CIT Bank Review

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CIT Bank

Overall Rating

9.25

Bottom Line

CIT Bank is a great option for earning competitive interest rates not only on your money in a savings or MMA account but also to earn interest on money in your checking account.

Pros

  • Competitive rates on savings accounts, MMAs and CDs
  • Full suite of products means CIT can be a one-stop shop
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Flexible CD terms, including no-penalty and jumbo

Cons

  • Online-only bank with no physical branches
  • The $1k minimum deposit for CDs is relatively high
  • Accessing cash in your Savings Builder or MMA via ATM requires an extra step

Savings

9.5

MMAs

9.5

CDs

9.0

Checking

9.0

Today’s Rates:
CIT Bank

Rates last updated: July 15, 2020
ProductAPYMin Deposit
Savings Builder Account0.95%$100.00
High Yield Savings Account0.75%$100.00
Money Market Account1.00%$100.00
Checking Account ($25k+)0.25%$100.00
Checking Account (<$25k)0.10%$100.00
11 Month No Penalty CD0.75%$1,000.00
1 Year CD0.75%$1,000.00
2 Year CD1.00%$1,000.00
3 Year CD1.00%$1,000.00
4 Year CD1.05%$1,000.00
5 Year CD1.05%$1,000.00

CIT Bank will pay higher interest rates on your savings account, but online banks don’t always have the muscle to be your everyday bank.

CIT Bank is an exception. It has a high yield savings account like most online banks and it now has checking accounts, ATM cards, certificates of deposit, and full-service banking apps — and even mortgage loans.

This bank has some limitations, but its strengths — which include charging no monthly fees — may match your needs. Let’s take a closer look.

Savings Accounts

CIT Bank got its start as an online savings bank. You can choose from:

  • Savings Builder: With the CIT Savings Builder account, you can earn a higher interest rate by setting up automatic deposits of $100 per month or having a balance of $25,000. You’d need $100 to open; this savings account requires no monthly fee.
  • Premier High-Yield Savings: This savings account works like the Savings Builder account but without the high minimum balance or ongoing $100 monthly deposit requirement. For having these requirements lifted, you earn a slightly lower rate in this online savings account compared to the Savings Builder account. Again, you’ll have no monthly maintenance fee and will need a $100 deposit to open.

Next Steps:

Money Market Account

CIT Bank offers a money market account that provides a competitive interest rate. To open this savings account you’d need only $100 for a minimum deposit. Along with no monthly maintenance fee, your rate won’t depend on your balance or making monthly deposits. This is a great option for a money market account.

But accessing your money will require a couple extra steps — you’d need to transfer the funds into your checking or premier high yield savings account first before you could access the money through an ATM card.

Because of this limitation, the money market account from CIT Bank works well as a custodial account for a minor.

Next Steps:

Certificates of Deposit

Certificates of deposit secure even-higher interest rates when you agree to leave your money untouched until the CD matures.

Term CDs

You can choose your CD’s length. Normally, longer terms generate more interest. CIT’s CDs range from six months to five years. You’ll need at least $1,000 to buy-in.

The bank’s CD rates are pretty solid compared to the industry average, but not much higher than its savings rates since those are pretty high.

No Penalty CD

CIT Bank stands out with its no-penalty CD. This product pays a slightly lower interest rate compared to the bank’s other CDs, but you won’t face an early withdrawal penalty if you need to access your funds earlier than planned.

Since CIT Bank’s $1,000 minimum opening deposit is higher than some other banks’s requirements, having a way to avoid the early withdrawal fee could be worthwhile.

This CD is available only as an 11-month term.

Other CIT Bank CD Options

  • Jumbo CDs: Earn higher rates on deposits of $100,000 or more with 2, 3, 4, and 5-year terms available.
  • RampUp CDs: With these products, you can bump up your CD’s interest rate once — a convenient feature if the Fed increases rates during your CD’s term. This certificate of deposit is available only to existing customers. You’d need to start another CIT account before opening this CD account.

Next Steps:

Checking Account

CIT Bank offers interest-bearing eChecking accounts. There is no minimum balance required, but larger balances (over $25,000) can earn more than double the standard APY. You can find other online banks with higher yields on checking balances, but very few can combine higher rates with CIT’s favorable fee structure.

Fees

You’ll pay no monthly fees for this bank account — and you don’t have to keep a huge balance to earn interest or to avoid the fees. Keeping the minimum balance of $100 qualifies you for both.

Aside from that, CIT Bank’s eChecking works like any other checking account. You can order checks, pay bills online, get an ATM card. The usual features.

ATM Access

Like most online banks, CIT does not have its own ATM network which means you’d have to use another bank’s network. However, CIT won’t charge you an ATM fee and it will reimburse up to $30 a month in other banks’ fees. If you use ATMs more than a dozen or so times during a statement cycle, you could exhaust your reimbursements and be responsible for the additional fees.

Deposits

Depositing money into your account is easiest through direct deposits, mobile deposits, or transfers from other banks. You can use the bank’s iOS or Android app to deposit checks. To deposit cash you’d need to put the money in a bank with a local branch and then transfer the funds into your eChecking account. These transfers normally take several business days.

Next Steps:

Mortgages

CIT Bank now offers home loans for new purchases and refinances. You can get:

  • Conventional mortgages from 10 to 30 years with fixed rates.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages.
  • Subsidized loans through the Federal Housing Authority.
  • Jumbo loans for high-value properties in hot markets.
  • Interest-only loans to save on your payment temporarily.

Their mortgage process isn’t totally transparent, and you can find a better online mortgage experience through Rocket Mortgage or a similar provider.

Bonus: If you’re already an account holder, you can get $525 cashback by getting a CIT Bank mortgage.

Interest Rates

Traditional banks average 0.09% interest on savings accounts, the FDIC reports. At that rate, you’d earn 90 cents a year on a $1,000 balance.

With an example rate of 1.20% for CIT Bank’s money market account, your $1,000 account opening balance would generate $12 a year in interest.

Savings rates are never locked in (unless you open a CD account). Savings account rates will vary with the market and could change without much notice. But online-only banks always have the potential to out-earn traditional banks.

Why? They don’t maintain brick-and-mortar branches or pay a retail staff like traditional banks. That $12 you’d earn on $1,000 in an online bank this year? It’s going into the utility bill at your neighborhood bank. Or it’s helping cover employee benefits or maintain the landscaping out front.

At CIT Bank, even your checking account balance will gain more interest than the savings options at traditional banks. Your money market account or high yield savings will normally reach 10 times the national average.

Fees

CIT Bank does not charge monthly fees on its checking or savings accounts. Unlike some “free” accounts you don’t have to meet a string of criteria to avoid the monthly fees; CIT doesn’t charge them. You should be aware of some other fees, though:

  • Overdraft Fees: You could pay $30 up to four times a day if you overdraw your eChecking account.
  • Wire Transfer Fees: $10 per transaction unless you have $25,000 or more in the account.
  • Returned Deposit: $10 fee if a check you deposit (mobile deposit is available) isn’t good or has been deposited somewhere else already.
  • Excessive Transactions: You can make six transfers a month out of your Money Market savings account. Additional transactions will prompt a $10 fee each — up to $50 a month. (This is true at most banks.)
  • Bill Pay Stop Payment: $30
  • Debit Card Replacement: $10 (one free replacement per year).
  • International transactions: 1% fee.

Security

Is CIT Bank safe? Security matters more than ever, especially for online banks like CIT Bank. They have several measures in place to protect your private information such as your Social Security number and personal contact data:

  • Transaction and activity monitoring: CIT Bank reviews your transactions and monitors your activity to help spot any suspicious behaviors.
  • 28-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption: The bank uses a 28-bit SSL encryption to create a secure browser connection and prevent information from being intercepted.
  • Antivirus protection: CIT uses antivirus protection so that your computer systems stay virus-free.
  • Firewall use: The bank uses firewalls to block unauthorized individuals from accessing your information on their systems.
  • Secure messaging: Customer support reps use a secure messaging portal and communication encryption so you don’t share account numbers over email or phone.
  • Automatic sign-out: When you’re inactive for a set period of time, CIT Bank will automatically sign you out to prevent anyone else from accessing your private information.

No bank can pledge with 100 percent certainty that you’ll never have a security issue, but they have the resources and the right approach to protect your money and data.

FAQs

How do I withdraw money from CIT Bank?

Opening a CIT Bank account gives you access to CIT’s online banking and apps to manage your accounts. You’d need to transfer at least $100 from another bank to open a checking account and another $100 to open savings. You can withdraw your money in several ways:

  • ATM Purchases with Cash Back: Use your ATM to shop retail or online. At many grocers and retailers, you can get cashback. Your ATM will arrive in the mail within a couple of weeks of opening your account.
  • At Other Banks’ ATMs: CIT Bank does not have its own branches or ATMs but the bank won’t charge you for using other banks’ ATMs. What about fees charged by those other banks? CIT Bank will reimburse up to $30 a month to compensate you.
  • Mobile App Payments: CIT Bank syncs seamlessly with Zelle, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay which more and more retailers accept. You could also connect through PayPal or Venmo of course.
  • Connect to Another Bank: You could transfer money from CIT Bank into another bank that has a local presence. These transfers may take a few days, so don’t wait until the last minute. After the transfer goes through you could withdraw the money from your local bank.

As you can gather, you couldn’t walk into a branch to make a withdrawal without planning ahead; this is how online-only banking works.

You’ll lose the convenience of face-to-face banking, but you’ll also get a lot in return.

Is CIT a legitimate bank?

Your deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000 just like they are in any other FDIC-backed American bank.

So why do people wonder about the legitimacy of online banks? Probably because you don’t see branches in busy shopping centers or downtown districts across the nation.

But the answer is: Yes, CIT Bank is legitimate. It’s part of the century-old CIT Group, a holding company and commercial lender with a national reach.

And customers on the West coast may recognize OneWest Bank, a regional bank that’s now a subsidiary of CIT Bank.

With no branches or ATMs of its own, CIT Bank interacts with its customers online, through apps, and indirectly by connecting to your other banks.

Are CIT Bank and Citibank the same?

Time to clear up some confusion! Citibank and CIT Bank are two different banks. Their names sound similar, and they’re both financial institutions, but the similarities end there.

Citibank is a consumer division of Citigroup – a multinational investment bank and financial services corporation founded in 1812. CIT Bank, as I said above, belongs to CIT Group, a financial holding company. CIT Bank is based on Pasadena, Calif.

Does CIT Bank have good customer support?

Customer service is a must when you rely on an online bank for your everyday financial needs. A great annual percentage yield is nice but not if you can’t remember your password or ask someone a question.

CIT does not staff a 24/7 customer service center, but you can reach someone between 9 am and 9 pm Eastern time on weekdays and from 10 am to 6 pm (Eastern) on Saturdays.

CIT’s automated phone system and online customer support features are available all the time. CIT’s iOS and Android apps are adequate but not stellar.

Who are CIT Bank’s main competitors?

More and more banks are embracing the online banking model, but few online banks have a full range of services like CIT Bank offers. A couple of other financial institutions do measure up well, though:

  • Ally Bank: Ally has the strength to serve as your everyday bank while also paying higher yields on your savings. Ally also has an investing app that’s pretty fun to use.
  • Capital One Bank: Capital One started out as a credit card issuing bank but now has a full range of bank accounts available to customers online, including checking and high yield savings accounts.

Can I open an account for a minor?

All of CIT’s accounts except its high yield online savings option can be opened as a custodial account. Online banks like CIT provide great options for custodial accounts since higher interest rates make the most sense when you don’t plan to access the money.

I recommend the money market account from CIT for use as a custodial account. It pays higher rates than most credit union or bank branches and requires only $100 as a minimum opening deposit. There’s no regular monthly deposit requirement to keep the high rate.

Is CIT Bank for You?

No fees and solid rates — that’s a fine recipe for an online bank, and CIT Bank can deliver as long as you don’t depend on a personal relationship with bankers you know.

Even if you don’t want to choose CIT as your go-to bank, consider opening a Money Market savings account and linking it to your local bank online.

When you see the power of high-yield compounding interest, you’ll be glad you did.

Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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