CIT Bank is an online bank based in Pasadena, California that offers personal and business banking products and services. Although CIT Bank is best known as an online bank, which allows it to provide high yield returns on savings and other types of deposit accounts, it is also a sister bank to OneWest Bank, which has over 60 branch locations throughout California. CIT Bank
In this article, I’ll be discussing CIT Bank and its products and services as they exist in the online banking sector, especially in the context of being investments for savings. I’ll focus mostly on their personal deposit accounts, which provide a much higher rate of return than traditional bank accounts, and are good places to put extra money when your particular situation warrants not needing a local branch to access your money.
About Online Banking
The proliferation and accessibility of the internet has created a lot of opportunities in the world of banking and finance. Online deposit accounts allow people to keep their money in branchless banks that provide many of the benefits of brick and mortar deposit accounts. Because online banking deposit accounts don’t have the overhead that is incurred when a bank has branch offices, they’re able to offer much higher interest rates on savings, checking, money market, and certificate of deposit accounts.
CIT Bank Personal Accounts
CIT Bank sometimes offers promotions to encourage people to sign up and deposit money into one of their online deposit accounts. At the time of this article’s writing, CIT Bank is offering a bonus up to $300 when you sign up for their Savings Builder account and deposit at least $25,000 ($150 bonus) or at least $50,000 ($300 bonus). To receive the bonus, you are required to maintain those deposit minimums for at least 90 days.
These accounts are all FDIC insured up to the standard amount of $250,000 per depositor for each account ownership category.
Personal Savings Account
CIT Bank’s personal savings products include the Savings Builder, which is a flexible savings account that has the upside of an interest rate that is competitive (currently 1.85%, subject to change) with other high yield savings accounts when qualifications are met, such as maintaining at least a $25,000 balance or when the account has $100 monthly deposits being made to it.
CIT Bank also has a Premier High Yield Savings account that nets slightly less than the Savings Builder (currently at 1.55%), but that doesn’t require a minimum balance to take advantage of the lower interest rate.
Neither of these personal savings accounts have fees associated with keeping them open, even for low balances. They both require a minimum $100 deposit to open an account.
CIT publishes an app that allows account holders to deposit checks remotely and to transfer money between accounts.
As per federal regulations, CIT personal savings accounts are limited to six transfers (withdrawals, automatic transfers, etc.) per statement cycle. For most people who use savings accounts regularly, this limit is sufficient.
Personal Checking Account
CIT Bank also has interest bearing checking accounts. The interest rate offered for online checking accounts with CIT Bank don’t compare to savings accounts (which give more than five times the interest), but they are much higher (more than 10 times as much) than the interest rates of traditional banks.
A checking account with CIT Bank will get you access to ATMs to make withdrawals, including up to $15/month in reimbursements when another bank’s ATM is used.
A common arrangement is to keep savings in a high interest savings account and transfer enough into a companion checking account to cover transaction needs over the coming month. An arrangement like this gives you the flexibility of a checking account and a debit card along with the higher return associated with having a high yield savings account at the same institution.
Personal Money Market Account
CIT Bank’s personal money market accounts are very similar to the highest tier (Savings Builder funded with $25,000 or greater) of their savings account offerings. However, there are some extra features available through the money market account, including People Pay, a peer-to-peer payment system similar to Venmo and Zelle. CIT Bank is also in the process of incorporating bill pay for money market account holders.
Personal CD Account
CIT Bank also has CD accounts available, but their terms and interest rates currently seem not as attractive as their money market and savings builder accounts. In terms of interest rates, their 18-month Term CD and their No-Penalty 11-month CD are the most comparable to the Savings Builder accounts best rates.
How to Open an Account?
To open an account, you’ll be required to input your personal information, including identification such as name, address, phone, email address, and social security number or other taxpayer identification. Next, you’ll fund your new account with funds from another financial institution through the mail, or electronically using an electronic ACH transfer or a wire transfer. Once your account has been funded, you’ll need to confirm your email address to ensure that CIT Bank can successfully communicate with you.
Is It Safe to Bank Online?
Although online banking, including online savings and checking accounts, has been around since the early 2000’s, there are still many people who are nervous about having their money stored in an institution that seems to have no physical presence. If you are not comfortable banking online, it may not make sense for you to open an online bank account.
However, it’s good to know that there are especially security regulations in place for banks to protect the online interaction you have with your bank account. Outside of the bank’s encryption and security mechanism, you should also ensure that your login information is highly secure so that your account is much less vulnerable to be compromised if you should lose your computer or have it stolen.
Regarding insurance for the money you keep in your CIT Bank account, each depositor is insured by the FDIC up to $250,000, which is similar to the standard for brick and mortar banks.
Other CIT Bank Products
CIT Bank has several other banking and financing products that complement their personal savings offerings. They provide innovative financing solutions for businesses, including specialty financing offerings for franchises. They have several areas of expertises for which their financing is particularly appealing because of their experience in specific industries including:
- Commercial Vehicles
- Industrial Manufacturers
- Material Handling Businesses
- Office Imaging Businesses
- Print and Specially Graphics Companies
- Technology Businesses
- Several Other Industries
CIT Bank Track Record, Reputation, and Reviews
CIT Bank has been given several awards, including:
- NerdWallet Best Savings Account of 2018
- The Ascent Best Online Savings Account for 2020
- FinTech Breakthrough Award for Personal Finance Company
- SmartAsset 2019 Best Savings Account
CIT Bank is widely regarded as one of the top online banks available.
To read what customers have said about CIT Bank and their experiences using their products, you can visit one of the review sites that publishes review about them, including:
- DepositAccounts CIT Bank Customer Reviews
- NerdWallet CIT Bank Editorial Review
- BankRate CIT Bank Editorial Review