Citizens Bank Launches Almost Free Checking

Navigator Edition: January 2014
By: Emma Causey

On January 15th, Citizens Bank announced the launch of One Deposit Checking, a new low fee checking account as part of its “Bank Better” initiative, in which the Bank pledged to provide simplicity, transparency, and enhancements to its consumer banking business. The account carries a $9.99 monthly fee that can be waived with a single deposit of any amount per month. Qualifying deposits include direct deposits, cash/check deposits, and incoming bank transfers. The significantly reduced fee waiver is one of the first in market among major banks, and creates a virtually free account, though accountholders do incur out-of-network ATM fees. One Deposit replaces Citizens’ Green Checking account, which charged a $9.99 monthly fee that was waived only if customers made five payment transactions per month or maintained an average daily balance of $1,500.

In addition to One Deposit, Citizens also launched Value Checking, a feature-rich account that carries a fixed $3.99 monthly fee, but offers customers free checks, paper statements, and one non-Citizens ATM fee waiver per month. The launch of both checking accounts comes two months after “Bank Better” was announced – the hallmark of the November announcement included a new approach to overdrafts: no overdraft fee for transactions of $5 or less. Together, these efforts have simplified Citizens’ DDA suite in an effort to broaden the Bank’s appeal to consumers.

By comparison, nearly all major banks offer DDAs with fee waiver requirements, but none offer waivers as attainable as Citizens’ new account. Bank of America’s My Access account carries a $12 monthly fee that can be waived with a minimum of one deposit of at least $250 or a $1,500 minimum daily balance. Similarly, Wells Fargo’s Value account carries a $7 monthly fee that can be waived with a minimum of one qualifying deposit (recurring transfer or direct deposit) of at least $500 or a $1,500 minimum daily balance. Moreover, neither Bank of America nor Wells Fargo offer “next level” accounts comparable to Citizens Value Checking. Advantage and PMA Package, respectively, carry higher monthly fees with steep waiver requirements. The juxtaposition of Citizens’ new accounts, coupled with its efforts towards simplicity, will likely meet critical and distinct customer needs: a free checking account for basic transactional use (One Deposit) and a low-fee account with added perks (Value Checking).

For more information, please contact Emma Causey, Associate, specializing in Debit and Prepaid,

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