CIT Bank Review: Great Rates, But Should You Sign Up?

CIT Bank Review: Great Rates, But Should You Sign Up?

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  • Post last modified:May 8, 2020
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If you aren’t familiar with CIT Bank, I have a feeling you’ll be hearing about it more in the next few years. We’ll find out why in this CIT Bank review as well as what it does well – and where it falls short.

About CIT Bank

CIT Bank is not new. In fact, its parent company, CIT Group, which was founded in 1908 in St. Louis, MO. The bank has over 60 locations – but those locations are entirely comprised of its California bank, OneWest.

CIT Bank itself has no physical branches and is entirely online.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for CIT’s increased popularity is that it didn’t start offering online checking (or eChecking) until late 2019. The result is that CIT is becoming more like a full-fledged bank as opposed to one that’s primarily for saving.

What Kinds of Accounts Does CIT Bank Offer?

As mentioned above, CIT now has eChecking, but it has several other account types, too. In this section, we’ll go over each type of account and how they stack up.

Online Checking

The Good

  • High APY for checking
  • No monthly fees
  • Up $15/month ATM fee reimbursement

The Bad

  • No access to fee-free ATM network
  • No physical checks available
  • High deposits required for max APY

With CIT’s eChecking account, you do get access to several nice features. For one, you can expect to earn an APY on your checking account balance that’s much higher than other banks.

Currently, the rate on balances under $25,000 is around twice the national average. For balances of $25,000 or greater, that amount jumps up to around four times the national average.

$25,000 is a bit steep for most consumers, but you’ll still get a competitive interest rate regardless of your balance.

In addition, payments are supported via Zelle, Bill Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay.

Although CIT does reimburse you for up to $15 in ATM fees, this is a bit of a false sense of security. That’s because you unfortunately do not have access to a free ATM network, meaning you’ll be charged a fee up-front every time you withdraw cash.

So, if you rack up more than $15 in ATM fees in a month, you’ll have to foot the bill yourself.

CIT requires you to make a $100 minimum deposit to open a checking account; some banks require no minimum deposit.

While there is some room for improvement here, there are still things to like about CIT’s eChecking. Hopefully, they will continue to improve it.

Savings Accounts

The Good

  • High APY, esp. for $25,000 or higher balances
  • No monthly fees, regardless of balance
  • No minimum balance required

The Bad

  • Must maintain $25,000 balance or $100 monthly deposit for the highest interest rate
  • $100 minimum deposit to open

CIT has a number of options for its savings accounts which is good as you can choose the solution that works best for you. No matter which option you choose, however, your interest rate will be reasonably high.

CIT currently offers two savings accounts: Savings Builder and Premier High Yield Savings. Note that both savings accounts require a $100 minimum deposit to open.

Between these two accounts, Premier High Yield Savings is a bit simpler in terms of how APY is determined. With this account, there is no daily balance or monthly deposit requirement.

The only requirement is the initial $100 deposit and you’ll get an APY that is competitive with any other high-yield savings account.

Savings Builder, on the other hand, can have a slightly higher interest rate, but your interest rate will suffer if you can’t keep up.

Although APY changes frequently, the interest rates are currently 1.45% if you maintain a $25,000 balance or a $100 monthly deposit. If you can’t meet either threshold, your interest rate will drop to just 1.10%. While not terrible, that’s lower than you would get with Premier High Yield Savings.

As you can see, if you don’t have a large amount of cash to stow away or $100 a month to deposit, your best option is the high yield savings account.

Money Market Account

The Good

  • 11x national average APY
  • No monthly fees
  • Mobile deposits with the CIT app

The Bad

  • Maximum of six transactions per month
  • No physical checks available
  • Minimum $100 deposit to open

Overall, CIT’s money market account is really quite good. There are no monthly fees, and the APY on these accounts is stellar. If you need a place to store your rainy day fund, this should be a candidate.

In addition to the favorable interest rate, these accounts are FDIC-insured – meaning not only do you get a reliably high interest rate, but your money is safe, too.

You can also make deposits and transfers while on-the-go directly in the CIT mobile app. This is a nice feature, and probably makes sense to have given that you can’t stop by a branch in your area.

The interest rate on these accounts are among the highest in the industry, too. There are actually few downsides to CIT’s money market accounts beyond those you get with MMAs anywhere.

Certificate of Deposit

The Good

  • Competitive interest rates
  • 11-month penalty-free CD offered
  • Daily interest accrual

The Bad

  • Some online banks may have higher interest rates
  • $1,000 minimum on all CDs
  • Interest rates fluctuate based on term length

Certificates of deposit are always a good option to have if you want to save for a specific goal in the future, like a down payment on a house.

So, how is CIT Bank’s CD?

Well, that largely depends on your savings strategy. See, banks will typically have a fairly linear trend with CD rates starting low and increasing the longer your money is locked away.

But for whatever reason, CIT’s CD rates are kind of all over the place. Its six-month CD rate is its lowest, but its one-year CD rate is currently its highest.

After that, the rates start to drop down again, continuing to drop through the four-year mark. The five year CD terms, its longest, goes back up again – but is still lower than the one-year term rate.

With most of CIT’s CDs (and most CDs in general), a penalty is assessed if money is withdrawn before the maturity (end date) of the CD. However, CIT does have an 11-month CD with a decent interest rate for which there is no such penalty.

Also, note that all of CITs have a $1,000 minimum.

Customer Support

CIT has phone support from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, and, of course, 24/7 automated phone support and online/mobile banking.

Comments about CIT Bank’s customer service are a bit of a mixed bag. Some customers have had problems getting responses from customer support or ran into problems with the website.

Those who say good things about CIT mostly tout its high interest rates – which are indeed very competitive.

Banking User Experience

Again, some users have had issues with the website. They say it’s either slow or glitchy, and even that it doesn’t have a search bar (it still doesn’t, as far as I can tell).

Another user said that while the website doesn’t exactly have robust functionality, they actually like the simplicity you get as a result.

Similarly, the mobile app is relatively simple. Despite this, it does get the job done. You can see account balances, recent transactions, and transfer funds between accounts.

The CIT Bank Mobile app currently has a 4.6 rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.1 rating on Google Play.

A closer look reveals that – as per usual – the actual reviews are a mixed bag. Some say the app is “very easy to use” while others say it’s “extremely clunky.”

As an aside, an app of this nature shouldn’t be running extremely slow unless you have a very old device. Mobile banking isn’t exactly resource-intensive, so performance issues would be a bad sign.

It seems that you would just have to try the app and find out how it works for you, but it does seem capable enough to get the job done.

Wrapping it Up

CIT Bank certainly has some good things going for it. Its checking account, money market account, savings account, and CD mostly have high interest rates across the board.

That said, you must have at least a $25,000 balance in your CIT savings account for the best APY, which will be difficult for the average customer.

In addition, its checking account has no fee-free ATMs and no physical checks, which may make quite a few people look elsewhere.

Despite the downsides, CIT Bank has a wide range of products that are worth a look.

CIT Bank Summary

8.3

Money Market

9.2/10

Savings

8.5/10

CDs

8.0/10

Checking

7.5/10

Pros

  • Top-notch APY all account types
  • No monthly fees on any accounts
  • Mobile deposit option

Cons

  • High balances needed on some accounts for the highest APY
  • No physical branches
  • No access to free ATM network for online checking accounts
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