Citizens Bank — review by Peter

Last updated August 18, 2007

Note: this review originated on my blog reviewing Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial together.

Accounts of note: Ultimate Savings Account, 4.00%; Investment Savings Account, 2.4% as of January 27th, 2008

Citizens Bank is actually a Vancity company, and is my favourite bank. You get free cheques on the Investment Savings Account, and can transfer funds between that account and the Ultimate Savings Account instantly (instantly as in… as soon as you click the button!).

Instant transfer between your two Citizens Bank accounts

Therefore, keep as much money as you can in the Ultimate Savings Account and transfer it to the Investment Savings Account whenever you need it (this transfer happens instantly).

Regarding ATMs, Citizens Bank is on the Exchange network, which HSBC and all of the BC credit unions are a part of. Did somebody say coverage?

Key Details
-no minimum balance required
-pair the Ultimate Savings Account and Investment Savings account for a powerful combo
-free cheques, free bill payments

Paying your bills online has never been easier

-four free debits from ATMs on the Exchange network, which should be plenty if you use your credit card as much as possible…

Interesting Facts:
-Ultimate Savings Account’s interest rate was unofficially pegged at 0.05% higher than that of ING Direct’s, but in late 2007, Citizen’s Bank’s rate has been consistently even higher.
-If you’re familiar with credit union online interfaces such as Vancity’s and Envision’s, you’ll feel right at home.
-Call their customer service line (available 24/7) and get some of the same representatives that handle Vancity’s customer service. They’re not supposed to reveal this fact, but some of them will admit it…
-Transfers between two of your own Citizens Bank accounts occurs instantly, unlike at PC Financial.
-You can transfer money instantly to any Citizens Bank account online. Internal transfers can be done at other banks, but often you have to wait a few business days or do the transfer over the phone.
-You can choose to stop receiving paper statements from Citizens Bank (to be environmentally friendly).

Bottom line:
I have accounts at Citizens Bank, ING Direct, and PC Financial and here’s my conclusion:

Use Citizens Bank for the most powerful, flexible account with the best feature-to-rate ratio.
Use ING Direct for the easy-to-use interface.
Use PC Financial for the highest rate if you have more than $1,000.

Latest posts in the Citizens Bank forum

Forum/Topic Started Last post Posts

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Citizens Bank is closing

August 5, 2009
4:49 pm by

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Vancity has a new high interest savings account Jumpstart?

November 16, 2007
12:59 am by

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service charges,electronic packages and plan 24 savings account

June 25, 2010
7:53 pm by

June 30, 2010
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Download your account history before your Citizens Bank account closes

February 24, 2010
5:14 am by

February 24, 2010
4:28 pm by


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Checking account functional until probably February

December 7, 2009
9:08 pm by

December 7, 2009
9:08 pm by


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6 thoughts on “Citizens Bank — review by Peter

  1. Julia says:

    I have just opened a Citizen’s bank account here is my review:

    – I called their toll free number after reading the website to ask questions that I had, I found I had good service
    – the main downside I have experienced so far was what I learned on the phone; in order to open an account you had to mail them a cheque from an existing account and a bill with your home address and name (not a cell phone bill), well as I don’t have cheques on my current account and not being a homeowner I had neither of these things. It does not mention the bill thing on their website for signing up so I’m unsure about there policy on that, but the cheque for sure is needed. So then I had to go into their branch downtown Vancouver and take time off work and pay for parking which was irritating.
    – The service in branch was pretty good
    – I have placed my first deposit using a NorthShore Credit Union bank ATM, it went smoothly, and I love how I can use so many ATM’s without having to pay it really increases flexibility
    – I found their computer interface basic but easy to use
    – I love how their toll free line is 24/7

    So far so good. I will do another update once I’ve been using the account for awhile.

  2. Leah Tse says:

    Interesting that you needed a bill? When I signed up for the account I didn’t need a bill. Did they give you a reason as to why?

  3. Chris says:

    When I signed up the telephone rep said I needed to send a bill, but then quickly took back his words and said I only had to send a cheque.

  4. Stella says:

    I have already opened an account and something I noticed is that I cannot select my external account to do a transfer (like ING where I can select my external account to do a transfer from their drop down list). It looks like I have to manually add the necessary details of my external account to do a transfer (ie transit # and address of branch etc)… I already deposited my cheque so how come the link is not there. I read over the site and it looks like maybe i have to send in now a VOID cheque to make the link? is that right?

  5. Peter says:

    Hi Stella, I think there’s a form that you need to fax in maybe? I guess you’ll have to call Citizens Bank and ask. I actually have my transfers set up the other way — in other words, I initiate the transfer from my other bank(s).

  6. iris says:


    Yeah, Citizens bank can be irritating because you need to enter the information every time. I’ve asked them and they said it’s a necessary step. There is an option to save the information so that the next time you won’t need to enter in the info again. But that wouldn’t help me as I’ve set my browser to automatically clean up the cache every time I exit. However, I have this program that I use (kind of like “post-it” for your computer) that pops up all the info I need when I’m doing transfers. So all I need to do is copy and paste the branch info.

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