Citizens Bank Green Savings Account Review
Citizens Bank is a Rhode Island-based bank that operates 1,200 branches across 11 states -- mostly on the East Coast. It offers a wide variety of accounts and services ranging from deposit accounts to loans to retirement planning and more. One account that you might consider is the basic savings account -- the Green Savings account.
Citizens Bank Green Savings Account Pros & Cons
Some of the main features of the account are:
- Earn a small amount of interest on your balance
- Low fee that can be waived with a $200 balance
- Take advantage of overdraft transfers
- Access your money with an ATM card
- Get Rewarded for saving with GoalTrack Savings
If you’re looking to open a savings account, learn the in-depth details about the Citizens Bank Green Savings Account and compare it to online savings accounts:
Poor Interest Rates
You should have two goals for your savings account: to earn interest and to have somewhere safe to keep your money.
The Citizens Bank Green Savings Account accomplishes that latter goal. All accounts at Citizens Bank are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC was established in the wake of the Great Depression to help prevent a similar occurrence. The FDIC insures account balances, up to a maximum of $250,000 per account. Even if the bank closes, you’ll get all of your money back, so long as you don’t exceed the $250,000 limit.
Even though the FDIC prevents you from losing money, it doesn’t prevent the money in your account from losing value.
How interest helps fight inflation
Money loses value over time due to something called inflation. Many people have heard stories of how bread cost a nickel and a gallon of milk was less than a dollar. Inflation is what has caused those, and other products, to increase in price over the years.
Inflation is expressed as a percentage. If inflation this year is 2%, then at the end of the year one dollar is worth 2% less than it was at the start of the year. Though the inflation rate is usually in the low single digits, over the course of years it can have a big effect on the value of the dollar.
Savings accounts offer interest which helps you fight the effect of inflation.
When you deposit money in a savings account, you’re actually making a loan to the bank. The bank takes your money and loans it to other customers who want to buy a car, home, or other expensive good. The bank charges its borrowers more interest than it pays to you, using the difference to pay for its operations.
Physical banks struggle to offer high rates
Unfortunately, the Citizens Bank Green Savings Accounts pays barely any interest, so you will feel the full effect of inflation. You’ll also be paying the opportunity cost of not having your money in an account that pays a better interest rate.
Banks with physical locations, like Citizens Bank, often pay poor interest rates. If you want the best rate available, you’ll need to look for an online savings account.
Minimum Deposit and Monthly Fees
One nice feature of the Citizens Bank Green Savings Account is that there is no minimum deposit required to open the account. The caveat is that there is a $4.99 monthly maintenance fee on the account, which can quickly eat into your savings.
You can get the fee waived by maintaining a $200 balance in the account. It is also automatically waived for the first four months that the account is open.
Because the fee would be such a significant portion of your balance, it’s best not to open an account until you can maintain a $200 balance.
Other fees are rather standard
There are few other fees to worry about with the Green Savings Account. The main one to look out for is a $2 fee that is charged for each paper statement you receive. You can avoid the fee by requesting electronic statements.
Citizens Bank Green Savings Account Fees
|Monthly Maintenance Fee||$4.99|
|Excess pre-authorized withdrawals, transfers or checks||$15|
|Statements with check copies &/or deposit slips only||$3/Statement|
|Incoming wire transfer (domestic)||Up to $28|
|Outgoing wire transfer (domestic)||Up to $30|
|Stop Payment Fee||$35|
If you have a Citizens Bank checking account you can set up overdraft transfers from your Green savings account. This can help you avoid the expensive overdraft fees that you would have incurred.
Usually, when you overdraft your checking account Citizens Bank will charge you a $35 per overdraft. You can be charged up to seven overdraft fees per day, for a total of $245 in fees a day. The only exception is for overdrafts of less than $5, which do not incur a fee.
If you sign up for overdraft transfers, you’ll avoid the $35 fee by having money automatically moved from your savings to your checking account to cover the missing amount. Instead of paying a $35 fee per overdraft, you’ll pay $12 per day in which an overdraft transfer occurs. Even if you overdraft multiple times in one day, you’ll pay the same $12 fee.
While you’d like to avoid ever overdrawing your account, it can sometimes happen. Having a way to reduce the financial damage that it causes can make it less of a headache.
Access Your Cash with an ATM Card
Sometimes it can be a hassle to go to the local bank when you need to withdraw cash from your savings account. The Green savings account lets you request an ATM card that you can use to manage your account on the go.
You can make fee-free withdrawals from any Citizens Bank ATM using your ATM card, so you won’t have to go to the bank just to make a withdrawal.
Get Rewarded for Saving with GoalTrack Savings
GoalTrack Savings is a program designed to help you accomplish your financial goals. Whether you’re saving for a new card, gadget, or even a down payment on a house, GoalTrack Savings can help.
To start with GoalTrack Savings, you decide how much you want to save and how many months you’d like to save for. If your plan involves saving at least $25 per month for eight months or more, you can earn rewards for meeting your goals.
Rewards come in the form of gift cards to retailers like Applebee’s, CVS, Dunkin Donuts, Target, and Home Depot. On the low end, rewards are $5, but if you save $400 or more per month for 36 months, you can get a $250 gift card.
With GoalTrack Savings you get paid to work towards financial goals.
How Does It Compare?
After the checking account, the savings account is the next most common type of bank account. That means there are a lot of options out there. If you want to open a savings account, online banks are definitely worth considering.
Because they don't have to pay the costs of operating physical branches and ATMs, online banks are able to offer amazing interest rates and low fees. The APYs on their savings accounts are usually 100 times as much as what you'd get from national banks. And, these savings accounts tend to have no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
In addition to interest rates and fees, there are other key factors to look for when comparing online savings accounts:
- ATM card access
- Sign-up bonuses
- Online and mobile banking apps/features
The Final Verdict
Overall, the Citizens Bank Green Savings Accounts offers a basic experience with no real reason to choose it over other options. Its main differentiator is GoalTrack Savings, which gives you rewards for working towards your goals. Given the account’s fees and low interest rate, you’re most likely better off with a different account that pays a better interest rate. Citizens Bank also does not have locations or ATMs across the country, so if you travel regularly, you’ll want to find a bank that is more prevalent across the nation.
Given the account’s fees and low interest rate, you’re most likely better off with a different account that pays a better interest rate. Citizens Bank also does not have locations or ATMs across the country, so if you travel regularly, you’ll want to find a bank that is more prevalent across the nation.