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  • FIRST POST
    • nilocmac
    • By nilocmac 18th May 17, 6:28 PM
    • 484Posts
    • 270Thanks
    nilocmac
    Citibank Account Closures USD & CHF
    • #1
    • 18th May 17, 6:28 PM
    Citibank Account Closures USD & CHF 18th May 17 at 6:28 PM
    I have just got a little letter from Citibank saying it no longers wants my business unless I have £150,000 (Citigold account).

    In 2 months time, they will close our USD & CHF accounts.

    So can anyone tell me what options there are out there? Ideally, I need an account I can lodge USD checks in and with an ATM card to withdraw in USD when in the US. CHF account really just needs to be an account with an ATM card.

    The clock in ticking
Page 1
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 19th May 17, 12:20 AM
    • 2,846 Posts
    • 1,237 Thanks
    eDicky
    • #2
    • 19th May 17, 12:20 AM
    • #2
    • 19th May 17, 12:20 AM
    CHF account really just needs to be an account with an ATM card.
    Originally posted by nilocmac
    For withdrawing CHF in Switzerland, or some different reason?

    Depositing USD cheques in the UK will always be a problem, you should arrange electronic payments instead.

    Have a look at Revolut, in case it would fulfill some of your needs:

    https://revolut.com
    • caten8
    • By caten8 22nd May 17, 12:05 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    caten8
    • #3
    • 22nd May 17, 12:05 AM
    citibank closing USD account
    • #3
    • 22nd May 17, 12:05 AM
    I got the same letter.
    Apparently I am not benefitting from their core wealth management services so they are giving 2 months notice.

    Have to decide what to do with my $ balance.
    i) Transfer to my GBP current ac using their electronic transfer at their exchange rates.
    ii) Take their closing balance cheque in 2 monthts and try to do something with it
    iii) Open a US based checking account.

    UK banks do not seem to offer a practical USD account

    Any suggestions?
    • Heng Leng
    • By Heng Leng 22nd May 17, 11:46 AM
    • 4,124 Posts
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    Heng Leng
    • #4
    • 22nd May 17, 11:46 AM
    • #4
    • 22nd May 17, 11:46 AM
    You could use something like transferwise but you'd have to use electronic transfer - either SWIFT or domestic US (ACH) that Citibank Ireland probably doesn't support.
    • nilocmac
    • By nilocmac 23rd May 17, 1:47 PM
    • 484 Posts
    • 270 Thanks
    nilocmac
    • #5
    • 23rd May 17, 1:47 PM
    • #5
    • 23rd May 17, 1:47 PM
    I got the same letter.
    Apparently I am not benefitting from their core wealth management services so they are giving 2 months notice.

    Have to decide what to do with my $ balance.
    i) Transfer to my GBP current ac using their electronic transfer at their exchange rates.
    ii) Take their closing balance cheque in 2 monthts and try to do something with it
    iii) Open a US based checking account.

    UK banks do not seem to offer a practical USD account

    Any suggestions?
    Originally posted by caten8
    I still haven't come up with any options.

    The only good thing for me is I am going to the US in just over a month so will probably be able to take a proportion of it out there.

    Then I will get the remaining monies transferred to my UK account at 'their' exchange rate. I guess the only positive is that at least it is better rate than this time last year.

    Have you any options with opening a US checking? I was assuming that it might be hard to open a US checking account if I am not resident (or a citizen).
    • nilocmac
    • By nilocmac 23rd May 17, 2:22 PM
    • 484 Posts
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    nilocmac
    • #6
    • 23rd May 17, 2:22 PM
    • #6
    • 23rd May 17, 2:22 PM
    For withdrawing CHF in Switzerland, or some different reason?

    Depositing USD cheques in the UK will always be a problem, you should arrange electronic payments instead.

    Have a look at Revolut, in case it would fulfill some of your needs:

    https://revolut.com
    Originally posted by eDicky
    Revolut seems like a very good product but does not really fulfil all my needs :-(
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 23rd May 17, 3:43 PM
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    eDicky
    • #7
    • 23rd May 17, 3:43 PM
    • #7
    • 23rd May 17, 3:43 PM
    Revolut seems like a very good product but does not really fulfil all my needs :-(
    Originally posted by nilocmac
    Not all, but maybe some of your needs. We don't know what they are.

    You could use Revolut to transfer your Citibank USD to a GBP account. Also for CHF spending/withdrawals, if that's your need...

    You should be able to open a checking account with a US bank while you're there, BoA, Citi, Schwab, etc. Take proof of address with you.
    • christh
    • By christh 23rd May 17, 6:54 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    christh
    • #8
    • 23rd May 17, 6:54 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd May 17, 6:54 PM
    I got the same nice letter too.

    I'd imagine the handful of people still suffering these accounts have all been sent them. I say suffering due to the awful conversion rates and it being easy to be hit with the £5 monthly charge following sterling crashes. Still enough moaning from me, they were good for withdrawing money overseas - now it's time to close these up.

    Here are the options they offer:
    • Please call CitiPhone so that we can faciliate a SEPA or SWIFT transfer for you with a zero Fund Transfer fee (so kind of them!)
    • [or if you want to move before 17th July] sign into Citi Online and select the relevant payment option blah blah. (it's ambigious as to whether you'd be liable to a Fund Transfer fee)
    Looks like phoning them is the way to go.

    I have Japanese Yen and USD accounts to go. Getting a cheque in Yen would be interesting! I've paid in USD cheques before here and got caned quite heavily for the privilege.

    So it looks like Revolut or Transferwise would do the job - thanks eDicky and Heng Leng - using their (UK) bank details as the recipient? Not that I've used either, first I've heard of them is on this thread.
    • Plus
    • By Plus 23rd May 17, 10:16 PM
    • 220 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    Plus
    • #9
    • 23rd May 17, 10:16 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd May 17, 10:16 PM
    I got one of those too. I'm not surprised, since I have about £2 across all my accounts, and have carefully not been paying them the expected £5 per month per account (if you have no money they can't charge any fees). I mostly only use them to dump cash in when travelling, and then take it out after, or sometimes to pay in notes in the erstwhile London branches and then use for electronic transfers.

    Revolut or Transferwise (or Currencyfair) I wouldn't hold anything in for more than the minimum time as there's no FSCS. Bunq might work for some people for EUR (they're under the Dutch protection scheme).

    Santander International (Jersey) have a USD savings account but no cheques or cards and you might not be able to open one as a UK resident. Jersey is non-EU and has a much weaker protection scheme.

    Barclays seem to have some accounts, but no cards and nasty charges.

    HSBC's Currency Account might work if you're willing to put up with a 6 USD/EUR/CHF fee for transfers out. But maybe if you combine it with an account like Revolut, CurrencyFair or a prepaid card - transfer out lumps of say $500 to your card and then use that to make payments. That way at most you're risking due to lack of FSCS is $500. Scale that number based on your personal risk/costs tradeoff.

    HSBC and Barclays will do cheques, but the prices aren't pleasant. I think I'd be looking if the sender can use an electronic transfer instead.
    Last edited by Plus; 23-05-2017 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Cheques
    • caten8
    • By caten8 24th May 17, 11:52 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    caten8
    This account was convenient for me because it allowed:
    1) Pay in any dollar earnings
    2) Withdraw dollars from ATMs in the USA
    3) Make purchases with debit card in USA (in USD)
    4) Write USD cheques drawn on a NY branch
    5) Make fee free transfers of small amounts to European bank accounts (SEPA payments I think), whereas my UK bank charges ~£10 per transaction
    6) also works in ATMs or as visa debit in Eurozone.
    All fee free if minimum balance of £2000 maintained. (but £150k is another kettle of fish.)

    I have had US based accounts before. May need citizenship for this, and maybe residence or US address now.
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 25th May 17, 9:59 AM
    • 2,846 Posts
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    eDicky
    Now we see some explanation of what these Citibank accounts are used for, which I was wondering about. At least they had debit cards denominated in USD etc, which I believe no UK bank issues with their foreign currency accounts, making them next to useless. I used to have accounts with USD and EUR debits cards at Santander Jersey, but they now require substantial deposits to avoid monthly fees. Such accounts with 'offshore' branches of mainstream UK banks are available to UK residents, but for personal use they are not so attractive these days.

    In fact, apart from the ability to deposit and/or write USD cheques, I can't see much use in having foreign currency accounts for personal use, when the 'home' currency is GBP and there are now so many ways to spend and withdraw foreign currency at the perfect exchange rates and without any fees. (See the relevant MSE articles.) Holding dollars or euros etc in a separate account may seem useful if you travel regularly, but in reality, unless you're lucky with exchange rate movements, it is always going to be to the banks' advantage, not yours, whenever you have to convert at their rates. When you use a GBP card that has no non-sterling fees it is good for virtually any foreign currency, whereas a USD card usually imposes hefty fees if it's used for anything other than dollars.

    Over a year ago I used Revolut to withdraw all funds from my Jersey accounts and close them, totally avoiding bank fees and adverse exchange rates. I suggest that Citibank foreign currency accounts can probably be cleared in the same way, although Revolut's fair usage policy now limits fee-free conversions to £5000 per month, a 1%(?) charge thereafter, and loading dollars with a USD debit card now costs 3% so a bank transfer is necessary (Citibank USD to Revolut's Barclays or NatWest USD account, with your personal reference number). Loading with a EUR debit card remains free and instant. You can then convert to GBP at the interbank rate (weekdays) and withdraw to your UK account, or wherever, without fees.
    • Plus
    • By Plus 25th May 17, 10:28 AM
    • 220 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    Plus
    In fact, apart from the ability to deposit and/or write USD cheques, I can't see much use in having foreign currency accounts for personal use, when the 'home' currency is GBP and there are now so many ways to spend and withdraw foreign currency at the perfect exchange rates and without any fees. (See the relevant MSE articles.) Holding dollars or euros etc in a separate account may seem useful if you travel regularly, but in reality, unless you're lucky with exchange rate movements, it is always going to be to the banks' advantage, not yours, whenever you have to convert at their rates. When you use a GBP card that has no non-sterling fees it is good for virtually any foreign currency, whereas a USD card usually imposes hefty fees if it's used for anything other than dollars.
    Originally posted by eDicky
    There are reasons if you have any income or outgoings in another currency. For instance, you work for a US company so you have to bill your travel expenses in dollars. If you pay for them with a UK card, you may lose out because of exchange rate moves between the date you pay and the date you claim back. Or any other kind of obligation where you have a payment date in the future, but don't want to be exposed to exchange rate risk. Likewise, banking non-GBP cash in the UK without conversion is really hard.
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 25th May 17, 4:06 PM
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    eDicky
    There are reasons if you have any income or outgoings in another currency. For instance, you work for a US company so you have to bill your travel expenses in dollars. If you pay for them with a UK card, you may lose out because of exchange rate moves between the date you pay and the date you claim back. Or any other kind of obligation where you have a payment date in the future, but don't want to be exposed to exchange rate risk. Likewise, banking non-GBP cash in the UK without conversion is really hard.
    Originally posted by Plus
    Yes, that's an example of a genuine need for foreign currency account, another would be if you have an overseas property with expenses to administer in that currency.

    But a better option would be to have a bank account in that country, with card and internet banking to make and receive payments in that currency, which is usually possible. Now that the Citibank and Channel isle / IoM banking is no longer practical unless you have large deposits, there's more reason to look into the in-country banking options - USA for dollars, any eurozone country for euros, etc.
    • KarenStew88
    • By KarenStew88 2nd Jun 17, 7:07 PM
    • 48 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    KarenStew88
    Citibank account closure
    It seems I'm not the only one who is having problems with finding a replacement bank account for Citigroup! I'm not worried about the account for company reasons, I do need at ATM machine though and preferably an account that doesn't have a fee every month. I don't have big money, so at £150,000 minimum is out of the question!

    I phoned Citibank and they extended my account another 2 months to give me more time to find a new one, so mine closes in September now. They weren't receptive to any other option though, it seems they don't want customers unless they are high net worth.
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 2nd Jun 17, 7:48 PM
    • 2,846 Posts
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    eDicky
    ! I'm not worried about the account for company reasons, I do need at ATM machine though (
    Originally posted by KarenStew88
    it's not clear, can you explain your requirements?
    • Heng Leng
    • By Heng Leng 3rd Jun 17, 9:14 AM
    • 4,124 Posts
    • 1,263 Thanks
    Heng Leng
    it's not clear, can you explain your requirements?
    Originally posted by eDicky
    Presumably fee & surcharge free access to US ATMs.
    Citi operates ATMs at many 7-Eleven stores - this gives nationwide access.

    I'm not aware of any other (non-US) cards giving charge & surcharge free access to a large network in the states?
    • socrates
    • By socrates 3rd Jun 17, 10:18 AM
    • 2,804 Posts
    • 1,714 Thanks
    socrates
    How about the Charles Schwab Account you can apply for in the UK?
    • nilocmac
    • By nilocmac 3rd Jun 17, 5:34 PM
    • 484 Posts
    • 270 Thanks
    nilocmac
    Extension
    It seems I'm not the only one who is having problems with finding a replacement bank account for Citigroup! I'm not worried about the account for company reasons, I do need at ATM machine though and preferably an account that doesn't have a fee every month. I don't have big money, so at £150,000 minimum is out of the question!

    I phoned Citibank and they extended my account another 2 months to give me more time to find a new one, so mine closes in September now. They weren't receptive to any other option though, it seems they don't want customers unless they are high net worth.
    Originally posted by KarenStew88
    Perhaps I should ask for an extension as well.

    I still haven't made any real progress but I guess I am looking for the exact same account somewhere else :-( But I guess I need to keep looking.
    • nilocmac
    • By nilocmac 3rd Jun 17, 5:39 PM
    • 484 Posts
    • 270 Thanks
    nilocmac
    How about the Charles Schwab Account you can apply for in the UK?
    Originally posted by socrates
    Had a quick look but need something a little simpler as the key feature need to be in USD and ATM card (also little or no fee).
    • socrates
    • By socrates 3rd Jun 17, 5:42 PM
    • 2,804 Posts
    • 1,714 Thanks
    socrates
    It is a dollar account and all ATM fees are refunded - and you can draw anywhere in the world within reason - in the local currency - I have used mine in Thailand and America - amongst other countries
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