If the account balance for this savings account falls just one dollar short of the required minimum, that hefty bonus is diminished in half to $1,750.
Looking for some extra cash after a busy holiday season? How about $3,500? For Citi customers with a sizable sum on hand, opening a new savings account can deliver just that — but, of course, not without significant hurdles. (And that’s why many pros say most of you are better off with a high-yield savings account — many are paying more than they have in over a decade; you can see the best savings rates you may qualify for here— with little to no hurdles to get over.)
Like many bank accounts these days, the Citi(R) Savings Account comes with the promise of a hefty sign-up bonus — up to $3,500 — for simply opening a new account and “completing required activities.” But before we go further, it should be noted that this offering sits atop a lengthy bonus tier. Existing Citi customers — who enroll by Jan. 9, 2023 — can take home bonuses from as low as $40 for balances from $10,000 to $29,999 to as high as $3,500 for accounts over $1 million. And if the new account falls just one dollar short of that threshold — from $500,000 to $999,999, for example — that hefty bonus for the $1 million account is diminished in half to $1,750.
Chanelle Bessette, banking specialist at NerdWallet, says offerings like these, albeit eye-catching at first glance, show just why it’s critical to read the fine print. “Sign-up bonuses can be a good incentive to open an account, but there are things to consider before you go after one,” Bessette says, adding that bonuses are “typically subject to taxes since they count towards your annual income,” and “some banks have fairly stringent rules around the qualifying activity that it takes to earn a sign-up bonus.”
Check the details
The first step for anyone considering moving cash around to get a bonus should be to consider the conditions, Bessette says. “Some banks might require you to maintain a certain monthly balance or make a certain number of direct deposits,” she explains. (You can see the best savings rates you may qualify for here.)
Like many banks offering large bonuses, this particular account indeed has plenty of requirements to achieve. For starters, you must maintain your balance for 60 straight days for the corresponding bonus offering to qualify. Only then, on the “21st day after your 20th day,” which Citi refers to as the “maintenance period,” will you “remain eligible for a bonus,” according to Citi. Any accounts that fall below the required balance period during the maintenance period are subject to a reduced bonus.
Is the rate worth the move?
Depending on your state, and selected account package — Basic Banking Account Package, The Citibank(R) Account Package, Citi Priority Account Package, Citigold(R) Account Package and Citigold(R) Private Client — the annual percentage yield, or APY, can range from 0.05% to 0.15%, according to Citi. To be sure, there are several bank account offerings out there that offer APY many times higher, says Matthew Goldberg, consumer banking reporter at Bankrate — and you can see the best savings rates you may qualify for here.
“Many of the online banks offering the top yields now didn’t exist 17 years ago,” Goldberg says, adding that “it could be worth it to look at the current rate environment — especially if you haven’t done so in many years.”
Check out these 5 high-yield savings accounts:
UFB Best Savings: 4.11% APY
Bask Interest Savings Account: 4.03% APY
BMO Online Savings Account: 4.00% APY
CIT Bank Savings 3.85% APY
Citizens Access(R) Savings: 3.75%
Don’t forget fees
So you’ve met all of the requirements, you have the $1 million ready to go; now what about the fees? Depending on which package you go with, monthly service fees can range from $10 to $30 if account balances are not maintained and if required account activity is not achieved. “The last thing you want to do is have fees eat away at the bonus and/or interest you’re earning,” Goldberg says.
But, if you feel you’re ready and equipped to jump the hurdles, this account might be for you. What’s most important, Bessette says, is to ensure whatever bank you use meets your needs. “If face-to-face customer service is important to you, then an online bank might not be the way to go,” Bessette says. “If you’re looking for a bank that also offers checking accounts, then you might want to see what the bank’s overdraft fees are like and how many fee-free ATMs you’ll be able to access.” And yes, Citi has quite a few fee-free ATMs.
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