Money: Citibank targets the upwardly mobile - Money - The Independent

Money: Citibank targets the upwardly mobile

Students are not the only people being offered special banking deals, one bank is now offering a market-beating deal restricted to high- earners.

This year's students are being feted like never before by the banks, with pounds 50 signing-on fees and interest-free overdrafts of up to pounds 1,600. Students who play the system and open accounts with all the "big four" could walk away with nearly pounds 200 of free cash and travel cards.

Banks say they offer these deals to attract and keep customers who are potential high-earners and who they hope can then be sold mortgages, pensions and the like. But now a bank is specifically aiming to attract people who are already high earners (those paid pounds 30,000 or more) with a telephone- based service that also comes with the offer of a return flight to Paris.

The bank, US-owned Citibank, has only a handful of branches in the UK, all in London, but offers 24-hour free telephone banking, free use of most of the UK's cashpoint network and, for paying in cheques, free use of Lloyds Bank branches.

"We're targeting upmarket professionals," says Jatin Patel, the group product manager.

Citibank's current account features a pounds 500 interest-free and fee-free overdraft as well as interest of 4.75 per cent on credit balances over pounds 2,000. The pounds 500 free overdraft could save pounds 100 or more compared with some bank accounts.

The deal also appears to compare well with even the most well-known telephone banks. Like First Direct, for example, it does not charge for most normal banking services, but it also pays higher interest and has at least as good access.

The bank, which has been operating current accounts in the UK for three years, used to have a pounds 10 monthly fee on accounts whose average balance fell below pounds 2,000, but that has now been dropped whatever your balance. Now there appear to be no real catches. Its interest rate on agreed overdrafts is an unexceptional 14.7 per cent a year but unlike many banks there are no additional monthly fees for being overdrawn. If, however, you go overdrawn without agreement you will be stung by a high rate of 41.2 per cent.

The Paris flight offer was running over the summer but is being extended exclusively for Independent on Sunday readers. To take your flight you have to pay airport tax of pounds 12.80 and take out travel insurance (at pounds 13 for a weekend) but this still represents cheap travel. You will also need to keep pounds 2,000 in your new account for 30 days as part of the offer, although thereafter there is no requirement to keep a specific balance or even keep your account open. Moreover you do not have to have your (pounds 30,000+) salary paid in to the account, so you can run it alongside an existing bank account.

Citibank also offers a range of foreign currency accounts that could be useful for people travelling abroad a lot, free PC banking, and even a facility to access accounts via Psion electronic organisers. Account- holders who introduce other customers also qualify for pounds 50 of free vouchers with M&S, Harvey Nicholls, Austin Reed or Jaeger. New customers brought in this way also get pounds 50 of vouchers.

Peter Simpson, the commercial director at First Direct, the original telephone bank, which now has 760,000 customers, conceded that the Paris offer was "pretty good". But he appeared unworried that First Direct would lose out from Citibank's challenge. First Direct continues to offer new account-holders pounds 15 cash for signing up. Similarly Rowan Gormley, the managing director of Virgin Direct, which is considering launching a telephone bank next year, claimed that assuming Virgin went ahead it would be able to offer a better deal, particularly on interest when in credit. Citibank pays 4.75 per cent on balances of more than pounds 2,000 but just 1 per cent on lower balances. He said many professional people did not have an overdraft, so the real benefit of a pounds 500 interest-free overdraft might not amount to much. And referring to the Paris offer, he added: "Going after smart people with gimmicks is an ultimately futile strategy." Virgin, he said, will make a decision on whether to go ahead with its bank later this year.

q For Citibank, call 0800 008800, quoting reference "13 Paris".

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Finacial products from our partners
Property search

Leaving money to charity in your will could help reduce the tax bill for your loved ones

Next week has been designated "remember a charity in your will week", to put the focus squarely on the subject

Two million first-time buyers are locked out

The drought in lending to people with low deposits has created legions of frustrated buyers, writes Emma Lunn
Money is slipping through our fingers: the UK is falling behind other countries in the amount we put away

How to save money: UK is crashing down the European league table for putting money away

The UK has slipped to 11th in the latest European league table of savers. Rob Griffin checks out the best options

Energy firms found guilty of bad practice could have licences revoked under Labour government

Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, says a Labour government would create a new energy regulator

A student's guide to financial survival: You don't have to drown in debt at university

Fresh from A-level delight, the moment does not have to be soured by students resigning themselves to thousands of pounds worth of debt in three years' time. Rob Griffin sees how to pass the university challenge

'Dismal' eurozone data sparks concerns

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi is under pressure to launch promised stimulus before the EU slides further
Love but not marriage: property is one area where cohabiting couples are in danger of losing out

How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting

People who simply live together cannot assume they have the same rights to each other's assets as spouses or civil partners. Michelle McGagh sees how they can protect their financial interests

India could be jewel in the crown for investors

With a new government and an ambitious prime minister, the country offers the prospect of strong returns. But there may be hiccups ahead, warns Simon Read
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Sales Executive

    £20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

    Payroll & Accounts Assistant

    £20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week