Bank of America vs Citibank Business Checking

February 15, 2024 Business Banking

Key Takeaways

  1. Bank of America has two business checking accounts, while Citibank offers four.
  2. In comparing basic accounts, Citibank allows larger cash deposits and more free transactions.
  3. For advanced accounts, Citibank has a lower fee avoidance threshold, while Bank of America offers more business tools.
  4. Consider Bank of America if you use your business debit card, rely on QuickBooks, or have an existing relationship.
  5. Opt for Citibank if you want to avoid transaction fees, earn interest, or have substantial cash deposits.
Bank of America vs Citibank Business Checking

Bank of America vs. Citibank Business Checking Accounts

Every business needs a business checking account. If you’re starting a business, it’s understandable that you’d look to major banks to open your business bank account. You might want to compare Bank of America vs. Citibank when deciding where to keep your company’s cash.

Both banks have pros and cons that we’ll break down here.

Bank of America vs. Citibank Business Checking Accounts Overview

Bank of America offers two different business checking accounts compared to Citibank’s four options:

Bank of America Citibank
Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking
Business Advantage Relationship Banking CitiBusiness Flexible Checking
N/A CitiBusiness Analyzed Checking
N/A CitiBusiness Interest Checking

Both banks have a basic option to appeal to smaller and new businesses. Bank of America’s is the Advantage Fundamentals Banking account while Citi’s is the Streamline Checking. They also have higher-end accounts for established businesses, the Advantage Relationship Checking and Flexible Checking respectively.

Bank of America vs. Citibank Business Checking Accounts Comparison

We’ll compare Bank of America vs. Citi Bank’s basic and advanced checking accounts before breaking down Citi’s two additional account options.

Bank of America vs. Citibank - Basic Accounts

Bank of America and Citibank both offer entry-level business checking accounts. They have relatively similar fees and features.

Bank of America Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking
Best for Businesses that want to avoid fees and that plan to use their debit cards on a somewhat regular basis Companies that deposit large amounts of cash
Minimum deposit $100 $1
Monthly fee $16 $15
Requirements to avoid monthly fee Maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 across your accounts, OR Spend at least $250 on your debit card Maintain a balance of $5,000
Other fees $7,500 in fee-free cash deposits per month, then $0.30 per $100 deposited, $10 for a business savings account, $15 for account management tools, 200 free teller transactions/checks written per month, then $0.45 per transaction $10,000 in fee-free cash deposits per month, then varying fees per location, 250 free transactions per month, then $0.45 per transaction
Other features Link business and personal bank accounts, Zelle for business, Cash flow monitoring, Digital debit cards, Interest rate and credit card rewards booster, Payroll services cash back Bill payment tools, Account alerts, Overdraft protection

The largest difference between the two is that Citibank allows customers to deposit up to $10,000 in cash before incurring fees compared to Bank of America’s $7,500 limit. Citibank also offers an additional 50 free transactions, making Citi the winner if you expect to make a lot of cash deposits or transactions each month.

On the other hand, Bank of America offers a few useful perks, such as payroll cash back services and Preferred Rewards integration with your personal bank account that can appeal to some business owners.

Bank of America vs. Citibank – Advanced Accounts

The Bank of America Business Advantage Relationship Banking and CitiBusiness Flexible Checking accounts are the banks’ higher-end accounts designed for more established companies.

Bank of America Business Advantage Relationship Banking CitiBusiness Flexible Checking
Best for Companies that need to make more transactions each month or that can benefit from Quickbooks integrations Companies looking for more services, but lower fees
Minimum deposit $100 $1
Monthly fee $29.95 $22
Requirements to avoid monthly fee Maintain an average balance of at least $15,000, OR Become a Preferred Rewards for Business member Maintain a balance of $10,000
Other fees $20,000 in cash deposits with no fee per month, then $0.30 per $100 deposited, $0 for a business savings account, $0 for account management tools, 500 free teller transactions/checks written per month, then $0.45 per transaction $20,000 in fee-free cash deposits per month, then varying fees per location, 500 free transactions per month, then $0.45 per transaction
Other features QuickBooks integrations, Customizable employee account access, One additional business checking and savings account at no fee, Link business and personal bank accounts, Zelle for business, Cash flow monitoring, Digital debit cards, Interest rate and credit card rewards booster, Payroll services cash back Bill payment tools, Account alerts, Overdraft protection

There’s less differentiation between the two banks at this level. Both offer the same number of transactions and amount of cash you can deposit before you incur a fee.

For Citi, the big draw is the monthly fee. You can avoid it with a balance of just $10,000 compared to the $15,000 required by Bank of America.

On the other hand, Bank of America offers more integrations and business tools, like payroll services and additional fee-free checking and savings accounts, so which you choose depends on your company’s needs.

Other Citibank Business Checking Accounts

Citibank offers two other checking accounts which don’t have a real match at Bank of America. The first is the Analyzed Checking Account.

CitiBank Analyzed Checking
Best for Businesses with high checking balances that can be used to offset fees
Minimum deposit $1
Monthly fee $24
Requirements to avoid monthly fee N/A
Other fees $0.17 - $1.40 per transaction
Other features Earn credits to offset fees based on your account balance, Bill payment tools, Account alerts, Overdraft protection

This account doesn’t come with fee-free transactions like Citi’s other business checking options. However, you’ll earn credits based on your account balance and can use those credits to offset fees. If you have a large balance and make lots of transactions a month, you might save with this account option.

The other CitiBank Business account is the Interest Checking account.

CitiBank Interest Checking
Best for Businesses with high checking balances that can be used to offset fees
Minimum deposit $1
Monthly fee $22
Requirements to avoid monthly fee Maintain a balance of $10,000 per month
Other fees $5,000 in fee-free cash deposits per month, then varying fees per location, 25 free transactions per month, then $0.45 per transaction
Other features Earn interest on your checking account balance, Bill payment tools, Account alerts, Overdraft protection

This option offers far lower transaction limits before you start to incur fees. However, you’ll earn interest on your checking account balance, making this account the ideal choice for businesses that have a low transaction volume.

Why Choose Bank of America Business Checking?

There are a few reasons that business owners should consider using Bank of America for their business checking needs.

You plan to use your business debit card

Bank of America lets business owners avoid their monthly bank account fees by spending just $250 on their company debit card each month. This is a relatively small amount for most businesses to spend, meaning you won’t have to worry about monthly fees at Bank of America.

You use QuickBooks

Bank of America offers easy integration between QuickBooks and its business checking accounts. If you’re already using QuickBooks for its accounting and bookkeeping services, that makes it easy to start using your Bank of America account while keeping track of your spending.

You already have a relationship with Bank of America

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program gives business owners that have personal accounts at the bank a big incentive to use Bank of America for their business accounts as well.

With Preferred Rewards, you move to higher tiers of rewards based on your account balances. As you move up the ranks, you’ll unlock perks like increased credit card rewards and elevated interest rates on deposit accounts.

Depending on your existing relationship with Bank of America, that could be enough to sway your decision.

Bank of America Business Checking Features

Digital Tools for Efficiency

Businesses focused on digital transformation can leverage Bank of America's digital banking tools, including Cash Flow Monitor and Business Advantage 360. These platforms help businesses manage their finances online, offering cash flow projections and the ability to connect external accounting and payroll data. This is particularly beneficial for tech startups and digital services firms that prefer managing their operations online.

High Cash Deposit Limits

Retail and cash-heavy businesses, such as restaurants and stores, can benefit from the high cash deposit limits. The Business Advantage Fundamentals Banking account allows for up to $7,500 in free monthly cash deposits, while the Business Advantage Relationship Banking account increases this limit to $20,000. This feature helps manage the high volume of cash transactions typical in these industries without incurring additional fees.

Fee Waivers and Rewards Programs

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to maximize their banking benefits while minimizing costs can take advantage of the Preferred Rewards for Business program. This program offers a range of benefits, including no fees on select banking services, rewards bonuses on eligible business credit cards, and interest rate discounts on loans. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses looking to grow and expand their operations without the burden of high banking fees.

Support and Security

All businesses, especially those without a dedicated financial management team, will find the dedicated support and robust security measures offered by Bank of America to be invaluable. The bank provides access to Small Business Specialists and offers fraud monitoring services and a $0 Liability Guarantee on business debit cards. This level of support and security is critical for startups and small businesses that need to focus on growth while ensuring their finances are secure.

Flexibility and Accessibility

The ability to open accounts entirely online and the availability of fee-free electronic transactions make Bank of America's business checking accounts accessible and convenient for all businesses, particularly those in remote locations or with busy entrepreneurs who value the flexibility of managing their banking needs on their schedule

Bank of America Business Checking Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Large branch network Monthly service fee
Extended customer service hours Low interest rates
Full service banking Many miscellaneous banking fees

Why Choose Citibank Business Checking?

Citibank makes a good argument for business owners to choose its services.

You want to avoid transaction fees

For its basic level of service, Citi offers more fee-free transactions than Bank of America. If you expect to make a lot of transactions or deposit a lot of cash, Citi might be the better option.

You want to earn interest

Bank of America does not offer an interest-bearing checking account. That means that business owners looking to earn interest on their checking account balance will have to open an account at Citibank.

You have a lot of cash to deposit

Citibank offers two accounts that benefit business owners who plan to maintain a large cash balance. One pays interest and the other lets business owners offset their account fees with credits earned based on their account balances.

Citibank Business Checking Features

High Monthly Cash Deposit Limits

For businesses that deal extensively in cash, such as retail stores, restaurants, and service-based businesses, Citibank's CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking and CitiBusiness Flexible Checking accounts provide generous cash deposit limits. The Streamlined Checking account allows $5,000 in free cash deposits per month, while the Flexible Checking account offers up to $20,000, accommodating businesses with higher cash turnover needs.

Free Monthly Transactions

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with moderate transaction volumes will find value in the CitiBusiness Streamlined Checking account, which offers 250 free transactions per month. This feature helps businesses manage their operating costs more effectively, making it suitable for SMBs that need to keep overhead low while still accessing a robust banking service.

Overdraft Protection Options

Businesses concerned about overdraft fees can benefit from Citibank's overdraft protection services, including CitiBusiness Checking Plus and CitiBusiness Safety Check. These services automatically transfer funds to cover overdrafts from a linked line of credit or account, providing a safety net for businesses that want to avoid the fees and inconvenience associated with overdrafts.

Geographical Limitations Awareness

Citibank's physical branch network is concentrated in certain geographical areas, operating in only 10 states and Washington, D.C. This limitation is crucial for businesses outside these areas to consider, as they may not be able to access all Citibank services easily. Businesses in Citibank's service area, however, can benefit from the convenience of local branches and ATMs.

Wire Transfer Costs

While Citibank offers a comprehensive suite of business banking services, businesses that rely heavily on wire transfers might find the fees associated with these transactions a consideration. Companies that frequently send or receive wire transfers should evaluate these costs as part of their overall banking needs

Citibank Business Checking Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Perks for high balance customers No free checking option
Many fee-free ATMs Higher balance requirements
Global presence Low savings APY

Bottom Line

Both Bank of America and Citibank are good choices for business owners looking to open a checking account. If you have a lot of cash or want to make lots of transactions, consider Citi. If you already have personal accounts with Bank of America, you may want to stick with that company.

Either way, before you choose, make sure to research all your options to make sure you choose the best bank for your business.

Mercury
Year Founded
-
Credit Score Required
-
Pricing
-
BBB Rating
-
APY
0%
Novo
Year Founded
2016
Credit Score Required
-
Pricing
No monthly fees
BBB Rating
A-
APY
0%
US Bank
Year Founded
1929
Credit Score Required
-
Pricing
$0 to $30/month
BBB Rating
A-
APY
0%
Bluevine Business Checking
Year Founded
2013
Credit Score Required
-
Pricing
No service fees
BBB Rating
A+
APY
4.25%
Lili
Year Founded
2019
Credit Score Required
None
Pricing
No service fees
BBB Rating
NR
APY
4.15%

Related Articles/You may also like:

Which is a better bank: Citi or Bank of America?

There’s no one answer to which bank is better. It all depends on your company’s needs.

For example, Bank of America offers many useful tools like QuickBooks integrations, but not interest checking. Citi, on the other hand, has interest checking and higher limits on transactions before you incur fees.

Is Citibank a good checking account?

Yes, CitiBank offers good checking accounts that could appeal to companies, especially those that expect to make many transactions each month.

What are Citibank promotions for new accounts?

As of October 2023, Citi provides bonuses for opening checking accounts and has sign-up incentives for several of their credit cards. By starting a new Citi Savings Account, you could earn between $100 and $5,000, contingent on the amount you deposit.

What are Bank of America promotions for new accounts?

As of October 2023, Bank of America provides bonuses for new checking accounts and has various credit card sign-up incentives. By initiating an Advantage Banking Account, you can earn a $100 bonus, provided you fulfill the specified terms and conditions.

Is my money safe on Bank of America?

Being one of the foremost banks in the USA, Bank of America instills confidence in the safety of your funds. Beyond the FDIC insurance that covers deposits up to $250k, the bank boasts trillions in assets.

Thus, even in the face of a severe recession, Bank of America possesses ample assets to mitigate potential losses stemming from loan defaults or other recession-induced challenges.

About The Author

Author Avatar

TJ Porter

Freelance Personal Finance Writer

TJ Porter is a Boston-based freelance writer who specializes in bank accounts, credit, and credit cards. He’s written for Bankrate, Credit Karma, MoneyCrashers, DollarSprout and My Bank Tracker, among others. In his spare time, TJ enjoys cooking, soccer, reading, and video games. You can connect with him on his website, tjporterwriting.com.


Articles Related to Business Banking