CIT Bank Review: Everything You Need to Know Before Opening an Account

Online Savings With a High Interest Rate

couple online banking
•••

Hero Images/Getty Images 

We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.

CIT Bank is an FDIC-insured online bank backed by more than 100 years of experience and featuring a streamlined offering of deposit accounts.

Who Is CIT Bank Best For?

CIT focuses on accounts that pay interest. Savings accounts, CDs, and money market options are all competitive. The bank may be a good fit if you want:

  • A high annual percentage yield (APY) that’s available to customers with large and small balances
  • No monthly fees on savings accounts
  • An online-only experience, mobile check deposits, and electronic transfers
  • Customer service available seven days a week
  • Free ACH transfers to external bank accounts
  • An interest-bearing money market account that will soon offer online bill payment

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Attractive rate when you deposit at least $100 per month or $25,000

  • Customer service available seven days a week

  • No monthly fees on savings accounts

Cons

  • Uncompetitive savings rates outside the highest Savings Builder account tier

  • No online bill pay, but CIT says it’s coming soon

  • No checking account for everyday spending and bills

  • No ATM access or bank branches for cash withdrawals and local deposits

Types of Accounts

CIT Bank has an uncluttered lineup of products:

  • Savings Builder
  • Premier High Yield Savings
  • Money Market Account
  • CD accounts

Learn more about each type of account below.

Savings Builder

The Savings Builder account pays a high rate on balances that you can withdraw at any time.

  • Pays up to 2.30%  APY on your money
  • Requires you deposit $100 per month or keep $25,000 in the account to earn the highest rate
  • If you don’t meet those requirements, you earn 1.26% APY
  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • No monthly fees

The Savings Builder account is ideal for committed savers or those who have a significant account balance. If that’s not you, you might be better off with a savings account with a lower required minimum balance to earn a high APY.

The Savings Builder account allows for up to six transfers out per month—the most banking regulations allow. As a result, it’s a good place to store cash and take only occasional withdrawals. Checks made payable to you do not count against that limit.

Premier High Yield Savings

The Premier High Yield Savings account is similar to the Savings Builder account, but it does not offer the high-tier rate for keeping a large balance or making regular deposits. Given that, this option may make more sense if you think you can’t meet the requirements of the Savings Builder account. But keep in mind that there are accounts at other banks that pay a better rate.

  • Pays 1.55% APY
  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • No monthly fees

Money Market Account

If you want easier access to your funds, the CIT Money Market Account may be a better option than a savings account. Some money market accounts provide debit cards and checks, but the CIT account does not. Still, you can use the funds to pay other individuals (peer-to-peer payments), and CIT says online bill pay is coming soon.

  • Pays 1.85% APY
  • Minimum $100 deposit to open an account
  • No monthly service charges
  • Allows payments to individuals through People Pay
  • Allows you to fund PayPal payments of up to $50 per transaction (up to $50 per day)

The CIT Money Market Account is evolving into an excellent account but doesn’t pay the highest rate or offer features like a debit card or the ability to write checks, which some of its competitors do.

CD Accounts

CIT Bank has several types of CDs, and unlike most other banks, it’s enticing customers to choose some shorter-term CDs over its longest-term CDs. Still, other banks have higher rates on most CDs.

Standard CDs have a rate that’s set for the life of the term, and CIT’s 18-month CD is its best offering. These accounts require $1,000 to open and have no monthly maintenance fees.

CIT Bank Standard CD Rates
CD Term Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
6 Months 0.72%
1 Year 2.20%
13 Months 2.25%
18 Months 2.4%
2 Years 1.40%
3 Years 1.30%
4 Years 1.50%
5 Years 1.70%

No-Penalty CDs provide flexibility by allowing you to cash out before maturity. You receive a rate that’s fixed for 11 months, but you can withdraw funds any time after seven days. The CD pays less than the Savings Builder account, so you may be better with that option unless you think rates are set to fall significantly (the Savings Builder account’s rates are variable). The no-penalty CD rate is comparable to other no-penalty CDs on the market, depending on your account balance.

  • Pays 2.05% APY
  • Minimum $1,000 to open
  • No monthly maintenance fees

Jumbo CDs pay slightly higher rates and require $100,000 to open.

CIT Bank Jumbo CDs
CD Term Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
2 Years 1.45%
3 Years 1.40%
4 Years 1.60%
5 Years 1.75%

Except for the No-Penalty CD, CIT CDs have early-withdrawal penalties when you cash out before maturity. The penalty amount depends on the term of your CD, and it can result in you receiving less than you originally deposited:

  • 12 months or less: three months of interest
  • More than one year, up to three years: six months of interest
  • More than three years: 12 months of interest

Other Types of Accounts

Home loans: In addition to deposit accounts, CIT offers mortgages for home purchases and refinancing.

IRAs: CIT does not currently open new IRAs, but some customers have old IRAs with CIT.

Custodial accounts: All deposit account products can be set up for minors as custodial (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, or UTMA) accounts.

Business loans: CIT’s origins are in commercial financing, and that’s still a significant part of the bank’s business. It offers financing for equipment, working capital, or franchise costs.

How to Bank With CIT

To open an account, visit CIT.com or call 855-462-2652. As with any financial institution in the U.S., you need to provide personal details to open an account:

  • Names of all account owners
  • Social Security number or Tax ID Number (TIN) of all account owners
  • Addresses of account owners
  • E-mail addresses and phone numbers of account owners
  • Employment information
  • Bank account information for any accounts you want to link to your CIT account 

Funding: You can fund your account by check, ACH transfers (link up to 10 accounts), and wire transfers.

Customer service: Phone representatives are available seven days a week.

  • Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern
  • Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern
  • Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern

Account Fees

CIT provides a relatively clear explanation of fees, and the list of charges is short because there’s no checking account, (which is where most banks charge their fees).

  • Outgoing wire transfer: $10. (No charge if you have an average daily balance of $25,000 or more.)
  • Overdraft fee: $25
  • Excessive withdrawal fee (after six per month): $10 each, with a maximum of $50 per month
  • Stop payment on a check: $30

Funds Availability

When you deposit funds to your account, CIT may place a hold on those deposits to reduce risk. As a result, you can’t spend the money until the hold clears. CIT’s policy is brief and straightforward compared to other banks, but there are always exceptions to the rules. It’s essential to notify customer service when you deposit a significant amount of money or when a deposit is important for any reason.

Overview: For savings accounts, ACH deposits that you initiate through your CIT account have a hold of five business days. ACH deposits that you initiate elsewhere should be available on the next business day after they arrive. Checks typically have a hold for seven business days.

CDs: For CDs, CIT reserves the right to hold deposits for up to 30 business days.

CIT can hold your deposits longer for a variety of reasons. Activity in your account, characteristics of checks you deposit, technical glitches, and external events (to name just a few examples) can lead to long hold times. Always verify the funds availability timeline with a bank employee before you deposit money you’ll need anytime soon.

About CIT Bank

CIT Bank, headquartered in Pasadena, California, is owned by CIT Group, which started in 1908 when Henry Ittleson began lending money to businesses in St. Louis, Missouri. Operations are primarily online, but CIT Group also owns OneWest Bank, which has more than 60 branches in southern California.

During the financial crisis that started in 2007, CIT received bailout funds of roughly $2.3 billion. CIT declared bankruptcy in November 2009, eliminating the obligation to repay those funds to the U.S. Treasury. Observers say that although the bank was large, it was not “too big to fail.”

CIT Bank uses industry-standard data protection measures like encrypted connections, ongoing monitoring, and multi-factor authentication to protect your account. Even so, data breaches are possible anywhere. Federal law protects you from certain types of fraud and errors in your account, but you need to report problems quickly for full protection. 

CIT allows you to link up to 10 external bank accounts for ACH transfers, which should be more than enough for most people.

The Bottom Line

Benefits
CIT Bank’s Savings Builder account is hard to beat, and you don’t need a huge balance to take advantage of the offer. The requirement to deposit $100 a month to earn a great interest rate puts it in reach for more people than the alternative requirement, which is maintaining a $25,000 balance. With no monthly fees and a money market account for occasional spending, CIT can be an excellent place for cash.

Drawbacks
Although CIT pays an impressive rate on savings, the bank could benefit from expanding features for customers. For example, online bill pay is not yet available, although it’s supposedly on the way. What’s more, a debit card or check writing option would add functionality to the money market account. If you want those features now, you might look to other banks with high-rate checking accounts that come with a debit card, online bill pay, and checks.