Citi Plans to Put You Into 'Relationship Tiers' Next Year

New Citi structure for retail accounts resembles travel rewards programs that offer more perks as balances increase.

Section of building with Citi logo.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Citi plans to start retiring U.S. retail bank account packages next year in favor of “relationship tiers” that are similar to travel rewards programs offering more perks as balances increase.

“Similar to an airline or hotel rewards program, as a customer’s combined average monthly balance grows, clients may unlock relationship tiers, allowing access to more benefits and services from Citi Priority, Citigold or Citigold Private Client,” the company said in a statement.

The tiers will provide customers with enhanced benefits and services, such as waived monthly service fees on checking and savings accounts, waived Citi fees at non-Citi ATMs, and professional financial planning services, Citi said.

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The news comes as bank failures earlier this year left many Americans feeling less confident in financial institutions, with some weighing their options for banks and credit unions. Citi, like a number of other banks, is offering fee breaks and other perks to customers who keep high balances in deposit and investment accounts.

Citi said its move to relationship tiers will take effect immediately for new customers and in 2024 for existing account holders.

A customer's combined balances to be tracked

“These latest changes are designed to create a more seamless experience for our customers and make it easier for them to get personalized advice and access their finances,” said Craig Vallorano, head of Retail Banking.

Under the program, the bank will track a customer’s combined average monthly balance and assign a relationship tier, automatically linking eligible deposit and investment accounts. Customers who are not in a relationship tier can avoid paying monthly service fees by making monthly direct deposits of $250 or more in their checking accounts, having an average monthly balance of $500 or more in their savings accounts, or by having both a checking and savings account with Citi.

For families, Citi is offering customers enrolled in its Family Linking program the ability to move to a higher relationship tier by combining average monthly balances with those of eligible family members who live with them in the same household.

Citi said it began to eliminate certain retail consumer banking fees in 2022, including overdraft fees, returned item fees and overdraft protection fees. It said it plans to remove additional retail banking fees in the coming months.

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.