CIT Bank Review: Is It the Best Online Savings Account for Your Money?

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Last Updated on October 9, 2021 by Rebecca

In this review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about CIT Bank and whether it’s the best place to keep your savings. Also, this is NOT a sponsored post. From time to time, I like to write reviews of products I think are truly useful. 

How do you feel about saving money?

Personally, I love it. Setting financial goals for saving and making more money are on my list of favorite things ever.

But you know, only 1 in 5 Americans actively saves money, which makes me kinda sad. I think everyone should get into the savings habit.

And I also think where you stash your money matters for growing your savings.

CIT Bank is one option for saving money online. The bank offers a new Savings Builder Account with a stellar APY, along with other savings products.

If you’ve never heard of CIT or you’re looking for a place to keep your savings, this review is just for you.

Let’s dive in!

What Is CIT Bank?

cit bank reviewCIT Bank is a U.S.-based, FDIC-insured financial institution. FDIC-insured means your money is covered up to a certain dollar amount if the bank goes under.

The bank offers banking services online nationwide. You can also bank with CIT at OneWest Bank sister branches throughout California. Note: CIT Bank and Citibank are not the same. 

Is CIT Bank legit?

This might be the first question you have if you’ve never used an online bank before. But yes, it’s totally legit.

Some key facts about CIT Bank:

  • It’s publicly-traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
  • The company holds approximately $44 billion in assets.
  • Headquarters are located in Pasadena, CA.
  • Online banking services launched in 2011.
  • Services include personal, business, commercial and corporate banking.

For this review, we’ll focus just on the personal banking products and services CIT offers.

CIT Bank Review: What Are Your Savings Options?

I like variety when it comes to saving money.

Some of my cash is held in CDs, some of it’s in a money market account and some of it is in high-yield savings accounts. I use each one for different savings goals.

The great thing about CIT is that they give you lots of choices for saving money.

Savings Builder Account

The Savings Builder Account is CIT Bank’s newest savings option.

This account makes it super easy to earn a great rate on your savings. As of August 2019, the current APY is 2.30%.

(And if you don’t know how savings rates compare, that’s about 20 times better than what you’d get at a typical brick-and-mortar bank.)

So, how do you get that amazing rate on your savings? Two ways:

  • Open a new Savings Builder Account with $100, then deposit at least $100 into your account every month.
  • Open an account with $100 and maintain an account balance of $25,000 or more every month afterward.

If you’re just getting started with saving, then the first option is probably going to be your best bet. You can make the ongoing $100 deposit to savings easy by setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account at your current bank.

It’s really that simple to earn a killer rate on your money. And if you have $25,000 or more in your account, you’ll get that rate even if you don’t make any new deposits.

Who is a Savings Builder Account right for?

This account could be a great choice if you:

  • Have at least $100 to open an account and $100 to save each month.
  • Want to earn a highly competitive interest rate on savings.
  • Are a super-saver with $25,000 or more to save.

If all of that sounds good to you, get started with opening your new Savings Builder Account now!

Premier High-Yield Savings Account

The Premier High-Yield Savings Account is the precursor to the Savings Builder Account.

This account has the same $100 minimum opening deposit but the APY is quite a bit lower, at 1.55% as of August 2019.

So why would you choose this account over the Savings Builder option? One reason.

This account doesn’t require you to make a regular monthly deposit to earn the 1.55% APY. So your money will still grow even if you miss a month of saving.

But if you can commit to tucking away at least $100 monthly, then the Savings Builder Account is by far the better choice. Your money will grow faster with regular deposits and a higher interest rate. 

Money Market Account

CIT Bank also offers a money market account. This account offers an APY of 1.85%, as of August 2019.

That makes it more attractive than the Premier High-Yield Savings Account. And you only need $100 to open your account.

But why would you choose a money market option over the Savings Builder Account and its great rate?

It’s simple. Convenience.

The CIT Bank Money Market Account lets you make account to account transfers with People Pay. You can also transfer money to other people through PayPal straight from your account.

You can’t do that with the Savings Builder or Premier High-Yield Savings Account. You can only schedule ACH transfers, which can take a few business days to process.

And according to the bank’s website, bill payment will soon be added to money market accounts.

Note: With any savings or money market account (not just those from CIT Bank) you’re limited to 6 withdrawal transactions per month. This is an FDIC rule.

Who is a CIT Bank Money Market Account Right For?

You might give the money market account a try if:

  • You want fast and easy access to your savings when you need it.
  • You’re saving for a bigger short-term goal, like buying a new car or down payment on a home.
  • You need a place to keep emergency savings.

Open a CIT Bank Money Market Account now!

CD Accounts

So here’s a little primer on CD accounts if you don’t know what those are.

A CD or certificate of deposit is what’s known as a time deposit. That means you agree to put your money into the account for a set period of time. The bank pays you interest on the money.

Once the CD matures, you can get your money back along with the interest you’ve earned. CD terms can be as short as 30 days or as long as 10 years.

CDs can be good for short-term savings, although, in my opinion, you’re better off using them for long-term goals. Long-term CDs tend to offer better rates than short-term ones, although there are some exceptions.

So, what kind of CDs does CIT Bank offer?

Quite a few, actually:

  • Term CDs.
  • No-Penalty, 11-month CDs.
  • Jumbo CDs.
  • RampUp CDs.

Here’s how they compare.

Term CDs

Term CDs are your standard CD option.

You save your money for a set term and earn a set APY. It’s guaranteed money since your APY doesn’t change.

CIT Bank offers these term CDs and rates:

  • 18-month – 2.40%
  • 13-month – 2.25%
  • 12-month – 2.20%
  • 5-year – 1.70%
  • 4-year – 1.50%
  • 2-year – 1.40%
  • 3-year – 1.30%
  • 6-month – 0.72%

Now, you’ll remember I said earlier that long-term CDs usually have the best rates. But with CIT Bank’s term CDs, you can see that it’s the 18-month CD that pays the most interest.

And honestly, that’s probably a good length of time to stick your money in a CD.

Here’s why:

  • Interest rates change and if you keep your money in a CD too long, you could miss out on the chance to nab a higher rate.
  • If you need to access your money before your CD matures, you could get hit with a penalty and lose out on some of the interest you earned.

Minimum to open a CIT Bank Term CD: $1,000

11-Month No Penalty CDs

Paying a penalty on a CD isn’t fun, especially if you have to sacrifice a lot of interest to cash out.

The 11-Month No Penalty CD from CIT Bank offers a workaround.

With this CD account, you can earn up to a 2.05% APY, as of August 2019. But, you won’t pay a penalty if you need to take money from your CD early.

You won’t get as good of a rate as you would with an 18-month term CD, but you’re not at risk of losing any interest either because of an early withdrawal.

Minimum to Open an 11-Month No Penalty CD: $1,000

Jumbo CDs

A jumbo CD is designed for people who have a lot of money to add to savings.

Here are the key features of a CIT Bank Jumbo CD:

  • $100,000 minimum to open.
  • 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-year terms.
  • APY ranges from 1.45% to 1.75%.

I won’t go into a whole lot of detail about CIT’s jumbo CDs because quite frankly, not everyone has $100,000 to plunk down into a CD.

And honestly, I don’t necessarily think that’s a good move.

I think if you have that kind of money to save, you’re better off investing it in a tax-advantaged retirement account, taxable brokerage account or parking it in something like the Savings Builder Account where you’re not locked into saving for a set number of years.

(Remember, though, I’m not a certified financial planner or financial advisor. This is my opinion only.)

RampUp CDs

RampUp CDs are CDs you can open with an initial amount of money, then add on to regularly with new deposits.

CIT Bank offers RampUp CDs with terms ranging from 1 to 4 years. The APY on those accounts ranges from 1.26% to 1.38%

Compared to Term CDs or the No Penalty CD, the RampUp CDs aren’t as attractive for three reasons:

  • You need at least $25,000 to open one.
  • The rates on Term and No Penalty CDs are better.
  • There are only four maturity terms to choose from.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a CD to save money in, stick with CIT Bank’s Term CDs or try the 11-Month No Penalty account.

Does CIT Bank Offer Checking Accounts?

No, only savings accounts, money market accounts and CD accounts. But you can get a home loan with CIT bank if you’re looking for a mortgage.

What Fees Does CIT Bank Charge?

Bank fees can suck the life out of your budget.

I remember in my 20s getting hit with overdraft fees all the time because I knew exactly nothing about managing money. Between those and the monthly maintenance fees, I was always broke.

That’s why I love online banks for saving.

Online banks don’t have the same overhead costs as regular banks that have branches. That means they can charge fewer fees and pay better interest rates on savings.

With CIT Bank, there are no:

  • Account opening fees
  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Minimum balance fees
  • Online transfer fees
  • Account closure fees
  • Incoming wire transfer fees

That doesn’t mean there are no fees at all, though.

With the Money Market Account, you’ll pay $10 per transaction if you go over the 6 transactions per month limit I mentioned earlier. There’s also a $25 fee that kicks in if you overdraft your money market.

What’s Great About Saving With CIT Bank

grow your savingsIn my opinion, just about any online bank is going to be better for saving than a traditional bank. But in terms of what CIT Bank brings to the table, here’s what I like best:

Low minimums to start saving

You only need $100 to open a Savings Builder, Money Market or Premier High-Yield Savings Account. If you have $1,000, you can open a CD account.

No fees

Can I just say again how much bank fees bug me? I’ve changed banks more than once just to escape fees.

CIT Bank is great on that front because you don’t have to worry about fees eating into your money.

Great rates

Getting an APY that’s more than 20x higher than the national average is pretty dang impressive. Especially considering that the Federal Reserve just reduced interest rates again.

Here’s a little crash course in interest rate policy:

  • The Federal Reserve sets the federal funds rate.
  • The federal funds rate is the rate that banks lend money to each other.
  • When the Fed cuts this rate, banks usually lower the rate on your savings accounts, too.

So, any time there’s a rate dip, you want to be keeping your money in an account that has the best rate possible. That’s what CIT Bank can give you with the Savings Builder Account or any of its other savings options.

What’s Not Great About CIT Bank

The biggest hang-up you might have about saving with CIT Bank or any online bank is not having branches you can visit. And CIT Bank may not be as familiar a name to you like some of the bigger brick-and-mortar banks.

To that, I’d say don’t let it hold you back.

I was very reluctant to try online banking several years ago when it was still new but now I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

Not having a checking account option might also be a bummer in your book. Some online banks offer checking, savings, money market and CD accounts all in one place.

CIT Bank doesn’t do that, unfortunately so you might want to look at other online banks to see what else is out there.

Is CIT Bank the Best Place for Your Savings?

Really, only you can answer that question.

You know what your money goals are, how much you can save upfront and monthly and what kind of interest rate you want to earn on savings.

But I hope that this review sheds some light on what CIT Bank has to offer to help you decide.

Here are the links one more time if you’re ready to open an account with CIT:

To open your account you’ll need $100 minimum deposit (or $1,000 for CDs) and your bank account information for where you want the initial deposit to come from. That’s it!

And if you already save money with CIT Bank, head to the comments and tell me what you do or don’t like about it. And please pin and share this post if you found it helpful!

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