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Citizens Access Bank Review

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by Lauren Perez Updated
Citizens Access

As an online bank, Citizens Access gets to avoid the costs that come with brick-and-mortar locations. That means the bank can pass on those savings to its customers by offering some of the best interest rates out there. Its savings account earns according to balance tiers, with the higher tier earning the more favorable rate. You’ll need a pretty substantial deposit ($5,000 or over) to snag that higher rate. Each CD term, however, has its own great interest rate, allowing you to save towards both long- and short-term goals. 

Keep in mind that Citizens Access, unlike Citizens Bank, is entirely online. So to manage your Citizens Access accounts, you’ll need to head to its website and use your online login. You will not receive an ATM card, a debit card nor checks for your Citizens Access accounts. 

Products Offered

Product Key Details
Savings Account
  • Earns interest according to balance tiers
  • $5,000 minimum deposit 
  • No monthly fee
Certificates of Deposit
  • $5,000 minimum deposit 
  • Seven terms available

Citizens Access Interest Rate Comparison

Citizens Access - 2.25% APY online savings, no fees and 5 minute sign-up. Member FDIC.

Citizens Access Overview

Backed by Citizens Bank, N.A., Citizens Access bills itself as “100% committed to providing the best savings experience.” Unlike its parent company, Citizens Access is entirely online. This means that you can only access your Citizens Access accounts online, not at a Citizens Bank branch. 

Citizens Access seeks to provide just that, access to more customers who can better benefit from the lack of physical branches. This difference allows the bank to offer its high rates for great savings across the board. 

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Citizens Access Account Features

Citizens Access accounts’ best features are their high interest rates. The savings account and the certificates of deposit (CDs) don’t charge a monthly fee, either, so your savings get to grow uninterrupted. The bank compounds interest daily and pays it out monthly. 

Citizens Access Online Savings Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $5,000
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile and over the phone 
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No monthly fee
Current Terms and Rates
  • Account balances below $5,000: 0.25% APY
  • Account balances of $5,000 and over: 2.25% APY

The Citizens Access Online Savings account earns interest according to two balance tiers. Since you’ll need at least $5,000 to open the account, you can earn at the higher savings rate of 2.25% APY if you can maintain that balance. Should your balance fall below that amount, due to withdrawals or transfers, your balance will earn at the much lower rate of 0.25% APY. 

Again, this account requires a large deposit to open at $5,000. You’ll want to make sure you can safely stash this amount away before opening the account. Luckily, there is no monthly fee to worry about. 

Citizens Access Online CD (Certificate of Deposit)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $5,000
Access to Your CD Account Online, mobile and over the phone 
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 
Fees No monthly fee, but early withdrawal penalties may apply.
Current Terms and Rates
  • 6 Month: 2.20% APY
  • 12 Month: 2.70% APY
  • 18 Month: 2.75% APY
  • 2 Year: 2.90% APY
  • 3 Year: 3.05% APY
  • 4 Year: 3.10% APY
  • 5 Year: 3.15% APY

CDs offer a much stricter approach to savings. Once you open an account and make your deposit, which has to be at least $5,000 here, the account is closed to any more deposits and any withdrawals. You’ll have to wait for the account’s term to end to make those transactions or any changes to the account. This also means that the account’s rate remains the same throughout its term and can only change when you renew the account. 

Citizens Access seven CDs each offer a great interest rate. Even the short-term accounts, which typically offer lower rates, earn well over 1%. You can choose for the interest earned to be paid back into the account or into a different linked account.

With its variety of available terms, Citizens Access also offers an easy way to create a CD ladder with its CD accounts. This allows you to open multiple CD accounts at the same time without having to open each one individually. To build a Citizens Access CD ladder, you’ll divide your initial total investment across multiple CDs, each with a different maturity term. For example, to open five Citizens Access CDs, you’ll need $25,000 to fund each with $5,000. Then you’ll be able to receive a payout at the end of each CD, providing a semi-steady stream of income. 

Where Can I Find Citizens Access?

You can find Citizens Access online at their website. Keep in mind, this bank is separate from Citizens Bank so it is cashless, paperless and does not have any branches of its own.

What Can You Do Online With Citizens Access?

You can do anything you need to do online with Citizens Access. Because it’s all online, all the bank’s functions and services operate there without any in-person features. This means you can make deposits and transfers of money, make changes to your accounts, set up your preferences and more online.

How Do I Access My Money?

You can access your money entirely online. You’ll need to log into your accounts with your personal account information to be able to make transfers, withdrawals and deposits. You can fund your accounts with either an online funds transfer or by depositing a check either on your mobile device via mail to the bank’s postal address.

How Can I Save More Money With a Citizens Access Account?

For starters, you’ll want to make sure you can safely deposit at least $5,000 into a new Citizens Access account. This is the amount required to even open an account. This is also the amount that will earn you the highest interest rate on the Online Savings account so you’ll save more by maintaining that balance. 

With CDs, you can save more money in the long run by creating a CD ladder. That will ensure payouts for years to come. Again, just make sure you can afford the minimum deposits and that you’re not stretching your funds just to meet these minimums. 

What’s the Process for Opening an Account With Citizens Access?

To open an account with Citizens Access, you can visit the bank’s website and find the account you’d like to open. Then click the “open account” button on the page to start the process. You’ll need to enter your exact deposit amount, some personal information, accept the account terms, create a username and password and actually fund your account. The process should not take more than five minutes. 

What’s the Catch?

There are two main catches to banking with Citizens Access. First, the minimum deposit amounts are substantially high, especially for simple savings and CD accounts. It’s important you don’t harm your finances just to try to meet these minimums. Only meet them if you can. 

Secondly, the bank is entirely online. You have to open, fund and manage your accounts on the bank’s website whether on a desktop or mobile device. You can call the bank to speak with customer service or to close accounts, but there are no physical branches to visit. 

Bottom Line

Citizens Access stands out for its high interest rates. Both its Online Savings and Online CD accounts can really boost your savings big time no matter whether you’re saving for the long or short term. Again, just be careful of the high minimum deposits. If you can meet and maintain those balances, you’ll be set, especially since there are no monthly fees to worry about. 

Tips for Saving Money

  • Open a high-yield savings account. This kind of account allows you to save money and earn over 15x the national average in interest, depending on your balance and contributions. Check out the American Express National Bank Personal Savings Account. Grow your savings with no fees/minimum balance and 24/7 access. Learn more. Sponsored
  • Sometimes, it’s all too easy to dip into your savings account to pay for some expense. But if you keep withdrawing from your savings, your actual savings fund will take a hit and can leave you struggling when you really need it. In that case, you might want to consider placing your money inside a certificate of deposit. That doesn’t allow for much flexibility so your money can grow away from any potential disturbances. Finding accounts with some of the best CD rates will boost your savings even better, too. 
  • While Citizens Access has some of the best rates around, it also has some of the highest minimum deposit requirements. These high amounts aren’t reasonable for many customers who still want to take advantage of high rates. Online banks like Ally often don’t require minimums, opening up great savings for more customers. 
  • If you really want to boost your saving, consider working with a financial advisor who can help you maximize your investments. They can take a comprehensive look at your finances, seeing where to increase your investments and where you can make some spending cuts. They can also help you plan for retirement and other future expenses. There’s certainly a qualified advisor near you who we can help connect you with using our financial advisor matching tool. We’ll get your preferences and financial needs and match you with advisors in your area to help you get started right away. 
Save more with these rates that beat the National Average
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Best Places to Save

SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country where people have the opportunity to save money. Zoom between states and the national map to see the best places to save.

Rank County Median Household Income Cost of Living Purchasing Power Estimated Tax Rate

Methodology Where you live can have a big impact on how easy it is to save money based on several regional factors. Our study aims to find the most suitable places for people to save based on median household income, average living expenses and income tax burden.

First, we calculated the average cost of living in each county for a household with two adults (one working). We then created a purchasing power index for each county. This reflects the counties with the highest ratio of household income to cost of living.

To better compare income tax burdens across counties, we applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for a family making $50,000 annual income in each location. Next, we created an effective tax rate index for each county, which reflects the counties with the lowest ratio of income taxes to the assumed $50,000 annual income.

Finally, we calculated the weighted average of the indices to yield an overall best places to save score. We used a three-fourths weighting for purchasing power and a one-fourth weighting for tax rates. We indexed the final number so higher values reflect places that are better to save.

Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 5-Year American Community Survey, MIT Living Wage Study