CIT Bank Review: No Penalty CD 1.55%, Savings 1.35% APY, Opening/Closing Process

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Updated with new 1.55% APY rate hike and how to move existing funds to higher rates. 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, with a recent rate bump:

  • 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 1.35% APY on balances up to $250,000. $100 minimum to open, but $0 minimum balance requirement.

As of 11/14/07, CIT Bank raised the rate on their 11-month No Penalty to 1.55% APY, up from 1.45% APY. This makes it higher than the Ally Bank 11-month No Penalty CD, which requires $25,000 to open to get a 1.50% APY rate. At balances under $5,000, the Ally rate is only 1.00%. 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.

citnewcd

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:

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Bottom line. CIT Bank is a lean bank offering targeted products for folks looking to get higher interest rates on their cash balances. They don’t do physical bank branches, checking accounts, or fancy apps. Their most compelling product currently is 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.

Comments

  1. Rudi Pittman says:

    Any reason not apparent to me why you would want to do this over ALLY’s 11 month no penalty paying 1.50% with similar terms other than having more than $250K in cd’s?

    • One possible factor is that the Ally CD does not allow partial withdrawals, so if you break it you’ll have to take out the entire balance of $25k+. As this CD has a $1,000 minimum, you can make multiple smaller CDs so that if you need money, you don’t need to withdraw everything. For example, you could take out 5x $5,000 CDs and just take out $5k at a time. It basically makes the No-Penalty CD closer to a regular savings account.

  2. Joshua Katt says:

    Coincidentally, I just got a mailing for $100 bonus for a minimum 3 month $100,000 balance at 1.3% “FALL17” good til 12/21/17. bankoncit.com/premier17

    Hopes all y’alls can use.

  3. Oops, this review was published accidentally while still a working draft. I’m still working on gathering some information about their interbank transfers and adding screenshots, etc. Ah well, it’s up so I’ll leave it up and edit it later.

    • Joshua Katt says:

      No problem, I’m glad you did as I have to spread some money out anyway to avoid FDIC limits. It’s now 1.35% online plus the $100 so that kicks it up to 1.45% for me (full year, simple interest).

  4. CIT seems to be great on raising their No Penalty CD rates. As stated, the current 1.55% rate was recently 1.45%, but it was also as low as 1.25% as recently as about the middle of this year. Happy to see this keep rising.

  5. Michael Rentmeester says:

    Recently moved an IRA account from CIT to ALLY as CIT got out of the IRA business but offered to keep existing accounts at a terrible renewal rate. Process went from tedious to incompetent. Finally got it done after multiple phone calls and faxes. Have had accounts with them since 2013 and was happy with rates and ease of website. Maybe because it was an IRA account but moving everything back to ALLY for simplicity and better customer service.

  6. These rates are great but for those of us who froze our accounts at all the credit reporting agencies, is there any easy way to start one of these accounts without removing the freeze everywhere for a few days??

    • Well, I suppose you could try and apply for an account, they ask you to give permission to do a soft credit check, but I’m not sure if they actually do it. If the application is denied, I don’t think any harm is one. Otherwise, I would say this is simply on of the hassles that come with credit freezes, and a major reason why I chose not to do one.

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