Bank of America vs. Citibank Comparison 2021 (Which Is Better?)

Bank of America and Citibank are two of the big four banks located in the United States. They both offer an extensive network of ATMs and similar fees across their accounts. Bank of America is a general use bank, while Citibank favors older clients and provides benefits to them.

Bank of America has a broader reach across the United States, with more states having branches available. Citibank is in fewer states but has a more significant presence in each state and a considerable number of ATMs available with no fees.

Citibank also stands out from Bank of America by offering much better savings account rates, and even stands out from the other big four banks, Chase and Wells Fargo.

Bank of AmericaCitibank
Checking AccountsAdvantage Plus Banking
$12 month but can be waived; see below.
No minimum opening deposit.
Regular Checking $12 month but can be waived; see below.
No minimum opening deposit.
Savings AccountsAdvantage Savings
$8 month but can be waived; see below.
Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 0.01% or higher if you join the rewards program.
$10 for withdrawals over 6 each month.
Citi Savings
$10 month but can be waived; see below.
Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 0.04% – 0.06%
Unlimited withdrawals
Certificates of DepositBank of America Interest on CDs
Assuming under $10,000
1 Year: 0.03%
5 Years: 0.03%
Citibank Internet on CDs
Assuming under $10,000
1 Year: 0.10%
5 Years: 0.15%
OverdraftsBank of America Overdraft Fee: $35 per item or you can decline overdrafts, and the transaction will just not process.
4 fees maximum a day.
$12 per month for overdraft protection by linking your savings account.
Citibank Overdraft Fee: $34 per item.
4 fees maximum a day.
$10 per day for overdraft protection by linking your savings account.
ATMs17,000 ATMs nationwide65,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide
Branches4,300 branches nationwide2,300 branches nationwide
Customer ServiceAvailable via phone and social media, but not 24/7.
Mon–Fri: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. ETSat: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ETSun: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET
Citibank is available via phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Bank of America vs. Citibank Overview 

Bank of AmericaCitibank
LocationsBank of America offers branch and ATM services in 37 states and DC.
Bank of America locations.
Citibank offers branch and ATM services in 12 states.
Citibank locations.
ATMs17,000 ATMs across the country.65,000 fee-free ATMs across the country.
Branches4,300 branches across the country, but many are new, and some cities have no branches.723 branches across the country.
Products and ServicesChecking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards.Checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards.

The biggest thing to notice about the quick overview of the banks is that Citibank is in far fewer states but has a massive number of fee-free ATMs available to customers. 

Bank of America Pros and Cons 

Pros
  • Covers a wide range of states, with a lot of ATMs and branches spread throughout the country.
  • It offers a rewards program that gives you better interest rates, fees waved, and a number of other benefits.
Cons
  • Low-interest rates even when a rewards member.
  • Interest rates are the same no matter what amount of length of time you invest.

Citibank Pros and Cons

Pros
  • 65,000 fee-free ATMs available, no other bank compares.
  • Very high interest rates compared to the other large banks
Cons
  • Fewer branches and lower footprint in different states than most large banks.
  • No free or low fee accounts for students.
  • Your account may not allow international wire transfers.

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Checking Accounts

Bank of America Total CheckingCitibank Everyday Checking
Monthly Fee$12 per month.
Waived if:
Deposit $250 electronically every month.
Daily balance of $1,500
Enroll in their Rewards Program.
Students under 25 have the fee waived
$12 per month.
Waived if:
$500 minimum daily balance
$1,500 average daily balance on all linked accounts.
1 direct deposit per month.
The primary account holder is 62 years or older.
Minimum deposit to open an account$0$25
Interest0%0%
ATM fees$2.50 if using non-Bank of America ATMs within the US.
$5 to withdraw outside the US.
Fees from banks ATMs will apply on top of the Bank of America fees. 
$2.50 if using non-Citibank ATMs within the US.
Fees from banks ATMs will apply on top of the Citibank fees. 

Each bank’s checking account is comparable; the most significant difference is that Bank of America offers fee waivers for younger adults, and Citibank offers fee waivers to older adults. You do need a checking account before you can get a Citibank savings account, which is a significant issue if you can get both fees waived.

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Savings Accounts

Bank of America SavingsCitibank Ways2Save
Interest (APY)0.01% unless you join their rewards program0.04% for under $25,000.0.06% for over $25,000.

Monthly Fee
$8
Fee waived if:
$500 minimum daily balance.
Some premium accounts offer a free savings account.
24 or younger account owners in school may have no fees.
Fees waived for reward program members.
$12
Fee waived if:
$1,500 minimum daily balance on all linked accounts.
$25 or more autosave deposits from your checking account.
62 or older account owners have no fees.
Minimum Deposit$100$0

Citibank has the better savings accounts, even when you take the Bank of America rewards program into consideration. Citibank is slightly pricier, but those fees can be waved easily.

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Certificate of Deposit

Bank of America CDCitibank CD
3 Months under $10,0000.03%0.05%
6 Months under $10,0000.03%0.25% * 7 months required
1 Year under 0.03%0.10%
Minimum Deposit$1,000$2,500

If you can meet the minimum deposit requirements, then Citibank is the far superior option for investing, especially if you can find a better deal such as the 7 month CD for 0.25%. In addition, Citibank wins in all interest rate/time comparisons with Bank of America.

You’ll also find that Citibank beats the other large banks like Chase and Wells Fargo.

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Fees

Bank of America FeesCitibank Fees
ATM$2.50 if using non-Bank of America ATMs within the US.
$5 to withdraw outside the US.
Fees from banks ATMs will apply on top of the Bank of America fees. 
$2.50 if using non-Citibank ATMs within the US.
Fees from banks ATMs will apply on top of the Citibank fees.
OverdraftBank of America Overdraft Fee: $35 per item or you can decline overdrafts, and the transaction will just not process.
4 fees maximum a day.
$12 per month for overdraft protection by linking your savings account.
Citibank Overdraft Fee: $34 per item.
$10 per day for overdraft protection when linked from another account.
Stop Payment$30 to stop payment$30 to stop payment.
Return Deposit$12 for every domestic item.
$15 for every foreign item.
$34 for returned items.
Wire Transfer$15 for incoming wire transfers.
$30 for outgoing wire transfers.
$30 per transfer, US transfers only.

Bank of America has a better fee structure with lower rates. One significant benefit to Bank of America is that it can do wire transfers internationally, which Citibank doesn’t offer to personal accounts. 

You can also stop overdrafts from being an option on your account so that you’re not charged the fees, though if you’re paying by check, then you will pay the return fees. Still, they are much lower than having to pay both the overdraft and return fee.

Bank of America vs. Citibank: Which is Better?

Bank of America and Citibank have a few key differences. Citibank is geared towards older adults that are looking for a wider footprint of branches and ATMs in a smaller number of states and much better interest rates.

Click here to open your Citibank account online

Bank of America, on the other hand, is a much better option for students, with lower minimums for saving, fees waived if you’re a student, and a much larger footprint in the United States if you travel.

Click here to open your Bank of America online

The biggest issue you need to address is whether Bank of America or Citibank is in your city or state. Make sure you will have access to fee-free ATMs and branches if they’re required. 

If you find either bank limited or not in your state at all, you’re better off getting an online bank or going with another larger bank that offers better service in your state and city.

If I lived in a city with both banks as an option, I would go with Citibank due to the amount of fee-free ATMs available and the much better interest rates for both savings and CD accounts.