Citizens: 2023 Banking Review

You can get in-person service in 14 states, but Citizens' APYs don't stack up to the competition.

Citizens is one of the largest and oldest banks in the US. It offers a broad range of products and services, including multiple checking and savings accounts, as well as certificates of deposit and money market accounts. Despite its comprehensive offerings, Citizens has relatively low annual percentage yields, so we recommend looking elsewhere if you want to earn a good return on your savings.

Citizens Bank Logo
Citizens Bank/CNET

If you're looking for a bank with physical locations, Citizens might check this box. It has local branches in 14 states -- but if you don't live near a physical branch, you can access banking services online through Citizens Access, Citizens' online division. This bank also charges overdraft fees -- a practice many of the best banks are eliminating or reducing.

What we like

  • Over 1,000 branches and 3,000 ATMs in the Northeast, Midwest and Florida
  • You can manage your accounts online or on its mobile app
  • Citizens Paid Early offers early access to your paycheck with direct deposit
  • Multiple checking and savings account options
  • Over 1,000 branches and 3,000 ATMs in the Northeast, Midwest and Florida

What we don't like

  • No high-yield savings account option
  • High overdraft fees 
  • Less competitive interest rates than other big banks
  • Branch locations in only 14 states

Who is Citizens bank suited for?

Citizens may offer convenient locations if you're looking for in-person banking and live in one of the 14 states with local branches: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. If you live outside Citizens' service areas, you can bank online with Citizens Access, though its interest rates are lower than average.

We do like that Citizens offers a variety of checking and savings options with no minimum deposits and no or low monthly fees. We also like that you can get paid up to two days early if you set up direct deposit -- however, it's worth noting many other banks also offer this feature.

Checking account review 

Citizens has five checking accounts: One Deposit Checking, Citizens EverValue Checking, Citizens Quest Checking, Citizens Wealth Checking and Student Checking. 

All Citizens checking accounts offer debit cards, Zelle and access to over 3,000 Citizens ATMS. Some product details, like interest rates, monthly service fees and overdraft fees, vary between accounts. 

  • One Deposit Checking: Its most basic account, One Deposit Checking, doesn't require a minimum balance. You can waive its $10 monthly service fee by making at least one deposit of any amount per payment cycle. You won't earn interest with One Deposit Checking -- and there's an overdraft fee of $35. 
  • Citizens EverValue Checking: This account doesn't earn interest and has a $5 monthly service fee. There are no overdraft fees associated with this account. 
  • Citizens Quest Checking: This account earns interest at a rate of 0.05%. Its $25 monthly service fee can be waived by making a deposit of $5,000 per cycle or by maintaining a monthly balance of $25,000. Citizens Quest Checking has no overdraft fees. 
  • Citizens Wealth Checking: This is Citizens' premium checking account. It has a minimum balance requirement of $200,000, earns interest and has no monthly service fee. The APY for this account is not confirmed online. CNET reached out to Citizens but we have not heard back.
  • Citizens Student Checking: Citizens also offers a Student Checking account to individuals under 25. It doesn't earn interest but comes with no monthly service fees.

Checking account features

Checking account APY Minimum balance Monthly service fee Overdraft fee Foreign transaction fee Stop payment fee
One Deposit Checking N/A Any amount $10; waived by making at least one deposit per payment cycle $35 3% $35
Citizens EverValue Checking N/A Any amount $5 None 3% $35
Citizens Quest Checking 0.05% Any amount $25; waived with a $5,000 deposit per cycle or maintaining a $25,000 monthly combined balance $35 3% $0
Citizens Wealth Checking Not disclosed $200,000 $0 $35 3% $0
Student Checking N/A Any amount $0 $35 3% $35

Rates as of March 14, 2023.

What we like

  • Several checking account options to meet various financial needs
  • No minimum balance requirement for most accounts, with the exception of Citizens Wealth Checking
  • All accounts are eligible for Citizens Paid Early service
  • Citizens' Peace of Mind and other overdraft coverage options are available to help avoid high overdraft fees

What we don't like

  • $35 overdraft fee, which is above the national average
  • Not all accounts earn interest

Savings account review

You have three savings options from Citizens: One Deposit Savings, Citizens Quest Savings and Citizens Wealth Savings. While all have low or no fees, they also earn lower-than-average interest rates, well below the over 4% APYs some of the best savings accounts currently offer.

One Deposit Savings has no minimum deposit requirements and a 0.01% APY. There's a $5 monthly fee, but it's waived as long as you make one qualifying deposit during each monthly billing period or maintain a $200 minimum daily balance.

Citizens Quest Savings, the next level up, offers a slightly higher APY of 0.07% -- but this rate still isn't impressive. It also has no minimum deposit requirement, and no monthly fee as long as you have a Citizens Quest Checking account.

Citizens Wealth Savings is only offered if you have a Citizens Wealth Checking account, has no monthly fee and no minimum balance requirement. It earns interest, but like the Wealth Checking account, the variable rate is not advertised online. 

Savings account features

Savings account APY Minimum balance to open Monthly service fee
One Deposit Savings 0.01% $0 $5, waived by making one deposit per statement period or by maintaining a $200 daily balance
Citizens Quest Savings 0.07% $0 No monthly fee if you have Quest Checking
Citizens Wealth Savings Not disclosed $0 $0

Rates as of March 14, 2023.

What we like

  • No minimum amount to open either account
  • No monthly service fee for Citizens Quest Savings
  • Unlimited no-fee ATM transactions at non-Citizens ATMs

What we don't like

  • Extremely low interest rates
  • Monthly service fee for One Deposit Savings
  • $3 non-Citizens ATM fee for One Deposit Savings

CD account review

If you want to grow your money and don't need access to it right away, Citizens offers an online-only 14-month CD with an APY of 2.75%. While this rate is a bit higher than the national average, it's still lower than some comparable CD terms -- like Ally's 12-year CD or Synchrony's 12- to 14-month CD. There's a $1,000 minimum deposit requirement to open a standard CD.

Other terms are available, according to Citizens. However, it's unclear whether you need to apply for them at local branches.  

The bank also offers a Breakable CD, which lets you make a one-time withdrawal without incurring early-penalty charges. It requires a minimum $10,000 deposit and has terms ranging from three to 60 months. Its IRA CD has a $250 minimum deposit and its terms range from one to 120 months.

CD account features

CD term APY
14-month 2.75%

Rate as of March 14, 2023.

What we like

  • Online-only CD option available for those who don't live near a Citizens branch
  • Provides three different types of CDs: standard, breakable and IRA CDs
  • Above-average APY for the 14-month CD

What we don't like 

  • Other CD terms are not available online
  • $1,000 minimum deposit for 14-month CD

Money market account review

Citizens has three money market accounts to choose from: the Personal Money Market Account, the Citizens Quest Money Market Account and the Citizens Wealth Money Market Account.

All three allow an ATM card or can be linked to a debit card with a primary checking account. Interest rates for the Citizens Quest Money Market Account and the Citizens Wealth Money Market Account will vary depending on the account balance. 

You'll earn interest at a rate of 0.01% with the Personal Money Market Account and it can be paired with a primary Citizens checking account. 

The Citizens Quest Money Market Account can be paired with a Citizens Quest Checking account. This account has slightly higher interest rates than the Personal Money Market Account and it has no monthly service fee. It also offers preferred rates that are slightly higher, if you open an account with $25,000 or more.

The Citizens Wealth Money Market Account is only available to Citizens Wealth customers and has the highest interest rates of the three deposit accounts. It also offers preferred rates, but the minimum deposit requirement to earn higher rates isn't listed.

Money market account features

Money market account Standard APY* Preferred APY Minimum balance to open Monthly service fee Overdraft fee
Personal Money Market Account 0.01% N/A $0 $10, waived by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $2,500 N/A
Citizens Quest Money Market Account 0.07% 1.50% 0.07% - 2.75% $0 $0 with Citizens Quest Checking N/A
Citizens Wealth Money Market Account 0.10% - 2.00% 0.10% - 3.00% $0 $0 with Citizens Wealth Checking N/A

Rates as of March 14, 2023. APYs vary depending on account balance. 

What we like

  • Debit card access
  • Check-writing privileges with free checks for Citizens Quest and Citizens Wealth customers
  • Easily waived monthly service fees

What we don't like

  • $2,500 minimum daily balance required to waive Personal Money Market Account monthly service fee
  • High deposit requirement for premier interest rates
  • Account transactions, other than deposits (ATM or in-branch) are limited to six per month

Banking experience

Citizens is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, and offers an array of retail, small business and commercial banking products. There are over 1,000 local branches and 3,000 ATMs for customers to use. Though the bank only has branches in 14 states, it has a robust mobile app from which customers can make deposits and manage their accounts.

Customers can also schedule a free Citizens Checkup, either in-person or via phone, to get advice from a Citizens banker or advisor on their financial goals. 

Overdraft fees

Citizens charges a $35 overdraft fee per transaction, which can add up over time. The bank does offer Citizens Peace of Mind, which gives you more time to take care of any overdrafts and you don't need to sign up for it. If you overdraw your account but are able to bring your balance back to a positive level by 10 p.m. ET the following day, you will receive a rebate for the overdraft fee. The bank also has a $5 Overdraft Pass, which won't charge you for any overdraws of $5 or less. 

Citizens has two overdraft coverage programs customers can enroll in -- the fees for which may be waived depending on the account type. 

  • Savings Overdraft Transfer Plan: Will draw funds from an attached savings account to cover the transaction at no cost. 
  • Overdraft Line of Credit: Will draw funds from an attached line of credit to cover the transaction. There is a $12 transfer fee per day and a $30 annual fee. Both fees are waived for Student Checking, Citizens EverValue Checking, Citizens Quest Checking and Citizens Wealth Checking. 

Customer service 

If there's a branch nearby, you can talk to a Citizens representative in person. You can also call 800-922-9999 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. through 10 p.m. ET and 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. ET on the weekends. New customers can call 877-360-2472 during those same hours. Live chat is available on the Citizens website during normal business hours.