Open Citibank Checking Account, Fund With a Credit Card, Earn Points

Years ago you could open a Citibank online checking account and fund it with a credit card. I charged as much as $80,000 in initial funding to these accounts. I earned miles, and wrote a check from my new account to pay off my credit card. Plenty of people did this, and after several accounts Citibank would invite them to no longer fund new accounts by credit card.

  • Chase card charges to fund new accounts are no longer treated by Citibank as purchases. They’re cash advances.

  • Citibank cards have always been treated as cash advances.

  • And Citibank does not accept American Express for funding new accounts.

But Doctor of Credit recently pointed out that Barclays charges are coding as purchases. And he verifies that Citi was allowing charges of at least $75,000 when opening an account (limited by your credit line on a card, of course).

I’ve since had a reader email that they were successful doing this, and PointsCentric writes about this as well.

As in the old days, he had to fax in a credit card authorization form. Several days later his charge was processed. (When I would do this it would trigger a fraud alert on my card, I’d have to clear that and get Citi to re-process.)

I’d highly recommend asking your card issuer to set your cash advance limit to zero as a precaution. You don’t want a large charge treated as a cash advance, as you’ll pay interest and won’t earn points.

I’d be curious the experiences others may have, especially with other banks.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary: When I recently opened a new CitiGold account in branch for the current 30,000 AA miles offer, the representative told me Citi no longer allows funding of new checking accounts via credit card.

    It’s possible this restriction only exists for accounts opened in-branch, but anyway just wanted to let you know what I was told.

  2. Received the Citigold 30k AAdvantage miles offer–I was going to go in branch to open the account (apparently it’s quicker that way?). Anyways, I may do online now and was going to fund w/ a Chase CC. I called to set the limit to zero. They were only able to set it to $100 (as opposed to the original $1000); the CS agent said that if it’s processed as a CA and over the set limit it probably won’t go through. I’ll report back.

  3. wow I just opened a citigold online account 2 weeksw ago and funded with $100-

    I called in to do this since I could not locate the form.

    They told me since it is open already I cant do it by CREDIT CARD EVEN THOUGH THE OPTION WAS THERE WHEN I OPENED IT.

    My wifes however, was open last week and still not funded – The funding from chase got bounced back for some reason.

    When I called they said I can do it since it was still in process So I did it over the phone for 35k after combining some line from Us Airways to Arrival.

    I think it should work since I made it zero and I called Barclays to authorize a very large purchase.

    The only thing I can see messing it up is they will not do the CC transaction until Thursday & I redid my chase transfer to citi yesterday.

    Maybe then the account will be “open” and they will not do the CC option?

    As an aside this makes it a no brainer to open a citigold package for the bonus even if they 1099 it and try to get 50 k in there!

  4. I am on the fence about opening one and likely take the plunge this week. My preferred funding options are
    1. Chase Freedom – I have a 50K limit with a 0 cash limit
    2. US Airways Mastercard – 25K limit (I need to call to lower my cash limit to 0)

    Any experiences with what happens if you use a Chase card with zero cash limit ? What if it fails ? Can I try to use the US Airways card in that case ?
    Also, will Braclays treat it as a cash advance ?

  5. in the post you mention, funding a huge sum like this via CC to fund the new account and then paying it off immediately when the CC bill is due, virtually empyting your new Citibank account to $0… dont you have to keep the initial funds in there for atleast 6 months or so??

    or does that not matter when opening a new account online with no bonus that might stipulate additional (time) requirements?

    thanks!

  6. @adam you may need to meet some minimum balance amount to avoid account fees, but this isn’t like the fidelity offers for funding an investment account.. this is for a checking account

  7. How are people signing up for the 30K AA Citigold checking bonus online? My wife was able to get it by calling in a few months ago. Is online applications for the 30k AA targeted only?

    I recall when she did it over the phone she was given the option of funding by credit card, but it was a pretty low limit ($1k?). Is it possible to fund via CC when opening an account over the phone for 75k, or is it online only?

  8. Also, I have a few citibank basic checking accounts. I recall when I went to open another basic citibank checking account online, there were no options for me to fund it with a credit card. Pointcentric’s post states that you can fund any citibank checking account with a CC, not just Citigold. Is this option only when opening a checking account for customers without any existing checking accounts?

  9. Would be interesting to see how this pans out. A $75k spend on the Arrival can generate $1.5k in redemption value instantly. But how many people even have a credit line of $75k on one Barclays card (or even all combined)?

    I unfortunately just reduced all my Barclays credit line to lowest possible in anticipation of applying for the US Air card #3 so I am now left with like $10k total credit line 🙁

  10. Gary, how do you get Barclays to reset the cash advance limit at $0? I couldn’t do it myself in the online account so I asked them to do it, and they said it can’t be done because it’s based on a percentage of my overall credit line.

  11. Excellent post – and I have to echo Bryan’s comment above, “Does anyone know if you can fund the account multiple times with a card or if it can only happen once?” I assume this can only be done once, but if it can be done multiple times that would be amazing. My issue is getting them to raise my $25k credit card limit, which I felt was already high, to something higher. With an 812 credit score they shouldn’t have an issue…

    Also how do you get them to allow such a large transaction to go through without a fraud alert? I always get fraud alerts and struggle to even call ahead to notify the security / fraud team that I will soon make a very large transaction. It’s almost like I had never called.

    Thanks in advance.

  12. I tried opening a CitiGold checking account back in December to take advantage of the AA bonus miles. The denied my application! Mind you, I have a credit score of 850 and the $450 Citi Executive MC. There are no Citi branches in my state. They wouldn’t provide a reason why other than saying they used a report from Experian in their decision; when I called, they said it was really a report from ChexSystems but couldn’t elaborate. I obtained both reports – and neither contained negative info. Zip. Nada. I then asked for a written explanation…and got no reply. Now it’s no longer about the miles! I filed a complaint with the federal agency overseeing national banks. They’re waiting for Citi to respond.

  13. I just opened a citi account after reading this article. I funded it with $17k from my Arrival card, and it just posted as a purchase with 34,000 points. Barclays never even called to check if it was fraud, even though it was 17k of my 17.5k CL and I haven’t been using my Arrival card much.

  14. Can you use US Airways card from Barclays for this? New AA card from citi has not arrived yet…

  15. @Hemang – your US Airways card from Barclays will become an American card from Barclays. It will not become a Citibank credit card (you can still separately apply for one of those). In my experience and understanding the answer is you can…

  16. Hmm…was considering doing the 40K TYP Citigold bonus and want to max out the initital CC deposit. Unfortunately my largest CLs are with Amex and Chase. Does anyone have experience pre-paying Barclays to get a $75K charge to go through on the Arrival Plus? Another lucrative alternative might be the Discover IT card with the effective 3% first year earn, but I haven’t read anything about using Discover to load Citibank. Any suggestions on banks that allow prepayment to authorize a massive charge? I can float $100K no problem but lack the income or business ownership to get a CL much above $25K.

  17. Anyone know if you can load the account using two separate cards to load the account during the same signup process?

  18. Has anyone been able to fund with a US Bank card like Flexperks?

    Above, it looks like people have only used Barclay’s cards

  19. I have funded several Citi checking and savings accounts with Citi cards. They have not ran as a cash advance. I have received miles for each funding as well.

  20. Is there a way to fund the Citigold with your credit card AFTER you have signed up? I did not fund the account on initial application.

  21. Hello,
    I have followed your tips on funding the citi account with a barclaycard arrival. However, my account was unfortunately shut down yesterday – and still haven’t cashed out alot of points. What advice can you offer? Thanks

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