In this CIT Bank review, we discuss the bank’s high yield savings accounts, money market, and CD products. We’ll also consider the best ways to use them, and determine whether opening an account with CIT Bank is right for you. All rates, terms, and conditions are subject to change without notice. It is the sole responsibility of the reader to verify any information with CIT Bank prior to taking action. This review has been updated as of January 15th, 2019 to reflect the most current information available from CIT Bank.
CIT Bank is a publicly-traded, FDIC insured financial institution offering high yield savings accounts and other online banking services throughout the United States. Over the past several years, their interest rates have stayed extremely competitive, even while other more popular bank chains have lagged.
Most impressively, CIT Bank recently released a the new Savings Builder account. As of this writing, the Savings Builder account is our pick for the best online saving account available.
This two-tiered account actually encourages savings by offering a 2.45% APY when you make a monthly deposit of at least $100. That is an easy barrier to cross and definitely one worth checking out if you’re looking for a place to store your emergency fund, vacation fund, cash for a down payment, and more.
CIT Bank’s 18-Month CD is also a strong product . This account currently earns 2.50% APY on all balances. The minimum to open is just $100, making this option competitive with other term CDs you’ll find.
Obviously, it pays to consider moving (at least) some of your money to CIT Bank. We certainly have. Before you do, though, let’s take a closer look at what they have to offer.
Our Top Picks
Savings Builder [Editor’s Choice] – This is easily our favorite savings account on the market right now. Earn a whopping 2.45% APY when you make a monthly deposit of $100 or more! That makes it a perfect place to build your vacation fund, emergency fund, or save for any large purchase. We use it, we love it, and we think you will too. Read the review | Get started
Certificate of Deposit (18-Month) – The CIT Bank 18-Month CD offers a nice 2.50% APY, making it very competitive with other CDs on the market. This account requires a $1,000 minimum to open. Learn more
CIT Bank at a Glance
- Founded in 1908
- Traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CIT)
- More than $50 Billion in assets (September 30, 2018)
- Internet banking available throughout U.S.
- Sister branches located throughout Southern California (operating as OneWest Bank)
CIT Bank Products
- (New) Savings Builder Account – Up to 2.25% APY*
- Money Market Account – 1.85% APY*
- Premier High Yield Savings Account – Up to 1.55% APY*
- Multiple CD Options – Up to 2.50% APY*
- Small business and home loans available
(*Rates current as of January 15th, 2019)
CIT Bank: Pros and Cons
Who Is CIT Bank?
Although the name CIT Bank may not ring a bell, they’ve definitely been around the block. The company was founded in 1908 and currently trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CIT). CIT Bank operates online banking services throughout the United States, but it is also associated with several brick and mortar locations. Residents of Southern California may recognize the name OneWest Bank, which is a subsidiary of its parent company CIT Bank, N.A.
As of September 2018, CIT Bank claims financial assets of over $50 billion. As with most banks, CIT has the backing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
This CIT Bank review focuses primarily on the company’s online personal banking options – specifically the different savings vehicles they have available. With that said, they can also meet other banking needs customers may have. CIT Banks offers a host of loans for homeowners and small businesses, allowing them to fulfill your needs there as well.
CIT Bank Review: Savings Products
Think CIT Bank may be for you? Let’s take a closer look at their different savings options, including their high yield savings accounts, money market account, and CD rates.
Savings Builder Account
The new Savings Builder account from CIT Bank is our favorite savings account on the market right now. Period.
With two tiers of interest rates, this account actually encourages savings by offering up to a 2.45% APY interest rate to those making a monthly deposit of at least $100. That is an easy bar to cross and an excellent goal to shoot for if you’re struggling to save. Plus, the top-tier rate is over 200x more than you’ll find at many larger competitors.
While this won’t apply to most, customers who have a balance above $25,000 are also eligible to receive the top rate.
Personally, we think this is an excellent spot to set money aside for any type of savings goal – like a travel fund, emergency fund, new car fund, etc. Not only does it earn a great rate, it also keeps your money separate from your other cash so you don’t accidentally spend it somewhere else.
We use it ourselves and we think you’ll love it too!
CIT Bank Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
CIT Bank offers a handful of CD options, each with their own pros and cons.
For traditional Term CDs, CIT Bank offers a variety of options. Term lengths run from 6 months to 5 years in length while interest rates currently range between 0.72%-2.50% APY. All Term CDs require a minimum opening deposit of $1,000.
With the Term CDs, the best deal seems to fall right in the middle range of the bank’s offerings. The 1-Year CD offers a rate of 2.20% APY, the 13-Month comes in at 2.25% APY, and the 18-Month CD offers the best interest rate of all the CD products at 2.50% APY. Rates for all other Term CDs go down from there.
CIT Bank also offers a Jumbo CD for large deposits. With a required minimum deposit of $100,000, these aren’t going to be available to most readers. However, the 1.40%-1.75% APY rate is lower than many of the short-term CDs anyway, so I’m not sure why you’d lock up your money for at least 2 years at a lower rate.
I’m also impressed with the flexible nature of their “No-Penalty CD.” Additionally, over the last few months, CIT Bank has dramatically increased the interest rates on some of their traditional CD products. While they once lagged behind in this category, the higher rates now make them more attractive.
The No-Penalty CD from CIT Bank is exactly what you’d expect. What you wouldn’t expect is that it also offers one of the highest interest rates of the bunch (up to 2.05% APY)
With the No-Penalty CD, you can withdraw your original deposit – plus interest – before the maturation date without facing any early withdrawal penalties. As far as I can tell, the only stipulation is that you can not withdraw your funds within 7 days of funding. After that, you’re golden. Of course, you’ll pay for this privilege in the form of a lower interest rate, but the flexibility is rather appealing.
Like the high yield savings account, all CDs are FDIC insured. There are no account opening or maintenance fees, and interest is compounded daily. Personally, I think either the No-Penalty CD or the 18-Month Term CD are the best options, but I’ve listed the current rates in the table below to help you decide.
|Product||Rates*||Term||Minimum Opening Deposit||Description|
|*Current as of 01/15/19|
|Term CDs||Up to 2.50% APY*||Up to 5 Years||$1,000||Low minimum balance, various term lengths|
|No-Penalty CD||Up to 2.05% APY*||11 Months||$1,000||No penalties on early withdrawals (7 days after funding)|
|Jumbo CDs||Up to 1.75% APY*||Up to 5 Years||$100,000||For large deposits|
Money Market Account
CIT Bank offers a money market account that is one of the most competitive you’ll find in the online market.
This account offers a rate of 1.85% APY and only requires a $100 deposit to open. There are no opening or monthly service fees, and interest compounds daily so you can make the most on your money. It is also insured by the FDIC up to the standard $250,000.
Like most money market accounts, you are limited in the number of monthly transactions you can make. In this case, you’re allowed to make up to 6 transfers or withdrawals during a statement cycle.
While you wouldn’t want to use this as an account for your regular bill pay, CIT Bank’s money market account is a perfect spot to keep your emergency fund or travel savings.
CIT Bank Premier High Yield Savings Account
Over the past few months, I’ve been a bit disappointed by the CIT Bank Premier High Yield Savings Account. As savings account interest rates increased at other online banks, this account has failed to keep up.
Of course, this was likely due to the fact that CIT was preparing to roll out the Savings Builder account, which I think is a better overall product. With that said, if you don’t plan to make the $100 monthly deposits (or don’t have at least $25,000 in the Savings Builder account), the Premier High Yield Savings Account may be a decent option for you.
Here’s the nitty gritty: This account offers a 1.55% APY interest rate on all balances. While it’s not longer at the top of our best savings accounts list, that’s still considerably higher than the national average – particularly when compared to the measly rates at popular national chains like Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. Interest on all accounts is compounded on a daily basis and paid out monthly.
In addition to the great rates, online banking with CIT Bank is completely free. There are zero fees to open and maintain your account, and deposits are insured by the FDIC to the usual $250,000 limit. A minimum opening deposit of $100 is required, however there is just a $1 minimum daily balance going forward.
Here’s another look at the current rates and conditions for CIT Bank’s high yield savings account:
|Account Type||APY*||Minimum Balance*|
|*Current as of 01/15/19|
|Premier High Yield Savings (balance<$250,000)||1.55%||To Open: $100|
|Premier High Yield Savings (balance>$250,000)||1.55%||To Open: $100|
How to Use a Savings Builder, Money Market, or High Yield Savings Account
Wondering why you might want to use a money market or high yield savings account? Here are a few ideas on how to use it:
Travel Fund / Savings Goals – Keeping a separate savings account to meet specific savings goals – like travel, a new car, etc. – is always a good idea. A special account keeps this money separate from your general funds, helping you to avoid spending it on items it was never meant for.
Emergency Fund – An emergency fund is one of the main pillars of financial health. A fully-furnished emergency fund should hold 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses that can – and should only – be used in case of a financial emergency. Like saving for a goal, an online high yield savings account is a great way to keep your e-fund safe and separate from your general accounts.
Savings Protection – Spreading your money around to a few different banks is never a bad idea. This is especially true if you keep more than $250,000 in savings. By keeping accounts at multiple banks, more of your money is insured by the FDIC in the event that one (or multiple) banks go under.
Benefits of Using CIT Bank
- Excellent Savings Builder Rate – As we’ve discussed, the top-tier of the new Savings Builder account offers a superb 2.45% APY on all balances. This is well above the national average and over 100x better than rates at some of CIT Bank’s more well-known national competitors. Plus, it encourages you to save by offering the rate to anybody who makes a deposit of just $100 a month. Quite simply, it is our favorite savings account on the market right now.
- Money Market Account – The new money market account is also something to consider. At 1.85% APY, this is a great spot to stash your long-term savings.
- Low Minimum Deposit Requirements – At CIT Bank, you can open a money market or high yield savings account with as little as $100. Minimum deposits on CDs start at just $1,000.
- No Fees – Online Banking with CIT Bank is free. There are no account opening or management fees and just a $1 minimum balance requirement on the high yield savings accounts. (Penalties may apply for withdrawing funds early on certain CD products.)
- Flexible CD Options – Interest rates on the 12 to 18-month Term CDs are now competitive, plus CIT Bank offers a very flexible No-Penalty CD that may be worth a look.
- FDIC Insured – All deposits with CIT Bank are FDIC insured to the usual $250,000.
Where CIT Bank Falls Short
The biggest issue I have is that CIT Bank does not offer an online checking account. This seems like it would be fairly standard practice, and I’m a bit surprised that they make this option available to customers.
Additionally, although the new Savings Builder product is awesome, their other savings account has suffered. The Premier High Yield Savings Account has failed to keep up with rate increases at other institutions. At 1.55% APY, it’s still not a bad rate…it’s just not great.
Moving on, in the past, I wasn’t huge on CIT Bank’s offering of CDs. With some recent increases in their interest rates, particularly on the 12 to 18-month Term CDs, they are now competitive.
Additionally, the No-Penalty CD is an interesting option. The recent interest rate increase of up to 2.05% APY could definitely be a motivator, especially since there is no penalty to withdraw your money (including interest) after 7 days.
When it comes to the rest of the CD rates, however, they aren’t anything to get overly excited about. If you look closely, you’ll also notice that many of the rates are actually lower than that of the 1.55% APY offered on the High Yield Savings Account and far less than the 1.85% APY earned on the Money Market. Since these accounts provide far greater access to your money, I’d opt for one of these over most of the CDs at this time.
Finally, I can see where some people may be scared off by the fact that CIT Bank isn’t necessarily a recognizable name in banking. Keep in mind, though, that the bank has been around since 1908. If you’re worried about the financial stability of the bank, you may wish to keep your deposit totals below the $250,000 that are insured by the FDIC.
Is CIT Bank Right for You?
Online banking is more popular than ever, with the some estimates stating that over 60% of all banking is now done via a computer or mobile device. Regardless of the exact number, it’s clear that consumers are moving more and more toward banking online rather than visiting brick and mortar branch locations. That’s a huge change from even just a few years ago, but it goes to show you that the times have changed.
As interest rates plummeted at traditional banking establishments, online banks have picked up the slack. And while brick and mortar banks have slowly increased their interest rates over the last several years, in many cases, the best savings and CD rates can still be found at online banks like CIT Bank.
If you need a place to store your emergency fund while still earning a decent interest rate, CIT Bank seems to be a good option. Likewise, stashing your cash with CIT Bank is a good idea for things like a travel fund or other savings goals.
With a top-tier rate of 2.45% APY on their new Savings Builder account and 1.85% APY for money market accounts, CIT Bank is highly competitive with other online savings products. So, if you’re looking for a place where you can still make a little bit of money off of your savings, CIT Bank may be it.
How to Open a CIT Bank Account
Opening an account at CIT Bank is super simple and takes roughly 10 minutes. Be sure to have your driver’s license and Social Security number handy. Here’s how to get started:
- Open a Savings Builder account, money market account, high yield savings account, or a new CD here.
- Complete the application.
- Fund your new account.
To fund your account, you’ll also need to provide information for the financial institution from which you are transferring the funds. You can fund your new account in one of three ways:
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) – free of charge
- Personal Check – free of charge
- Wire Transfer – free of charge
CIT Bank Review: The Bottom Line
Overall, I think CIT Bank is an excellent choice for online banking customers.
The new Savings Builder account is simply our favorite savings account on the market right now. Boasting an impressive top-tier rate of 2.45% APY, this savings account is hard to beat. Plus, the rate is super easy to obtain. Simply make a monthly deposit of $100, and you’re good to go. This makes it the perfect place to store your emergency fund, travel fund, and other specialty savings goals.
CIT Bank’s Money Market Account is another great spot for storing your efund or travel fund. Again, the account offers a rate of 1.85% APY and requires just $100 to open. Sure, transactions are limited, but – when used for long-term savings – that really shouldn’t matter.
With the exception of the extremely flexible No-Penalty CD and the 12 to 18-month Term CDs, I still find the CD rates somewhat underwhelming. Personally, I still plan to avoid CDs for the foreseeable future…unless I just run into a bundle of money that needs to be stashed somewhere.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading our CIT Bank review! Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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