CIT Bank offers innovative checking, savings, money market, and CD accounts with fantastic APYs, charging little to no fees and a sleek user interface to streamline the online-banking process. While they don’t have any in-person brick-and-mortar locations, they offer robust customer service.
CIT Bank Review
Name: CIT Bank
Description: offers innovative checking, savings, money market, and CD accounts with competitive APYs, charging little to no fees and a sleek user interface to streamline the online-banking process. While they don't have any in-person brick-and-mortar locations, they offer robust customer service.
CIT Bank offers innovative checking, savings, money market, and CD accounts with fantastic APYs, charging little to no fees and a sleek user interface to streamline the online-banking process. While they don’t have any in-person brick-and-mortar locations, they offer robust alternatives for customer service.
- Stellar APYs
- Easy-to-use UI
- No monthly/annual fees
- $30 reimbursements for ATM fees
- No brick-and-mortar branches
- Some minimum deposits required
- Fees for wiring money with account balances less than $25,000
What Is CIT Bank?
CIT Bank is an online bank headquartered at Pasadena, California, offering products ranging from savings accounts to mortgages. Founded in 2000, they’ve since grown tremendously, ranking among the top 50 largest banks in the United States.
CIT Bank also has a user-friendly mobile app and a streamlined website that makes the online banking experience fantastic.
As an online-only bank without any brick-and-mortar branches, they don’t need to pay building and employee costs. Consequently, they can offer competitive annual percentage yields (APYs) across all their deposit products.
Just how competitive, you ask? According to the FDIC, the average standard savings account APY was 0.07% over the last six years. CIT Bank’s rates are generally about 10-20x higher than the average.
That difference in rates is frankly ridiculous and helps cement CIT Bank as a fantastic bank to open any high-yield account.
As a side note, CIT Bank and Citibank are two entirely different banks. This is often a point of confusion, so please don’t mix them up.
What Products Does CIT Bank Offer?
CIT Bank offers all the standard banking products you can think of, but with innovative twists here and there. For example, they have the following accounts:
In terms of loans, CIT Bank also provides mortgages. Furthermore, they have a plethora of resources you can use to learn more about banking in general.
Are Online Banks Good?
Online banks are not only safe but can also earn you enormous interest over time.
Imagine your typical standard savings account with a big, well-established bank like Chase or TD Bank. Remember when your interest rates hovered around 0.01%? These pathetic rates don’t exist at CIT Bank.
Typically, interest rates at CIT Bank are about 10-20x higher than the national average rate. Not sure how much of a difference that makes?
Say you and your friend both had $10,000 and were looking to save it for the long term.
You open a high-yield account with 1.00% APY, whereas your friend opens a typical savings account with 0.05% APY. Over ten years alone, you’ll have made about $1,000 more than your friend.
The difference? You read into high-yield accounts offered by online banks like CIT Bank and realized how much passive income you could make. All you do now is sit back, relax, and watch your savings grow.
Sure the rates are low, but that doesn’t mean the money you make is irrelevant. Choosing to not open a high-yield account because the APYs are “tiny” is literally like leaving thousands of dollars on the sidewalk.
So yes, online banks are an excellent way to grow your savings. Furthermore, CIT Bank is FDIC insured, meaning that if the bank were to collapse, up to $250,000 of your deposits would be returned.
In terms of savings account, CIT Bank offers two kinds:
The former is more of a standard type of savings account where you leave your savings to “sit and rest.” The latter of the two is fascinating and inspires owners to maintain a good savings history.
Given that both accounts are savings accounts, they are both limited to six (6) withdrawals per year by the FDIC. Excessive transactions will cost you $10 for each offense and could even lead to the closure of your account.
Also, wiring money externally will cost $10 per wire if your account balance is less than $25,000.
Premier High Yield Savings Account
This product is what you think of when you think “savings account.”
Offering typical high-yield savings interest rates, this account operates entirely online. Notable benefits are:
- No monthly or annual fees
- Fantastic APYs
- Mobile check deposits
The premier high-yield savings account is a good start, but we think the Savings Builder is a far better product. Keep reading to learn more!
The CIT Bank Savings Builder is a unique and inventive banking product created to promote good savings behavior.
There are two interest rates: a base rate and an upper rate. Throughout the lifetime of the account, your base rate is the minimum APY you’ll earn.
If you make monthly deposits of $100 or more, then your APY will be bumped to the top rate. This bonus rate is incredible, considering it will only motivate you to establish stellar savings habits.
Moreover, you won’t only be building a good savings pool, but you’ll also be establishing a robust and ample emergency fund. Remember that the average American can’t afford a $400 emergency payment.
Some of the perks included when opening this account include:
- Fantastic APYs
- Incentivized savings
- Little to no fees
However, the savings builder APYs may not be as appealing as some of its competitors. Some competitors even have standard savings accounts that offer higher rates with no additional effort required.
Though, the incentive portion of creating a savings pool is not to be underestimated and might be worth losing a few tenths of interest rates.
Typical standard checking accounts offer pitiful interest rates and sometimes don’t even pay any interest. CIT Bank’s eChecking accounts stand in stark contrast to this reality, offering rates that are much higher than the national checking account APY.
Furthermore, eChecking accounts have a plethora of perks. For example, some of the benefits include the following:
- Good APYs compared to the national average
- CIT Bank ATMs don’t charge fees
- Get up to $30 reimbursed every month for using other bank’s ATMs
- Debit card with EMV chip security
- Little to no fees
- Remote check deposit through the CIT Bank app
To translate “EMV chip security” into English, they are the square chips you see in your debit or credit cards these days. They help to fight against fraudulent activity.
It’s worth noting that the eChecking account requires $100 to open and that $30 overdraft fees exist. Moreover, if you try to wire money out of your account, you will be charged a $10 fee if you have less than a $25,000 balance.
Generally speaking, the CIT Bank eChecking account is a good option for your first checking account.
Money Market Accounts (MMA)
CIT Bank’s MMA is solid. Like a typical MMA, they earn more interest than their savings account counterparts. However, CIT Bank’s MMA only has a $100 minimum balance, which is surprising considering their APYs are higher than the savings accounts that also have a $100 minimum.
As a consumer, you should have no complaints about the rates there.
Other pluses include:
- Remote check deposit through the CIT Bank app
- No monthly or annual fees
Though. MMAs have some fees to know about as well:
- Limited to six (6) withdrawals per month; $10 excessive transactions fees
- $25 overdraft fees
- $10 outgoing wire fees for accounts with a balance less than $25,000
While CIT Bank MMAs might offer higher APYs than their high-yield saving account counterparts, you lose the savings incentive introduced by the Savings Builder product. The extra motivation to save money might be worth the loss of a few percentages of interest.
If you’re looking to learn more about the differences between MMAs and savings accounts, read our article!
Certificates Of Deposits (CD)
All these CDs will lock a fixed rate over the term length. This prevents interest rates from changing even throughout economic recessions, but can also stop you from getting more favorable rates.
CIT Bank also doesn’t charge any monthly or annual fees for their CDs.
These CDs are your standard CD. You deposit some money into the account, locking it up for a while and earning some interest.
CIT Bank requires a $1,000 minimum to open a typical CD and allows term lengths starting from 6 months and up to 6 years. Furthermore, you’ll be charged early withdrawal fees if you break your CD before its term length.
CIT Bank also offers specialty CDs such as the no-penalty CD, a CD that doesn’t charge early withdrawal fees.
To be frank, no-penalty CDs are mostly just a fancy name for a savings or money market accounts with a fixed rate. This similarity is why no-penalities offers mediocre rates relative to the typical ones.
Pretty much everything about no-penalty CDs is the same as the standard CD. CIT Bank’s no-penalty still requires a $1,000 minimum deposit, but only allows term lengths of 11 months.
Banks are willing to give you higher APYs if you can give them more money.
To open a jumbo CD, you must deposit $100,000 at minimum. That’s a whole lot of money for sure. However, jumbo CDs grant superior interest rates in return.
CIT Bank offers two to five year long jumbo CDs. These CDs are basically no different than the standard CD, besides requiring an enormous initial deposit.
Is CIT Bank Safe?
It’s not really our right to be the judge on this, but we can provide you the facts to help you make a justified decision.
CIT Bank has not reported any significant breaches since its founding and provides extensive security to fight against hackers. However, when giving your sensitive personal and financial information online to even trustworthy companies, there’s always a risk involved.
Furthermore, CIT Bank is FDIC insured, meaning that if CIT Bank were to suddenly fail, up to $250,000 of your money would be protected. You shouldn’t worry about whether your funds will suddenly disappear one day.
However, they aren’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and are rated a “B-” rating, reflecting their failure to respond to several filed complaints. Though, TrustPilot consumers have rated CIT Bank 4.4/5.0 stars.
How Does CIT Bank Make Money?
If CIT Bank barely charges any fees and gives you money in return for you opening various accounts, it’s a good question to ask how any bank makes money.
Remember that banks also act as lenders, loaning money for you to go to school, get a car, or buy a house. These loans generally have an interest rate that is usually somewhat higher than the APY of your savings account.
By giving banks money, they can lend that money to other people and charge higher interest rates on their loans, earning them a profit. This scheme is why banks love jumbo deposits—they can use all that money to make enormous revenues.
At the end of things, it’s a win-win situation for both parties. You make money, and the bank makes money.
How Is CIT’s Customer Service?
With online banking, it’s easy to be worried about the quality and quantity of customer service representatives. CIT Bank realizes these concerns and presents plenty of viable help options.
You can send CIT Bank a secure message or email 24/7. If you want to talk to a human instead, there are still good options:
- Weekdays: 9 AM to 9 PM ET
- Saturdays: 10 AM to 6 PM ET
- Sundays: Closed
What I Wish Was Different About CIT Bank
For starters, it would be nice if CIT Bank established an ATM network around the country. Currently, there aren’t any CIT Bank ATMs, and a network would help you tap into your funds more quickly.
Moreover, CIT Bank should work on fixing their BBB rating. A “B-” is a bit concerning for a top 50 bank and looks odd compared to a 4.4/5.0 star TrustPilot rating.
How To Get Started With CIT Bank?
Opening an account with CIT Bank is relatively simple and can be completed in three steps:
- Provide your name, address, phone, email, and social security number
- Make the necessary minimum deposit
- Accept the confirmation email
Remember that the minimum deposit varies by product. For CIT Bank’s high-yield savings, checking, and money market accounts, the minimum is $100. Comparably, their CDs require a $1,000 minimum, and their jumbo CDs request $100,000.
Once you’ve opened your account, you have full freedom to add even more money to your account. You could also go ahead and create another account to start your first CD, for example.
Should You Use CIT Bank?
Generally speaking, CIT Bank is a great bank to open a deposit account with. All their products offer competitive APYs with little to no fees. Their customer reviews and history reflect that they are a pretty trustworthy bank as well.
However, if you’re looking for a bank with in-person branches, then CIT Bank probably won’t work for you. They are an online-bank with zero brick-and-mortar locations.
Though, it’s always a good habit to take a look into other options before delving specifically into CIT Bank. Some other banks offer products with higher APYs or innovative products.
It’s worth noting that CIT Bank’s Savings Builder is one of its most entrepreneurial accounts, offering an incentive for you to build good savings habits. Despite it not having the highest rates out there, the added motivation could be worth the cost of losing a few tenths of a percent.
John Ta is an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of Penn’s first undergrad personal finance club, Penn Common Cents. As a first-generation college student, he had to learn everything about personal finance on his own and seeks to mend the financial literacy knowledge gap seen almost everywhere. John is currently studying for an MS in Chemistry and a BA in Physics (business & tech concentration), Biochemistry, and Biophysics and is interested in the intersections of finance and healthcare.