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CIT Bank Review

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CIT Bank

CIT Bank Overview

CIT Bank is a subsidiary of CIT, a financial holding company that offers commercial, business, real estate and rail financing. CIT was founded in 1908 and has grown to have more than $64 billion in assets as of late 2016. The company is publicly traded under stock symbol CIT and provides financing, leasing and advisory services to companies. In addition to operating CIT Bank, CIT has a network of retail bank branches in southern California called OneWest Bank. CIT corporate offices are located in New Jersey and New York. CIT Bank, however, is an online savings bank and does not have physical locations of its own.

CIT Bank online offers savings products include a large variety of CDs, as well as savings accounts, custodial accounts and IRAs. Home financing is also available under CIT Bank. 

Pros
  • Wide variety of CD options
  • Custodial accounts offered
Best For
  • Customers looking for the best interest rates and a variety of CD options
Cons
  • No mobile deposit
  • $100 minimum deposit for savings accounts

Products Offered

Spring Savings Accounts

  • Online savings accounts with 1.15% APY
  • $100 minimum deposit to open
  • No opening or maintenance fee
  • No daily balance requirements
  • Custodial accounts offered

High Yield Savings Account

  • Online savings account with 1.25% - 1.30% APY
  • Minimum deposit $100
  • Daily balance of $1 to $100,000 for Tier 1; $100,000 plus for Tier 2
  • Custodial accounts offered

Certificates of Deposit 

  • Wide variety of CD options - starting with $1,000 minimum deposit
  • Choose from bank term CDs, RampUp Plus CDs, RampUp Cds, Jumbo CDs or CD laddering
  • Custodial accounts offered

IRAs

  • Traditional or Roth
  • CD options or high yield savings 
  • IRA rollover 

CIT Bank Account Features

CIT Bank Savings Summary 

CIT Bank has a variety of savings products to choose from. Not only can you choose from the usual savings account and CD options, but you can also open a custodial fund for your child or an IRA for yourself. CD options at CIT Bank have a large range of options as well, rather than just one, which is the norm for many other online banks. 

CIT Bank Spring Savings Account

Minimum account balance: $100 minimum deposit to open.

Access to your savings: Online, mobile, via phone, wire or electronic transfer.

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law ($250,000).

Fees: No transaction fees.

Current online savings interest rate: 1.15% annual percentage yield (APY)

If you’re saving up for a future purchase, trip, event or emergency fund, a savings account is an excellent option. Not only will your money be kept in a safe place, you can watch it grow as you sock extra money away. It can be a way to set savings goals or set up an automatic transfer each month so that you’re not tempted to spend the money.

Savings accounts are often the first option most people turn to for stockpiling money because of how easy it is to get access. It’s considered a liquid asset, which means you can “liquidate” funds rapidly and easily. Your money isn’t locked away in something that takes months or years to reach term. If you want cash within a few days, you’ll have it with a liquid asset.

The downside to a savings account is that generally the interest rates are on the very low end of the investment scale. That means you’re usually not earning enough to beat predicted inflation rates, which is one of the reasons many people recommend stocks or other investments. However, the benefit to a savings account with CIT Bank (and most other banks), is that your money is FDIC-insured up to $250,000. You’ll always get your money back, no matter what, even if the bank itself collapses. So if you’d like a very safe place to keep funds, a savings account is the way to go. 

CIT Bank advertises above average interest rates for its savings accounts. It’s an online-only bank, but you can access your funds relatively easily online through electronic transfer. CIT Bank also offers custodial savings accounts. This means if you’re a legal guardian to a child and wish to start a savings account for him or her, you can. Funds that you deposit into a custodial account are considered irrevocable gifts, so you won’t be able to pull them out to use on yourself or other family member. Custodial account ownership transfers to the child once he or she reaches the age designated by the state. Depending on laws, this can vary from ages 18 to 25. There are tax benefits to this type of account, as well. If you’re interested, you can find out more details on CIT Bank’s website.

You will need $100 to open a savings account at CIT, and your personal information (as well as your child’s, if needed). And one thing to keep in mind with all savings accounts, is that interest rates change. You may start off at a higher rate of interest but end up with a different or lower rate, depending on where the bank and government set the rates at. You will earn interest daily and the amount will be credited to your account monthly. CIT Bank charges no maintenance or opening fees, the only requirement is having at least $100 in the account. And once you start depositing funds, you can gain access to the money five to 10 days after the deposit

CIT Bank High Yield Savings 

Minimum deposit: $100

Minimum daily balance: $1 - $100,000 for Tier 1 and $100,000 plus for Tier 2.

Tier 1 interest rate: 1.30%

Tier 2 interest rate: 1.25%

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.

With a high yield savings account at CIT Bank, you can earn some of the highest interest available for savings accounts. You’re capped at $100,000 for the highest rate, and any amount over that will earn you slightly less interest and will be considered Tier 2. And just like a spring savings account, you can open one of these high yield savings accounts for a child you’re legally responsible for. The only difference between a high yield savings and a spring savings account is that you have to keep at least $1 in the Tier 1 high yield savings account to keep it open. The spring savings account option allows you to drop your balance to below one dollar after the initial $100 deposit.

CIT Bank Term Certificates of Deposit

Minimum deposit: $1,000 minimum deposit, shortest term is six months.

Access to your CD: Online, mobile or phone access.

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.

Fees: No transaction fees, but there are penalties if you choose to withdraw from a CD prior to maturity.

Current Terms and Rates:

  • 6-month: 0.72%
  • 1-Year: 1.32%
  • 2-Year: 1.40%
  • 3-Year: 1.30%
  • 4-Year: 1.50%
  • 5-Year: 1.79%

A certificate of deposit (CD) is another way for you to save money and CIT Bank has a number of options choose from. This type of savings is not considered liquid because your money is set aside for the term length you choose. That means you can’t withdraw the funds until the CD reaches the maturity date without facing penalty fees. You can always withdraw the interest the CD earns, penalty-free, but that will lessen the overall amount of interest you accrue in the long run.

At CIT Bank, you need a minimum of $1,000 to open a bank term CD account. The shortest term you can open is six months and the longest is five years. This type of CD is the traditional type of CD. Your term and interest rate are locked for the length of time you chose, and you can’t add funds beyond the initial deposit. If, for example, you choose a three-year term you want to fund for $3,000, that’s it. If a year or two pass and you want to add additional money to that CD, you can’t. The CD initial deposit, also known as principal, is set once you deposit the money into the account. At CIT Bank, you can open a custodial CD account for a child in your care. 

No-Penalty CD

One term offered: 11 months at 1.25% APY  

Minimum deposit: $1,000 

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 

One of the unique options at CIT Bank is the no-penalty CD. With this CD, you can withdraw your funds any time after the first seven days, penalty free. The only term offered is 11-months and the interest rate is lower than a 12-month CD, but it offers you the flexibility to get your money back if you need it in a hurry. Similar to all the other CD options, no-penalty CDs are available as custodial accounts as well.

RampUp™ Plus CD

Minimum deposit:  $25,000 

Term length: One year or two year available 

Features: Option to increase your rate once during the CD term, can add funds one time during term.

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 

CIT Bank’s RampUp™ Plus CD is for those with more cash to save. You have to have at least $25,000 to open this type of CD, and the maximum term is two years with this kind of CD. Unlike most CDs, you can add funds to the initial deposit. You can only do it once, but that’s beneficial if you find you have more you want to stash away and would like to take advantage of interest rates. The same goes for interest rate adjustments. CDs usually lock your money in at an interest rate that stays the same for the length of the term with the initial deposit you opened it with. With a RampUp™ Plus CD, you’re allowed one interest rate adjustment if the rates go up. And, if this seems like a good fit for you or your family, you have the option to open a RampUp™ Plus CD for your child.

Bank RampUp™ CDs

Minimum deposit: $25,000 for a three-year term, $50,000 for a four-year term.

Features: Option to increase interest rate once during CD term if rates go up.

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.

This CD option is not for commitment-phobes. You’ll need a big chunk of change (starting at $25,000 or $50,000) and the ability to put that money away for three or four years. While interest rates aren’t as high with this CD compared to CIT’s bank term CDs, the benefit is that you can adjust the interest rate once per CD term provided the interest rate goes up. And if the rates go down, you’ll keep your initial higher rate. You can also open up this type of CD as a legal guardian for a child who’s in your care.

CIT Bank Jumbo CDs

Minimum deposit: $100,000

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 

For those with plenty of funds, CIT offers a jumbo CD option. Choose from two-, three-, four- or five-year terms with higher interest rates than standard bank term CDs. The minimum deposit is $100,000, so this is not for those who are struggling for cash. This option is available as a custodial account as well, if you’d like to open one for your child.

While there are many different ways to save money, there is a strategy for maximizing CDs. CIT Bank has a section on its website devoted to CD ladders, which is a savings method that involves buying several different length CDs. The idea behind the method is that you can have some long-term and short-term CDs so that some of your money is available to you but you still are earning interest. The longer the CD term the higher the interest, but with smart CD laddering, you can divide your funds across multiple CDs. 

IRA

Types: Traditional or Roth

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 

At CIT Bank, you can open a traditional or Roth IRA and fund it with any CIT bank savings accounts and CDs excluding spring savings account and six-month term CDs. IRAs come with certain restrictions and tax implications, so you’ll want to do your research prior to opening an account. And if you have an employer IRA and wish to roll it over to CIT Bank, you have the option to do so. 

Geographic Coverage

CIT Bank is an online banking company. You can access the site on your desktop or mobile phone 24 hours a day seven days a week. If you don’t have internet access, you can call the automated telephone banking system 24 hours a day seven days a week and find out your account balance. To speak with a customer service representative, call Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. There’s also a contact email for any bank forms as well as a mailing address all found on CIT Bank’s contact page. 

CIT Bank's Online Banking Features

What Can You Do Online With CIT Bank Personal Savings?

The bank was designed to be an online savings bank, so you’re able to complete almost all functions from the website. Some actions do have an annotation that you should call a customer service representative, but as there aren’t any physical locations, everything can be completed remotely. You won’t interact in person with another human being with CIT Bank. It’s via phone or website only. 

From start to finish, you can open and manage your accounts online. You can deposit and transfer funds electronically, monitor your CD maturity dates and check on your savings accounts.

However, you can’t deposit checks online. Some banks have apps that allow customers to take pictures of checks for electronic deposit, but not CIT Bank. You’ll have to send it via mail, which will take some time to process and reflect in your account. 

You can access the site via desktop or mobile, and you won’t need to download a separate app. As long as you have your username and password, you can log on to the site.  CIT Bank has a blog on the site with topics to help you learn about saving and other financial matters.

Custodial accounts are another way to save money. Up to a certain amount can be claimed for taxes, so it may be worthwhile to start saving for your child’s future in a CD or savings account rather than piggy bank. And if you’re thinking of using CIT Bank’s IRA options, you should consult your financial advisor and carefully consider your options. While you can save with savings accounts at this institution, it’s not necessarily the best investment. If you’re seeking higher rates of returns (with more risk) you might want to consider stocks or other investment options. 

How Do I Access My Money?

You can transfer funds online, request a check be sent to you or request a withdrawal by phone. CIT Bank states in the frequently asked questions section that there is no limit on the number of payments that may be made directly to you if it’s by check made directly to you. Otherwise, you’re limited to six transfers and withdrawals (combined) per statement cycle. 

CIT Bank does not issue an ATM card with its savings accounts, which is something that only a few banks offer, but can add a level of convenience to access your funds. The quickest way to access your money is likely through an electronic withdrawal. 

If you opened a CD (excluding the special exception of a no-penalty account), you have to leave the money in for the length of the term you chose. If you do want to withdraw the money, you’ll face a penalty. Your other option is to withdraw only the accrued interest, which you can do penalty free. While you’ll earn more money in the long term by letting your interest accrue within the CD, you have the option to withdraw the interest. You can call CIT’s contact center and request a withdrawal, or you can set up an electronic transfer to another CIT Bank account or external account. 

Once your CD matures, you have a 10-day grace period to withdraw your money or it will automatically renew for the same term, but at the current interest rate. This means if you had a three-year CD and fail to withdraw the CD funds within 10 days of it reaching the maturity date, the CD will renew for another three years, locking your money in for another term. 

If you chose to open a custodial account, the money you deposit into the account is considered an irrevocable gift. You can’t withdraw or transfer the funds or use it for anything that doesn’t benefit the child. After the child reaches the age of majority (either 18 or 21 or sometimes 25, depending on state), the child takes control of the account. 

IRA accounts have certain rules that you should research prior to opening the account. Usually you can’t withdraw money until you turn 59-and-a-half years old without facing penalties and taxes. There are certain exceptions for the rule, so you’ll want to do your research prior to making any financial decisions. 

How Can I Save More Money With a CIT Bank Personal Savings Account?

Depending on whether you choose a CD or savings account (or both!), you stand to earn some risk-free interest money. While you won’t earn large amounts of money with current interest rate, you will still earn some, which is better than none at all. If you have a stockpile of cash or a high balance in your checking account, it may be time for you to explore your savings options. Unlike stocks, you’re guaranteed to get your money back with FDIC-insured accounts. CIT Bank’s offerings are all FDIC-insured up to $250,000, so you can sleep easy knowing that you won’t lose your savings in case of an economic downturn. Your interest rates may go down on a savings account, but your CDs will be locked in.

What’s the Process for Opening an Account With CIT Bank?

The easiest way to open an account with CIT Bank is online through the website. While you can call, the preferred method for this online banking institution, is you guessed it, through digital means. Once you’re ready to open a spring savings, CD, or IRA account, you’ll need to have your personal information handy. This means your Social Security number, street address, date of birth, driver’s license or other identifying documents. You’ll input your information step by step, guided by the online application. 

You’ll also need your current bank account’s routing and account number so that you can fund your new CIT Bank account. You do have the option to mail a check or use a wire transfer, but the quickest and easiest route is online. If you choose to link an external bank account, CIT Bank will make two small test deposits into your external account to verify the account. Once you’ve verified the deposits (and this can take up to three business days), you’ll receive an email from CIT Bank letting you know that the account has been activated. After that, you’ll need to make your initial deposit. Savings accounts require $100 at CIT Bank, and the minimum for a CD is $1,000. 

How CIT Bank Stacks Up

What’s the Catch? 

Just like other banks, CIT Bank is FDIC-insured and charges no fees for account maintenance. Where it stands out from other similar online savings banks is its CD options as well as custodial accounts. If you’re planning for your children’s future and want to save some money online, this bank could be a good bet. 

The bank really does offer a wide variety of online options, but does have minimum deposits for all its accounts. Unlike online banks such as American Express which offers accounts at any amount of money, you’ll need $100 to open a savings and at least $1,000 for a CD. CIT Bank has a large range of options, however, ranging from savings accounts and CDs to IRAs and mortgage loans. However, if you’re just interested in getting the absolute highest interest rates for a savings or CD, you may want to shop around first. While CIT Bank advertises higher-than-average rates, it may not be the highest available. At the moment, the rates are among the top for online savings, but interest rates are always subject to change.

It’s a small thing, but if you want mobile check deposit or an ATM card for your savings account, you’re out of luck. Other banks do offer those options, but might not have as high of interest rates. It’s really up to what’s important to you in a bank for how heavily you’ll weigh the importance of factors like ATM cards and mobile deposit. If you’re more interested in digital banking and high interest rates, this may be a good option for you. 

However, if you really like brick and mortar banking, you don’t have that option with CIT Bank. It’s online only, and you won’t be able to visit a location in person. 

Bottom Line

CIT Bank offers a wide variety of CD and savings options at very competitive interest rates. However, it could be said that CIT’s better suited to those with more funds. With minimum deposits starting at $1,000 per CD, CIT Bank is on the upper end of online bank minimum deposits. It also requires $100 to open a savings account and as a minimum deposit, which is higher than Goldman Sachs, Synchrony or American Express which all require only one cent to open a savings. 

The benefit of this company is that you can open a custodial savings account or CD. This means you can start saving for your child in a separate bank account. It’s not an offering that all banks have, so if you’re looking to start a fund for your child, this could be a good option. 

Finally, CIT’s accessibility is on the basic end of the scale. You can access your accounts online and mobile, as well as automated phone or customer service, yet you can’t deposit checks remotely. You have to use the mail. The bank also doesn’t issue ATM cards, which is not uncommon, but there are other options such as Synchrony bank that do issue cards. 

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