Choosing a savings partner
There’s no shortage of options—but finding the bank that’s right for you takes some doing.There’s no shortage of options—but finding the bank that’s right for you takes some doing.
If you're shopping for a new savings partner, you may feel overwhelmed by the vast array of brands, claims, products, and offers. With nearly 900 FDIC-insured savings institutions in the marketplace today,1 how can you be sure you're choosing the bank that's best for you?
For starters, know what you want. Are you mainly focused on capturing the highest interest rate possible, or is your primary concern convenience and access to your money? Do you want a savings-only bank or one that also offers checking, mortgages, and car loans?
Every bank is different, but regardless of your specific priorities and preferences, any serious contender for your business should offer the following:
- The right products. A bank should offer a choice of accounts and flexible options that fit your everyday cash flow needs and long-term goals. These include both savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) with a range of terms. At CIT Bank, for example, you can open a savings account with a minimum deposit of only $100 or choose from an array of CDs with terms from six months to five years.
- Competitive interest rates. It's no secret that interest rates have been low for some time, but then a savings account is less an investment vehicle than a means of achieving steady incremental growth without risk or loss of liquidity. You will typically find the best rates at online banks, which can pay more because they have relatively lower operating costs. "High-yield" savings accounts require a higher initial deposit and, as the term suggests, offer a higher rate. The same applies to CDs with longer terms.
- 24/7 access. The era of "banker's hours" is an artifact of the past. You should have easy round-the-clock access to your accounts from any smartphone, tablet, or computer anywhere in the world. Tools like CIT Bank's Mobile Banking app can put current balance and transaction information right at your fingertips. Learn more at https://www.bankoncit.com/mobile-banking.
- FDIC insurance. This is your guarantee that you won't lose your money if the bank fails. As a rule, depository accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to $250,000 per depositor per account ownership category per bank. Virtually every major savings bank in the U.S., CIT Bank included, carries FDIC insurance. You can verify a bank's status on the FDIC website (fdic.gov).
- Customer service. If you have a question or concern, will the bank be there for you? An online bank that operates wholly in the digisphere should nonetheless provide an easy-to-access customer service desk where you can talk to knowledgeable and responsive humans. A case in point: CIT Bank's customer service center is reachable by phone seven days a week—until 9 pm (ET) Monday-Friday, 5 pm Saturday and 4 pm Sunday.
- Safety. It goes without saying that nothing is more important than the safety of your assets, information, and identity. These days, it's the rare bank that doesn't employ advanced encryption, firewalls, and other tools to keep prying hands and eyes from your account. See how we protect you.
Getting the right fit.
Looking for the right bank is like looking for love, says Sheila McKean of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. "Don't just settle for the first one that comes along."2
That's not to say a hasty choice will permanently derail your financial plans or throw your life into an uproar. But better to take the time to sort out the options and choose a trusted partner—like CIT Bank—that fits your lifestyle and the way you like to save.
This information is made available to you as a self-help tool for your independent use and is not intended to provide investment advice. We cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy and applicability to your individual circumstances. All examples are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes. Please consult with a financial advisor for a solution suitable for your needs.