Discover Bank vs CIT Bank which one is best for your wallet?Interest rates are now rising, and all signs point to them continuing to rise for at least the next year. This makes it the perfect time to board the savings train and ride it as rates go up. But which banks provide the best savings accounts? As we mentioned before, online banks give the best returns for their customers, usually eclipsing the interest paid out by traditional banks. That’s why we’re talking about two online banks with the highest annual percentage yield (APY) among the banks that we reviewedDiscover Bank and CIT Bank. We detail everything you need to know about these two trailblazers in online banking, so you can determine which is best for you.

Discover Bank vs. CIT Bank: The Breakdown

Below we give a detailed analysis of both banks considering the following categories: APYs, banking fees, accessibility and the overall financial health of each institution.

APY offers

On the surface, CIT appears to offer the best APY, a mighty 2.15%. However, looks can be deceiving. First, CIT has more than one savings account product, the Premier High Yield Savings account and the Savings Builder account. The Savings Builder is the account offering CIT’s astronomical APY, but it’s tiered with specific requirements that need to be met to achieve the 2.15% maximum APY. An account holder either must maintain a balance of $25,000 or make monthly deposits of $100 or more. While $25,000 is a pretty steep minimum balance, the alternative of making $100 deposits every month doesn’t seem too demanding. Still, some depositors might find it undesirable, especially since many other online banks don’t enforce monthly deposit minimums for high APYs. Accounts that meet neither of these requirements will receive an APY of 1.14%.

CIT does have other account options that consistently pay higher APYs than the Savings Builder’s minimum, but compared to other banks, these rates are still lackluster. The Premier High Yield Savings, which we mentioned above, earns 1.55%, a decent but far cry from what’s promised with the Savings Builder. Depositors who can’t meet the requirements for the Savings Builder might feel slighted by being cut off from CIT’s most impressive offer. As a brief aside, it’s worth mentioning CIT’s Money Market account, as it offers a rate between both of CIT’s savings account options at 1.85%; however, money market accounts aren’t savings accounts, so it might not be an ideal option for some depositors.

Discover’s APY breakdown is pretty simple — you earn 1.90% on all savings account balances. While this is less than CIT’s 2.15%, the simple, no-frills approach Discover has toward its highest APY offer might be seen more favorably by depositors.

Winner: It’s hard to call a winner, as Discover favors flexibility while CIT trades this off to offer customers the potential to earn a lot more. We’re going with Discover, though, because it offers a consistently high APY, whereas CIT’s offer is contingent upon meeting certain criteria that not every customer may be able to meet.

Fees

As online banks, both CIT and Discover are pretty similar when it comes to fees. Accounts don’t have monthly minimum balance fees or fees for incoming wire transfers, for example. Of the fees they share, namely the outgoing wire transfer fee, Discover is slightly more expensive at $30 per wire as opposed to CIT’s $10 fee which is only for accounts with daily averages below $25,000. That said, we did notice that Discover was more transparent about its fees (they were listed on the main savings account page), as we had to dig a bit to find CIT’s fee schedule.

Winner: Both banks are pretty comparable, but with slightly lower fees for similar items when compared to Discover, CIT wins this category.

Convenience/Accessibility

Having a high APY means noting if it’s hard to get a hold of your money when you want to make a withdrawal or customer support when you have questions, which is why we’re taking convenience/accessibility into account.

Customer service hours (phone and chat)

Unlike many banks, CIT doesn’t offer online chat; if you want to speak to a representative, you must do so over the phone between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time (Monday through Friday), 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (Saturday) and 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Sunday). CIT’s automated systems, like its automated telephone banking, are accessible 24/7. Conversely, Discover representatives can be reached 24/7 by phone or chat.

Banking features

Discover depositors have access to well over 400,000 ATMs nationwide as well as dozens of surcharge-free ATMs through the Allpoint or MoneyPass networks. CIT Bank depositors have no access to ATMs and must request withdrawals through an electronic funds transfer (there’s a $10 fee for accounts with a balance under $25,000) or over the phone, where you can choose to have your funds mailed to you. This is likely because CIT doesn’t offer checking accounts, though regardless of the reason, some depositors might find this a significant inconvenience.

Apps and mobile banking features

Online banking has never been easier given the advancements in smartphones over the past few years. That’s why it’s not surprising that both CIT and Discover have mobile apps and text alerts. While the CIT Bank app on both iOS and Android has most of the features you’d want, the Discover app has a bit more. Not only does Discover have an iOS and Android app, but it also can be used on Apple Watch. In addition to basic features like checking balances and depositing checks with images, you can pay bills through the app and set up external transfers. If you happen to also have a Discover card, you can manage that account through this app as well. In fact, Discover’s app is one of J.D. Power’s top credit card app for 2018.

Winner: Discover wins. Hands down, its app is more developed than the bare-bones CIT app based on both reviews as well as the stated features of each app. Additionally, when it comes to availability, Discover simply has a larger presence and more convenient features.

Financial health and standing

Both CIT and Discover are in the top 50 largest banks, by asset size, in the United States, as of June 2018. Discover is the 29th largest with a total asset value of $101 billion and CIT is 42nd with a total asset value of $41 billion. Both banks are FDIC insured.

Winner: Discover wins again, as it’s the larger bank. Keep in mind that while asset size, in theory, is correlated to better financial health and offerings, the previous financial crisis muddied the waters with some of the largest banks being the most impacted by the crisis and considering the last holdouts to raise interest rates as the economy improved.

Bottom line: Discover Bank is our top choice

If you’re more independent and think you can abide by its requirements, you might benefit from CIT’s massive APY, but that if is as big as CIT’s conditional 2.15% APY. For depositors who aren’t sure if they can maintain the account balances demanded by CIT’s Savings Builder account or if they want easy access to their money and customer service, Discover Bank is the overall more well-rounded option as well as the best way to consistently earn a more than respectable APY.

For more details about the two online banks detailed in this post and see how they compare to other options on the market, read our online savings account reviews.