September 16, 2011 03:56 PM
By Stephen Troutner, Head of Banking Products for U.S. Consumer Banking
Citibank's consumer banking clients have been telling us that, more than anything, they want simple and straightforward choices, the ability to earn rewards for doing business with us, and no hidden fees. So while weighing the costs and benefits of providing the tools and services customers want most in this challenging economic environment, we have kept that direct feedback in mind while making changes to our banking relationship packages, which become effective in December.
Simple banking package options
For our Basic Checking package, Citibank will offer three clear options for clients to get great value and worry-free pricing:
- Clients pay no monthly service fee if they make one Direct Deposit and one Online Bill Payment during each monthly statement period;
- Clients can also avoid a monthly service fee by maintaining $1,500 in combined average monthly balances in their Basic Checking and linked Basic Savings accounts; or
- Clients can choose to pay a flat $10 monthly service fee for the Basic Banking package, which includes more standard features and services than competitor offerings.
Giving clients more than one way to avoid a monthly service fee was important. And even more, we designed an option based on activities our customers said they do every month, such as getting a paycheck or pension payment, and paying bills. It was clear to us that, at the end of the day, clients prefer the simplicity of not having to remember a list of activities to complete each month to avoid a service fee.
For our full-service and premium checking packages, Citibank is keeping the choices simple: clients can either choose to maintain a minimum relationship balance level that recognizes all their savings, borrowing, and investing activities, or they can pay a competitive monthly service fee for the expanded features and services these packages offer.
No Fees for Using Debit Cards and Online Bill Pay
Regardless of which option clients choose, Citibank -- unlike many of our competitors -- does not charge additional fees for debit card usage or online bill payments, tools that clients consistently say are among the most important for simplifying the complexities of their financial lives. The bottom line is that customers told us they don't want to pay to use their debit card, make bill payments online, or to use a teller.
Citibank's position on usage fees reinforces its broader commitment to give clients the control they need to better manage their finances, including not allowing any form of opt-in for debit card point-of-sale and ATM overdrafts, posting transactions from lowest to highest order for both checks and automated clearing house (ACH) transactions to reduce overdraft fees, and not charging for ATM balance inquiries or transfers at non-Citibank ATMs.
Maintaining ThankYou® Rewards for Banking
While Citibank did make the hard decision to stop giving reward points for debit card transactions, it is keeping its ThankYou banking relationship rewards program, and will increase the maximum rewards earning opportunity for all clients. Eligibility requirements will be aligned with the same activities that enable customers to avoid incurring monthly service fees - direct deposit and online bill pay.
We value our customers, and our ThankYou program is our way of showing them how important they are to us. While many banks are eliminating rewards programs, we are keeping ours and even making it more rewarding for customers who use us as their primary bank.
We will begin sending notifications of these changes to customers beginning at the end of this month, with the enhancements becoming effective for all clients in December of this year. Customers who have questions can visit their nearest branch, call 1-877-248-4454 to speak with a Citibank representative, tweet @askciti, or visit www.citibank.com.