Published on January 9th, 2017 | by Chuck30
PSA: Keep your Citi Checking Login Separate + Keep the Debit Card Active
I recently learned a couple of Citi lessons which are important to keep in mind if you have or ever will have a Citi checking account.
1) Keep your checking account login separate from your credit cards; don’t add the checking to your credit card login.
2) Activate the debit card they send in the mail, keep it, and activate any future debit cards that come as well.
3) [Added by a reader] Make sure to register/confirm any checks you received on your checking account.
Citi often offer checking bonus which some of us do. I did an Citigold bonus way back, and downgraded to Citi Basic some time ago. The account remains fee-free by receiving a $5 ACH and sending a $5 bill pay each month. While I don’t really use the account, there is a reason I wanted to keep it so I automated the fee-waiving requirements.
When recently trying to login, the system had me locked out despite inputting the correct credentials. I couldn’t reset the password since I had never activated the reissued debit card they sent me way back, and it was now too late to activate it. From Citi support I learned that your login automatically gets deactivated when the debit card expires.
I rarely activate unnecessary cards, instead they get dumped into a stack somewhere. Since my old debit card had expired and it the new one hadn’t been activated, Citi took the liberty of deactivating my online login.
It’s worth noting that the account remained in good standing and all preset automated transactions continued, but I couldn’t use the login. Back to phone banking days…
I had them rush me a new debit card which came a few days later, and thought the problem was solved.
In the process of creating a login for the newly minted debit card, I started using my regular Citi credit card credentials. I then recalled a Milestomemories post warning us not to do that.
Citi has a weird system of automatically considering your checking account to be the primary account, even if it was added after the credit cards were already there. If you cancel the checking account, the login won’t work anymore and you’ll have to unlink the credit cards from that dead login and create a new login. It’s a pain to create a new login, and you’ll also lose any SMs you have on the old one.
So I tried creating a separate login. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but somehow I ended up with the credit card login being deactivated and the new login not working either. It was a mess.
The Citi checking wasn’t too important to me, and I decided to just cancel that and a Citi savings account. But I still had to create a new login for the credit cards.
A reader suggests an alternate approach whereby you do link the checking to your credit card login, but make sure to unlink it before closing the checking account. Another reader mentions that you need to confirm/register any checks you received on the checking account too. I didn’t have any checks so this wasn’t an issue for me.