First of all, please take advantage of any loans the federal government offers you as a student. Say what you will about "big government" but they help us poor college students reach for higher education.
If needed, get loans from any other bank than Citibank. Google "student loans" and Citibank often comes up first as studentloan.com. Skip this and go on to other banks. Even Discover Bank would be a better choice.
I am warning all students and their parents about Citibank's terrible practices. First of all, the interest rate on one of the loans has risen to 12%. I have 4+ student loans with Citibank and didn't have any problems with them until now.
A month before graduation (May), we called to ask when repayments would start. The Citibank agent confidently told us that we had a grace period of six months after graduation. So payments wouldn't be required until December. Lie #1.
At the end of June, one month after we first called, Citibank calls asking why we haven't begun repaying the loans. We immediately check the online Citibank account to see that a minimum payment of $15,000+ is due. We make several calls and message Citibank through their secure online messaging system asking why $15,000+ is suddenly due. The only response we get is that it that $15,000+ is optional and only about $50 is due. So we make an online payment of $50.
Despite paying them what they ask. They immediately send the Citibank Collections Department after the co-signer on the loan account (Mom). They are rude and threaten her that they are going to send a report to the credit agencies. They said that the real collection companies will start hounding them. She asks Mom, "Why won't you help your kid out and make a payment on his/her behalf?"
The problem with their harassment of Mom is that payment has already been sent. But they can't "see" it on their end because it takes 3 business days to fully process. So they call Mom again. The weirdest part of the collections department at Citibank is that they seem to harass the co-signer first instead of the main account holder.
Anyways, I call Citibank and deal with three dropped calls in a row. Each call takes about ten minutes each and just before I'm about to give the customer service agent my debit card number, the call is dropped. Finally, on the fourth call to Citibank I am able to make an additional payment over the phone (which should be unnecessary) in case the online payment takes too long.
Lie #2. They lied to Mom saying that they would report us to the credit agencies if the account is past due for 15 days. Lies! When I talked to the last customer service agent, who I was able to make the extra payment over the phone, told me that they are not allowed to contact the credit bureaus until the account is 30 days past due. I can see how they use scare tactics to bully their customers.
Another huge problem with Citibank student loans is that their website, studentloan.com doesn't work 99% of the time. I've tried to load their website in Internet Explorer (as recommended by Citibank) and Google Chrome and it works about 1% of the time in the last two weeks. I've changed my internet browser's settings as recommended by the Citibank agent and it still doesn't work. So good luck trying to make any payments online when the collections department is hounding you. Good luck checking your account to see any statements or if payments have been completely processed. You'll be stuck with long calls with customer service and will have to rely on what they "see" on their computer.
I refuse to ever do any business with Citibank in the future (loans, banking, credit cards, etc.) and warn you of their terrible customer service.
Don't believe anything they tell you over the phone. Your Citibank statements will be incorrect as well. Looking for student loans? Look elsewhere!!!