Which Bank Is the Best?

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Choosing the right financial institution depends on your priorities. You’ll likely prefer national banks to local banks if you want an institution with more locations or a greater variety of bank products.

We’ve compared three notable financial institutions — Citi, Bank of America, and Chase — to see which of these national banks might be suitable for you. We’re also comparing financial institutions in trustworthiness so you can see if it plays a factor in your selection.

Citi vs. Bank of America vs. Chase

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High interest rate on Citi Accelerate Savings

0.05% to 1.40% APY (depends on location)

Easy to waive monthly service fees on Bank of America Advantage Savings

$200 checking account bonus on Chase Total Checking

Pros and cons of Citi

Pros and cons of Bank of America

Pros and cons of Chase

Citi vs. Bank of America vs. Chase checking account comparisons

We’ve compared three basic checking accounts offered by each bank. You may not need to pay monthly service fees on these accounts if you qualify to waive them. 

The Citi Access Account will probably be your go-to option if your goal is to avoid paying monthly service fees on a checking account. Citi’s requirements for waiving monthly service fees are a bit more lenient than Bank of America or Chase.

For example, you’ll be able to waive the account’s monthly service fee if you receive a direct deposit of any amount. The Citi Access Account is also the only one of the three checking accounts that lets you waive the monthly service fee by making a monthly bill payment.

You might still consider the Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking Account or Chase Total Checking® if you’d like to earn a cash bonus. Citi offers a cash bonus, but you’ll need to select the Citi Priority package and deposit at least $10,000.

Chase will likely have the easiest cash bonus to qualify for. All you need to do is use a coupon code when you open Chase Total Checking® and set up direct deposit in the first 90 days.

Bank of America has a cash bonus if you open the  Bank of America Advantage Plus Checking Account. To receive the bonus, you must have $1,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits during the first 90 days of opening an account.


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


None


Minimum Deposit Amount


None


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


None


Minimum Deposit Amount


None

More Information

  • The most basic Citi checking account
  • Access to 690 branches in the US and 1,800 locations overseas
  • Waive the $10 monthly service fee by making one direct deposit per month, OR making one bill payment per month, OR maintaining an average monthly balance of $1,500 in linked accounts
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • FDIC insured

Citi vs. Bank of America vs. Chase savings account comparisons

See how Citi, Bank of America, and Chase savings accounts compare.

Bank of America makes it the easiest to waive monthly service fees on a savings account. The 0.01% to 0.04% APY automatically waives the monthly service fee during the first 6 months of opening your account. After the first 6 months, you’ll also be able to waive the monthly service fee if you meet specific age requirements or enroll in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.

If you’re searching for a competitive interest rate on a savings account, Citi® Accelerate Savings offers the highest interest rate out of the three accounts.

However, Citi® Accelerate Savings is an online high-yield savings account that’s only available in 42 states. You won’t be eligible for the account if you live in a state with brick-and-mortar locations. Also, bear in mind Citi groups its savings accounts and checking accounts into packages, which can be overwhelming if you’d like to only open a savings account.

Chase might be worth considering if you don’t meet the requirements to waive the monthly service fee at either of the other two banks — you can waive the Chase Savings℠ monthly service fee if you keep a minimum of $300 in your account.


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


1.40% APY


Minimum Deposit Amount


None


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


1.40% APY


Minimum Deposit Amount


None

Pros

  • High APY (minimum $1 balance to earn)
  • No opening deposit

Cons

  • You may pay a monthly fee, depending on a variety of factors
  • Other fees depend on which checking account you link to your savings account
  • Not available in certain states
  • BBB gives Citi an F in trustworthiness


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More Information

  • Monthly fee depends on whether you link to a Citi checking account, and which checking account you choose
  • You may qualify to have the monthly fee waived, depending on which checking/savings package you have
  • No opening deposit
  • Compounding interest to maximize your savings
  • Not available in CA, CT, IL, MD, NV, NJ, NY, VA, DC, certain parts of FL, and Puerto Rico


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


0.01% to 0.04% APY


Minimum Deposit Amount


$100


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


0.01% to 0.04% APY


Minimum Deposit Amount


$100

Pros

  • New accounts have monthly fee waived for the first 6 months
  • Multiple ways to waive monthly fee after the first 6 months
  • No excess withdrawal fee if your balance is at least $20,000, or if you’re a Preferred Rewards customer

Cons

  • Low APY
  • Compounds interest monthly, not daily
  • $100 opening deposit
  • $8 monthly service fee
  • $10 excess withdrawal fee


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More Information

  • Access to over 4,200 branches and 16,000 ATMs
  • Earn slightly higher rates by becoming a Preferred Rewards customer and qualifying for the Gold, Platinum, or Platinum Honors tier
  • Earn cash back when you make a debit card or credit card purchase through the BankAmeriDeals® program; Cardholders will automatically be enrolled in the program when setting up online banking and a list of eligible offers and deals will be available through online banking
  • Waive $8 monthly service fee by maintaining $500 balance, OR linking to your Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking® account, OR by becoming a Preferred Rewards customer
  • Waive monthly fee if you’re a student under age 24
  • Interest compounded monthly and paid monthly
  • FDIC insured

Citibank vs. Bank of America vs. Chase CD comparisons 

Citi Fixed Rate Certificates of Deposit may be notable if you’re looking for a competitive CD rate. Select Citi CD terms — a 6-month CD, 9-month CD, 1-year CD, and 18-month CD — are paying higher interest rates than most CDs at national brick-and-mortar banks.

Citi is also the only bank out of three to offer special types of CDs. You can get a step-up CD, which increases its rate after a set date. You also have the option of a no-penalty CD, which won’t charge you a fee if you withdraw money before the end of your term. 

Bank of America or Chase CDs might be worthwhile if you live in a state where Citi CDs require a high minimum opening deposit. If you live in Maryland, Virginia, Florida, or Washington, DC, you’ll need at least $2,500 to open a Citi CD. Chase and Bank of America CDs have the same minimum opening deposit regardless of where you live. 


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


0.05% to 2.35% APY


Minimum Deposit Amount


$500 to $2,500


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


0.05% to 2.35% APY


Minimum Deposit Amount


$500 to $2,500

Pros

  • Range of CD terms
  • Relatively low early withdrawal penalties

Cons

  • Rates vary depending on term
  • $500 to $2,500 opening deposit, depending on your state of residence
  • Must visit a branch to deposit more than $10,000
  • BBB gives Citi an F in trustworthiness


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More Information

  • Terms ranging from 3 months to 5 years
  • Early withdrawal penalties ranging from 90 to 180 days interest
  • Earn 1.10% APY on a 6-month CD or 9-month; Earn 2% APY on an 1-year CD; Earn 2.35% APY on an 18-month CD
  • Earn 0.05% APY on other CD terms between 3 months and 10 months; Earn 0.10% APY on other CD terms between 13 months and 15 months; Earn 1.01% APY on other CD terms between 2 years and 5 years
  • $500 opening deposit in most US states; $1,000 in California and Nevada; $2,500 in Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and DC

Which bank is the most trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau rates businesses according to how they respond to customer issues. 

The BBB gave Bank of America an A+ rating, Chase a A- rating, and Citi an F rating. Chase and Citi’s ratings are due to government action taken against the banks.

A good BBB rating doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll have a smooth relationship with a business. Talk to current customers or read online customer reviews to see if one of these banks might be right for you. 

All three banks have also been involved in public scandals over the last few years.

Here are cases Bank of America has recently been involved in: 

Chase has been involved in the following cases:

Citi has been in the following public scandals: 

  • In 2019, Citi accidentally sent $900 million to customers. 
  • In 2020, the bank was required to pay $400 million in a settlement with the Comptroller of the Currency. The OCC stated the bank had inefficient banking practices.

Frequently asked questions

Which is the best, Citi, Bank of America, or Chase? 

The best bank for you may depend on which types of bank accounts you want and if you meet the requirements to waive monthly service fees at a particular bank. 

Citi makes it the easiest to waive monthly services fees on checking accounts. It’s also the strongest option if you’d like to open a CD.

Bank of America offers the most ways to waive monthly service fees on savings accounts. Lastly, Chase will likely be the ideal choice for earning a cash bonus for a bank account. 

Which bank of the three, Citi, Bank of America, or Chase, is the safest? 

All three banks are FDIC insured. When a financial institution is federally insured, money deposited into a bank account will be secure even if the financial institution shuts down.

If a bank shuts down your money won’t be lost. It will be transferred to another bank with FDIC insurance, or you’ll receive a check. Up to $250,000 is secure in individual bank accounts, and $250,000 is protected per owner in joint bank accounts.

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