First Citizens Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD and Money Market Accounts

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Updated on Thursday, October 1, 2020

First Citizens Bank’s checking account options

Free Checking

It’s a noninterest-bearing account, but you don’t need to pay any monthly fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs (exceptions apply)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Free Checking account is a simple one that requires a low minimum opening deposit and has no monthly maintenance fees. You can link it to a savings account or line of credit for overdraft. The account also comes with a free Visa debit card, bill pay, online and mobile banking. To make sure you’re eligible for this account, you need to elect to receive e-statements within 60 days of opening the account. Otherwise, it’ll automatically be converted to a Select Checking account.

Although there are no ATM refunds, you can opt to receive a Together Card. This is a prepaid reloadable Visa debit card in which you can track its usage and balance via online or mobile banking. You’ll need to pay $3 a month. In return, you’ll receive up to five free withdrawals a month at non-First Citizens Bank ATMs.

How to get the Free Checking account

You can open the Free Checking account by filling out an online form. After indicating your state of residence, you’ll need to provide information such as your address, Social Security number and driver’s license. Then you’ll provide information to fund your account such as a debit card or another First Citizens Bank account.

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on First Citizens Bank (NC)’s secure website

Select Checking

It’s not that much different from the Free Checking account, except you can get paper statements.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs (exceptions apply)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The only noticeable difference between the Select Checking and Free Checking accounts is that you have the option to receive paper statements with this one. But there is a $12 monthly maintenance fee that you can get waived if you have $250 or more in monthly direct deposits or you maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,500.

Other features of this account include free mobile and online banking, bill pay and a Visa debit card. You can also opt to receive a Together Card — a reloadable prepaid debit card — for $3 a month, which gives you up to five free withdrawals from an out-of-network ATM.

How to get the Select Checking account

You can open an account by filling out an application on First Citizens Bank’s website. You’ll first need to indicate your state of residence, then you’ll provide personal details such as your address, driver’s license and Social Security number. Then you can fund the account.

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on First Citizens Bank (NC)’s secure website

Premier Checking

You get a free Together Card with this account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $18 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs (up to five waived per month)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Premier Checking account is an interest-bearing account, but the rate is not available on First Citizens Bank’s website, so you’ll need to check with the bank for its current rates.

But there are some perks not offered with the noninterest-bearing accounts: A free Together Card account, cashier’s and traveler’s checks, money orders and better rates for select CDs and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

To waive the $18 monthly maintenance fee, you’ll need to either:

  • Make at least $4,000 in direct deposits each month
  • Have a minimum of $5,000 in combined daily balances across your First Citizens Bank deposit and investment accounts
  • Have a HELOC with at least $25,000
  • Have a First Citizens Bank consumer loan that originated at more than $10,000

How to get the Premier Checking account

You can open an account by filling out an online application. You’ll be asked to provide information such as your state of residence, address, Social Security number and driver’s license. Afterward, you’ll fund your account.

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Prestige Checking

This account offers a few more benefits than Premier Checking.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Prestige Checking account offers interest, but you’ll have to check with First Citizens Bank for its current rates because it does not publish them on its website. But the account does come with some free stuff for account holders.

You don’t pay any fees for using out-of-network ATMs, though other financial institutions may have a surcharge. You’ll also get free cashier’s and traveler’s checks, money orders, a 3-inch by 5-inch safe deposit box and unlimited specialty checks. There are no overdraft protection transfer fees.

You also can take part in the Your Family First program, which provides a free Together Card account — a prepaid debit card. As well, you may qualify for preferred rates on select CDs and HELOCs.

There are a few ways you can get the $25 monthly maintenance fee waived:

  • Have at least $100,000 in a HELOC
  • Have an original loan amount of at least $25,000 on a consumer loan
  • Make at least $6,500 in direct deposits
  • Have a minimum of $25,000 in combined daily balances across your deposit or investments accounts

How to get the Prestige Checking account

You can head to First Citizens Bank’s online form to open an account. First, choose your state of residence, then enter personal information such as your name, address and Social Security number. Afterward, indicate how you’ll be funding your account.

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on First Citizens Bank (NC)’s secure website

Premier Executive Checking

You can get way more benefits.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $50 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee refund: Unlimited
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Premier Executive Checking account offers quite a few benefits, so it’s best for those who intend to keep a lot of cash with First Citizens Bank. The monthly maintenance fee seems a bit steep, but you can get it waived if you can maintain a minimum of $100,000 across your deposit or investment accounts.

The account earns interest on a tiered structure. The rates are not listed on First Citizens Bank’s website, so check with the bank for its latest rates.

With this account you get perks such as a free Premier Executive Visa debit card (which gives you higher ATM and purchase limits), free Together Card accounts, unlimited ATM usage and refunds, a free 3-inch by 5-inch safe deposit box, cashier’s and traveler’s checks, money orders, free paper checks and no overdraft protection transfer fees.

How to get the Premier Executive Checking account

You’ll need to head to a branch or call customer service at 888-323-4732 to apply for this account.

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How First Citizens Bank’s checking accounts compare

There may be a benefit to having a prepaid debit card depending on your needs. The fees are quite high compared to some of the best checking accounts out there. Many of First Citizens Bank’s competitors don’t charge any fees and offer benefits such as free checks, ATM refunds and no overdraft fees.

Here’s what we’re getting at: You may be better off opening an account elsewhere.

First Citizens Bank’s savings account options

Regular Savings

An option if you’re looking for a simple, no-frills account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Regular Savings account is best for those who want a simple, no-frills savings account. You don’t need a high minimum opening deposit to get this account. You do get a free Visa debit or ATM card, text alerts, online and mobile banking.

The account does offer interest, but First Citizens Bank does not put its rates on its website. You’ll need to check with the bank for its current rates.

Yes, there’s a $5 monthly maintenance fee, but you can get that waived if you maintain a $300 minimum daily balance. If you’re opening this account for a minor, then the fee is automatically waived.

Here’s where this account can get expensive: You may be required to pay $3 for each withdrawal or transfer you make over two each month — that is, if you can’t maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance. Because of Regulation D, you’re still allowed up to six certain withdrawals a month, or else you’ll face a $15 excess withdrawal fee regardless of your account balance.

How to get the Regular Savings account

You can call customer service at 888-323-4732 or head to a branch to open an account. You’ll be asked to provide personal details such as your full name, address, Social Security number and driver’s license.

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on First Citizens Bank (NC)’s secure website

E.savings

You can open this account online, although you may not be able to waive as many fees as with the Regular Savings account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

It’s great you have the option to open this account online and that there are no monthly maintenance fees, but it can come with a cost.

First, you can get an ATM card to make deposits only, unless you link it to a checking account. Secondly, there isn’t an option to waive the withdrawal or transfer fee — you’ll need to pay $3 for each one once you exceed two per month. If you go over six withdrawals a month because of Regulation D, you’re subject to a $15 excess transaction fee from the bank — no matter your deposit amount.

Some of the positives do include a lower opening deposit amount, online banking and e-statements.

Contact the bank for its latest rates with the e.savings account.

How to get the e.savings account

You can fill out an online form to open the e.savings account. First, select your state of residence, then enter in details such as your name, address and Social Security number. Then you’ll need to indicate how you’ll fund the account.

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on First Citizens Bank (NC)’s secure website

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How First Citizens Bank’s savings accounts compare

We don’t believe much stands out about these accounts when looking at what competitors are offering. We can’t compare First Citizens Bank’s rates against our list of the best savings account offerings because the bank doesn’t publish these rates online. Many of its competitors don’t require a minimum deposit amount and only charge an excess transaction fee instead of extra ones such as this bank does.

First Citizens Bank’s CD rates

Fixed-rate CDs

The promo rates aren’t half-bad.
TermAPY
12 months0.01%
15 months (promo)2.53%
24 months0.05%
36 months0.05%
39 months (promo)3.10%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500 ($5,000 for Premier or Prestige checking account holders or if you’re opening a CD with a promo rate)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500 ($5,000 for promo rates)
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on the length of the term:
    • 12 months: 3 months’ interest
    • More than 12 months: 6 months’ interest

The fixed-rate CDs are best for those who want a higher APY that what some of First Citizens Bank’s other accounts offer. There may be more terms available and rate bonuses for Premier or Prestige checking account holders that aren’t listed on the site. But it’s best to call the bank to find out if it offers any other terms. As for its promo rates, you’ll only be able to qualify for them if you deposit new money, which First Citizens Bank defines as money not on deposit with its bank.

Any interest you earn is compounded daily and credited either monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. If you qualify for the bonus rates for Premier and Prestige checking account holders, you will earn that rate as long as you maintain a $5,000 minimum balance. If for some reason it falls below that, you’ll earn the rate for a regular CD. There may not be a massive difference between the bonus and regular rates for the same term, so it doesn’t hurt to find out with the bank.

Upon maturity, your account will automatically renew unless you make changes within the 10-day grace period.

How to get First Citizens Bank’s CDs

First Citizens Bank requires you to either head to a branch or call customer service at 888-323-4732 to open an account. You may be asked to provide documents such as your Social Security number and driver’s license.

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Member FDIC

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How First Citizens Bank’s CD rates compare

You may want to consider these CDs as some of the promo rates have comparable rates to other competitors — many also don’t require a minimum deposit unlike the ones at First Citizens Bank. We can’t say for certain what the rates for other terms are. It’s not a bad idea to check our list of the best CD rates to see your options.

First Citizens Bank’s money market account option

Money Market Savings

This account could get expensive if you don’t maintain the daily balance amount.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.01%$0.01
0.01%$50,000
0.03%$100,000
0.03%$500,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, and 30 cents for each PIN-based transaction (these can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

Yes, the money market account offers an APY, but it’s low. Other benefits of this account include a free Visa debit card, online and mobile banking. You are limited to six withdrawals per month, except for ones you make at a First Citizens Bank ATM or at a branch. If you go over that amount, you’ll be facing a $15 excess transaction fee for each one beyond six.

This account can get pricey: If you don’t keep a minimum balance amount, you’ll not only face a monthly maintenance fee, but you’ll need to pay 30 cents for each PIN-based transaction. To waive these fees, you need to keep a daily collected balance of at least $1,000.

How to get the Money Market Savings account

To open a Money Market Savings account, head to a branch or call customer service at 888-323-4732. Documents you may need to bring include your driver’s license and Social Security number card.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on First Citizens Bank (NC)’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How First Citizens Bank’s money market account compares

Sure, there is no minimum balance requirement to earn the lowest advertised APY, but the rates are still low compared to the ones found on our list of the best money market rates. Most of these competitors also offer low minimum opening deposit amounts and no monthly maintenance fees.

Overall review of First Citizens Bank’s banking products

The rates for almost all the personal deposit accounts that are advertised are pretty abysmal when you look at what else is out there. First Citizens Bank doesn’t seem that transparent about its rates — you need to call to find out what they are — and there are a bunch of fees that can add up real fast. If you want to maximize your savings, you may have better luck looking elsewhere.

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