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Low-interest no-fee bank loans with the speed and ease of an online lender — but watch out for poor reviews.
Citizens Bank personal loans are good for borrowers who want to trust an online lender but aren’t quite comfortable with anything other than a traditional bank. There are physical branches in the Northeast you can visit if you want to have your loan done in-person, but you can also apply online if you can’t visit a branch. However, its troubling reputation of poor customer service might not have your best interests in mind.
Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.
What makes Citizens Bank personal loans unique?
Citizens Bank personal loans are basic, but they come with low interest rates and no maintenance or origination fees. And unlike with other banks, you can complete the simple application process entirely online. You might also be able to get your funds in as little as two days — a much faster turnaround speed than many other banks.
Citizens Bank customers
Finding competitive rates
Applying with a coapplicant
Not ideal for
Bad of fair credit
Covering an emergency expense
What are Citizens Bank personal loans?
Citizens Bank personal loans are term loans with fixed or variable interest rates. You can use them to pay for any large one-time personal expense, like a wedding or vacation, or to consolidate your debt.
Citizens Bank is a regional bank with physical locations in 11 states in the Northeast and Midwest. If you live in one of the states listed below, you can apply online through Citizen Bank’s site. If you live outside these 11 states, including in Puerto Rico, you’re still eligible to apply. You’ll just need to go through Citizens One, Citizen Bank’s online lending service.
Apply for a loan through Citizens Bank if you live in:
Residents of all other states and Puerto Rico will need to apply through Citizens Bank’s online lending service, Citizens One.
What are the benefits of Citizens Bank personal loans?
Competitive interest rates. The highest interest rate you’ll see on a personal loan is 16.24% — about half what banks can legally charge.
Loyalty and autopay discount. Get a 0.25% reduction on your interest rate if you already have an account with Citizens Bank or set up autopay.
No prepayment fees. Save on already low interest by paying off your loan early. Citizens Bank doesn’t charge any prepayment fees.
Accepts coapplicants. Citizens Bank allows you to apply with another creditworthy applicant to help strengthen your application and share the responsibility of paying back your loan.
What to watch out for
Citizens Bank might have an online arm, but that doesn’t mean it has both feet planted in the digital era. A glitchy website alongside poorly-trained staff make dealing with Citizens Bank a frustrating — or worse, expensive — experience.
Here are some drawbacks you might want to weigh when considering taking out a loan from Citizens Bank:
Limited loyalty discount. You can’t open an account with Citizens Bank unless you live in one of the 11 states where it has brick-and-mortar locations.
Mixed customer service. Our experience with customer service was positive across the board. But the vast majority of online reviewers disagree, claiming support is least helpful when it’s needed most: When something’s wrong with your account.
Trouble with repayments. Watch your balance carefully. Some borrowers have had difficulty getting their payments to go through. If you notice anything off with your account, document it and call customer service immediately.
Website is tricky to use. Figuring out how to apply isn’t obvious, and buttons don’t always work or lead you to the right place. You might be better off calling customer service, even if it is said to be unhelpful.
Compare Citizens Bank to top personal loan providers
Updated September 17th, 2019
What does the Internet say about Citizens Bank?
Mostly negative things. It’s not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which could simply mean it hasn’t paid a fee to be assessed by the BBB. However, it gets an A+ rating based on nearly 100 customer reviews, 97% of which are negative. It has no Trustpilot reviews, but online forums host similarly unfavorable reviews. The main complaint: A combination of bad customer service and constant mistakes in online accounts.
Thinking of getting a checking account to take advantage of that loyalty discount? It might not be such a good idea. Citizens Bank has a reputation for charging unexpected and unjustifiable fees that are difficult to challenge.
Before you apply, gather your documents. Citizens Bank might ask to see a copy of your Social Security card, passport or birth certificate to verify your identity. It could also ask to see tax forms or pay stubs to verify your income.
Once you have everything you need on hand, how you apply depends on where you live.
For those living in the 11 states where Citizens Bank has physical locations, apply through Citizens Bank. All other residents, including those in Puerto Rico, will need to apply through Citizens One.
How to narrow down your rates — without affecting your credit
To first learn the rates you might get based on your personal situation:
When you’re ready to apply for a loan
If you’re ready to apply, return to the Citizens Bank personal loans page and click Apply Now.
Once on the personal loan application page, click Start A New Application.
Complete the required fields, read the terms and conditions and submit your application.
You’ll hear back from Citizens Bank in about a day, after it pulls a hard credit check — which could temporarily hurt your credit score — and confirms your personal information. If you’re approved for a loan, you may need to submit additional documentation.
If approved, simply follow the instructions to set up a user account and select your loan offer. Carefully read your loan agreement before electronically signing it. Citizens Bank will deposit your loan directly into your checking account, usually within a few days.
If you live outside the 11 states in which Citizens Bank has physical branches, or in Puerto Rico, the application process with Citizens One is nearly identical. You’ll just be applying through Citizens One instead.
Citizens One and Apple
Buying an iPhone X and need help paying for it? Apple currently partners with Citizens One to handle financing on some of its products, which includes getting a phone through the iPhone Upgrade Program.
Through this program, you’ll apply for a 24-month installment loan with 0% APR to cover the cost of your phone, AppleCare taxes and fees. Keep in mind that each time you finance your upgrade this way, Citizens One does a hard credit check that affects your credit rating.
Watch your account like a hawk. Get the mobile app if you can, turn on alerts and regularly check in to address any inconsistencies. If you notice anything wrong, take a screenshot and contact customer service as soon as possible.
You might also want to set up autopay — called “auto debit” by the bank — to avoid wrangling with monthly payments and to get a discount on interest. Don’t assume your payment will always go through, though. And if you have a Citizens Bank checking account, keep an eye on that, too.
Citizens Bank might sound appealing to someone looking for a solid lending institution that’s a little more involved in communities than your typical big bank or online lender. Its competitive interest rates and reasonable loan terms also make it an attractive option. But don’t discount its awful online reputation. Customers are saying stay away — it’s up to you to decide if you want to listen.
You don’t have to, but you won’t have any way of knowing what type of rates you can expect. Getting a rate quote won’t affect your credit score and gives you a better understanding of your potential loan terms.
Yes, for the most part. It uses industry-standard encryption on its application and highly restricts access to sensitive personal information like your SSN.
However, Citizens Bank’s website is historically glitchy. Avoid unwittingly submitting your information over an unencrypted page. Look for a padlock to the left of your page’s URL, which itself should start with “https,” indicating a secure site.
Yes. Applying with a coapplicant can strengthen your application if you have a short or spotty credit history.
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