Citi Accelerate Savings Account Review 2023
Citibank is a national, full-service bank with a strong online banking presence as well as a nationwide chain of brick-and-mortar branches.
Even though its coverage is national, many of the banking rules that govern how it operates are dictated by state laws. So the terms of its offerings, even its online offerings, vary from state to state.
Citibank is a stable bank with many branches and a strong online presence — not to mention that their savings account interest rates are consistently among the highest in the nation. Plus, it’s relatively easy to avoid the monthly service fees.
Citi Accelerate Savings Pros & Cons
- Can be combined with a checking account for overdraft protection
- Bank branches are available for in-person banking services
- A robust, easy-to-use mobile banking app is offered to all customers
- Monthly fee for balances under $500
- The savings interest rate you receive may not be as high as other online savings accounts
- A beginning opening balance of $100 is required
Which Savings Accounts Have the Best Interest Rates?
Compare rates, fees, opening balances, and features of some of the best savings accounts to see how the Citi Accelerate Savings account stacks up.
Citi Accelerate Savings Account Top Features and Benefits
While you’re considering opening a savings account at Citibank, there are some unique aspects of the account to consider, including:
- Overdraft protection
- Auto Save program
- Account access
You can use an Accelerate Savings account as a means of overdraft protection.
Should a transaction put your checking account into overdraft, Citibank will cover that from your savings account. This feature requires that your savings account be linked to the checking account that’s protected, so it’s not available on the basic (i.e., unconnected) savings account.
Citibank’s fee for overdraft protection is $10 per day, regardless of how many overdraft items get protected.
Auto Save Program
Citibank tries to make saving easy with its Auto Save program, which allows you to put your savings on autopilot. It’s free and can be customized according to your circumstances and goals.
The Auto Save program allows you to select the amount, frequency, dates, and duration of the program.
A good feature of the Auto Save program is that it isn’t confined to drawing from only Citi accounts. Citibank also has an inter-institution transfer service, which allows you to make transfers from accounts at other institutions. This applies to transfers to and from banking accounts at other banks and credit unions.
Easy to Use
The idea behind savings accounts is to make it easy to put money in, not take it out. It’s not surprising that getting access to money in your savings account is not as easy as accessing your checking account.
Getting money from a basic (i.e., unconnected) savings account is most commonly done by a visit to a branch and making a teller withdrawal.
Fortunately, Citibank has several hundred branches throughout the country, making that easier to do than most banks. The other way to get access to the money you saved is by making a transfer to another account.
Accessing your Citi Accelerate Savings account, on the other hand, is much easier. There are a number of ways to access your money:
You can make online transfers from your savings account to your linked Citibank checking account or another account in your Citibank package of products and services. When using your savings account to purchase that item you have been saving for, this is the most common option.
ATM withdrawal at thousands of ATMs worldwide, using the debit card that came with your checking account. It gives you direct access to your Accelerate Savings account.
Citibank and certain other ATMs can be used for free; but in an emergency, almost any ATM can be used, for which Citibank does impose a small fee.
As with the basic savings account, a teller withdrawal at any Citibank branch will also give you direct access to your Accelerate Savings account.
Compare Citi Accelerate Savings With Other Savings Accounts
Citi’s savings account has some unique features that make it different from other savings accounts, but you should know how it compares to other savings accounts as you’re choosing which one is best for you.
To start your comparison shopping, consider how the Citi savings account compares to other savings accounts, like the ones below.
Capital One 360 Performance Savings
While Capital One offers a highly competitive interest rate and no monthly fees, it only has about 325 in-person branches as opposed to the 2,500 branches offered by Citi.
When it comes to monthly service fees, Citi charges one, while Capital One does not. However, Citi will waive the fee for customers who have a balance of at least $500 in all Citi accounts.
If you don’t need in-person banking and you anticipate having a balance below $500, you’ll want to learn more about Capital One.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Savings
Marcus is a strong contender in the savings account space. It offers one of the higher interest rates you’ll find at an online bank. There are no maintenance fees and no minimum deposit to open the account.
While Marcus doesn’t have branches, it does offer online banking and a robust mobile banking app that’s easy to use.
If you’re solely interested in putting your money away in savings without needing immediate access to it, and you don’t need a full range of banking services, you should take a closer look at Marcus by Goldman Sachs savings.
American Express High-Yield Savings Account
You are probably familiar with American Express credit cards, but you may not have known that it also offers a savings account that is a strong competitor among some of the top accounts.
The American Express savings account offers an interest rate that is leaps and bounds above the rates offered by brick-and-mortar banks. There’s no maintenance fee and no minimum deposit or balance requirements.
There are no ATM cards issued with the American Express savings account, and there are no banking branches.
If you are comfortable with online banking and want to earn a high interest rate while watching your money grow, learn more about the American Express savings account.
Does Citi Have Other Accounts for Saving Money?
One of the benefits of banking with Citi is that they are part of Citigroup, which has other account offerings. The first one is a savings account set up as part of an IRA (Individual Retirement Agreement). Given their competitive interest rates and FDIC insurance, an account like this could be a worthwhile part of your retirement investment portfolio.
In addition to banking products, Citigroup also offers investment opportunities. If you opt for the Accelerate Savings account, several investment options open up depending on the account package you choose, some including a personal investment adviser.
How to Compare Citi Accelerate With Other Savings Accounts
Each bank does things a little differently in regards to how they set up savings accounts and what they offer to their customers. When you compare banks and accounts, make certain that you weigh the following factors for all accounts you consider.
One of the main purposes of having a savings account is to grow your money by earning interest. Obviously, the higher the interest rate a savings account offers, the better.
This is where the Citi Accelerate Savings account shines. It consistently offers some of the highest interest rates in the country, which is unusual for a bank that offers the benefit of both online banking and brick-and-mortar branches.
Plus, you earn a high rate regardless of the balance you maintain. There are tiers of packages, and at times the interest rate may vary between them; but in the current environment, there is no difference.
In addition, when paired as part of a package of banking products, the Accelerate Savings account almost always includes a debit card, giving you enhanced access to your money (within the limits the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D imposes on all banks).
Citibank offers two kinds of savings accounts, stand-alone and Accelerate. As the name implies, a stand-alone savings account is not coupled with any other Citibank banking product.
The stand-alone savings account carries a $4.50 monthly fee. That fee can be waived on your basic savings account if you maintain an average balance of at least $500 a month.
Although the Accelerate Savings account is only available in certain markets, it carries a monthly fee of $4.50 if you don’t have a checking account in the Citi Elevate Account package, in which you’re required to maintain an average monthly balance of $500 or more. The same applies to its $2.50 non-Citibank ATM fee.
Other Fees to Consider
There is one other fee in addition to the monthly service fee — the Regulation D fee.
Regulation D is a rule imposed by the Federal Reserve that restricts savers by limiting the number of withdrawals they can make to six transactions per month. Banks can charge a fee on all transactions over that limit.
Citibank complies with Reg D by charging a $20 fee for each transaction over the limit. There is no limit on the number of withdrawals or transfers which would be subject to that fee.
Citibank’s fee for withdrawals over the Reg D limit of six per month is one of the highest in the banking industry but is easily avoided by using your savings account for its intended purpose: to save money. After all, fees can wipe out any interest you earn.
In addition, all qualifying transactions in any of the Citibank package accounts earn rewards in their Citi ThankYou Points program.
How to Open a Citi Accelerate Savings Account
Citi makes it easy to open an account in person at a branch, by phone, or online. All you need are your driver’s license, your employment information, and, of course, the money with which you plan to open the account.
If the account is to be a joint account, you will need the same information for the other account holder(s).
If you’re already a Citibank customer, they automatically populate the information they have about you into the new account. And you could simply use a transfer from another account as the opening deposit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since savings accounts are designed for consumers to not spend the money in the account, you can’t use the account like you would a checking account. They don’t come with checks or ATM cards unless you get a checking account that is linked to your savings account.
APY stands for annual percentage yield (APY). It’s the interest rate, but it’s more than that. It’s the annual rate of return when combined with the effect of compound interest.