My current checking situation is a simple one. I have a standard Chase online checking account which I used to write checks, pay bills and manage most of my finances. Unfortunately a few months ago, Chase decided to charge a $6 monthly fee if I don’t keep at least $2,000 in the account or make five debit card transactions a month. And even though I’m safely avoiding this annual fee, I found a great bonus offer being given by Citi if you sign up for their Citigold® Checking Account.
From now until October 31st, 2011, Citi is offering a 40,000 ThankYou point bonus for anyone that signs up for a Citigold® Checking Account and follows the few rules they’ve set forth. First, let’s discuss the rules of the promotion and then a bit about the benefits and drawbacks of a Citigold® account. To receive the $400 bonus, a new account holder must:
- Enroll the new checking account in Citi ThankYou℠ Rewards.
- Within 45 days after account opening, initiate one direct deposit AND complete one electronic bill payment for two consecutive months
The first step in securing the bonus is easy, and if you are currently employed, the second step is pretty easy as well. Setting up direct deposit can be done by asking your employer and online bill-pay can be used to pay utilities, credit cards, student loans and other expenditures. It’s nice to see that the requirements of the promotion won’t cost you a penny, unlike other promotions offered by other banks.
Citigold® Checking Account Features
Citibank provides the same benefits and perks that most other checking accounts have but you’ll find a few extra ones you can’t find anywhere else. The ones that I want to focus on (because they’ll save you the most dough) are:
- Free standard check orders
- Waived overdraft protection fees
- Waived non-Citibank ATM fees
- Waived annual fees on select Citi credit cards
The primary downside you see from the chart above however, is that a high minimum balance of $50,000 – $250,000 must be maintained every month with certain Citi accounts. Otherwise a steep $30 monthly fee will be charged to your account. Obviously this account is not for the consumer who cannot maintain a high balance but Citi does have an alternative that offers a $200 gift card bonus when signing up, titled the Citibank Checking Account.
Citibank® Checking Account Features
As you can see from the table below, the features and rewards that this account can provide are dumbed down a bit. Fortunately, the combined average balance is also extremely reduced so a greater number of account holders can avoid a costly $20 annual fee. Remember, a 20,000 ThankYou point bonus is given (which equates to $200 in gift cards) when signing up for this account which is still pretty valuable.
The days of owning an online checking account without paying a fee are all but over. While there are some accounts still being offered for free, I can guarantee that won’t last much longer and accounts like the ones you see above will be the norm. Rather than wait for your bank to force you to move over, consider moving over while the $400 bonus offer is good. For more information, visit the secure application page for the Citigold® Checking Account. Remember, these two bonus offers are set to expire on October 31st, 2011.