per day while Citibank can charge up to four overdrafts per day, but this is not a situation most people will run into unless you make repeated overdrafts.

The main difference between Citibank vs. Chase is how they charge per month. Chase charges a monthly fee for each account. If you just want a standalone savings account, the monthly fee will be lower at Chase. However, if you open multiple accounts, each one will have a potential monthly fee.

At Citibank, you pick a banking package instead. The monthly fee and balance requirements apply to all your checking and savings accounts. If you only have one account, it can be more expensive at Citibank but if you open several, it can end up costing less.

With that being said, there isn’t a clearly better option between the two as far as fees go. They are both expensive, especially for basic accounts that offer very little interest.

Who should bank with Citibank?

Of the two banks, Citibank offered by far the best account with Citi Accelerate Savings. This account pays a top-notch interest rate that is not only nearly 10 times higher than the national average, it’s even better than most online banks. If you’re looking for a quality savings account, Citibank should be on your radar.

Another reason to consider Citibank is if you regularly travel abroad. They are one of the few US banks with both branches and ATMs in other countries. With their accounts, you can still take out money without a fee and get financial help while in another country.

Outside of these two areas though, Citibank was less impressive. The rest of their accounts don’t pay an attractive interest rate and the fees are too high. While Citibank overall looks a little better than Chase, we would pass on their accounts except for Accelerate Savings.

Who should bank with Chase?

For the most part, the deposit accounts at Chase are not great. Their rates are all well below average, and all the accounts come with a high balance requirement and monthly maintenance fee. While Chase has a huge ATM network, it’ll cost you when you make an out-of-network withdrawal. If you use any of their accounts, make sure they have plenty of branches and ATMs nearby.

However, we have noticed that Chase occasionally runs promotions, where you could earn a bonus if you open a new checking and savings account. That could potentially go a long way towards making up for the other problems, and may be worth trying out just for the bonus alone and then you can reevaluate after you qualify.

Beyond that, a Chase deposit account might be worth using if you want their other services, like a mortgage or credit card. Linking everything up in one place could be more convenient. Still, there are other banks that offer such better terms for their deposit accounts so even if it is convenient, you should think twice before settling with Chase.

Alternatives

When you work with a large bank, you’re getting the name recognition and a huge branch/ATM network, but you’re usually not getting the best rates. Smaller banks often offer better deals because they need to work harder to attract clients. You see this even more with online banks, who have fewer expenses since they don’t have branches. They pass these savings to their customers through better rates.

If you’d like to expand your search beyond the big guys, take a look at our savings, checking, and CD pages. There, you can find rates for thousands of banks from around the country. We also provide in-depth reviews so you can learn exactly what you’re getting into before signing up.

While Citibank and Chase offer a few benefits, there’s a good chance you’ll find something even better after comparing your options.

Comments

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