CIT Bank Review 2023: Online Checking and Savings Accounts
- Digitally-savvy users
- Interest-bearing savings, checking
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. For that, CIT Bank is your answer.
If you’re willing to move to an online 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 fees and high interest rates. There is a minimum opening deposit of $100, though it’s pretty reasonable given the bank’s high rates.
Although foregoing the in-person franchise can make switching to an online only bank a little daunting, CIT Bank makes it that much easier by offering up to $30 per month to reimburse ATM fees from other banks, 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 accounts, you’ll want to keep looking (try these business checking accounts); CIT doesn’t have business checking or savings accounts available.
Here’s what we love about each of CIT Bank’s online deposit accounts… and what we think could use some work.
CIT Bank Checking Account
CIT Bank has one checking account option which has a lot of perks, including no monthly fees and the ability to connect the account with the high-yield savings account. We love that this checking account no longer charges an overdraft fee (you can set up overdraft protection or simply have the purchase declined) so you’re protected from overdraft charges.
- Interest earning
- Charges overdraft fees
- Connects with high-yield savings
The checking account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100 with no fees to open an account. There are also no monthly fees or incoming wire transfer fees. However, certain fees can be assessed under specific circumstances. For instance, if you make an outgoing wire transfer and carry an average minimum balance of less than $25,000, it will cost $10.
CIT Bank doesn’t charge overdraft fees, and by signing up for free overdraft protection, you can avoid charges being declined as well.They also avoid charging their own ATM fees when you withdraw money, and you can receive up to $30 per month in third-party ATM fee reimbursements.
When you sign up, CIT Bank will send you a complimentary debit card with EMV chip technology, but if you’re looking to regularly use physical checks, keep moving. Like most other online banks, CIT Bank’s mobile app allows you to easily deposit checks made out to you, but doesn’t allow you to write a check. You can have a check mailed to you for free, but this can take time and is a hassle.
Finally, we love the way the eChecking account connects with CIT Bank’s new high-yield savings account, Savings Connect Account, to maximize your savings. We suggest you take a look at signing up for both simultaneously.
CIT Bank Savings Accounts
CIT Bank provides customers with three savings account options:
- Savings Builder
- Money Market
- Savings Connect
All carry a minimum opening deposit of $100, but none assess monthly fees.
- No monthly fee
- Daily compounding interest
- Up to 1% APY
The Savings Builder account is a decent option for a savings account, boasting rates over 3X the national average. If you jump through the tiered interest hoops, then you can walk away with 1.00% APY, but if you’re looking to just put your money in and sit, you’ll most likely receive a lower-tiered rate (unless your minimum balance is more than $25,000).
Basically, if you need motivation to save money monthly for a goal like a house or college, the reward of earning higher interest with a Savings Builder account might be just the trick. In fact, right now, the Savings Builder account offers the higher-tiered interest as a special introductory rate for your first period regardless of balance or savings. So if you’re thinking this is the right savings account for you, you’re at least guaranteed .995% for one cycle.
Overall, however, we think CIT Bank’s other savings accounts are worth taking a look at for slightly higher APYs and a little less fuss.
Money Market Account
- No monthly service fee
- Up 1.55% APY
- Scheduled bill pay feature
Coming in at 1.55% APY, the CIT Bank Money Market account is a decent contender among other money market accounts with interest 3x the national average. Plus, unlike the Savings Builder account, this CIT Bank savings account has no hoops to jump through. You just put your money in and receive the 1.55% APY. Combined with no monthly fees, we love the ease of earning it offers.
Unlike some other money market accounts, the CIT Money Market account is limited to electronic transfers only. With CIT’s great online banking mobile app, you can arrange a direct deposit, bill pay, and check cashing, but there's no corresponding debit card or checks.
Like the Savings Builder account, the Money Market account is also limited to six transactions a statement cycle with a $10 for each additional excessive transaction. But we think for most, these little inconveniences are worth the decent annual percentage yield.
Savings Connect Account
- No monthly service fee
- Up 4.60% APY
CIT Bank’s Savings Connect Account offers 4.60% APY with no monthly fees, making it stand out among other banks’ offerings. You do have to deposit $100 to get started but from there, the savings start building. Plus, we like the ability to deposit checks on CIT Bank’s great mobile app.
In the past, a Savings Connect Account meant you had to link your savings account to a CIT Bank eChecking account. While this is no longer a requirement, we suggest you consider it to get the best of both worlds. Linking these two accounts provides you great savings potential and access to a debit card. For the debit card, the same rules apply as before with no CIT Bank ATM fees and other ATM fee reimbursements up to $30 a month.
Some people might find opening two accounts a bit annoying, but the high APY makes it a great option for most who are looking for a fully online banking experience.
Other CIT Bank Products
While we mostly come to CIT Bank for the savings and checking accounts, it doesn’t stop there. Check out the other services available from CIT Bank that might fit your needs below.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
CIT Bank offers three different CDs for new customers seeking to hit their savings goals:
- Term CDs
- No Penalty, 11 Month CDs
- Jumbo CDs
CIT Bank’s CDs work pretty much like other banks’ CDs with varying rates and lengths. The Term CDs offer between 0.30% to 5.00% APYs depending on the CDs term. There’s no maintenance or opening fee, but it does have a $1000 minimum.
The No Penalty 11 Month CDs also have a $1,000 minimum but can be accessed early with no penalty so you can easily transfer those funds to another CIT Bank savings account or an external bank account. This flexibility costs you a little of your APY with interest rates of 4.90%, but the no penalty peace of mind might make it worth it.
With a $100,000 minimum, the Jumbo CDs are definitely channeling a specific type of customer. These term lengths are longer—between 2 to 5 years—and have 0.40% – 0.50% APYs depending on the length.
It is worth just mentioning that previous customers do continue to have access to their RampUp™ CDs, but they’re not offered to new customers.
So do we believe CIT Bank CDs are worth it? CIT Bank’s CDs are a solid option for CDs; however, there are CDs on the market–even some offered from other online banks–with similar rates and lower minimums, so it’s worth shopping around.
CIT Bank offers home loans for new home mortgages and refinancing. Rates depend on your credit score, but you can get relationship pricing options like .10% off rates with 10% of the loan amount in new deposits if you’re already a CIT Bank customer.
CIT Bank Custodial Accounts
If you’re looking to grow wealth for a minor, CIT Bank can help you open a Custodial Account. You can set up most of the savings accounts in the minor’s name for them to gain control of at 18. With some federal tax benefits and no maximum limit, it makes a great place to save for the future.
Small Business Banking
CIT Bank focuses on personal accounts and doesn’t offer small business checking and savings accounts. They do have some small business financing options, specifically focusing on Equipment, Working Capital, or Franchise financing. The terms vary in length and rates, but all can be funded in as fast as 1 day.
CIT Bank Mobile App
Like most online banking options, CIT Bank’s mobile app provides 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 3.4 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.
Pros and Cons of CIT Bank
So what’s the breakdown of CIT Bank overall? Below, we’ve laid out the pros and cons from our CIT Bank review to help you streamline your decision.
- Free eChecking account earns interest.
- No monthly fees on any of its deposit accounts.
- Free overdraft protection.
- Competitive APYs.
- Low minimum deposit requirements.
- Refunds ATM fees up to a certain amount.
- Insufficient funds fee of $30 per transaction item.
- No physical locations and no ATMs for the actual service.
- No small business banking option.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About CIT Bank
Still have a few questions? Below we’ve tracked down the answer to the most common questions people ask about CIT Bank.
Absolutely. All CIT Bank savings and checking accounts are FDIC insured against bank failure and theft. You should feel safe and secure using CIT Bank, knowing it’s backed by the FDIC.
CIT Bank does offer home loans and small business financing with relationship pricing mortgages and competitive rates.
As of January 2022, CIT Bank became a division of First Citizens Bank, the largest family-controlled bank in the United States.
CIT Bank prides itself on being an online bank with no monthly or opening services fees. There are some fees for certain activities; however, the fees are pretty standard compared to other online banks. For example, if you need to stop a payment from your Money Market Account, it’ll cost you $30. On the other hand, if you run into insufficient funds for any of your CIT Bank savings accounts, you won’t be charged a fee at all. If you’re worried about a specific fee, check out CIT Bank’s fee schedule.
Jamie Cattanach and Whitney Hansen are contributors to The Penny Hoarder. Both are experienced writers in personal finance, banking and investing.