You’ve likely heard of Citizens Bank, the 15th largest bank in the U.S. by asset size, but you may not know of Citizens Access, its online-only division.
Citizens Access was just launched in 2018 and comes with a separate suite of consumer deposit products than that of its parent company, and the rates are far more competitive.
Like many digital savings banks, Citizens Access deposit products are limited to just an online savings account and standard CDs. They do not offer the full array of deposit products like traditional banks tend to do which come with checking accounts, debit cards and ATM access. Citizens Access is strictly designed for savers and offers no debit cards, ATM cards or checks.
Below is an overview of Citizens Access savings products, current APYs, and customer sentiment.
In this post you'll learn:
Citizens Access Online Savings Account Rate + Details
Though Citizens Access is able to offer their customers separate deposit products and pay higher interest on CDs and savings accounts than Citizens Bank, Citizens Access and Citizens Bank are treated as the same entity by the FDIC and insured up to $250,000 as a unit. Please note that if you are a Citizens Bank member in addition to being a Citizens Access account holder, any deposit accounts you hold with the bank will be combined with any deposit accounts you hold with Citizens Access.
Citizens Access Savings Account Rate
|$0 – $4,999.99||0.25%|
A Citizens Access savings account earns an APY of 0.60%. The average yield on a savings account sits at just 0.07% nationally, to give you some context. However, there are still a handful of online banks offering yields above 0.70% APY for savings accounts.
Although the APY is good, the terms could be better. A savings account with this digital bank requires a minimum deposit of $5,000. Your average daily balance must meet the $5k threshold as well to earn the advertised APY. If your account drops below an average daily balance of $5,000, your money will earn a much more modest 0.25% APY.
On the plus side, you won’t have to worry about hidden costs or fees.
Citizens Access prides itself on not charging ANY fees—not for maintenance, account issuance, or even low balances. This “no fees” policy is a huge pro and one of the main reasons that customers like the bank.
Dividends are compounded daily and credited monthly. You can transfer these to another account if you please, but not too frequently. Federal regulation restricts all transactions—withdrawals and transfers—to six per month. If you don’t follow these guidelines, Citizens Access reserves the right to close your account.
You’ll need to fund a new account within 30 days of opening. To make an initial deposit into a Citizens Access savings account and to deposit money once your account is open, simply add funds via online funds transfer from an external account, enroll in direct deposit and have the funds pulled from your paycheck, or send a check electronically or through the mail to the address: Citizens Access P.O. Box 6801 Carol Stream, IL 60197-6801.
Citizens Access CD Rates + Account Details
Citizens Access offers both traditional and liquid online CDs with reasonably competitive yields.
Citizens Access CD Rates
To give these offers more context, the national average for a 12 month certificate sits at 0.22% APY currently, so the bar is quite low. Still, other institutions sell certificates with higher rates and lower minimum balances. There is normally a 6 month CD option as well, but this is not currently being offered by Citizens Access.
These accounts, like the savings account, require a high minimum deposit and average daily balance. You must deposit at least $5,000 into your new CD and maintain this balance in order to obtain interest at all and keep your account (Citizens Access may close your certificate if it doesn’t meet this minimum required balance). You need to fund these certificates at the time of issuance and may not do so after.
Citizens Access also offers a liquid CD option, which functions exactly like a no-penalty CD. This 11 month liquid CD currently earns a fixed APY of 0.50%.
Similarly to no-penalty CDs, this liquid CD allows you to withdraw the entire balance of your certificate, as soon as 7 days after funding, without being penalized with an early withdrawal fee.
Early withdrawal from a traditional Citizens Access online CD, on the other hand, does incur fees. Citizens Access charges 90 days’ interest for early withdrawal from terms of 12 months or less and 120 days’ interest for early withdrawal from terms greater than 12 months. There is a 10 day grace period within which you can make changes to your account or withdraw funds after renewal without being charged. Citizens Access does not allow partial withdrawals.
Interest on a Citizens Access CD is compounded daily and credited monthly. Interest defaults to being deposited back into the certificate, but you can opt instead to have it transferred to your Citizens Access savings account or even an external bank account if you please.
Citizens Access Banking Experience & Consumer Reviews
Citizens Access has fairly average customer satisfaction ratings with review sites giving it between 3.5 and 4 stars. As a relatively new online-only bank, many Citizens Access customers haven’t been customers for long enough to report on their long-term experiences.
For those that have reported on their experiences with Citizens Access, the reviews are quite positive overall. Some users say that their experience with Citizens Access has been the best they’ve ever had with an online bank for a variety of reasons, including the easy-to-use online platform and the smooth application and account management processes. Customer service is generally seen as adequate at the very least and excellent by many.
The majority of dissatisfied customers cite changing CD rates as the source of their disappointment – which is also largely dependent on the interest rate environment as a whole. Citizens Access rates are great and competitive, but they’re not quite at the top, which is a source of frustration for some. If having the best interest rates possible is a priority for you, understand that Citizens Access cannot give you these at this time. However, many users have stated that they don’t mind the fluctuation and settling for slightly lower interest rates because the flexibility of having zero fees and maintenance costs outweigh this con.
Citizens Bank has banks and ATMs across the country, but you will not be able to use these if you are a Citizens Access account holder. You have to handle ALL of your banking online. Unfortunately, Citizens Access also does not have a mobile app. Most customers say that the online banking portal is simple and comprehensive enough that this is not a problem, but it could be inconvenient for you.
To contact customer service, call (888) 201-6505 between the hours of 8AM and 10PM Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3PM on Saturday, and 10AM to 3PM on Sunday. Alternatively, you can send a secure message directly through the Citizens Access online portal. You should receive an answer to your inquiry within 24 business hours.
Citizens Access has a lot going for it: its CD and savings rates are competitive and its online banking portal is user friendly. Managing and opening Citizens Access accounts is simple and hassle-free, a benefit that shouldn’t be dismissed when you’re talking about a fully digital bank. However, maybe you want a higher yield than these deposit accounts can offer or you don’t have $5,000 to deposit. Or maybe you just feel better banking with a company that’s been around longer than 2 years or has more product options.
Citizens Access is a good online-only bank with solid accounts. It comes with the standard online-only potential drawbacks such as not being able to visit a branch and having to resolve problems via remote customer service, but its products are going to give you above par returns without charging annoying fees.