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Citi vs. Chase: Which Is Right for You?

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SmartAsset: Citibank vs. Chase

Citi and Chase Bank are two of the biggest names in the banking industry today. Both financial institutions provide easy access with online and mobile banking, plus thousands of branches and ATMs domestically and abroad. These banks also offer a variety of products from a simple savings account to an IRA CD. If you’re unsure about how these banks differ or which you should choose, we’ve highlighted some of the key features that distinguish the two.

If you are looking to invest your money, a financial advisor can help you create a financial plan. 

Who Should Bank With Citi?

If ATM accessibility is important to you, Citi may be the better choice. Citi offers over 65,000 fee-free ATMs and access to more MoneyPass® ATMs in the U.S., while Chase only offers 16,000. In addition, Citi operates roughly 700 branches in the U.S. and more than 1,800 branches overseas throughout 19 countries. This widespread access comes in handy when you’re abroad, especially since you can withdraw cash from these Citi ATMs without incurring a foreign transaction fee. On the other hand, Chase charges a $5 fee for all withdrawals made abroad, plus 3% of the amount withdrawn.

Both banks charge a $2.50 fee if you need to make a withdrawal from an out-of-network ATM. Out-of-network ATMs mean those that aren’t operated by or partnered with Citi or Chase. If it’s higher CD rates you’re looking for, Citi bests Chase here, especially for balances under $10,000.

Who Should Bank With Chase?   

If you prefer branch accessibility, sign-up bonuses and lower overdraft protection fees, Chase Bank may be the best option for you. Chase currently has over 4,700 branches established in 48 states while Citi only has 700. Chase often offers generous sign-up bonuses for new customers. The offer details vary depending on when you open account. You can usually earn a couple hundred dollars (or more) by opening certain accounts like the Chase Total Checking® account. Citi typically doesn’t offer sign-up bonuses but sometimes offers rewards according to your banking package.

If you’re prone to the occasional overdraft, Chase might offer better services to help you out. Both banks charge a $34 fee for every time you overdraft your account. However, Chase offers free overdraft protection to help you make transfers from a Chase savings account to cover your overdraft. Citi, on the other hand, charges $10-$35 per wire transfer.

Chase outdoes Citi when it comes to its online presence. Chase’s website is much more user-friendly making it easier to find information and manage your accounts. Chase also has a great mobile app interface where you can deposit checks, check on balances and make easy transfers.

Citi vs. Chase: Bank Accounts

SmartAsset: Citibank vs. Chase

Now that you know the general pros and cons of each bank, let’s look at the specific products each offers. Chase offers a slightly more limited range of accounts that includes two savings accounts, eight checking accounts and CDs. Chase CDs range from one month to 120 months, allowing for both long-term and short-term savings. You can also find credit cards and loans with Chase. This range of accounts means you can more easily keep all your accounts with the same institution. However, you won’t find a money market account or banking IRAs with Chase.

Citi also offers checking and savings accounts, in addition to CDs and banking IRAs. The CDs range from three months to five years. Citi’s accounts operate according to the bank’s account packages. Each package determines the rates and perks you can get with your accounts. For example, the highest tier package, Citigold®, includes a team of advisors and earns better rates.

Citi vs. Chase: Fees

Let’s start by looking at each bank’s basic savings accounts. The Chase Savings account requires a minimum opening deposit of $25 and charges a $5 fee. You can get this fee waived by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $300, having an automatic transfer of at least $25, linking your savings account to a qualifying checking account or by being under 18. The Citi® Savings account requires no minimum deposit needed to open. Your monthly fee will depend on your banking package and ranges.

Citi vs. Chase Fees

CitiChase
Basic Checking Account$12 per month, (three ways to have fee waived)$12 per month, (three ways to waive fee)
Basic Savings Account$0 per month when linked with checking; $4.50 for stand-alone savings (one way to waive fee)$5 per month, (four ways to waive fee)
Non-bank ATM in the U.S.$2.50 per transaction (four ways to waive fee)$2.50 per transaction (three ways to waive fee)
Overdraft$34$34 (free overdraft protection is available)

There are also some notable differences to consider if you’re looking to open a checking account. Both Chase and Citi require a $12 monthly fee for their most basic checking accounts. However, if you’re looking for a premium checking account, you’ll face higher fees. Chase’s Premier Plus Checking account and Sapphire Banking account charges $25 per month. Citi’s fees range from $0 to $30, depending on your account package. Again, you can waive these fees in a few different ways.

Citi vs. Chase: Rates

As big banks, Citi and Chase have to maintain the big costs of having thousands of branches, ATMs and employees. While this makes for a good physical banking experience, both banks’ interest rates take a hit as a result. Both Citi and Chase offer some of the lower-earning banking interest rates in the industry, with only a few options to earn higher than 1%.

While both banks have lower interest rates, Citi does offer slightly higher rates. The Chase Savings account earns at the lowest possible rate at a 0.01% APY. Even Citi’s lowest banking package earns either 0.05% on the basic savings account, depending on your balance.

Citi takes the lead when it comes to CD rates, too, especially for those with balances below $10,000. Chase offers pretty low standard rates, although you can earn slightly higher relationship rates when you link your CD to a Chase personal checking account. Still, you need to have high balances to really take advantage of the best relationship rates.

Bottom Line

SmartAsset: Citibank vs. Chase

When it comes to checking and savings accounts, it’s crucial that you find the bank that best suits your financial situation. You should consider Citi if you prefer extensive ATM and branch accessibility, both domestically and abroad. Citi will also serve you better if you’re looking for a big bank with higher rates. Chase, however, may be a better option for you if branch accessibility and a great mobile app are a priority.  If you’re not impressed by either of these banks, consider our list on the top banks based on ATM fees.

Tips for Finding the Right Bank

  • Still uncertain about which bank is best for you? Before you make any decisions, figure out what your financial goals are. This can be helpful whether you’re saving for college or you’re already making mortgage payments. Then check whether the banks you’re researching can help you meet those goals. Perhaps even meeting with a financial advisor could help you cement your financial goals and plans to find the best bank. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • An important part of choosing a bank is looking at the fees. If you’re tight on money, you don’t want to be handing over big sums of money just for keeping your money safe. Get familiar with each bank’s monthly account fees and fees for overdrafts or ATM usage. There are a number of free checking accounts out there, so don’t feel like you have to settle for a monthly fee.

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