Updated November 5, 2018

CIT Bank Review: Is It Good?

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CIT Bank offers high interest rates on its online savings and CD accounts. But there are downsides. Here's what you need to know before you open an account.

CIT Bank Promo Code
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Overall Score

4.5

Savings

4.5

Money Market

5.0

Customer Service

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • High APY
  • No minimum deposit for savings
  • No monthly service fees
  • No checking accounts
  • No ATM card

Bottom Line

Solid online bank with excellent rates and no monthly fees

If you want to earn a more impactful return on your savings, look beyond traditional savings accounts that pay very little interest. You can find other savings options that offer higher returns.

About CIT Bank. CIT, which stands for Commercial Investment Trust, was founded more than 100 years ago.

Today, CIT provides commercial banking, plus financing and leasing to small businesses through its holding company, CIT Group. It is headquartered in Pasadena, California and has about $30 billion in deposits.

In this review, we will look at how CIT Bank's Money Market, High Yield Savings Accounts and CDs can help grow your savings fast.

How It Works

CIT Bank offers some of the highest interest rates on the market. The accounts they offer work in different ways.

  • CIT Bank's Money Market Account offers 1.85% annual percentage yield (APY). This account gives you more flexibility in how you access your money. It allows person-to-person payment and bill pay (coming soon).

  • CIT offers 2 different savings accounts. The High Yield Investor Savings can earn up to a 1.55% annual percentage yield (APY) no matter what your balance is. The Savings Builder account rewards active savers or high-balance savers with up to 2.45% APY.

    Both accounts work much like typical savings accounts, except that CIT Bank does not have physical branch locations or an ATM network.

  • CIT Bank's CDs require you to deposit your savings for a set period of time. Typically, withdrawing funds from a CD before the term ends will incur a penalty.

    CIT offers a few different CD options, including a no-penalty CD. CDs often have a higher minimum deposit than savings accounts. Due to these requirements, some CDs earn a higher APY than savings accounts.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the specifics.

Compare Savings Rates

    HSBC Bank

    HSBC Direct Savings - 2.25% APY

    • Earn 2.25% APY on all balance tiers
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • Minimum balance to earn APY is $1
    • Member FDIC
    Synchrony Bank

    High Yield Savings

    2.25% APY. $0 minimum opening deposit. No minimum balance requirement. No fees to open or maintain account.
    • Great Rates + Safety = Peace of Mind
    • Member FDIC
    Betterment

    Smart Saver - Earn 2.19% Annual Yield

Online Banking Features

All accounts have free 24/7 online banking. You can:

  • Withdraw funds up to the federal limit of 6 times per statement cycle (you get unlimited transfers or withdrawals by mail or phone via check).

  • Make deposits via the mobile app.

  • Make transfers to other bank accounts or between CIT accounts.

  • Get direct deposits into the Money Market account.

  • Money Market account has People Pay, where you can send money directly to people with an email address or mobile number.

High Yield Investor Savings

CIT is an online bank, so they don't have the overhead cost that brick-and-mortar banks do. This allows CIT Bank to offer a low minimum deposit and a high APY on its Premier High Yield Investor Savings Account.

Is CIT Bank Safe?: CIT Bank savings accounts are FDIC insured. This means that if CIT Bank defaults, the federal government guarantees the balance in your savings account, up to $250,000.

Here are some addition details:

  • 1.55% APY on balances under $250,000

  • 1.55% APY on balances over $250,000

  • Minimum deposit of $100 to open

  • No account opening fees

  • No maintenance fees

  • Daily compounding interest

  • Free online and mobile banking with Bill Pay

  • FDIC insured

As with any savings account, you'll be limited to 6 withdrawals per month. This is a standard, federally-imposed limitation.

If you need to withdraw money from your CIT savings account, you have a few options: external transfers, wire transfers, and mailed checks.

It's important to note that CIT Bank doesn't have an ATM network, so you won't be able to withdraw cash directly from your savings.

    CIT Bank

    Premier High Yield Savings Account - 1.55% APY

    • 1.55% APY
    • $100 Minimum Opening Deposit
    • No Fees to Open or Maintain Account
    • Daily Compounding Interest
    • No Minimum Daily Balance Requirement
    • FDIC Insured

Savings Builder Account

The Savings Builder account rewards active savers or high balance savers with a higher interest rate. Here's how it works:

You can earn 2.45% APY if you do one of the following:

  • Maintain a balance of $25,000, OR
  • Open an account with $100 minimum deposit, and deposit at least $100 per month

If you fail to meet the balance or deposit requirements, your APY will drop to 1.17% that month. If you do meet the requirements next month, it will go back up to 2.45%.

As an introductory offer, CIT Bank will reward you with the 2.45% APY for the first month. There are no fees to open or maintain the account.

Money Market Account

CIT's Money Market Account offers a rate even higher than the High Yield Savings and most of the CDs. If you want a good rate plus more access flexibility, this account is hard to beat.

The opening minimum deposit is $100.

    Money Market Account - 1.85% APY

    • 1.85% APY
    • $100 Minimum Opening Deposit
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • FDIC Insured

The CIT Bank Money Market Account offers People Pay. People Pay is a free service that lets you send money to anyone with an email address or cell phone number.

Keep in mind: There is a limit of six transactions (such as transfers or withdrawals) per monthly statement cycle. This is a federally imposed regulation.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

There are a few key factors to consider when deciding on a CD:

  • Term length
  • Minimum deposit
  • Annual percentage yield (APY)
  • How interest compounds.

(Of course, the reputation of the institution is another factor, but we know that all of CIT Bank's savings accounts and CDs are FDIC insured.)

CIT Bank offers a few CD options to fit different needs. All CDs have no account opening or service fees.

  • Term CDs: Term CDs are available starting from 6 months all the way to 5 years. Your rate is locked in for the entire term. A longer term will allow you to lock in a higher interest rate. The minimum to open is $1,000.

    Keeping your money in a CD is good if you are tempted to spend your money. However, if you have self-control, then CIT's savings products offer better APYs.

  • No Penalty CDs: This CD has one fixed term of 11 months. It gives you the flexibility to withdraw your full balance with no penalty (starting from 7 days after account funding). This is good if you suddenly need your money. The minimum to open is $1,000.

  • Jumbo CDs: Jumbo CDs award slightly higher APYs for keeping a higher balance. Terms are available from 2-year to 5-year terms. You need at least $100,000 deposit to open a Jumbo CD account. However, if you have that much to save, then the Savings Builder account offers a higher APY.

Note that CDs are not available as IRAs. However, they are available as custodial accounts.

Here are the current CIT Bank CD promotions:

    Open a CD with CIT

    Term CDs

    • $1,000 Minimum Opening Deposit
    • Up to 2.50% APY
    • Up to 5 years
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • FDIC insured
    • Daily Compounding Interest

    No-Penalty CD

    • Option to Withdraw Full Balance and Interest After 7 Days of CD Funding Date
    • $1,000 Minimum Opening Deposit
    • Up to 2.05% APY
    • 11 Months
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • FDIC insured
    • Daily Compounding Interest

    Jumbo CDs

    • $100,000 Minimum Opening Deposit
    • Up to 1.75% APY
    • Up to 5 years
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • FDIC insured
    • Daily Compounding Interest

Tip: CD laddering is a smart savings strategy. This is when you split your investments into different CDs with staggered maturity dates. Using this method, your money isn't all tied up into one account.

As each CD matures, you can re-invest the money into a new CD with the new current rate. This ensures that you're always getting the current rate, as well as regular access to your money. See how it works with CIT's CD ladder calculator.

Custodial Accounts (UTMA)

Any CIT account can be set up as a custodial account for a minor. This means the account is in the child's name, but you control it until the child reaches 18. You can also designate up to age 25 if you wish.

You can contribute as much as you can to it. But note that there are gift tax rules. For 2018, the annual exclusion is up to $15,000 per year, without being taxed.

There are also some tax advantages. A portion of the interest earnings are tax-free.

Why We Like CIT Bank

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Here are a few things that we like about CIT Bank's high yield savings accounts and CDs:

  • Low minimum deposits: If you have just started saving or want to set aside a small balance, CIT can be a great choice. Their minimum deposits for Premier High Yield Savings, term CDs, and no-penalty CDs are some of the lowest in the industry.

  • High rates: CIT's Money Market Account offers such a high APY that it outperforms their savings and most of their CDs. This is great news for anyone looking to save, especially those who can't pay the high minimum deposits that some other banks require.

    And if you meet a higher minimum deposit, you can earn even higher interest rates on their CD.

  • Minimal fees: CIT cuts out many fees that other banks profit from. For example, you will not be charged any account opening or maintenance fees.

CIT Customer Service Hours. The customer service number is 855-462-2652. They are available by phone from:

  • Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm (ET)
  • Saturday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (ET)
  • Sunday: Closed
  • Home Loans Division: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 8:00 pm (ET)

You can access your account online and by Automated Telephone Banking 24/7.

Reasons You Might Skip CIT Savings

For all of CIT's advantages, the bank's savings product offerings do have some characteristics that need to be considered:

  • No checking accounts: This isn't a huge setback for those who are familiar with transferring money between financial institutions. If you like to keep all of your accounts in one place, this could be a downside.

  • No branch locations: In exchange for the high interest rate on your Premium savings account, you'll have to do your CIT banking online and over the phone. And since CIT has no ATM network, you won't be able to deposit or withdraw cash directly to/from your account.

    Solution: link up to a checking account with a brick-and-mortar bank.

  • No IRAs: CIT personal banking products are limited to savings accounts, CDs, and custodial accounts. These CDs do not qualify for use in a retirement or trust account.

  • No Relationship Rewards: Some retail banks in the US are now offering relationship bonuses to incentivize their customers to keep all of their business in one place.

    If you move your savings balance to CIT from your retail bank, you may miss out on some of these bonuses. Contact your bank for more details.

How to Open a CIT Account

All CIT accounts must be opened online. You can do so through here. You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and provide the following information:

  • Social Security Number
  • Driver's license or other valid state ID
  • Primary home address
  • Valid email address
  • Valid phone number

After you've opened an account, you must fund it. You can fund it by:

  • Transferring funds electronically from a bank checking or savings account. CIT Bank's Routing/Transit number is 124084834.

  • Mailing a check to CIT Bank, N.A. Attn: Deposit Services, P.O. Box 7056, Pasadena, CA 91109

  • Wiring funds to your new account

CIT Bank will first make two "test" micro deposits to your funding account (must be a bank checking or savings account). They'll then offset the test deposits with a single withdrawal.

Within 3 business days, you'll get an email with instructions on how to verify the micro deposits. As soon as you have verified, CIT Bank will process the transaction to fund your new account.

    Open a CIT Bank 2.45% APY Savings Builder High Yield Savings Account

    Premier High Yield Savings Account - 1.55% APY

    • 1.55% APY
    • $100 Minimum Opening Deposit
    • No Fees to Open or Maintain Account
    • Daily Compounding Interest
    • No Minimum Daily Balance Requirement
    • FDIC Insured

How it Compares

    CIT Bank

    Money Market Account - 1.85% APY

    • 1.85% APY
    • $100 Minimum Opening Deposit
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • FDIC Insured

    HSBC Bank

    HSBC Direct Savings - 2.25% APY

    • Earn 2.25% APY on all balance tiers
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • Minimum balance to earn APY is $1
    • Member FDIC
    Synchrony Bank

    High Yield Savings

    2.25% APY. $0 minimum opening deposit. No minimum balance requirement. No fees to open or maintain account.
    • Great Rates + Safety = Peace of Mind
    • Member FDIC
    Betterment

    Smart Saver - Earn 2.19% Annual Yield

Common Questions

If you're still interested, you probably have some questions. We'll clear up some of the basics here:

  • Is CIT Bank Safe? Yes, CIT Bank uses layers of security to make sure your information is safe. It has anti-virus protection, firewalls, and 128-bit Secure Socket Layer encryption.

    Though it doesn't have physical locations like traditional banks, CIT Bank follows the same rules and legal regulations. All CIT accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per deposit for each account category. However, CIT, N.A. and OneWest Bank, a division of CIT Bank, N.A. are technically the same institution.

    Therefore, money held between both banks would count jointly toward the $250,000 federal insurance limit. They would not be insured separately in the unlikely event of the banks closing.

  • Are CIT and Citibank the same? No, they are entirely separate entities, even though their names are similar. CIT Bank is owned by holding company CIT Group. Citibank is owned by CitiGroup.

  • Should I open a CD or savings account?
    Everyone has different investment goals. The decision comes down to:

    • How much money you're looking to set aside

    • How much risk you are willing to assume

    • How much you'll need to access your savings.

    Contact your financial professional for guidance.

    If you can avoid touching your savings for at least 1 year and can meet the minimum deposit, you may be able to earn a higher interest rate with a CD versus a savings account.

    But if you need liquidity, a savings account allows you to more flexibility to withdraw your savings when needed.

  • How can I deposit funds with CIT Bank?
    For both savings accounts and CDs, there are three ways to deposit funds: transfer funds electronically, mail a check, or wire funds to your new account.

  • What is the penalty for early withdrawals from CDs?
    It depends on the term of your CD. Here's how it breaks down:

    • Terms up to 1 year: 3 months' interest on the amount withdrawn

    • Terms from 1-3 years: 6 months' interest on the amount withdrawn

    • Terms over 3 years: 12 months' interest on the amount withdrawn

CIT Bank Other Services

Besides deposit accounts, CIT Bank offers some other services, including:

  • Home loans. CIT Bank offers both purchase loans and refinance loans at both fixed rates and adjustable rates. There is also a Low Down Payment Program that allows borrowers to qualify for a loan with as little as a 3% down payment.

  • Business loans. You can get a business loan up to $150,000. Pick terms from 6-18 months.

  • Business equipment financing. Need equipment to get your business started? You can get equipment financing up to $250,000 without financials, or up to $1 million with financials. Pick terms from 12-72 months.

Bottom Line

If you're ready to start building your savings, then CIT's deposit accounts may be right for you. CIT offers higher rates than many other competitor online banks.

Even if you only have $100 in savings, you can start earning interest in their money market or high yield savings account.

Or if you have at least $1,000 set aside and aren't concerned about liquidity, you can earn an even greater return with a CD.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on December 16, 2017. This content may have been updated on November 5, 2018. Information including rates, fees, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the bank's website for updated information.

More from CreditDonkey:


Best Online Savings Account


Best CD Rates

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