Low-interest no-fee bank loans with the speed and ease of an online lender — but watch out for poor reviews.
You can get your funds quickly without having to talk to a person — but if you live in the Northeast, you can visit one of its physical locations to work things out.
A troubling online reputation, however, set off our alarm bells.
Read on to find out if Citizens Bank could be a match for you.
|Product Name||Citizens Bank Personal Loans|
|Min Loan Amount||$5,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||$50,000|
|Interest Rate Type||Variable|
|Maximum Loan Term||7 years|
- Be at least the age of majority in your state
- Have a strong credit history
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US or Puerto Rico
- Have an annual income of $24,000+
What makes Citizens Bank personal loans unique?
Citizens Bank personal loans are basic but come with low interest rates and no maintenance or origination fees. 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.
- Citizens Bank customers
- Finding competitive rates
- Applying with a co-applicant
Not ideal for
- Bad of fair credit
- Covering an emergency expense
- Unemployed borrowers
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 these 11 states, 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 apply through Citizens One, Citizen Bank’s online lending service.
Apply for a loan through Citizens Bank if you live in:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
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 without penalty.
- Accepts co-applicants. 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:
- Loyalty discount is limited. You can’t open an account with Citizens Bank unless you live in one of the 11 Northeast 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 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.
Compare Citizens Bank to top personal loan providers
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 F 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.
Am I eligible?
To meet Citizens Bank eligibility requirements, you must:
- Be at least the age of majority in your state. The age of majority is the legal age you need to be to take out a loan. It’s 18 in most states, though it can be as high as 21.
- Have a strong credit history. Citizens Bank doesn’t have any hard personal credit requirements, but you might not qualify if you don’t have years of credit and a decent score.
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US or Puerto Rico. You need to have a residential address in the US to qualify.
- Make at least $24,000 annually. This doesn’t mean you must be employed. Investments, pensions, state benefits, child support and alimony all count as income.
How do I apply?
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:
Go to Citizens Bank’s website and select Borrowing.
In this case, select Personal Loans.
Once you’re on the loans page, click Get My Rate.
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.
Once 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 deposits your approved funds directly into your checking account.
If you live outside the 11 states in which Citizens Bank has physical branches or Puerto Rico, the application process with Citizens One is nearly identical. The only difference is that you’ll apply through the Citizens One site.
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.
I got a loan from Citizens Bank. Now what?
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 want to set up autopay — called “auto debit” by the bank — to avoid wrangling with monthly payments and get a discount on interest. Don’t assume your payment will always go through. 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.
Before you decide on any loan, make sure to compare as many options as you can to find the best loan provider for your needs.