Update: Premier High Yield Savings now up to 1.55% APY, with no minimum balance requirement ($100 minimum to open). CIT Bank (not to be confused with Citi Bank) has become one of the larger online-only banks with a multi-year history of competitive rates. They don’t offer a checking account, so their products are mostly designed to be savings products with high interest rates. Here are their most-interesting products, which they have been consistently been offering rate bumps on:
- 11-Month No-Penalty CD at 1.55% APY. $1,000 minimum to open. 11-month CD with a fixed rate, but no withdrawal penalty seven days or later after funds have been received. This means that your interest rate will never go down, but you can still move out if interest rates go up.
- Premier High Yield Savings at 1.55% APY, currently available on all tiers ($0+) with no max. $100 minimum to open, but $0 minimum balance requirement.
As of 1/3/18, CIT Bank raised the rate on their Premier High Yield Savings to 1.55% APY, up from 1.35% APY. This makes it (for now) the highest interest rate on a liquid savings account with no minimum balance requirement. Check out my rate chaser calculator to see if it makes sense for you to move money over.
The CIT Bank 11-month No Penalty CD rate is a competitve 1.55% APY and $1,000 minimum opening balance. In terms of comparison, the Ally Bank 11-month No Penalty CD is currently at 1.60% APY if you open with at least $25,000. For balances under $25,000, the CIT Bank rate is higher.. See further down this review on how to move your existing funds over if you already took advantage at the previous rate.
They also have traditional term CDs as well as fancy CDs that allow add-on deposits and rate-bumps. Currently, I don’t find those rates especially interesting.
Opening process overview. I recently opened an account with them, and here’s my review of the opening process.
- The application process was completely online. You provide the usual personal information.
- You must submit to a credit check, but in my experience it was a “soft” pull which did not harm my credit. None of my various credit monitoring services showed it was a hard pull.
- You may fund via (1) electronic ACH transfer, (2) wire transfer, (3) mobile check deposit via CIT Bank mobile app (iOS and Android), and (4) mailing in a paper check. There was no option for credit card funding. I picked online ACH funding and you need to provide routing and account numbers, followed by manual verification via micro-deposits after a day or two. There was no instant linking option via login information.
After deposit verification, then your funding will go through.
You have successfully verified your external account. Please allow up to 5 business days for your funds to appear in your CIT Bank account.
No further action is required for this account. Thank you!
How to transfer your money from an existing No Penalty CD into an new, higher-rate No Penalty CD. Let’s say you opened up a No Penalty CD at 1.45% APY, but then the rate for a new CD has risen to 1.55% APY. You have the option of moving the funds (with no penalty of course) over to a new CD with a new 11-month holding period. I just did this, and here’s the easiest way to do so:
- Start a new online application for the 11-Month No-Penalty CD at 1.55% APY. You will have the option to sign-in as an existing CIT customer.
- After signing in, go through the opening process but choose to fund via “Mail in Check”. Your personal details should be filled in already to save time. Again, I did not observe any hard credit check. This will get you access to your new account number for the new No Penalty CD on the final “Congrats! Your account has been opened” page. Save/print this new account number!
- Call CIT Bank on the phone at 855-462-2652, open M-F 8a-9p ET, Sat 9a-5p ET, Sun 11a-4p ET. Press “0” for operator. Tell them you opened up a new No Penalty CD and you wish to fund it by closing out your old No Penalty CD. They will verify your identity, ask for the new account number, and complete the transfer instructions while you are on the phone. My customer service rep was pleasant and helpful. I timed my call at under 8 minutes from start to end.
- That’s it. They told me the entire process should take 1-3 business days to complete. Your new accounts will show up online. You can have the entire previous balance (including accrued interest) moved over and earning the new, higher interest rate.
User interface. While the front-facing website is pretty slick, after you login the backend is run by Fidelity National Information Services (subdomain ibanking-services.com). This is a popular backend software system used by many smaller banks who don’t want to create their own software from scratch. It’s functional, but not very pretty. At least it’s familiar to someone like me who has too many bank accounts. Two-factor authentication is available using voice or SMS.
There is also an app available (iOS/Android) provided by the same company. It is similarly functional and includes mobile check deposit. Here are some screenshots:
Bottom line. CIT Bank is a lean bank offering targeted products for folks looking to get higher interest rates on their cash balances. I have opened an account due to their low minimums (easy to move in and out) and their current aggressive rate-hiking. They don’t do physical bank branches, checking accounts, or fancy apps. Their most compelling products are their Premier High Yield Savings account ($100 minimum to open, no ongoing minimum) and their 11-month No Penalty CD which combines a competitive interest rate with a $1,000 minimum deposit. The lack of a penalty means you are always able to move out to a higher rate, even within CIT bank itself.