Citi vs. Wells Fargo: Which Bank Is a Good Match for You?

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The bottom line: Citi® offers more CD terms and pays higher interest rates on savings accounts than Wells Fargo. If you’re searching for the best checking account, it may be a tight race between Citi and Wells Fargo.

If you prefer a traditional banking experience, Citi and Wells Fargo are two national brick-and-mortar banks you might be considering.

We’ve compared each bank’s savings account, checking accounts, and CDs so you may see if a particular institution might be better suited for your needs. We’re also looking at how each bank’s recent history so you can gauge their trustworthiness.

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Citi Pros and Cons

ProsCons

690 branches and 72,000 fee-free ATMs

High interest rate on savings account (need at least $1 in account to earn interest)

Possible to waive monthly service fees

High interest rate on 1-year and 18-month CDs

Different types of CDs (no-penalty and Step Up CDs)

Earn Citi Priority – Ongoing Bonus in a cash bonus if you’re a new customer

Citi groups its bank accounts into packages, which may group checking and savings accountsDoesn’t offer a money market accountMonthly service fees if you don’t qualify to waive themCiti® Accelerate Savings – Product Name Only isn’t available in CA, CT, IL, MD, NV, NJ, NY, VA, DC, some parts of FL, and Puerto RicoF rating from the Better Business Bureau due to government action taken against the business and high volume of customer complaints

Wells Fargo Pros and Cons

ProsCons

4,900 locations and 12,000 ATMs

Possible to waive monthly service fees

Save As You Go® feature transfers $1 into your Way2Save Savings Account from checking each time you swipe your debit card

Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account – Intro Bonus

Wells Fargo Way2Save Savings Wells Fargo Way2Save® Savings Account – Intro Bonus

Low interest rates on savings and CDsMonthly service feesF from the Better Business Burea and public settlements involving racial and disability discrimination

Citi vs. Wells Fargo Checking Account Comparisons

Below, we’ve compared each bank’s low-fee checking accounts.

 Citi Access AccountWells Fargo Everyday Checking AccountMinimum opening deposit$0$25Monthly service fee$10 or $0$10 or $0How to waive the monthly service fee

Check off at least one of these requirements per month:

Receive a direct deposit of any amountMake one bill payment Have an average monthly balance of at least $1,500 in all Citi accounts and investment accounts

Check off at least one of these requirements per month:

Receive direct deposits of at least $500Have $500 or more in your account dailyLink your account to a Wells Fargo ATM Card or Campus Debit CardAre between the ages of 17 and 24Sign-up bonusCiti Access Account – Ongoing BonusWells Fargo Everyday Checking Account – Ongoing BonusNext stepsCiti Access Account – CTA TextWells Fargo Everyday Checking Account – CTA Text

Winner: Citi

The Citi Access Account barely edges out the Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account because it has a $0 opening deposit and makes it a bit easier to waive the monthly service fee. However, if you are under the age of 24 , you might still want to consider Wells Fargo since your monthly service fee will automatically be waived.

Citi vs. Wells Fargo Savings Account Comparisons

Citi and Wells Fargo both have two types of savings accounts. We’ve compared the Citi® Accelerate Savings to the Wells Fargo Way2Save® Savings Account since these accounts are available in most states and have similar monthly service fees.

 Citi® Accelerate SavingsWells Fargo Way2Save® Savings AccountAPYCiti® Accelerate SavingsWells Fargo Way2Save® Savings AccountMinimum opening deposit$0$25Monthly service fee$4.50 or $0$5 or $0How to waive the monthly fee

Fulfill one of the following criteria monthly:

Have an average monthly balance of $500 or more (for Basic or Access account packages when its not linked to checking)Have an average monthly balance of $1,000 or more OR make an enhanced direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment (for Basic or Access account packages with checking and savings accounts)Have  an average monthly balance of $30,000 or more across all your Citi accounts (for the Citi Priority account package)Have an average monthly balance of $10,000 or more across all your Citi accounts (for the Citi account package)Automatically waived if you have a Citigold account

Fulfill one of the following criteria monthly: 

Have $300 in your account dailyan automatic transfer of $25 or more each fee period from a linked Wells Fargo checking accountan automatic transfer of $1 or more each business day within a fee period from a linked Wells Fargo checking accountUse the Save as You Go feature if you have a checking accountAre under the age of 24 CaveatsNot available in CA, CT, IL, MD, NV, NJ, NY, VA, certain parts of FL, certain parts of Puerto Rico, or Washington, DCMay also need to open a checking accountNoneNext stepsCiti® Accelerate Savings – CTA TextWells Fargo Way2Save® Savings Account – CTA Text

Winner: Citi

Citi® Accelerate Savings will likely be a more appealing option since you’ll earn more interest on your savings. However, if you don’t live in one of the 42 states that has Citi® Accelerate Savings or you worry about the minimum balance requirements, the Wells Fargo Way2Save® Savings Account might be worth exploring.

Citi vs. Wells Fargo CD Comparisons 

Citi also has speciality CDs like step-up CDs and no-penalty CDs. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo also has a Wells Fargo Special Fixed Rate CD – Product Name Only that pays Wells Fargo Special Fixed Rate CD – APY APY.

 Citi Fixed Rate Certificates of DepositWells Fargo Fixed Rate Certificate of DepositTerm lengths1 month to 10 years3 months to 1 yearMinimum opening deposit$500$2,500APYCiti Fixed Rate Certificates of DepositWells Fargo Fixed Rate Certificate of DepositEarly withdrawal penalties90 to 180 days interest3 months interest for all CD termsTypes of CDsStandard CDs, Step Up CDs, and No Penalty CDsStandard CDs

Winner: Citi

Citi Fixed Rate Certificates of Deposit offer a greater variety of CDs, such as step-up CDs and no-penalty CDs. It also pays an especially competitive interest rate on a 9-month, 1-year, or 18-month CD. 

Citi vs. Wells Fargo Trustworthiness and BBB Scores

We use ratings from the Better Business Bureau so you may see how a business addresses customer issues.

Wells Fargo received an F rating because it has responded to customer complaints and because there was government action taken against the bank. Citi has an F rating because it’s received a high volume of customer complaints and had government action taken against the business.

A bad BBB rating isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all. Talk to current customers or read online customer reviews to get a better understanding of whether a particular institution might be right for you.

Both Wells Fargo and Citi have been involved in recent public controversies.

Citi has been in the following public settlements:

In 2020, the bank was required to pay $400 million in a settlement with the Comptroller of the Currency. The OCC said the bank had inefficient banking practices.

Wells Fargo has been involved in the following cases:

In December 2022, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau required Wells Fargo to pay more than $3.7 billion in a settlement that accused the bank of wrongfully charging fees that led thousands of customers to lose vehicles and homes. The settlement also accuses the bank of wrongfully charging overdraft fees on checking and savings accounts.  In 2021, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency issued a cease and desist order against Wells Fargo that claimed the bank of having an inefficient compliance risk management program.In 2020, Wells Fargo paid billions in settlements for its employees creating authorized bank accounts to meet unrealistic sales goals.

Citi vs. Wells Fargo: Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, Citi or Wells Fargo?

Choosing between Citi and Wells Fargo may depend on the accounts you’d like to open and what you prioritize most in your banking experience. 

You prefer Citi if you’re looking for ways to earn more interest on your money. For example, Citi® Accelerate Savings and select Citi CDs pay a higher interest rate than the average savings account or CD. Bear in mind that the Citi® Accelerate Savings is mainly available as an online-only option, though.

If you prioritize a large branch network, you may prefer Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has the most branches in the US, and is available in more states than Citi. 

Which is bigger, Citi or Wells Fargo?

Wells Fargo has a bigger branch network in the US. Wells Fargo has 4,900 locations, while Citi only has 690 branches.

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