Earlier this year, I detailed my experience opening a Citigold checking account to earn American Airlines miles and how I was able to fund it successfully with a credit card. Once the miles had posted for opening the Citigold account, I downgraded the account to a Basic Checking account which I have kept open with the minimum amount ($1,500) in it to avoid any monthly service fees. I realized I never opened a savings account with Citibank when I opened that checking account so last week I opened a Savings Plus account for the sole reason to fund it with a credit card to earn points. Spoiler alert – I was successful but here is a recap of the various steps I took and important details you need to know.
While there are various ways to apply for this account, I chose to apply online as this was the quickest and most convenient method for me. On the Citibank Savings Plus account information page, it clearly lists the ability to use a credit card to fund the account which alleviates any concern about using a credit card.After clicking the Apply Online button, you will see a screen asking you to choose which kind of Savings Plus account package you want (Citigold, Basic etc..). Since I had a Basic checking account now, I obviously just chose the Basic Banking Package (even though it’s called a package, I was only opening a Savings account). After filling out all the required information, you will eventually get to a point where you will be asked how you want to fund your account. The following is important as only the initial funding can be done via credit card and you don’t want to mess this up!
- Decline any offer to fund the account with a Citibank checking account or any other account you may have with another bank.
- Note: You actually can’t fund a Citibank account with a credit card online. Unlike when I opened my checking account, I was not given option to print a form to fax in my credit card information to fund the account so I would have to call in to fund it.
- It is advisable to wait a day to call in to fund the account as reps can’t initially process funding on the account.
- In the meantime, decide which credit card to use and set the cash advance limit to zero. Doctor of Credit maintains an excellent list of which cards will post this as a purchase vs. a cash advance. It might also be helpful to call your bank and inform them of a large purchase but I did not do this.
- I would choose either a Citibank or Barclays credit card as I haven’t read many reports of those cards posting as cash advances. I personally used my Citi Prestige. Citibank won’t accept American Express so no Amex cards will work.
- DO NOT USE a Chase card under any circumstance as this will almost always post as a cash advance.
- Once you’ve waited a day call New Accounts at 1-800-745-1534.
- Protip: They are only open Monday to Friday from 9am EST to 6pm EST.
- Tell the rep you opened a Savings Account yesterday and you would like to initially fund it with a credit card. My rep noted the funding would be processed as a purchase but did warn me some banks will still treat this as a cash advance and I would be responsible for any fees.
- After providing my card information, my rep stated the account would be funded in a few days and in the event something went wrong, I would receive an email notifying me of the issue.
Sure enough, I checked two days later and I saw a $14,500 charge on my Citi Prestige AND $14,500 in my new Savings Account. Success!
I didn’t list it above but the only fees associated with this Savings Account is a $4.50 monthly charge if your average daily balance is less than $500. I didn’t see anything about early termination fees if you wanted to close the account right away but I personally would not do that and jeopardize your relationship with Citibank. My plan is to keep $500 in the account for a few months and close it sometime next year.
Even though I didn’t receive any signup bonus for opening this account (unlike the current Citigold offers for 50,000 ThankYou Points or 50,000 American Airlines Miles), I still think this is a worthwhile endeavor especially if you already have a checking account with Citibank from a previous offer. Opening a savings account allows you another easy opportunity to fund a bank account with a credit card for a large amount – your credit line is the only constraint! For maybe 20 minutes or so of work, I earned 14,500 Citi Thank You Points. If I redeem those points at a rate of 1.6 cents per point for AA flights, that’s worth $232 in free flights!
With how easy this is, anyone else going to try this?