The Headache of Linking Citi Checking & Credit Accounts (Don’t Do It) & $400 Sign-Up Bonus Extended

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Citi Locked Login Checking Accounts

Citi Locked Login Checking Accounts

I have covered a number of very good Citi checking account bonuses over the past year including their current offer of $400 for signing up which has just been extended. While getting a checking account from Citi can be lucrative, it can also cause headaches. Sometimes you have to follow up many times to get them to give you the bonus, but there is one far worse thing.

When opening up a Citi checking account you have the ability to link it to your existing online profile. It might seem like a good idea to have everything linked together, but DON’T do it. Once the bank account is linked to your credit card login, it becomes the dominant account. What does that mean?

Close Checking – Close Login

After cashing our her points from the Citigold deal last year and getting the reduced annual fee on the Prestige, my wife closed her checking account. An innocent enough decision, but it ruined everything. Since her login which has existed since long before the checking account was linked to it, she was locked out. When she tried to login it asked for the debit card number and account number of the checking. Since it was closed there was no way past this.

Citi reps know of this limitation and without worry, concern or care will simply tell you to create a new login. Who cares if you had secure messsages on that login or if you have 10 cards that you now need to re-link. My wife had one manager tell her that she shouldn’t have added her credit cards to her bank login. She explained that it was a credit card login before the bank account and the manager argued that it wasn’t.

How to Fix It

Since cards can only be linked to one online account and since you won’t have access to it, you need to call Citi and have them unlink your cards from that now dead bank login. Say goodbye to that user name forever! You then need to create a new login and one by one add in all of your cards. What a pain, but it seems to be the only solution according to Citi. I have had several reps say they can’t de-link the bank account from the old login.


Citi is a bank with a lot of quirks and this is one of them. Over the past month my wife and I both closed our Citi checking accounts and thus lost our logins. It has been a pain to get everything back up and running so I hope this article saves you from the same hassle.

Of course I also recognize that sometimes people find workarounds, so I am open to any and all suggestions in the comments. I have been told there aren’t any, but that doesn’t mean I am not hopeful!

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. Here’s another set of quirks… I tried to apply for a checking account online (for the bonus) and the website says ‘error’ so I called , spent 1/2 hour “setting up an account ” and then received an email that the final step was to add money??? No money no account. You have options… mail a check, etc.. or set up an online transfer?? Transfer to what? I don’t have an account yet… After this I decided the $$ wasn’t worth the pain.

    • I posted in 2016 about having this issue with Citi. I recently opened a new Citi checking account and didn’t have the same problems. Online account seems to work okay with my existing credit card accounts.

  2. “Quirks” is definitely an understatement! Not only can you not link business cards to personal accounts, you can’t view accounts opened in CA alongside accounts opened in NY, because they’re in a different “FIMP” (marketplace). This may not affect that many people, but if it affects you, you’ll understand the pain, lol. They also wouldn’t let me open a retirement account without a check to fund it (impossible since I was opening the account via fax), while also not letting me deposit a check until the account was open. This was not fun to resolve! Citibank provides mountains of illogical hassles like this and the customer service reps don’t have a clue how to help. Avoid unless you just want the bonuses or basic checking services.

  3. What a nightmare. Same exact thing happened to me, and to add insult to injury, they seem to have also messed up my ThankYou account — even logging in separately with the ThankYou credentials.

    I asked whether opening a new checking account and associating that checking account with my original Citi online account could work, and I was told that’s not possible because my original online banking account had the closed checking account set up as the “primary” account.

  4. I had a somewhat different experience. I had a login for my existing citi cc’s. I created another login for the citi checking so I would have two separate logins. Without my permission, citi moved my cc’s from my original login to the newly created one and closed the first login. Now everything is linked under my second login that I created when I opened the citi checking. I originally wanted my citi checking to my linked to my original one, but I was told that couldn’t be done and I had to create a new login.

  5. There is a way around it – I had the exact scenario as your wife’s – a Citi login created with multiple credit cards linked to it. Then I did the Citigold and linked the checking and savings to the same login. However, during closing the checking-savings account, what I did was manually unlinked the checking / savings accounts from the Citi Online management. The way to do this is to go to the “Account Management” tab and then under the “Link Accounts” section there should be multiple “Link / Unlink Accounts” choices – one is for credits cards, another use for checking / savings. I used that option and it worked smoothly for me to unlink those accounts. Then I called them up to close the accounts.

  6. They made me get a new chip-enabled debit card but then forced me create a new login as a result. I didn’t hafta relink my accounts but I couldn’t believe that was the best their IT could do.

  7. It was like pulling teeth getting the checking bonus from them. I had to visit the branch manager(other employees were clueless) 4 times plus countless phone calls. The continued aggravation wasn’t worth the $400 I finally got.

  8. My God, I never had near as many problems with other banks as I had with Citi. For starters, I couldn’t even add my business credit card to my personal account, in order to view all my accounts in one place. On top of that, their business credit card page didn’t even have a mobile version or even an app. Add this to the host of other issues I had with the bank. And I’ve never heard “24-48 hours” mentioned so many times in my life! And of course, things that were supposed to be done in 24-28 hours didn’t get done for weeks, even after countless phone calls. Pathetic.

  9. Thanks for the warning. We currently have our downgraded checking accounts linked to our credit card logins as well.

    I see an option to unlink the Citi checking account. Maybe it can only be unlinked while the account is still active.

    I’m not planning on doing it while I have the Prestige since it is keeping my annual fee at $350 and I’m not sure how it would affect that. I’m thinking that it should be possible to unlink the checking, create a new login for it, and then close the checking without it affecting the credit card login.

  10. Argh, stupidly connected my accounts as I was concerned I was going lose Citigold. On the technical side, they seem to make the connection these are my CC and Citigold. Then I stupidly decided that it was easier to check banking info if they were connected. Shoulda learned the first time, I had a 8yr history with them that they just wiped out when I closed my first checking account.

    Well, just waiting for that inevitable downgrade (don’t have 200k in funds holed up). I think as I joined the tail-end of October they haven’t made the automatic downgrade yet. We’ll see. Quirky they are.

  11. I wish I saw this article a couple of months ago. They told me I could not add my checking account to my existing CC login, I would have to create a new one for the checking account, then add the CCs to the new login. I guess I can look forward to another hassle when I inevitably close the checking account in a few months when I get the bonus.

  12. “Citi is a bank with a lot of quirks…”

    “Quirks” -You’re being too generous. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!


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