The Citibank Plus Account is an example of a ‘fee free’ transaction account, with some great benefits for travelers and overseas purchases.
Recent figures released by Citibank show a 500% increase in applications since the product’s re-launch in October 2011.
|Product Name||Citibank Plus Transaction Account|
|Monthly Account Fee||$0|
|Debit Card Access||Yes, Visa|
|ATM Withdrawal Fee||$0|
|Interest Rate p.a.||0.00%|
|Details||No ATM fees using Citibank, Westpac, BankSA and St .George branded ATMs|
And why the uptake?
Citibank’s head of retail banking, David Mouille, says customers are attracted to an account that has no fees: ‘The Citibank Plus is now one of our fastest growing accounts. There are too many hidden fees in most other basic transaction accounts. Statement fees, ATM fees, and Account maintenance fees are all generally hidden and totally unnecessary.’
Don’t pay monthly fees to keep your money with a bank
If you look at the fees and charges associated with everyday transaction and savings account usage, which is costing Australians approx. $300 million annually, it’s no surprise the Citibank Plus Account is attracting over 5,000 new customers every month. 5,000 new customers a month certainly sounds like a lot; however, we had no way of quantifying this data against application figures from other institutions, so it should be treated as an arbitrary figure until further information is made available.
Accounts like the Westpac Choice transaction account have a monthly fee of $5.00 unless you make a deposit of more than $2,000 once a month and these requirements are among some of the more expensive conditions offered by lending institutions. Most other accounts in the market, like the NAB Classic Banking transaction account, are free of most fees and charges; however, there is still a considerable charge for using your card overseas.
A good travel partner
This is a major point of difference between the Citibank Plus account and the rest of the transaction accounts on the market. When withdrawing from a Citibank ATM there is no direct charge or international transaction fee (which is typically charged at 2% to 3% of the transaction value by other banks). If you make an ATM withdrawal at a 3rd party ATM you may be charged a direct charge from that 3rd party. For travellers, this account makes a great companion to take overseas. Citi are a global institution and have a worldwide reach.
Free wine on Citibank
Citibank states that they can also attribute the spike in interest to the Citibank Dining Program. Once the exclusive territory of Citibank credit card holders, people with a Plus transaction account can now also enjoy a free bottle of wine when they attend a participating restaurant and pay with their debit card.
Citibank says that they expect more Australians to switch to their account now that the government has removed some of the barriers to switching savings and transaction accounts.