A student account could be a smart choice - but it’s worth weighing up a number of options from both traditional banks and online providers to find the right solution for your needs.
We’ll take a look at the accounts from Citibank which might suit a student - and also an alternative, the borderless account from TransferWise - to help you find the right one for you.
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Citibank doesn’t offer a specific student checking account, but does have low cost products which offer many similar perks to other student accounts on the market.
To find the right account for you, you’ll need to do a bit of research. Many of Citibank’s account options are aimed at high wealth individuals and require a hefty minimum deposit amount which may not work for many students. The most suitable products for students are likely to be:
- Citibank Basic Banking Account - $12/month with checking facilities¹
- Citibank Access Account - $10/month without checking option²
Both accounts come with a monthly fee - but this can be avoided if you meet certain requirements such as maintaining a minimum deposit amount, or having direct payments made into the account. We’ll cover the costs associated with these accounts later.
|Get free access to 40+ currencies and bank details to use as a local for US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and UK with TransferWise|
Although Citibank doesn’t have a specific student account product, there are basic checking accounts which might suit students, and student credit cards are available. Let’s take a look at the options and some of their key features.
This account has a $0 minimum opening deposit, and you’ll be able to write as many checks as you like. There’s a fee of $12 a month, but there are also several ways you can have this waived - including holding at least $1,500 in the account or having direct payments made to the account.
Citibank’s other low fee options is the Access Account. You’ll pay only $10 a month but this account doesn’t have a checking option. The fee can be waived if you meet certain requirements - more on that later.
The Access Account doesn’t have an overdraft facility, which means you’ll not be charged fees when your funds run low - transactions will simply be turned down if they would cause you to run out of money.
Citi has a specific student credit card, which offers bonus reward points to customers. There’s no annual fee, and you may benefit from additional opening offers such as extra points or a low introductory purchase rate. Check out the full details of fees and interest charged, so you don’t run into any nasty surprises after these offers end.³
If you choose the Basic Banking Account you might have access to overdraft facilities. You’ll be charged a fee if your account goes overdrawn, but can choose to use the Citibank overdraft protection services, to link either another account or line of credit to your account to cover the payment if your regular account is short of funds. In this case you’ll be charged a $10 admin fee whenever this service is required.⁴
You can link your Citibank account with other accounts in your name in the US, and may be able to make transfers between these accounts fee free. However, you’ll probably pay a fee if you’re sending a payment domestically to someone else.
Citibank Global Transfers allows customers to send international payments to a range of countries. There is no upfront fee, but the smallprint does specify that there is a markup added to the exchange rate which you’ll be offered. This means you’re paying for the service despite the fee-free claim. Here’s the note from the terms and conditions:
“If the transfer is made in foreign currency, the exchange rate includes a fee for the currency conversion.”⁵
If you’re making an international payment, it’s worth looking at the price of the transfer with Citibank compared to other providers to see if you can save. With a borderless account from TransferWise you can send money using the mid-market exchange rate, with no markup - and just a transparent fee.
This makes it easier to see exactly what you’re paying for your cross border transaction - and can work out much cheaper than using a traditional bank. You’ll also be able to hold money in dozens of different currencies in your borderless account, and receive fee-free payments in global currencies.
|Receive and send international payments at great rates and low fees with TransferWise|
You can apply for your account online if you’re a US citizen or resident, over 18, and have a local residential address. You’ll also need a Social Security Number. If you don’t have all these details to hand, you may still be able to open an account by visiting a branch.
Here are some of the fees you’ll want to know about if you’re considering one of the Citibank accounts which may be suited to students.
|Monthly maintenance fee||Citibank Basic Banking Account - $12/month¹ Citibank Access Account - $10/month² In both cases this fee can be waived. Basic Banking: Waive monthly fee by making one direct deposit and one bill payment per month, or holding a balance of $1,500+. Access Account: Waive monthly fee by either making one direct deposit or one bill payment per month - or hold a balance of $1,500+.|
|ATM fees||Citibank ATMs are free to use $2.50 fee for using an ATM outside of the Citibank network|
|Overdraft fees||With overdraft protection, $10 per transaction which sends the account overdrawn Overdraft facilities are not available on the Access Account|
|Wire transfers||Domestic transfers to accounts not in your own name - fees from $25 International transfers - no upfront fee listed, but there is a markup added on the exchange rate. Compare the overall costs against alternative providers before you decide to use the service.|
|TransferWise's multi-currency Mastercard can be up to 4x cheaper when spending abroad, compared to banks and PayPal|
When you’re looking for the right account to help get you through your college days, it’s natural to look at specific student accounts first. However, some other low fee accounts may also suit your needs, so it’s worth researching a wide range of products, including online options like the borderless account from TransferWise.
Do your homework - and you could find you have less to pay in fees and charges, and more money left to spend on yourself.
All sources last checked 20 January 2020
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