CIT Bank Review 2020: Interest-Paying Checking and Savings AccountsChecking Accounts
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- CIT Bank
- Basics: CIT Bank is an online-only bank that offers high interest rates on savings accounts, money markets, certificates of deposit, and even checking accounts.
- Pros: The interest rates here are some of the highest you'll find among online banks and far surpass what you'll get from a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. Plus, CIT Bank offers a real rarity: an interest-paying checking account.
- Cons: Travelers beware: CIT Bank charges fees on international transactions, unlike some other online banks. Plus, there's no free ATM network. Although CIT Bank will reimburse up to $15 per month on ATM fees, they can still add up.
Not thrilled with the interest rates you’re getting from your local bank? You might want to think about moving your savings to a high-yield account from CIT Bank.
It’s an online bank that operates in all 50 states and pays above-average interest on deposit accounts, including savings, money markets, and certificates of deposit.
CIT Bank even offers interest-bearing checking, as well as innovative home-financing options. And if you’re a small business owner, the bank even provides commercial financing.
What Is CIT Bank?
CIT Bank (not to be confused with Citibank) is part of CIT Group Inc., one of the 50 largest banking institutions in the U.S., with more than $50 billion in assets. The bank is based in Pasadena, California, and began operations in 2011. Although CIT Bank is online only, its sister organization OneWest Bank operates 60 brick-and-mortar bank branches in Southern California.
CIT Bank provides personal services to consumers nationwide, but it also has a robust commercial banking segment. That group offers commercial financing, real estate financing, equipment financing, factoring, and rental car financing.
CIT Bank itself functions primarily as a savings bank. It offers a number of high-interest deposit accounts, including savings accounts, a money market account, and certificates of deposit (CDs) with various maturities.
You can also open a custodial account for a minor using any of the bank’s savings products.
However, note that CIT Bank doesn’t offer IRA accounts. So if you’re looking for a tax-advantaged account for your retirement savings, you might want to explore another option such as Capital One 360.
CIT Bank Account Options
CIT Bank pays some of the highest interest rates available on its menu of account products.
CIT Bank eChecking
Until 2019, the most glaring disadvantage to CIT Bank was that it didn’t offer a checking account. That’s changed. Not only does the bank offer a checking account now, but it’s also interest-bearing. It’s called eChecking.
You can earn 0.10% APY on account balances under $25,000, and 0.25% APY on balances above. But you can open an account with as little as $100.
There’s no monthly service fee, and CIT Bank doesn’t charge ATM fees. If you use other banks’ ATMs, you’ll be reimbursed up to $15 each month for ATM fees charged by those institutions.
The account comes with a debit card, Bill Pay, Zelle, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay. And you can deposit checks and make unlimited withdrawals and disbursements using the mobile app.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
Savings Builder is the flagship savings product of CIT Bank. It’s currently paying a rate of up to 1.85% APY (as of December 28, 2019). And while the account normally requires a minimum balance of $25,000 to get that rate, you can also earn it by making an initial deposit of $100, then adding $100 monthly deposits. It’s one of the highest rates you can earn on a savings account with an initial investment of as little as $100.
Along with that high interest rate, the account comes with no monthly maintenance fees. Interest is compounded daily, and you can both make account transfers and deposit checks remotely using the CIT Bank mobile app.
CIT Bank Premier High Yield Savings
Although it pays slightly less interest than the Savings Builder account, at 1.55% APY, the Premier High Yield Savings account is available to anyone with a minimum investment of $100. Unlike the Savings Builder account, you don’t need to make continuing $100 monthly deposits. You can get a high interest rate just on your initial deposit.
There are no fees to open or maintain the account, and interest compounds on a daily basis.
CIT Bank Money Market
For small savers, this can be the best deposit account of all. You can earn 1.85% APY – the same as you can on the Savings Builder account – but with a minimum opening deposit of $100. Like the Premier High Yield Savings account, you aren’t required to make regular monthly deposits to maintain the interest rate. And like both other accounts, there are no monthly service fees.
Here’s another special feature for money market accounts: you can use CIT Bank’s People Pay feature to transfer up to $50 per transaction, per day, either to another party’s People Pay or PayPal account.
CIT Bank Term CDs
CIT Bank offers its basic Term CDs in terms ranging from six months to five years, with a $1,000 minimum opening balance requirement. There are no monthly fees, and interest compounds daily.
As of December 28, 2019, Term CD rates range from 0.7% for a six-month CD to 1.85% for 18 months.
CIT Bank Interest Rates
CIT Bank is an online-only bank without any brick-and-mortar branch locations of its own. That means it saves a ton of money on overhead costs and can pass those savings on to you.
It’s worth noting that the bank pays interest on checking accounts (it’s rare to find this among both online and traditional brick-and-mortar banks).
CIT Bank’s interest rates are among the highest currently offered. Across the board, interest rates are currently shrinking, so now is a good time to lock in a still-high rate.
CIT Bank Fees
There are no fees involved with opening a CIT Bank account, and the bank charges no monthly fees on its checking and savings accounts.
However, if you’re interested in opening a checking account, it should be noted that the bank doesn’t offer a free ATM network. Although CIT Bank won’t charge you fees for using an outside ATM, the other bank likely will.
CIT will reimburse you up to $15 per month for outside ATM fees, so you’ll need to be strategic about making ATM withdrawals.
There’s a 1% fee on all international transactions. Many other online banks (such as Ally Bank and Capital One 360) don’t charge this fee, so if you’re a frequent traveler abroad, you’ll want to keep this in mind.
Incoming domestic wire transfers are free, but if you have an average daily balance of less than $25,000, you’ll pay $10 per outgoing wire transfer.
Overdraft fees are standard, at $30.
With CIT Bank, you get one free debit card per year. If you need to replace your card, you’ll pay $10.
CIT Bank Ease of Use
Using the CIT Bank website is easy to do. Since CIT Bank is an online bank, all banking services are available through online banking. That includes opening your account.
Once opened, you can manage your accounts, make transfers between other CIT accounts as well as external bank accounts, view and download statements, and create banking reports. You can even set up account alerts and send secure messages.
CIT Bank Mobile App
The CIT Bank mobile app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices. It has all the functionality of online banking. You can use it to check account balances and transaction histories and transfer money between CIT accounts.
The mobile app also provides remote check deposit, and if you have a money market account, you can use the People Pay feature.
CIT Bank Customer Service
If you need to get a hold of a CIT Bank customer service representative, you can do so via email through the bank’s online and mobile banking platforms. Automated telephone banking is also available on a 24/7 basis.
Otherwise, live phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (all times Eastern). Although these times are generous, a few online banks, including Ally Bank, offer 24/7 live support.
CIT Bank Pros and Cons
There’s plenty to like about a CIT Bank checking or savings account. But these accounts also have their limitations. Let’s break it all down.
CIT Bank Pros
- High interest rates. CIT Bank accounts pay generous interest rates, more than 20 times what you’ll find with the average brick-and-mortar bank.
- Interest-paying checking. You can even open an interest-paying checking account, a real rarity in the banking industry.
- No monthly fees. CIT Bank doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees on its accounts.
- Great mobile app. The CIT Bank mobile app has all the functions of the website for banking on-the-go.
CIT Bank Cons
- No free ATM network. Unlike other online banks, CIT Bank doesn’t have a network of free ATMs. Although CIT will reimburse outside ATM fees up to $15 per month, the fees can add up if you’re a frequent ATM user.
- Foreign transaction fee. Although CIT Bank’s foreign transaction fee of 1% is lower than the norm, many online-only banks don’t charge one at all.
- No IRAs. If you want to save money in a tax-advantaged retirement account, you’re out of luck.
CIT Bank Review: The Bottom Line
CIT Bank is a good choice for anyone looking for high interest rates on savings and even checking accounts. With an APY of 1.85%, the Savings Builder account is particularly attractive if you can meet the requirements.
However, CIT Bank isn’t a good choice if you make frequent trips to the ATM or if you want to save for retirement in an IRA. Plus, there are no branch locations if you feel the need to meet with a bank representative face-to-face.
Still, overall, CIT Bank is a winner if you like high rates and low (to no) fees. And who doesn’t?
Plus, if you open a Savings Booster account today with promo code Bonus19 through our link, you can earn up to $300 in bonus cash.
Kevin Mercadante is a freelance personal finance blogger and the owner of his own personal finance blog, Out of Your Rut. A recent transplant to New England, he has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry.