CIT Bank Review: What We Love – and Don’t Love – About This Online Bank
When it comes to banking, most of us are just looking for something convenient and free… but it’s that much better when your checking account can actually help you earn money, too.
If you’re willing to move to a digital-first banking system — that is, one where your account is entirely online and you don’t have access to a brick-and-mortar banking location — CIT Bank offers both checking and savings accounts with no monthly maintenance fees and high interest earnings potential. (Although there’s a minimum opening deposit of $100, it’s pretty reasonable given the bank’s high rates.)
Although foregoing the in-person franchise can be a little daunting, CIT Bank makes it that much easier by offering up to $15 in third-party ATM fee reimbursement per month, and you’ll never be assessed an ATM fee on their end. However, if you’re looking for a bank that also offers small business solutions, keep looking; CIT doesn’t have business checking or savings accounts available.
Here’s what we love about CIT Bank’s online deposit accounts… and what we think could use some work.
CIT Bank Review: The Pros and Cons
What we like:
- Free eChecking account earns interest at a rate higher than the average savings account
- No monthly maintenance fees on any of its deposit accounts
- Free overdraft protection
What we don’t like:
- Insufficient funds fee of $30 per item
- No small business banking option
CIT Bank offers the best of both possible worlds when it comes to checking: an account with no monthly maintenance fees and the ability to earn interest. Their eChecking account earns up to 0.25% APY on balances with $25,000 or more, and 0.10% APY on balances less than that. (That’s better than the average savings account interest of 0.04% APY, per the FDIC.)
The checking account does, however, carry a minimum opening deposit of $100, and certain fees can be assessed under specific circumstances. For instance, if you make an outgoing wire transfer and carry an average daily balance of less than $25,000, it will cost $10. CIT Bank’s insufficient funds fee is $30, and no daily limits are advertised.
Still, these fees are relatively easy to avoid, especially given CIT Bank’s free overdraft protection option. They also avoid charging ATM fees, and you can receive up to $15 per month in third-party ATM fee reimbursements.
Along with a range of CDs and a money market account, CIT Bank offers two main savings account options: the Savings Builder and the Premier High Yield Savings Account. Both carry a minimum opening deposit of $100, but neither assesses monthly maintenance fees.
The Savings Builder allows account holders to earn up to 1.15% APY depending on their average daily balance and/or monthly deposit behavior; if you keep a balance of at least $25,000 or make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more, you’ll earn the 1.15% APY maximum. Interest compounds daily to maximize earning potential, and deposits and transfers can be made through the mobile app.
The Premier High Yield Savings account earns 1.00% APY without any fees regardless of account balance or deposits, and its interest is also compounded daily.
Small Business Banking
CIT Bank doesn’t offer small business checking and savings accounts, though it does offer business loans.
CIT Bank is mostly online, but also includes the OneWest Bank Division, which holds more than 60 locations in southern California.
However, all CIT Bank customers can access its customer service team via telephone. The automated system is available 24/7 and live-person customer service is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET and Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET.
Like most online banking options, CIT Bank offers digital solutions to help its members access and manage their funds from the convenience of their smartphones. Its mobile apps are well received, with ratings of 4.1 stars on Google Play and 4.6 stars on the Apple App Store.
The apps allow users to make transfers between their own accounts (and to others using third-party platforms like Zelle and Samsung or Apple Pay), as well as to make mobile check deposits using the onboard smartphone camera.
Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.
Our Bank Review Methodology
The Penny Hoarder’s editorial team considers more than 25 factors in its bank account reviews, including fees, minimum daily balance requirements, APYs, overdraft charges, ATM access, number of physical locations, customer service support access and mobile features.
To determine how we weigh each factor, The Penny Hoarder surveyed 1,500 people to find out what banking features matter most to you.
For example, we give top grades to banks that have low fees because our survey showed that this is the No. 1 thing you look for in a bank. Because more than 70% of you said you visited a physical bank branch last year, we consider the number of brick-and-mortar locations. But more than one-third of you use mobile apps for more than 75% of your banking, so digital features are also considered carefully.
Ratings are assigned across the following categories:
- Personal checking accounts
- Personal savings accounts
- Small-business banking
- Mobile banking
Credit card and loan products are not currently considered.
Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.