CIT Bank Review 2019: Is It the Right Bank for You?

CIT Bank offers higher-than-average rates and low fees.

CIT Bank is an online-only savings bank. However, it has the benefit of being backed by one of the largest financial institutions in the country. CIT Bank’s parent company, CIT Group, is a financial holding company with over $50 billion in assets that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CIT. However, if you bank with CIT, you’ll have to perform all of your transactions online. In contrast to physical branches, customers benefit from low fees and high-interest rates on their savings. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of CIT Bank, including types of accounts, features, benefits, rates and fees. 

If you’re looking to jump ahead and explore a certain aspect of CIT Bank, just click one of the links below.

See: CIT Bank Is One of the Best Online Banks of 2019

Who Is CIT Bank Best For?

CIT Bank is best for customers comfortable with an online-only experience, seeking low fees and high returns. With no account minimums, no monthly maintenance fees and a high interest rate paid on its savings accounts, CIT Bank is best for those looking for no-cost banking that provides higher returns.

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Who May Want To Skip CIT Bank

More traditional customers might be leery of an online-only banking experience. If you are the type of saver who feels more comfortable walking into a branch and talking with a banker in person, CIT Bank might not be the best choice for you.

CIT Bank is also not a good choice for those who want a financial one-stop-shop. If you want to open a checking and savings account, take out a home mortgage and an auto loan and have an investment professional manage your investments, CIT Bank is not a good option for you.

Lastly, customers who want instant access to their money might not be comfortable with CIT Bank. Unlike a traditional bank, CIT Bank doesn’t offer branch services and it doesn’t participate in any ATM network, meaning you’ll have to use more archaic methods to access your cash.

CIT Bank Is Best For/Worst For
Best ForWorst For
High savings ratesComprehensive financial services
Low costsIn-branch banking
Online experienceATM access
CD rates vs. traditional banksCD rates vs. online competitors
Checking accounts
IRA accounts

Find Out: Pros and Cons of Online Savings Accounts

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Types of Accounts Available

Overall, CIT Bank has a relatively limited product line. As an online-only bank, CIT strives to provide low costs and high yields to customers. To that end, the bank’s offerings are streamlined, with only a scattering of savings and CD accounts available. However, the bank does offer mortgage loans and custodial accounts as well.

CIT Bank Product Offerings
ProductAPYFeatures
Savings Builder2.10%No fees, $25,000 or $100/month minimum
High-Yield Savings1.55%No fees, $100 minimum
Term CDs0.72%-2.10%$1,00o minimum, terms from six months to five years
Jumbo CDs1.45%-1.75%$100,000 minimum, terms from two to five years
No-Penalty CDs2.05%$1,000 minimum, 11-month term
Mortgage LoansvariableVariety of homeowner assistance programs available

Customers looking for a complete full-service financial institution won’t find it at CIT Bank. Easy-to-open online accounts that pay above-average rates are what this bank is best at.

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Savings Builder Account

The Savings Builder Account is one of CIT Bank’s two premier savings accounts. The Savings Builder Account offers the highest available yield at the bank but requires a minimum balance of $25,000 or a $100 monthly deposit.

This account has FDIC insurance, no account opening or maintenance fees and interest is compounded daily. The account currently has an 2.10% annual percentage yield (APY), although deposits of less than $25,000 only earn a 1.22% APY. The idea behind the account is that if you can commit to regular ongoing deposits — thus, building your savings — you’ll be rewarded with the bank’s highest rate. Large, one-time deposits also qualify.

As with most savings accounts, transfers and withdrawals are subject to a limit of six per month if made by:

This is in line with federal regulations regarding withdrawals or transfers from savings accounts.

Overall, the Savings Builder Account can be a great option for those who either have a larger balance to invest or who can commit to a monthly savings program.

Savings Builder Pros and Cons

Pros

  • high-interest rate
  • no opening or maintenance fees
  • FDIC insurance

Cons

  • $25,000 minimum, or commitment to monthly contributions
  • no ATM access

More: Detailed Savings Builder Product Review: Save More, Earn More

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High-Yield Savings Account

The High-Yield Savings Account is less restrictive than the Savings Builder Account. While both accounts have the same $100 minimum deposit, there’s no ongoing deposit requirement or large balance requirement with the High-Yield Savings Account. If you can deposit at least $100, you can earn the relatively high APY on the account, currently at 1.55% APY. Like the Savings Builder Account, the High-Yield Savings Account comes with FDIC insurance, and interest is compounded daily.

High-Yield Savings Pros and Cons

Pros

  • relatively high savings rate
  • no opening or maintenance fees
  • low, $100 opening requirement
  • FDIC insurance

Cons

  • not the highest available rate at the bank
  • no ATM access

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Money Market Account

Although CIT Bank doesn’t offer a checking account, it does have a Money Market Account, with yields currently at 1.85% APY. This account is also FDIC-insured and carries no monthly service fees. In line with federal regulations, a money market account here holds a limit of six transactions per statement cycle. Excess transactions cost $10 per violation, capped at $50.

If you want to send money to other individuals, you can send up to $50 per transaction (with a $50 daily cap) via the bank’s People Pay service, either directly from account to account or via PayPal. ACH transactions have a limit of up to $2 million per transaction/day. The account also has a stop payment fee of $30 and an overdraft fee of $25.

The CIT Bank mobile app allows you to deposit checks remotely using your smartphone. You can also use the app to make transfers into or out of the account.

Money Market Pros and Cons

Pros

  • relatively high-interest rate
  • no monthly service fees
  • remote deposit available

Cons

  • high fees for stop payments, excess transactions and overdrafts
  • no ATM access

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Interest Checking

CIT Bank doesn’t offer checking account services. Thus, no customer will be able to bring their entire banking relationship to CIT Bank.

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CD Rates

CIT Bank currently offers three types of CDs: Term CDs, Jumbo CDs and No-Penalty CDs. Note that RampUp CDs, which were formerly available, are no longer offered to new customers. None of CIT Bank’s CDs charge setup or maintenance fees.

All CIT Bank CDs have an automatic renewal feature, in which they renew at the same term and at the current market rate upon maturity. There are two exceptions to this rule: The 13-month CD automatically renews as a 1-year CD, while the 18-month CD renews as a 2-year CD.

Additionally, all CDs have early withdrawal penalties, as follows:

CIT Bank Early Withdrawal Penalties
TermPenalty
Up to 1 year3 months’ interest
1-3 years6 months’ interest
More than 3 years12 months’ interest

Here’s a brief overview of each type of available CD:

Term CDs

Term CDs, as the name implies, have fixed terms and interest rates. At CIT Bank, there are currently eight terms, with the following rates offered:

CIT Bank Term CDs
TermAPY
6 months0.72%
1 year2.20%
13 months2.25%
18 months1.95%
2 years1.40%
3 years1.30%
4 years1.50%
5 years1.70%

The best bang for your buck comes in the 12-18 month range for CIT Bank’s Term CDs. Rates in that range are reasonably high, although they are not as high as some competitors’ basic online savings accounts. Other rates are fairly lackluster for a line of CDs. 

Jumbo CDs

Jumbo CDs carry the same FDIC insurance that all CIT Bank CDs do, along with daily compounding of interest and no account opening or maintenance fees. Jumbo CDs require a deposit of $100,000. However, while the rates paid on CIT Bank’s Jumbo CDs are currently 0.05% higher than similar maturities with straight term CDs, they are lower than the rates you can earn with the bank’s 1-year and 13-month straight term CDs. Here are the four options available in the Jumbo CD category at CIT Bank: 

CIT Bank Jumbo CDs
TermAPY
2 years1.45%
3 years1.40%
4 years1.60%
5 years1.75%

No-Penalty CDs

A no-penalty CD doesn’t carry the same early withdrawal penalties as traditional CDs do. CIT Bank offers a single, 11-month no-penalty CD which allows you to withdraw your funds penalty-free at any time beginning seven days after purchase. No-penalty CDs offer the ability to lock in a CD rate while still having the flexibility to access your funds any time after the first week, so they can be a great, hybrid-type of investment. Rates on no-penalty CDs are typically lower than you can get from buying a traditional, fixed-rate CD. However, currently it’s more advantageous to invest in CIT Bank’s No-Penalty CD, as the 11-month rate is the same as the 13-month rate on the Term CD: 

CIT Bank No-Penalty CDs
TermAPY
11 months2.05%

CD Pros and Cons

Pros

  • flexible options available, including a no-penalty CD
  • some rates are among the best available
  • no setup or maintenance fees

Cons

  • early withdrawal penalties for most CDs
  • no ultra-short or ultra-long maturities available

Overall, CIT Bank’s CD lineup offers compelling options, but you’ll have to pick and choose among the terms and types to get the best rates.

Learn More: CIT Bank CD Rates Review: Variety of Products, No Maintenance Fees

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Individual Retirement Accounts

Currently, CIT Bank is not offering any individual retirement accounts as it is upgrading its IRA online-application system. 

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Custodial Accounts

Custodial accounts are accounts set up for kids under age 18 under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act. At CIT Bank, you can open any type of account you’d like as a custodial account, with the exception of the High-Yield Savings Account.

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Investment (Non-Bank) Options

Unlike many other online banks, CIT Bank doesn’t offer any non-bank investment options. If you’re looking for a robo-advisor to manage your investments or a brokerage firm to handle stock, bonds and ETF trades, CIT Bank is not a good option as these investment types are not available.

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Loans

CIT offers home loans with fixed terms of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. You can also get interest-only loans with terms of 5/1, 7/1 or 10/1. Well-qualified borrowers may have access to a fixed, 30-year interest-only loan as well. The bank currently offers a promotion that pays $525 cash if you close a home loan with CIT Bank. 

On the servicing side, CIT Bank offers numerous programs to make the home mortgage process easier and help homeowners who may need financial assistance. Programs and services offered by CIT Bank include:

  • 24/7 online access
  • homeowner assistance
  • automatic payments
  • paperless statements
  • loan modification
  • repayment plans
  • temporary payment reduction
  • unemployment forbearance program
  • foreclosure prevention options, including short sales and deed-in-lieu

Mortgage Loan Pros and Cons

Pros

  • current $525 promotion for closing a home loan
  • extensive loan servicing options available
  • wide variety of straight and interest-only loans

Cons

  • not much information about fees available without talking to a banker over the phone

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How To Bank With CIT

You can open an account with CIT Bank online in about five to 10 minutes. You’ll need to provide your primary home address, valid email address, valid phone number and Social Security number to begin the process. After you choose the type of account you’d like to open, you’ll need to provide some additional information about your employment and existing bank, for funding purposes. A few quick keystrokes later and you’ll be set up.  

Once your account is open, you’ll have access to the CIT Bank mobile app, in which you can initiate a variety of account transactions, including the following: 

  • Check account balances and transaction history
  • Transfer money between CIT Bank accounts
  • Deposit checks to savings and money market accounts
  • Use People Pay if you have a Money Market Account

The app is available for both Apple and Android phones.

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Fees

For the most part, fees at CIT Bank are low or even nonexistent. That is one of the benefits of being a customer at an online bank. With reduced overhead, banks can often turn over those cost savings to consumers. 

In terms of the fees that most consumers are concerned about, CIT Bank has none. Specifically, there are no account opening or monthly service fees for savings accounts, money market accounts or CDs. 

Here’s the complete fee schedule as provided by CIT Bank:

CIT Bank Fee Schedule
ActivityFee
Mail check$0
Monthly service fee$0
Online transfer$0
Account closure$0
Incoming wire transfer$0
Outgoing wire transfer for accounts with an average daily balance of $25,000 or more$0
Outgoing wire transfer for accounts with an average daily balance of less than $25,000$10 per wire transfer
Money Market Account overdraft fee$25
Money Market Account excessive transaction(s) fee$10 per transaction
Fee will be assessed starting from
the first violation
Monthly cap: $50
Money Market Account Bill Pay stop payment per check$30

For the most part, customers won’t encounter fees through the course of normal banking at CIT Bank. Overdraft fees for the Money Market Account do run on the high side, as do excessive transaction fees and stop payment fees. On the plus side, CIT Bank doesn’t charge any fees for account closure, so there’s little downside to trying out an account or two to see if you like the interface, service and rates.

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Availability of Funds

CIT Bank has extensive instructions regarding the availability of funds placed on deposit. Here’s the breakdown by type of account/deposit:

For CDs: CIT Bank may hold your deposit for 30 business days. 

For Savings Accounts: CIT Bank may hold ACH transactions for five business days; ACH transactions that originated at another U.S. financial institution will be credited by the business day CIT Bank receives the funds from your bank. 

Checks deposited to your account will be held for seven business days, from the date the check is received. Note that ACH, check and wire transfer transactions from non-U.S. financial institutions are not acceptedCIT Bank also reserves the right to place an extended hold on transactions that may be fraudulent or suspicious. Deposits received after 2 p.m. PST or on a day CIT Bank is not open will be credited as of the following business day. For mobile deposits, the deposit cutoff time is 4 p.m. PST on a day CIT Bank is open for business.

In terms of withdrawals, you can request either an ACH electronic funds transfer or an outgoing wire, which comes with a fee of $10 on accounts with balances under $25,000. You can also request payment via a paper check. 

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Is CIT the Right Bank for You?

CIT Bank has plenty of features worth recommending, but you have to know what you’re getting into before opening an account there. Although CIT Bank offers two types of savings accounts, three types of CDs and a money market account, it doesn’t offer a checking account. This alone disqualifies the institution as a primary bank for most customers. Add the lack of ATM access on top of that and there are a few key strikes against CIT Bank right off the bat.

However, for some customers, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. The yield available on the Savings Builder Account makes it one of the best online savings accounts available, even among online competitors. Rates for the bank’s High-Yield Savings Account and some of its CDs are well above the national average for those types of accounts, although staggering a bit when compared with the market leaders. However, for the most part, CIT Bank offers a range of decent to above-average rates if you’re looking to store a little extra cash.

In a nutshell, CIT Bank can be a good option if you are comfortable with the online banking experience, are fee-averse and are looking for high-yielding savings or CD accounts. For a complete banking experience, however, you might want to consider other options.

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More From GOBankingRates

Rates and fees are accurate as of Oct. 8, 2019.

Rates and fees are subject to change. This content is not provided by CIT Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by CIT Bank.

About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.