In New England. The 2 major banks where you can chose to store your hard earned cash is at Citizens and Bank of America. Having been customers of both, there are clear differences to both. The most obvious question is which bank is better?
My first bank was Citizens and I opened an account when I started working. When I opened my account, they offered free checking with direct deposit which they still offer today. I went through a few years with then without any hassle until this past year. Withdrawing and overdraft fees.
With Citizens green checking, you are only allowed to withdraw the amount that is in you checking account. For example, if you have a $300 check in hand and want to cash it, you could find yourself only walking away with $100 because that's the amount you have in your checking account. I suppose they withhold your cash because they need the check to clear but it takes away to point of cashing a check. What is the point of waiting in line at the bank where you can't even take the amount it says on your check?
Citzens Banking is a Hassle
You can easily find yourself wasting lots of time in there long lines. Your next option would be simply saving some time and going to the atm to deposit your check. This is where I was starting to want a Bank of America account. With citizens bank, in order to deposit a check from an atm, you must fill out a deposit envelope. This requires you to remember your account number. With Bank of America, all you need to do is endorse your check. No envelope or extra things to do or remember. All you need is your check, your debit card, and your pin. With Bank of America, it was much easier to make a deposit. Citizens needs to update their atm's. They are horrible.
With Citizens Bank, you have to be careful. When you deposit your check through the atm, there is no guarantee that it will make it to your account the next day. Sometimes it would take 1 business day and other times, it can take almost 3. They never tell you why but they'll be more than happy to charge you an overdraft fee if your money gets credited to your account a day late.
After getting hit with a few overdraft fees, I was on to their ways until I discovery yet another underhanded trick. I was purchasing something online but learning from my past mistakes, I made sure my deposit was going through. This was where I started to really hate this bank.
Instead of a smooth transaction, Citzens Bank made a "partial" deposit. Conveniently, my account balance was under and I got slapped with another ridiculous overdraft fee! What's even more disrespectful, the next day, the rest of my deposit went through which was just enough to "cover" the fees. Sneaky Citizens.
So now I have to watch out for their deposit whenever they feel like it moments as well as their partial deposits. At this point, my finger was on the trigger from closing my account. The thing that was holding me back was dependence. The longer you have a bank account, the more dependent you are of it. It gets tied with direct deposit, Paypal. And other convenient services. This was the only thing holding me back.
A New Bank Of America Customer and Already Happy!
Opening a Bank of America account had to be done but I wanted something comparable to Citizen's green checking which is free. Bank of America did not have anything comparable. If you want to open a free checking account, you need to enroll in direct deposit. I had direct deposit in the past and I did not feel comfortable with it. Sure it was convenient but this ment that my bank account is now tied in with my job.
I did not like the commitment of direct deposit. I wanted the control to be able to put money into my account whenever I felt like it. One situation where I hated direct deposit was when my account was at a negative balance. Regardless of whose fault it was, my check went into my account fixing the negative balance but I needed the cash to eat. Imagine where you are in a situation where you needed to eat or pay rent but your check was direct deposited in order to pay off a silly overdraft debt. I say silly because if you are in that situation, what is more important: paying off the bank or having cash to eat?
After explaining to the bank teller that I did not want to enroll in direct deposit, I was left with the option of opening an account while paying a monthly maintenance fee. No way! Iike most people, I am not going to pay for something I can get for free. I talked to some friends and there was a few options. Turns out, I can open a free checking account if I enrolled as a student. I was out of luck there. Then I happen to stumble onto the Bank of America site where they offered free checking if I opened my account online!
Opening my Bank of America account online was easy. I chatted with a fluent Indian service rep and got my account rolling. In a few days, I got a debit card in the mail and I was all set! I went ahead to Citizens Bank and closed my account. The teller that helped me was very understanding. I was the 3rd person that day that closed their account in favor of Bank of America.
So far I am enjoying the convenience of depositing my check without an envelope. Another thing that is nice. When you deposit a check before 8 pm, they credit your account $100 instantly if your check is over $100. This can be very handy if you need some cash in a hurry.
More Reasons to Love Bank Of America
I am a techie. I love gadgets and all of that good stuff. Owning a smart phone, Bank of America offers their customers mobile banking. With mobile banking, I can log into my account via the android app, check my account balances, and transfer funds easily. Citizens Bank have no comparison. While the do have online banking, it is not the same as mobile banking. Having a dedicated app to deal with my bank accounts is so much easier than opening a web browser, navigating to the site and all of that. Bank of America is way ahead of Citizens when it comes to technology.
Another nice thing about Bank of America is their cash deposits. If you want to make a cash deposit, simple stack your cash and place it through the deposit box and the atm will automatically count and deposit the cash for you. Some atms can count 40 bills at a time. This was such a refreshing feature. Everything is done for your convenience. This nice thing about cash deposits with Bank of America is the ability to use your money instantly. If I needed to purchase something online, I could deposit my check and order immediately. With Citizens Bank, I needed to wait for it to clear or wait in line and deposit it via a bank teller.
Bank of America is much more convenient than Citizens. Their atms are better and their service is better. If they continue, I predict Citizens Bank losing many more customers due to it's shady tactics. For now, Bank of America beats Citizens hands down.
ilre on March 18, 2012:
Yes, Citizens bank has become adicted to unethical behavor and costumers know. No Droid app
Set's All Set (author) from New England on February 29, 2012:
Thank you for that insightful comment. It really is enlightening reading things from a different perspective. Perhaps you have dealt with mobile banking in your business. The only thing I'd like to add is BoA seems to be moving faster in terms of technology compared to CB. CB, AFAIK doesn't have any mobile apps and BoA does. For someone like you, a very active businessman, this maybe an important issue.
Your information regarding the fees and your experience is a highly valued especially for someone like me trying to get into business. Thanks again. I'll take your advice and read all the print if I ever get there.
Executive Gerald on February 28, 2012:
I have used both BoA and I am currently using Citizen's Bank (I'll call it CB) at the moment. I resell on ebay and used CB's business accounts to fund my paypal account. First thing I qant to say is, in my experience, BoA has lesser fees than BoA. Why? BoA charges you a 35$ fee after a business day, then another 35$ after 5 business days. It gives people time to pay back money, so depending on when you over draft, say Friday, you will be safe from fees till Monday/Tuesday. Not too bad.
Citizens bank charges a 39$ NSF fee, and a 22$ overdraft fee. On top of that, they charge you 6.99$ for everyday your account remains overdrawn for 10 business days. Depending on how people do math, it can be equal, up to a point, but then CB will keep going. Pretty scary. In my experience, I have almost always had my fees waived by BoA representatives. It's not that hard (maybe haggle a little).
I am currently in the middle of a war between CB and paypal because I made a lot of transactions and CB and paypal seemed to run into conflicts with how they do business. The resulting conflicts (long story short) overdrew my account by over $700. Basically, I am fighting with both paypal and CB to get my money back.
CB has some outdated practices which can be very harmful to you as a consumer, also they charge you more in overdraft fees than BoA. Do the math and you will be surprised. BoA has unsavory methods of dealing with transactions (listing high to low to produce fees), but you will only be charged a maximum 70$. I have tested this and I left an overdrawn balance on my account for 2 weeks (then paid it down and got fees waived) to test the theory. CB also has less benefits than BoA when you move towards dealing with serious amounts of cash. The bigger the bank, the bigger the perks, the smaller usually has less reach. The issue is going out of state, Being charged foreign transaction and inquiry fees is a pain in the arse that I do not have to deal with when using BoA.
So it boils down to preference and what type of banking you do. All in all, be careful what bank you chose, and read the fine print.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on February 16, 2012:
Thanks for the comment. I mentioned in this sea of an article that Citizens made 2 partial deposits into my account which has never happened before. This was from one check mind you. Then I was charged the overdraft fee as a result of thinking my whole check was deposited. I understand where you are coming from but it isn't always a case of irresponsibility. I've been with BOA for about 2 years and have not had a single problem. Thanks for the comment!
Justin on February 14, 2012:
As i have read through this blog i have noticed one problem a lot have focused on. OVERDRAFT FEE'S seriously its called an overdraft for a reason. A lot if you are complaining about the fees but... how do you get these fees? By pulling out money you dont have. Check your balance more often or keep better track of it. If your going to leave 2 dollars in your account and then buy something or write a check that is more than what had then yes... you are going to get a fee. Ive only ever had one and thats because i wanted to buy something and knew i didn't have the cash on me or in my account but i knew that in my pocket was a check that would more than cover it.
Justin on February 14, 2012:
I recently opened a citizens account because a friend of mine who im living with has one. I figured it would be easier because we wouldn't have to search for two diff banks. I hate it. I was a boa customer and i think that citizens is a big rip off. Not only is it harder to check your balance because of zero android support but money is handled completely different. I cant see myself staying too much longer. If anything since i already have an account i might switch ut to a savings and open a new checking with boa.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on January 23, 2012:
Tommy, do you think that it's fair to charge someone for not having ENOUGH money in their accounts? Because that's what happened to me. Then the fee puts the account in a negative balance which triggers the overdraft fee. Does that sound fair? Wow.
Kll on January 21, 2012:
Oh yeah I found a solution CREDIT UNION I have Norhteast and they are great.
Kll on January 21, 2012:
all Banks suck Had accounts with them all and will never again, CITIZENS CONVERTS THE WORD FREE INTO FEE TAKE YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY AND CHARGE 3.50 IF YOU WITHDRAW FROM THERE ATM IF YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNT WITH ANOTHER BANK CITIZENS IS RUINING THIS ECONOMY AND WE ALL SHOULD PROTEST AT THERE BANKS
Tommy on January 20, 2012:
It seems like the simple solution to the majority of everyones problems here is... Don't Overdraft Your Account! Is that really so hard?? Don't spend money you don't have and you won't have to worry about what a bank charges you to loan you money. Wow.
No to Citizen's on January 18, 2012:
I had a Citizen's account that I don't use except for one automatic deduction of $25.50 a month so I put in $50.00. I then notice my account was charged a $39.00 overdraft fee. Turns out company put the charge thru but Citizen's put a hold the $25.50. Then the monthly $10 fee was charged When the actual charge came through My available balance was $14.50 causing the NFS fee. NEVER again! So basically I have to have double the money in my account or I will NFS!! SO WRONG AND IF YOU ASK ME CRIMINAL!
Set's All Set (author) from New England on January 08, 2012:
NA, I've had pennies in my account(s) and I have yet to have them close my account. Not for a short period either, for weeks.
NA on January 07, 2012:
This post is out of date and under informed. At ANY bank, if you walk up to a teller at lets say Citizens, and you have a BOA or chase or whoever check, they can only give you what you have. CORRECT. Because its not their check. BOA would do the same. Except when you deposit, they allow you the first 100$ from the deposit. If you spend that, and the check is bad or wont clear, then hey BOA just made $$$. At least Citizens is protecting the $ you DO have liquid.
All banks reorder your transactions. At Citizens - OPT OUT. No fees that way.
Also watch out for BOA - if you have a low balance, they'll close your acct and label it suspect of fraud.
Citizens is about to undergo a major overhaul in their technology, so keep an eye out.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on December 15, 2011:
Jeff, I'm sorry to hear your story and I am not at all surprised at what happened. Citizens have been a nightmare with me since day one. Since this article, I have not had any problems with BOA though you can read through the comments that some people aren't as lucky. I would take any banking relationship with a grain of salt. Though things are good now, who knows what will happen in the future.
Since this post, Citizens have been making an effort updating their ATM's but like you said, BOA is still on top when it comes to that. I've had pending charges before and while they don't affect my balance(instantly) I always keep caution when I feel the need to spend. Now that you mention it, I remember having the same issue with Citizens, double charging. It stopped my spending for a few days until I was certain it would go away but that kind of stress is just one more straw on the camel's back. Stay away from Citizens.
Jeff on December 02, 2011:
I am done with Citizens. I generally always keep a pretty good balance in my checking account but did a little too much spending during Black Friday which got me close to overdrafting but not completely there yet. Since then I have been working to restore my balance back to where it used to be. So yesterday I check my balance in the morning and I have a little over $1000 in my account, and I saw a deal on a TV for $650, so I purchased knowing I had a 4 - 5 puchases I made earlier in the week totaling $100 that would post that day but for some reason Best Buy authorized my account twice making my "available balance" negative two hundred dollars. Even though I was upset no biggie because 1 of the charges would have been dropped off and my actual balance was enough to pay for everything I had coming through. 2 days later I get hit with $156 in fees because I didn't keep enough money in my account for the "pending charges". The same charge that dropped off the following day. So Citizens found a way to charge me overdrafts when I had a cash positive balance! Is it just me but I don't understand how that can be right! How can you charge me a fee based on a pending transaction. I am so disqusted with this bank. The only reason I kept them was because they keep the branches open late in the Stop an Shops but who needs a branch when you have ATM's like BOA has. I am so done with Citizens!
Anon on October 19, 2011:
Just so everyone knows, ALL Major banks organize their transactions from high to low in order to exploit the overdraft fee system in their favor. There is a class action lawsuit in progress fighting this very thing. Look it up. I was asked to be a representative but declined as it required me to testify in Florida.... it's not the banks fault you can't manage your account to avoid OD Fees... but, they are f'ing us by ordering them intentionally....
sakura reika on October 17, 2011:
No buddy. It's not 5 dollars a monyh, its 5 bucks per transaction. Citizens bank for the win.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on September 30, 2011:
you are right about the $5 charge Maria.
$8.95 service charge? Never heard of this. I get charge $1 to cash my 300 check at the corner next to the bodega so it is NOT the same thing. I have left Citizens because of their partial deposit scheme I've mentioned above. I'd rather pay $5 a month to use my debit card than to worry about Citizen's next scheme.
Lesson learned: Don't do business with banks you don't trust.
Maria on September 29, 2011:
A couple of things. First of all, your comment about not being able to cash the $300 check is invalid. Whenever you try to cash a check drawn off a bank other than the one you are cashing it at, the funds are held against your account. You make it seem like Citizens made rule this up themselves and that they are the only ones doing this. Try walking into Bank of America with a $300 Citizens or TD Bank check when you only have $100 - they will tell you the same thing. Furthermore, you will get slapped with an $8.95 service charge for using a teller. Good luck with that.
Second of all, you don't HAVE to write anything on the envelope, and you don't HAVE to memorize anything. Obviously, the ATM reads your debit card. Although BOA does have really good ATMs...
Anyways, I heard BOA will start charging $5 a month in January of next year to use your debit card so again... Good luck!
tammeka on September 21, 2011:
@Paris.....citizens fees r 37 dollars. I know b/c I deposited cash into the atm at 3pmband it didn't clear until the next day. Since I thought I had funds in my a
Grreg on September 21, 2011:
I was getting teller fees over the limit transfers from bank of america.I added up the past two years ans sofa has taken three hundred. Bucks on bs charges. Im going with citizens
Set's All Set (author) from New England on August 28, 2011:
@ Paris, that's sad to hear. I suppose it really varies from person to person. I have yet to overdraft with BOA so I can't say I feel your pain but I sympathize nonetheless. Since the writing of this article, I have yet to have a problem with BOA. I've written this post almost a year ago and I have yet to see any technological improvements with Citizens. Their ATMs are still old, slow, and scarce. They still don't have smartphone apps. And to me, they still suck. Please share your experiences, good or bad.
Paris0814 on August 28, 2011:
I have had a boa account for a few years now, and they're technology might be superior but they have higher overdraft fees and they deduct your charges the sames way citizens does, highest to lowest. In fact they are currently in a lawsuit about that practice. Boa also won't give you immediate credit for a deposited check, if you deposit a check for $300, they give ua credit for $100 just like citizens. I'm leaving boa because of their out rageous fees and horrible customer service. Boa fee- $35, citizens- $22, ill take the lesser of two evils.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on May 19, 2011:
nkey, the same thing happened to me. The sad thing is, I complained to their clerks and they just shake their heads and say, "There's nothing I can do about that." My experience and others lead me to believe that they are doing this on purpose.
NKey on May 05, 2011:
I've been banking with Citizens & they screwed me on overdraft fees a few months ago. I ended up $374.00 in the negative because of a $3.00 charge made at Dunkin Donuts. I had enough in there when I made the purchase but because they change the order of the withdrawals. For example my account had a $10, 5, 3 withdrawal already poste d which left me with a balance of $5.00. So I went & charge $3.00 @ Dunkin donuts. I would've still had a balance of $2.00. But because a $60.00 check I wrote went through at the end of the day, they ended up changing the order of withdrawals & put the $60, then $10, $5, & $3 so now instead of having 1 nsf fee for the check I had 4 nsf fees. I was heated & it kept escalating because I didn't have the money to cover the fees. Watch out for citizens.
Freeman on January 27, 2011:
Bank of America has more comfortable banking experience, better technology but remember that nothing is free. You will have to pay for it: overdraft fees are crazy.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on December 31, 2010:
Gotta love that you didn't read the title of this hub. If I wanted to mention TD, I'd put it on the title and not looked bias.
C. Roy on December 31, 2010:
Gotta love that you don't mention TD. They obviously up there with those two and arguably better.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on August 26, 2010:
Josh, I opened my account online and have not received a single fee. I'm not too familiar with student accounts.
Josh/hw on August 26, 2010:
As much as I love the boa stuff they promote I can't stand the bank, I had a student account for 6 months and the fees were just too intense, as bad as citizen bank is, boa takes the cake
Kevin on July 22, 2010:
Yeah i know what you mean, i guess citizensbank screwed with me one time too many and i just opened a new BOA account online a couple of minutes ago. Hopefully it'll go smoothly now.
Set's All Set (author) from New England on June 11, 2010:
@ Carlos Stash,
I did not know they organized their overdraft order from highs to lows. I have a smart phone and I love how you could check your balance online with BOA. Citizens Bank has weak smart phone support and transactions get posted late while BOA, they get posted in real time. Sorry you had trouble with BOA. I guess this is a choice of the lesser of 2 evils.
Be careful about Citizens. They are a terrible bank to deal with that will use underhanded tricks like partial deposits to slap you with overdraft fees.
CARLOS STASH on June 11, 2010:
Good look with bank of america yes their up to date with technology but when get hit wit $35 over draft for cup of coffee then another for pack of gum u got 3days ago let me know I love BOA atms but hate the way they set up their payments its like they do it to put more overdraft fee on ur account if u buy something worth 30 bucks today and u got 2 things worth 10 bucks each yesterday and u had 30 on ur account u get charged for the 30 first then the $10 bucks so leaves u with 2 overdraft fees so I moved to citizens bank ... and waitin for BOA to refund me 5 overdraft in 1day small business claim how you going to charge me overdraft for takin 260 from a atm when I had 278 on my account oh i know when they organize every transaction from high to low so u ccan get more over draft fee ... but I will miss the easy atm :(....