www.citi.com (opens in new tab)
Why it won: Citi’s premium checking accounts are packed with perks for customers who hold substantial balances.
Standout account: Citigold checking offers a well-rounded group of benefits if you keep a balance of at least $200,000 in eligible Citi deposit, investment and retirement accounts.
Where it is: Nearly 700 U.S. branches in 10 states (core markets are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.) and more than 1,800 overseas locations. Terms and rates are for New York City.
For the fifth year in a row, Citibank rises to the top of our ranking for high-net-worth customers thanks to its Citigold account package. Customers get free standard checks, stop payments, incoming wire transfers, foreign transactions, money orders and overdraft transfers. Plus, Citi refunds domestic and international out-of-network ATM fees. With a Citi investment account, online and mobile stock trades are $2.95 each, and you pay no annual account fee. The checking account yields 0.03%, and Citigold clients get preferred rates and pricing on loans and savings accounts; recently, rates ranged from 0.04% to 0.15%, depending on the balance, with a Citi Savings Account.
Benefits go well beyond banking basics. Travelers can take advantage of complimentary foreign-currency deliveries to your home, office or nearby Citi branch; concierge services that provide restaurant reservations, event access and travel bookings; and entry into more than 100 worldwide Citigold lounges (attached to bank properties), where you can enjoy refreshments and free Wi-Fi. The Citigold Culture Pass provides free admission to certain museums and other institutions, such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Some perks went virtual during the pandemic, but in-person events, such as an August Celebration of Tennis concert in New York City, are starting to resume. Citigold customers also get up to $200 refunded yearly for subscriptions such as Amazon Prime and Costco memberships.
Along with a relationship manager who assists with banking, you can consult a wealth adviser for financial planning and investment guidance and additional specialists for more-complex planning needs.
With $1 million or more in deposit, investment and retirement account balances, you’re eligible for Citigold Private Client, which waives fees on outgoing wires and offers higher transaction limits for ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases, plus advanced wealth planning and investment services.
www.key.com (opens in new tab)
Why it won: Premium checking customers get advisory services and plenty of free features, and the private bank takes it up a notch.
Standout account: Privilege Select Checking. Keep $100,000 in combined deposit and investment balances to avoid a $50 monthly fee.
Where it is: Nearly 1,100 branches in 16 states, mostly in the Northeast, Midwest and West (plus a few in Florida). Terms and rates are for Cleveland.
Customers who use KeyBank’s premium Privilege Select Checking account get free checks, stop payments, paper statements, cashier’s checks, money orders, foreign transactions and overdraft transfers from a savings account, as well as a complimentary small safe-deposit box. Incoming wire transfers plus one outgoing transfer per month are free. Reimbursement of domestic and international ATM fees is unlimited. Extra checking funds are automatically swept into an interest-bearing savings account (recent yield: 0.01%). Clients get access to local licensed investment advisers and financial advisers from Key Investment Services. With $1 million in investable assets, you’re eligible for Key Private Bank. Clients work with a team of wealth-management professionals and can take advantage of a range of financial planning services.
Lisa has spent 15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.
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