why you should not bank with citibank
Posted in the Top Stories Forum
Since: Oct 12
#1 Oct 30, 2012
I went to Citibank before moving to the Philippines to get a face to face answer on what my overseas banking options would be. It was hard to get a straight answer from them through their chat option. At the bank they told me that you could withdraw US dollars from the citi ATMs using your American citi ATM card and that you would not be charged a fee for using a non citibank ATM, and that they don't ever charge a fee for using an ATM that isnt Citi. They told me that they do not charge foreign transaction fees. All lies.
I told the guy I was talking to at citi in the US that I had heard differently that you could not withdraw US dollars. I was traveling on a small budget and didn't want to get charged 3% any time I needed money and planned on going to Schwab to open an account if thats what i needed to do. He says that I may be right, so he asks his manager, and has a talk with the Philippino cashiers at the bank. He is gone for 10 mins and makes a phone call.
He comes back and confirms everything he had just said, says his manager thought so but wasnt sure so they made a call into the home office, that he also confirmed it with the cashiers who took trips their on occasion. So because of what i had been told I didnt get the schwab account, silly me for trusting my bank.
I arrive in the Philippines, I bring less cash than I had planned on because there was no point to carry a lot with me when I could get the same ATM service I get in the states. I make my first withdrawal and there is no USD option I can only withdraw pesos. I ask someone how I can get the USD withdrawal option, they tell me that is only for PI accounts. I told them how I was told differently by my bank in the US, they said I had been misinformed.
Well, I guess I will withdraw pesos, i heard banks dont give as good of a rate but since they don't charge any fee's it won't be a big deal. But still I had checked into it to avoid just this. I withdraw pesos and do a quick mental calculation and think it seems about right for the 43 pesos per dollar i am supposed to get, only slightly less. I check when I get back to my hotel and put it in the calculator, its 3% off. The 3% fee they charge on forgeign transactions even though they claim not to charge anything.
Then I go to Cambodia where you can withdraw USD from any ATM because USD is basically the main currency there, its used as much as the riel in the bigger cities. I go to a Canadia ATM because they charge no fees on their end. Since citibank claims not to either I should be getting free withdrawals, and since I am withdrawing USD there should be no 3% fee. I withdraw with no problems. Check my Citibank account and there are no charges.
A few days later I log back onto citi and i have been hit with a 3% foreign transaction fee plus a charge for each time I have used an ATM overseas, including the citi ATMs in the PI. I have been told that it is illegal for them to charge a foreign transaction fee when you are withdrawing the currency that your account uses. I don't know if thats true, but I do know that when I withdraw from bank of america they do not charge the 3%, they charge a flat $5 charge for not using a bank of america ATM. So when you withdraw $500 you are getting charged $5. And the thing is they are honest about it and tell you that is what they charge.
If I withdraw the same $500 using citibank i get charged $15 in foreign fees and a $2 atm fee. Again even though they claim to not charge for using non citi ATMs, claim to not charge foreign fees, and are charging me for withdrawing the currency my account is set up in.
So I obviously have transferred all of my money out of my citibank account and will never use them again. But I feel that is not enough so I am posting this on every popular message board I can find so A) other people dont get screwed by them and B) to try and hurt their business, even if it only gets 1 person to close their account or not sign up with them it will make me happy.
#2 Jul 20, 2014
It depends on the type of Citibank account that you are using to withdraw money. For example I have a "Citibank visa plus debit card" and I don't pay a foreign currency conversion fee, have free ATM access to Citibank and their partners ATMs. However I also have a Citibank signature credit card which has heaps of fees; so I only use it for purchases not cash advances.
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