I have to warn those that are going to close a Citizens Bank Business account of a certain hidden malpractice that they employ. I’ve been a long-term customer with them and at first, absolutely loved their services and customer support.
Over time however, I noticed they had started to insert monthly fees and additional charges (.35 cents per debit transaction for example which added up to over $200 one year.) They didn’t even have a mobile depositing app for the longest time and when they finally did, it was quite buggy and had deposit limits set in place. Plus as a technology buff, it was a bit disappointing that they didn’t support Apple Pay. This was just a few items that started to irk me, but it was never enough to get me to switch.
I had recently moved and got married so we were in the process of consolidating and moving accounts. I decided to go with DCU (Digital Federal Credit Union) due to the positive reviews from the public as well as high praise from Consumer Reports. I was sick and tired of being increasingly nickle and dimed by Citizens. As you may know, it takes time to transfer all of your billing and accounts from bank to bank. During the transfer of finances, I was hit with a few shocking, automatic withdraws for which I take the blame for. I should have listened to my wife initially and had closed the account altogether a month ago and this shouldn’t have been a problem. But after finally “closing” the account with them today in person (since I had a balance, they wouldn’t allow me to do it over the phone), a manager informed me that “if there’s any automatic withdraws over the next seven days, we will automatically reopen your account.”
Let me repeat what she said:
“If there’s any automatic withdraws over the next seven days, we will automatically reopen your account.”
So let me get this straight: I totally close an account. Done. Finished. Finito. They have the “right” to reopen it???
I thought I was hearing things. Because typically, you’d think that if you closed an account, most banks would simply inform whatever automatic withdraws that happen that there is no account associated.
Then they would proceed to charge you $39 for each overdraft although you had closed out the account and they reopened it.
It just doesn’t seem fair – in fact, it seems a highly illegal practice.
I asked the manager if she could point me to where it said they could do this. I asked if it was a State or Federal law, and if not, where in my contracts does it specifically state this. I received no answer but she insisted that this is their practice.
After I returned to the office, I didn’t want to take any further chances so I spent time trying to reorganize some of my automatic debits instead of having to do my work. I also contacted DCU representative and upon hearing my story said, “what?!? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. We just close an account when someone cancels.” After that, I called up Citizens Bank Business department simply because I thought this couldn’t be true. Another manager from Citizen’s reiterated what she said.
I asked again, “where in the documentation, State, Federal, or contractually does it say you can automatically reopen an account after I have closed it?”
The manager replied that it’s “just part of our system. I have no control over that. It takes up to 60 days to purge your account.”
I insisted that my account be stricken/purged right away – to remove all of my account information to which she said that they couldn’t as it was beyond their control.
I asked to speak with her supervisor and she told me that “the supervisor would take the same steps and say the same thing.” She then offered to reach out to the supervisor in order to not wait, and then stated that it would be another five days before they could get back to me. The last thing she mentioned before getting off the phone was that she was going to try to contact a different department to see what they could do. But let’s just say that I’m not holding my breath.
So now, I really have nothing positive to say about Citizens Bank. They kicked me (and others I’m certain) on the way out and they will literally steal from you.
My recommendation for those shopping around for business banking is to simply avoid them at all costs unless they admit and decide to fix their corrupt practices.
In today’s age, you’re probably better off with an online credit union instead…
***Update: Citizens Bank called today to inform me that they pushed through my request to have my account information fully purged. When I asked about additional charges that may come through, they said that it would not cause a reopening and overdraft. I also asked if their standard procedure was applicable towards Citizens Personal accounts and they said that their procedure of “reopening accounts” was across all of their products. They provided me with a reference number and apologized, stating that they would take notice of my complaint and pass it along for suggestions.
Overall, I’m thankful that Citizens did this for me but I can’t help but think of all the thousands of accounts they have done this to and how much money they make (I wouldn’t even use the word “skim” as it’s not a small amount) from customers that are closing their accounts with them. It’s not only overdrafts, but they also put additional charges on their overdrafts as well. Then they will also make additional money off of the interests. To think that they were somehow “able” to push the information purge through the very next day shows that they can circumvent their automated system and that their current methodology is completely intentional. It’s sleazy. Shame on their overpaid executives which are stealing from the people. The fact is, I shouldn’t have had to deal with this in the first place. If I can save someone else some time and headache or better yet lead to investigations for malpractice, then I’d consider this post well worth it.***