Citibank has been advertising what appears to be a very generous offer to encourage new customers to open a Citi checking account.
$400! That’s a lot better than a crappy toaster typically offered in the 1960s. The question, of course, is what do you have to do to get the $400 in giftcards? A lot.
You have to open a Citigold account. You have to enroll that account in Thank You Rewards. You have to initiate direct deposit. You have to make at least one electronic payment for two consecutive months. You have to wait 90 days after your qualifying transactions to have the 40,000 Thank You points deposited. You have to keep the account open at least until the points are deposited. There are required direct deposit/e-payments each month to get points, with changes starting in December.
If you can get over the hurdle of doing all that and waiting five or six months before your points get deposited (and longer to get your actual giftcards), you’re all set.
Oh, wait. There’s more. The gold account has a steep monthly fee, and what may be one of the highest minimum balance requirements needed to waive the monthly fee.
A fee of $30 a month? (And if you have to keep the account open for five or six months, that comes out to as much as $180 — eating up almost half your $400 in free giftcards.) Or, if you want to get that fee waived, you only need to keep $50,000 or $100,000 in the bank.
Funny thing, taking everything into consideration, that free toaster from the 1960s is sounding better and better.