CIT Bank Review 2021

When it comes to banking, most of us are just looking for something convenient and free … but it’s that much better when your checking account can actually help you earn money, too. For that, CIT Bank is your answer.

If you’re willing to move to an online banking system — that is, one where your account is entirely online and you don’t have access to a brick-and-mortar banking location — CIT Bank offers both checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees and high interest earnings potential. There is a minimum opening deposit of $100, though it’s pretty reasonable given the bank’s high rates.

Although foregoing the in-person franchise can be a little daunting, CIT Bank makes it that much easier by offering up to $30 in third-party ATM fee reimbursement per month, and you’ll never be assessed an ATM fee on their end. However, if you’re looking for a bank that also offers small business accounts, you’ll want to keep looking (try these business checking accounts); CIT doesn’t have business checking or savings accounts available.

Here’s what we love about each of CIT Bank’s online deposit accounts and what we think could use some work.

CIT Bank Checking Account

CIT Bank has one checking account option which has a lot of perks, including no monthly fees and the ability to connect the account with the high-yield savings account. CIT does still charge overdraft fees but they can be avoided if you sign up for the protection plan.

CIT Bank eChecking Account

Best for Digitally-Savvy Users
Key Features
  • Interest earning
  • Connects with high-yield savings
  • Charges overdraft fees
4 out of 5 Overall
CIT Bank combines the best of both possible worlds when it comes to checking: an account with no monthly fees and the ability to earn interest. Their eChecking account earns up to 0.25% APY on balances with $25,000 or more, and 0.10% APY on balances less than that. (That’s better than the average savings account interest of 0.03% APY, per the FDIC.)
CIT Bank eChecking Account
APY
Up to 0.25%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None, but reimbursement up to $15
Minimum starting balance
$100

The checking account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100, and certain fees can be assessed under specific circumstances. For instance, if you make an outgoing wire transfer and carry an average daily balance of less than $25,000, it will cost $10. CIT Bank’s insufficient funds fee is $30, and no daily limits are advertised.

Still, these fees are relatively easy to avoid, especially given CIT Bank’s free overdraft protection option. They also avoid charging their own ATM fees when you withdraw money, and you can receive up to $30 per month in third-party ATM fee reimbursements.

When you sign up, CIT Bank will send you a complimentary debit card with EMV chip technology, but if you’re looking to use physical checks, keep moving. The mobile app allows you to easily deposit checks made out to you, but doesn’t allow you to write a check from this account.

Finally, we love the way the eChecking account connects with CIT Bank’s new high-yield savings account, Savings Connect Account, to maximize your savings. We suggest you take a look at signing up for both simultaneously.

CIT Bank Savings Accounts

CIT Bank provides customers with three savings account options:

  • Savings Builder
  • Money Market
  • Savings Connect

All carry a minimum opening deposit between $100 to $200, but none assess monthly fees.

CIT Bank Savings Builder

Best for Monthly Savers
Key Features
  • No monthly fee
  • Daily compounding interest
  • Up to .40% APY
3.5 out of 5 Overall
The Savings Builder account allows account holders to earn up to .40% APY depending on their average daily balance and/or monthly deposit behavior; if you keep a balance of at least $25,000 or make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more, you’ll earn the .40% APY maximum. Interest compounds daily to maximize earning potential, and deposits and transfers can be made through the mobile app.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
APY
Up to 0.4%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None
Minimum starting balance
$100

The Savings Builder account is a decent option for a high-yield savings account, boasting rates over 6X the national average.  If you jump through the tiered interest hoops, then you can walk away with 0.40% APY, but if you’re looking to just put your money in and sit, you’ll most likely receive the lower-tiered rate of 0.28% APY (unless your balance is more than $25,000).

Basically, if you need motivation to save money monthly for a goal like a house or college, the reward of earning higher interest with a Savings Builder account might be just the trick. In fact, right now, the Savings Builder account offers the higher-tiered interest as a special introductory rate for your first period regardless of balance or savings. So if you’re thinking this is the right savings account for you, you’re at least guaranteed 0.40% for one cycle.

Overall, however, we think CIT Bank’s other savings accounts are worth taking a look at for slightly higher APYs and a little less fuss.

CIT Bank Money Market Account

Best for No Fuss Saving
Key Features
  • No monthly service fee
  • Up 0.45% APY
  • Scheduled bill pay feature
4 out of 5 Overall
The Money Market account earns 0.45% APY without any fees regardless of account balance or deposits, and its interest, like the Savings Builder account, is also compounded daily.
CIT Bank Money Market Account
APY
0.45%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None
Minimum starting balance
$100

Coming in at 0.45% APY, CIT Bank’s Money Market account is definitely a strong contender among online banks’ savings options. Unlike the Savings Builder account or Savings Connect account, Money Market has no hoops to jump through. You just put your money in and receive the 0.45% APY. Combined with no monthly fees, we love the ease of earning it offers.

Unlike some other money market accounts, CIT Bank’s Money Market account is limited to electronic transfers only. You can arrange a direct deposit, bill pay, and check cashing on its great mobile app, but there’s no corresponding debit card or checks.

Like the Savings Builder account, the Money Market account is also limited to six transactions a statement cycle with a $10 for each additional excessive transaction. But we think for most, these little inconveniences are worth the high annual percentage yield.

CIT Bank’s Savings Connect account has no monthly fees and a solid APY. You have to open a Savings Connect account and an eChecking account and CIT Bank will link them. If you already have an eChecking account, then CIT Bank will link them automatically.

CIT Bank Savings Connect Account

Best for eChecking Users
Key Features
  • No monthly service fee
  • Up 0.50% APY
  • Linked to eChecking account
5 out of 5 Overall
CIT Bank’s new Savings Connect account allows you to connect this savings account with your CIT Bank checking account—again, with no monthly service fee. To qualify, you must open a Savings Connect account and an eChecking account and deposit $100 in each. Once connected, Savings Connect account holders can earn up to 0.50% APY with a qualifying monthly deposit of $200 to their checking account.
CIT Bank Savings Connect Account
APY
Up to 0.50%
Monthly fees
$0
ATM access
None, but reimbursement up to $30
Minimum starting balance
$100

From there, to earn the highest tiered APY, you simply have to set up an automatic deposit of $200 or more into your linked checking account from your Savings Connect account. This monthly deposit locks in 0.50% APY for the cycle. If you don’t meet this requirement, you’ll still bring home 0.42% APY for simply having the linked accounts, which is a more than respectable APY.

Besides a good APY, a linked Savings Connect account gets you access to a debit card and overdraft protection. For the debit card, the same rules apply as before with no CIT Bank ATM fees and other ATM fee reimbursements up to $30 a month.

Some people might find opening two accounts a bit annoying, but the high APY makes it a great option for most who are looking for a fully online banking experience.

Other CIT Bank Products

While we mostly come to CIT Bank for the savings and checking accounts, it doesn’t stop there. Check out the other services available from CIT Bank  that might fit your needs below.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

CIT Bank offers three different CDs for new customers seeking to hit their savings goals:

  • Term CDs
  • No Penalty, 11 Month CDs
  • Jumbo CDs

CIT Bank’s CDs work pretty much like other standard CDs with varying rates and lengths. The Term CDs offer between 0.30% to 0.50% APYs depending on the CDs term. There’s no maintenance or opening fee, but it does have a $1000 minimum.

The No Penalty 11 Month CDs also have a $1,000 minimum but can be accessed early with no penalty—that flexibility, however, costs you a little APY with rates of 0.30% APY.

With a $100,000 minimum, the Jumbo CDs are definitely channeling a specific type of customer. These term lengths are longer—between 2 to 5 years—and have 0.40% – 0.50% APYs depending on the length.

It is worth just mentioning that previous customers do continue to have access to their RampUp CDs, but they’re not offered to new customers.

So do we believe CIT Bank CDs are worth it? CIT Bank’s CDs are a solid option for CDs; however, there are CDs on the market with better rates and lower minimums, so we’ll probably stick to CIT Bank’s savings and checking accounts.

Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new bank account.

Home Loans

CIT Bank offers home loans with relationship pricing options:

  • .10% with 10% of the loan amount in new deposits
  • .20% with 25% of the loan amount in new deposits.

Plus, you can get $525 cash back deposited into your CIT Bank account after you close on your new home loan with CIT Bank.

CIT Bank Custodial Accounts

If you’re looking to grow wealth for a minor, CIT Bank can help you open a Custodial Account. You can set up most of the savings accounts in the minor’s name for them to gain control of at 18. With some federal tax benefits and no maximum limit, it makes a great place to save for the future.

Small Business Banking

CIT Bank focuses on personal accounts and doesn’t offer small business checking and savings accounts. They do have some small business financing options, specifically focusing on Equipment, Working Capital, or Franchise financing. The terms vary in length and rates, but all can be funded in as fast as 1 day.

CIT Bank Mobile App

Like most online banking options, CIT Bank’s mobile app provides digital solutions to help its members access and manage their funds from the convenience of their smartphones. Its mobile apps are well received, with ratings of 4.2 stars on Google Play and 4.6 stars on the Apple App Store.

The apps allow users to make transfers between their own accounts (and to others using third-party platforms like Zelle and Samsung or Apple Pay), as well as to make mobile check deposits using the onboard smartphone camera.

Pros and Cons of CIT Bank

So what’s the breakdown of CIT Bank overall? Below, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of CIT Bank to help you streamline your decision.


Pros
  • Free eChecking account earns interest at a rate higher than the average savings account.
  • No monthly fees on any of its deposit accounts.
  • Free overdraft protection.
  • Competitive APYs.
  • Low minimum deposit requirements.
  • Refunds ATM fees up to a certain amount.

Cons
  • Insufficient funds fee of $30 per transaction item.
  • No physical locations and no ATMs for the actual service.
  • No small business banking option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About CIT Bank

Still have a few questions? Below we’ve tracked down the answer to the most common questions people ask about CIT Bank.

Is CIT Bank FDIC Insured?
Absolutely. All CIT Bank savings and checking accounts are FDIC insured against bank failure and theft. You should feel safe and secure using CIT Bank, knowing it’s backed by the FDIC.
Does CIT Bank Offer Loans?
CIT Bank does offer home loans and small business financing with relationship pricing mortgages and competitive rates.
Who Owns CIT Bank?
CIT Bank is owned by the CIT Group Inc, a North American financial holding company.

Jamie Cattanach and Whitney Hansen are contributors to The Penny Hoarder. Both are experienced writers in personal finance, banking and investing.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Ando Money Lets You Fight Climate Change — And Get Paid Two Days Early

The United Nations calls climate change “the defining crisis of our time.” In a culture obsessed with instant gratification — and with world leaders caught up in the politics of it all — the rest of us can be left feeling helpless about it. 

What exactly can we do to have an impact? Stick expensive solar panels on the roof? Switch to a plant-based diet? Take shorter showers? 

Of course, all these endeavors are worthwhile, but there’s a surprisingly simple move you can make to have a big impact on fighting climate change: changing where you bank.

Banking’s dirty secret is that banks are huge contributors to the climate crisis, investing trillions of dollars of their customers’ deposits into fossil fuels. 

That’s why we like Ando, an online banking platform that only invests in companies that are directly fighting climate change. On top of that, Ando lets you get paid two days early and never charges a fee for any of its features.

How Switching Where You Bank Can Fight Climate Change

Ando is a state-of-the-art mobile banking platform with all the features you’d expect in today’s digital-first world. Once you set up direct deposits, it won’t charge you any fees for anything, ever. Here are some of our favorite features:

Get paid two days early: When you get paid via direct deposit, you can access those funds up to two days early. Unlike many financial institutions, Ando gives you access to your money when you need it

No overdraft fees: Unlike virtually all the brick-and-mortar banks, Ando doesn’t charge you for overdraft protection.

Checking account: Ando comes with a Visa Debit Card with no minimum deposit required and easy remote deposits and digital payments.

Referral bonuses: Invite up to five friends to join Ando, and you can boost your savings account interest rate up to 5% APY. Plus, you and each friend can earn up to $15 with Ando friend referrals.

ATMs: You can get cash with your debit card at more than 34,000 ATMs across the country with no fees. There’s a $2.95 fee for out-of-network ATMs.

Customer service: Available seven days a week via email or phone.

Insured: Money in your Ando account is FDIC-insured for up to $250,000.

How the Other Guys Use Your Money  

Where do most banks invest your deposits — more than 90 cents of every dollar? Fossil fuel companies and their ultra high polluting projects. They’re using your money to contribute to the climate crisis. 

“Most people don’t realize that the money we have on deposit is utilized by the bank to make loans and purchase securities,” says Ando’s founder, JP McNeill. “This is how traditional banks make money.”

The big banks are largely bankrolling the fossil fuel industries, to the tune of nearly $3 trillion in the last five years alone.

Where does Ando invest your deposits? Clean, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, regenerative agriculture and green buildings. Ando invests exclusively in green initiatives and is 100% transparent as to where those investments are made.

How to Get Started

For too long, you’ve had no control over how your bank uses your hard-earned money. Now there’s something you can do about it. Sign up with Ando via their app, which is available for iOS or Android. 

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

One Finance Pays You Interest 50 Times the National Average

Most bank accounts these days pay you a tiny little pittance in interest on your money, and they’re eager to charge you hefty $35 overdraft fees whenever they can. That’s how the big banks make their profits.

Why let them rip you off? Luckily, we’ve found a banking service that pays you the highest interest rate we’ve seen in some time. It’s called One, and it pays you up to 50 times the national average. (That’s not a typo. We’ll lay out the numbers for you.)

Not only that, but One also allows you to borrow money from an affordable line of credit that it makes available to you. And it lets you overdraft your account without charging you any fees.

One is a state-of-the-art online account that’s built for the 2020s. It combines all the helpful features that other digital accounts offer — like the ability to get paid up to two days early. And you can save money automatically.

What makes One unique, though, is its generous interest rate combined with its handy Credit Line that can help you plow through any temporary financial obstacles that come your way. No other account we’ve seen can match it.

Organize Your Money Easily

This is an all-in-one account, a hybrid of spending and saving that keeps your money in different “Pockets.”

Here are the three Pockets you start with:

Spend: This basically functions like a checking account with a debit card. There are no maintenance fees or minimum balances. If you want, you can also create different Pockets in here for a variety of expenses, like gas, rent or groceries.

Save: You can put savings in this Pocket, which pays a nice interest rate of 1.00% APY* — way higher than most traditional banks. It pays interest on balances up to $5,000, or up to $25,000 if you’re direct-depositing your paychecks to One.

Auto-Save: This is the headliner, the big draw for a lot of One customers. This is where your automatic savings go. It functions as a high-yield savings account, paying out a whopping 3.00% APY*. Seriously, that’s 50 times the national average interest rate for savings accounts, which is currently 0.04% APY, according to the FDIC.

You can Auto-Save in two different ways. You can funnel up to 10% of your direct-deposit paychecks (up to $1,000 per month) into this Pocket. You can also round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, sending your digital spare change into Auto-Save.

Each of these three Pockets — Spend, Save and Auto-Save — has its own account number, so you can set up direct deposits to each of them if you want.

Shared pockets

You can also set up Shared Pockets with other people, similar to a joint account. Share an account with your spouse or your roommate and save toward mutual goals.

Tens of thousands of One customers have created Pockets to share more than $20 million with others.

So. Many. Features.

There’s a lot of competition in the growing industry of digital banking services. That field is getting kind of crowded, to be honest.

So, like we said earlier, One makes sure it offers every available modern-day banking tool that’s designed to make your life easier.

Here’s a list.

Borrow money: When you set up direct deposit, qualifying customers can get access to a line of credit that’s equal to the value of their paycheck. If you find yourself in a financial crunch, it’s super easy to finance purchases from your Credit Line. It charges interest at 1% per month, which amounts to 12% APR⁑. (Credit cards charge way higher interest than that.)

Get paid early**: If you have direct deposit, you may be able to get your paychecks up to two days early, depending on your employer.

Fee-Free Overdraft protection: The average overdraft fee banks are charging these days has risen to nearly $35. With this account, you avoid overdraft fees. If you overdraft your account, it automatically dips into your Credit Line to make up the difference. If you pay it back by the end of the month, you won’t pay any interest.

ATMs: You can use nearly 55,000 ATMs fee-free through the Allpoint network.

Credit Builder: This feature makes automatic on-time payments for qualifying customers every month, helping to build your credit and improve your credit rating.

FDIC insured: Your account is FDIC-insured through One’s partner, Coastal Community Bank. It’s protected by bank-level 256-bit encryption.

Pros and Cons

Are there any drawbacks to One? Well, if you’re not used to having an online-only account, it can be a bit of an adjustment. But you might be surprised by how little you’ll miss having a brick-and-mortar bank to go to. You don’t really need one.

One has customer support available by phone, email or chat Monday through Friday.

Here are the pros we like most:

  • We like the ability to earn some real interest on your earnings. Brick-and-mortar banks used to pay out decent interest on savings accounts, but they don’t anymore.
  • We like the flexibility One gives you to power through any temporary financial glitches you run into. We also like the ability to easily share money with others.

These reasons are why One’s app is highly rated by those who use it. As of September, the app was rated 4.8 out of 5 with 8,500 reviews in Apple’s App Store, and was rated 4.6 out of 5 with nearly 5,000 reviews on Google Play.

Signing up is easy. You type in your basic info. They do a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit, then you finish your profile.

One’s motto is, “Organize your money, simplify your life. Make real progress.” If you use the tools it offers, you actually can make real progress.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He likes earning interest.

*Annual Percentage Yield effective as of 9/1/2020 and subject to change. 3.00% APY available on all Auto-Save balances. Maximum contributions of up to $1,000 per month for paycheck Auto-Save and no maximum contribution for card Auto-Save. 1.00% APY available on Save balances up to $5,000, up to $25,000 with a qualifying paycheck direct deposit.

Early Paycheck may post up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. Early direct deposit of a paycheck depends on factors such as timing of the payer’s deposit transmission, and the type of payer transmitting the deposit. Learn more about what qualifies as a paycheck direct deposit here.

⁑ Subject to credit approval. Offer valid for One account holders issued One cards. We’ll inform you of your credit limit after you set up recurring qualifying direct deposits. Your credit limit may be determined by multiple factors including your credit score, income, and ability to repay. APR ranges from 12% to 18%. Additional limitations, terms and conditions apply.

† Credit Builder functions as a secured charge card that is designed to help you build your credit. Must have a One account to use Credit Builder. No credit history required. A variety of factors impact your credit including payment history, utilization, derogatory marks, account age, total number of accounts, and inquiries. Building your credit may take time and is a process, but Credit Builder may be able to help. 

FDIC national average interest checking rate as of 05/17/21

The One card is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International.

Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC. One is a financial technology company, not a bank.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Current Review 2021: Online Checking Account

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Current is a newcomer to the world of mobile banking (arriving in 2015), but already, the company is making waves with its noble mission of making banking “accessible and affordable for everyone.”

Current seeks to entice new customers with benefits like no hidden fees, faster direct deposit, fee-free ATMs, automated savings and fee-free overdrafts.

Technically speaking, however, Current is not an online bank. It’s a financial technology platform, colloquially referred to as a neobank, but it still offers the same assurances of a traditional bank. That is, it offers banking services through Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank, which are both members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). That means money you put into a Current account is FDIC insured.

While the three Current accounts available are all basic checking accounts, they do come with varying amounts of “Savings Pods,” which allow you to organize your savings within the checking account. However, these Savings Pods do not earn interest. If you are interested in a savings account with a high APY, look elsewhere.

Getting Started with Current

Current says that signing up for an account takes less than two minutes. Simply download the Current app from the Apple App Store or Google Play and sign up for one of three accounts: Current Basic Account, Current Premium Account or Current Teen Account.

When you open the app for the first time, you’ll input your phone number and be sent a code. Just enter in the code and follow the prompts for the typical information (email address, legal name, birth date, etc.).

And like that, you’ve become a Current member.

Three Current Accounts

Current offers three unique accounts, but you wouldn’t know that immediately by browsing its website or even the mobile banking app. When researching this financial technology company, it took some digging to learn that there was more than just the Current Premium Account (and that the Premium Account had a monthly fee; despite Current’s promise for “no hidden fees,” the monthly fee info was challenging to find).

To make it easier for you, we’ve broken down each account below. After, we’ll explore each of the benefits that Current touts and detail which accounts those benefits apply to.

Current Basic Account

Best for No Monthly Fees
Key Features
  • No monthly fees
  • Access to one Savings Pod
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs
3.5 out of 5 Overall
The Current Basic Account is the only free account offered by Current. However, the lack of the month fee means a lack of unique features. To truly get value out of Current, you should consider upgrading to the $4.99/month Premium Account.
Current Basic Account
Monthly fee
$0
Overdraft protection
Not available
ATMs
40,000 in-network
Savings Pods
One

Current Premium Account

Best for Unique Banking Perks
Key Features
  • Overdrive overdraft protection
  • Early access to direct deposit
  • 40,000 fee-free ATMs
4.5 out of 5 Overall
The Current Premium Account may cost $4.99 a month with no way to waive the fee, but with overdraft protection, faster direct deposits, three Savings Pods for easier savings organization, gas hold refunds, a cash back rewards debit card and the easiest method to deposit cash that we’ve seen from any online bank, the monthly service fee could be well worth it for many.
Current Premium Account
Monthly fee
$4.99
Overdraft protection
Up to $100
ATMs
40,000 in-network
Savings Pods
Three

Current Teen Account

Best for Teens Interested in Learning Personal Finance
Key Features
  • Instant transfer
  • Automated allowance
  • Ability to set spending limits
4.5 out of 5 Overall
From a parent’s perspective, the Current Teen Account may be the best option. It’s just $36 a year and gives you strong oversight into your teen’s account while they’re still learning the ins and outs of personal finance. With Current’s account for teens, parents can block specific merchants, set spending limits and even require certain chores be completed. Parents also have peace of mind thanks t
Current Teen Account
Monthly fee
$3 ($36/year)
Overdraft protection
Not available
ATMs
40,000 in-network
Savings Pods
One (plus one Giving Pod)

Current Review: Key Features by Account

Let’s explore each of the elements that Current touts as a benefit and identify which of the three accounts actually offer this benefit.

Faster Direct Deposit

Available for: Current Premium Account only

Increasingly, banks are promising earlier access to your paycheck if you receive your payments via direct deposit. Current is among those financial institutions.

To set up early direct deposit, simply opt in to that feature in the Current mobile app. Doing so will allow you to get access to your paycheck up to 48 hours early.

How? When your employer submits payroll, this hits the Federal Reserve, which sends this info to Current. Current is thus aware that the money is incoming, even if it will take a couple of days. Instead of making you wait, Current makes that money available to you immediately.

No Hidden Fees

Available for: All Current accounts

Current boasts that it has no hidden fees, but there’s an asterisk with that. If you look closely, there are out-of-network ATM fees. Current partners with Allpoint, meaning customers have access to 40,000 fee-free ATMs.

However, many of Current’s competitors offer ATM fee reimbursements (some unlimited); as of now, Current does not.

However, these out-of-network fees appear to be the only “hidden” fees associated with Current. Otherwise, the claim is pretty accurate: no monthly maintenance fees for Current’s Basic Account, no minimum balance fees and no overdraft fees for the Premium Account.

A woman smiles as she uses her debit card on her phone.

Mobile Banking

Available for: All Current accounts

Current is entirely digital. You won’t find brick-and-mortar locations anywhere, which means it needs a robust mobile app. Current delivers on this with an easy-to-use app that utilizes smartphone notifications to keep you on top of your own spending and potential fraud.

The iOS version of the app on the App Store has a 4.7 star rating based on nearly 100,000 reviews. Over on Google Play, the app has brought in even more reviews (106K+ at the time of writing) and maintained an average 4.6 star rating.

This is one of the top-rated apps of any online banks we review.

Add Cash

Available for: All Current accounts

How do you fund your Current bank account if there are no physical locations? Current makes this pretty manageable by partnering with more than 60,000 stores across the country. Just head to these stores (you can find them easily in the app) to fund your account.

Of course, you can also rely on the 40,000 in-network ATMs to fund your account as well for a grand total of 100,000+ physical locations to deposit cash to your Current account.

The ease of adding cash is a big selling point, even over more established online banks.

Mobile Deposit

Available for: All Current accounts

Mobile check deposit is another way to add money to your bank account. Just snap a picture of the front and back of the check within the mobile app; the money should be available within a few business days.

This is a pretty standard feature for online banks.

Automated Savings

Available for: All Current accounts

Younger customers who are still learning the ins and outs of personal finance will appreciate the automatic savings feature. This optional feature allows you to automatically round up the cost of any purchase to the nearest dollar. When you swipe your debit card, you’ll pay the merchant what you owe them and send the rest of that loose change into your Savings Pods, which you can create for various savings goals.

Savings Pods are easy to set up in the Current app, and they are a standout feature. Some banks don’t allow you to create these “sub” savings accounts that help you organize savings toward various goals. Being able to organize your money into various buckets (like house down payment, wedding and vacation) can be quite helpful.

With the Current Premium Account, you get up to three Savings Pods. The Basic Account and Teen Account each get one Savings Pod (and the Teen Account also gets you a Giving Pod for charitable donations).

However, please note: “Savings Pods,” though great for helping you set aside money toward a goal, do not have an APY. If you leave your money in a pod, you are leaving money on the table. If you are not at risk for overdrafting, you should instead move that money to a high-yield savings account.

Fee-Free Overdraft

Available for: Current Premium Account only

Current advertises fee-free overdrafts, which is mostly true. Most brick-and-mortar banks show no mercy when it comes to overdrafts while some online banks and credit unions, like Ally Bank and Alliant Credit Union, have done away with this dated, unfair practice altogether.

Current falls somewhere in the middle. With Current, you can overdraft up to $100 without incurring any overdraft fees, as long as you receive a qualifying direct deposit of $500 or more a month and enable Overdrive on the Current account.

But if you don’t receive direct deposits, haven’t enabled Overdrive or exceed the $100 threshold, be prepared to pay overdraft fees.

A caveat: You don’t immediately start with a $100 threshold. At first, Current caps you at $25. Over time, as you demonstrate responsible spending, Current will up the amount until you hit the $100 ceiling.

Note: Overdrive only works for debit card purchases. If you overdraft by transferring funds, writing a bad check or withdrawing more than you have in your Current account at an ATM, you do not have the same overdraft protection.

Cash Back

Available for: Current Premium Account only

One of the better features of Current is the cash back eligibility for debit card swipes. Use your debit card at one of more than 14,000 participating merchants to earn up to 15x points. These points are redeemable for actual cash in your Current account when you’ve earned enough.

The Current app makes it easy to find participating merchants (and how many points you’ll earn per debit card swipe).

Fee-Free ATMs

Available for: All Current accounts

Current advertises no hidden fees, and that’s mostly true. However, if you incur a fee at an out-of-network ATM, you will have to pay, and Current doesn’t reimburse this fee.

That said, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find an in-network ATM. As part of the Allpoint network, Current offers 40,000 fee-free locations. You can easily find these in the app.

Gas Hold Removals

Available for: Current Premium Account only

One of the more unique features of Current is the gas hold removal. Gas holds can be challenging, especially for those who live paycheck to paycheck. Current aims to take away that added stress by removing gas holds for all Current Premium Account holders.

What’s a gas hold? Gas stations often hold $50 or more in funds from your account until they are sure the transaction has gone through. This can often take up to 72 hours, according to Current. But Current members don’t have to sweat it, as the neobank instantly replenishes your account with the held funds.

Money Management

Available for: All Current accounts

The Current mobile app is chock full of various money management tools. With the app, you can track your spending insights, organize funds into Savings Pods and use budgeting tools to promote healthier financial wellbeing.

Current ~Tags

Available for: All Current accounts

Forget Venmo, Cash App and Zelle: Current lets you send and receive money within the app securely and quickly. And it’s free!

The only downside? You can only do this with other Current members. So until Current becomes a more popular financial institution, your options are limited for in-app transfers.

Current’s branding for the in-app cash sharing is ~tags. The tilde (~) acts like the at symbol (@) in most other platforms. Simply find other users with the ~ ahead of their username.

Security

Available for: All Current accounts

Current may not be a real bank, but it takes security seriously. Some of its security features include push notifications for instant fraud detection, EMV chips on all debit cards and biometric logins (fingerprint and face ID).

Lose your card? No worries. Within the Current app, you can easily pause and resume transactions with the push of a button.

Pros and Cons of Current

Still not sure if a Current bank account is right for you? We’ve weighed the pros and cons of using Current for your basic checking account needs.


Pros
  • The Current Premium Account offers fee-free overdraft up to $100.
  • The ATM network is extensive with 40,000+ through Allpoint.
  • Gas hold removals can make a huge difference for those living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Early access to paycheck means you don’t have to wait two-plus days for your money.
  • There is an option for a cash back debit card.
  • Automated savings is a great checking account feature for beginners.
  • Current makes it super easy to deposit cash to your account.
  • The Current mobile app is one of the best in the industry.
  • Current customer support is top-notch.

Cons
  • To get any great benefits, you must pay $4.99/month for the Current Premium Account.
  • Overdraft protection has a cap—and it starts low at $25.
  • There is no APY for the checking account, nor is there an APY for money in Savings Pods.
  • The promise of “no hidden fees” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
  • There are no ATM reimbursements for out-of-network ATMs.
  • There are no options for savings accounts, loans or insurance.
Is Current a Bank?
Current is not a bank; it’s a financial technology company. However, it carries FDIC insurance just as a traditional bank would and operates as a standard checking account via banking services through Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank. As an online-only bank, it is a minimal account focused on transparency and convenience but lacks some of the more nuanced traditional banking features.
What Are the Fees with a Current Account?
Current’s Basic Account has no monthly fees, but to upgrade to the Current Premium Account, you will be charged $4.99/month. The Current Teen Account costs $36/year.
Does Current Have a Required Minimum Balance?
There is no minimum balance requirement at Current.
Is Current Legit and Safe?
Though it is not an actual online bank, Current is a legitimate financial institution, much like Chime. In fact, Current aims to be more consumer focused than traditional banks. It offers several safety and security features, like debit card EMV chips, biometric logins (face ID and fingerprint), push notifications for instant fraud detection and easy pause and resume for account transactions.
Is Current Trustworthy?
Current has been around for more than five years. In that time, it has proven that it is a trustworthy institution. And never fear: When you deposit money in Current, you can trust that it is backed by FDIC insurance.
Is Current a Good Debit Card?
The debit card you get through Current depends on the account you open. If you open the Current Premium Account for $4.99/month, you will get a cash back debit card that earns you points at more than 14,000 merchants across the country. That makes this one of the better debit cards on the market.
Is Current a Reliable Bank?
Current is not a bank; it is a financial technology platform. However, it offers banking services through Choice Financial Group and Metropolitan Commercial Bank and carries FDIC insurance. It also offers a secure mobile application that is highly rated, and adding money to your account is easier than with many brick-and-mortar banks. For all of this, Current is a very reliable financial solution.

Timothy Moore covers bank accounts for The Penny Hoarder from his home base in Cincinnati. He has worked in editing and graphic design for a marketing agency, a global research firm and a major print publication. He covers a variety of other topics, including insurance, taxes, retirement and budgeting and has worked in the field since 2012 with publications such as The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, WDW Magazine, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Best Banks for Freelancers Keep Up with Unique Challenges

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Making money as a freelancer can be hard enough — but then you have to figure out how to manage it.

With a slew of bank account options out there, it can be difficult to narrow down all the financial institutions and determine the best place to stash that hard-earned cash, especially if your financial lifestyle is a little less regular than most 9-to-5 workers’.

To help, the Penny Hoarder team has put together this post to compare some of the best bank accounts for freelancers. That way, you can make an informed decision with minimal fine-print reading.

What Is a Freelancer?

Before diving into the top banks for freelancers, it might be helpful to explain just what’s meant by “freelancer.” In short, a freelancer is someone who does work on a per-task or per-project basis and is paid by the task. Freelancers are self-employed and they don’t receive medical benefits or other perks such as vacation or sick time like company employees do.

Freelancers typically work for several companies, called clients, as independent contractors. The term often has a creative connotation — fields like writing, editing, web design, or photography — but there are exceptions.

What Makes a Business Bank Account Ideal for Freelancers?

Since freelancers are self-employed, they have some additional needs and responsibilities that the average full-time employee might not. For example, freelancers need to pay taxes themselves — nothing is withheld from their paychecks automatically.

Additionally, since freelancers are self-employed, they can count a number of purchases as business expenses, and keeping track of these is important for tax purposes.

Here are the major features to consider when choosing bank accounts as a freelancer:

  • Fees: Nobody wants to pay money just to keep their money, especially when you have a variable income. Ideally that means no monthly fee and unlimited transactions.
  • Customer Service: Knowing you’ve got a reliable team on your side when you have questions or concerns is vital.
  • Accessibility: Since freelancers often work out of their own homes and remotely, accounts that are tech optimized, with intuitive online banking options and high ATM or branch availability, are generally best. ATM access is especially important for cash deposits.
  • Business Account Offerings: Don’t forget to look at business account offerings for each bank, which can be helpful if you decide to incorporate your business or start an LLC.
  • Mobile-friendliness: A usable mobile app is extremely important, especially for banks that don’t have brick-and-mortar locations.

Help with budgeting and money management will also earn bonus points since everything’s a bit more complicated when you aren’t relying on a regular paycheck. However, these are nice-to-have features, rather than necessities.

Taking into account these features, we have rounded up the best banks — and in once case a well-known online payment system — for freelancers.

The 4 Best Banks for Freelancers

Bank Top Feature Prime Perk

Axos Bank

Selection of accounts

Generous support hours

Chase Bank

5,100 branches

Support options

PayPal

Free business account

Invoicing features

Lili

Freelancer friendly

Top notch on mobile

Axos Bank

Best for Online-First Banking
Key Features
  • Lots of experience in online banking
  • Generous support hours
  • Wide selection of accounts
4 out of 5 Overall
Axos was one of the original online-only banks from way back in 2000. As such, it has a unique understanding of what it means to be online-first — ideal for freelancers who consider themselves digital nomads. Axos offers a number of solid personal bank account and business bank account options, as well as fee-free IRAs and other useful services for freelancers.
Axos Bank
Fees
Business checking accounts available with no monthly fee and low or no minimum balance requirements.
Customer service
Business customers can get help weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST.
Accessibility
There are no branches, and ATM fees are only reimbursable for certain partner institutions.
Business bank account options
Plenty of account options with high interest rates.
Mobile-friendliness
Mobile apps for iPhone and Android.

Axos offers relatively high-yield checking accounts on both the personal and business sides. Their personal savings account offers up to 1.3% APY, and their business interest checking account earns 0.8% APY. That makes it one of the best business checking accounts available for freelancers (or anyone else, for that matter) that want their money to earn interest.

However, if you’re used to in-person banking, Axos might not be for you. Although they offer ATM fee reimbursement at specified locations, you won’t be able to walk into a branch and speak face to face with a teller.

Chase Bank

Best for a Traditional Business Checking Account
Key Features
  • Physical locations nationwide
  • Useful support options
  • Variety of business accounts
4 out of 5 Overall
If you want brick-and-mortar access to your business checking account, Chase might offer the best bank accounts for freelancers among the big national players with the Chase Business Complete Banking. It regularly offers new subscribers large opening bonuses, carries low minimum deposits, and offers a number of ways to waive its already-low maintenance fees. You can open personal checking accounts
Chase Bank
Fees
Monthly fees can be waived in account minimums met.
Customer service
You’ve got all the options: email, phone and walking into a branch.
Accessibility
More than 5,100 branches nationwide and 16,000 ATMs.
Business bank account options
Lots of different options though eligibility depends on where you live.
Mobile-friendliness
Online banking and a mobile app mix real-world and on-the-go banking. Mobile check deposit handy.

As a major financial institution, Chase also offers a host of business bank accounts and tools, including merchant services that make taking credit card payments easy — even if your brand of freelancing has you out in the world and not constantly behind a computer screen.

Chase also offers a discount for those who sign up to use ADP payroll, which could be useful if you go the S-corp route (or have an employee or two). All together, the Chase business checking account is an excellent option.

To learn more, read our Chase Bank review.

PayPal

Best for Accepting Payments
Key Features
  • Business banking with no monthly fees
  • Built-in invoicing and payment features
  • Fast transfers to other accounts
3 out of 5 Overall
Okay, this one isn’t really a bank and you know it as a digital payment system. But PayPal’s business account upgrade has a lot of useful features for freelancers, including built-in invoicing and an easy-to-use app with mobile check processing. Even if you have a standard bank account, it’s worth having a PayPal account as a freelancer, since many clients will want to use it to process payments.
PayPal
Fees
Minor and mostly possible to get around, except in the case of invoicing.
Customer service
Excellent and readily available, both online and via phone.
Accessibility
While there’s no such thing as a PayPal branch, it’s easy to move funds to other bank accounts.
Business bank account options
PayPal offers a free upgrade from personal to business accounts, adding a host of tools.
Mobile-friendliness
Intuitive and user-friendly, both in a web browser and via mobile app.

There’s no monthly fee with a PayPal business account, though you may pay fees for certain types of transfers. (It’s free to transfer funds to your personal bank accounts as long as it’s not a rush, however.) There’s also a cost to the business owner when invoices are paid — PayPal’s fee is 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. This is fairly standard for the payment processing industry, though.

Lili

Best All-In-One Solution
Key Features
  • Built-in expense and tax tracking
  • Handy referral program
  • Unlimited transactions with no monthly fee
4 out of 5 Overall
Lili is a tailored checking account that aims to help tackle the unique challenges that come with freelancing. As a freelancer, there are a number of financial tasks that are entirely up to you to handle, like setting aside money for taxes. Lili promises to help with a dedicated business checking account. The app, available for iOS or Android, is laser-focused on specific freelancer needs.
Lili
Fees
None.
Customer service
Standard phone support and a useful online help center.
Accessibility
No physical locations, but access to 32,000 free ATMs across the country.
Business bank account options
Solid — it’s designed for freelancers, after all.
Mobile-Friendliness
This is a mobile-only bank, and the mobile app is quite good.

The Lili business checking account comes with its own Visa debit card. Whenever you spend any money, you’ll get a push notification asking you to swipe left or right to instantly categorize the expense as either “personal” or “business.” At tax time, this will allow you to easily maximize your expenses and reduce your taxable income, lowering your tax bill.

Even better: You can earn cash by referring up to 10 friends to join Lili. Once they sign up and spend $250 on their Lili card in the first 45 days, you’ll each get $100. You can also earn a $50 bonus when you open a Lili Pro account and spend at least $1,000 with your debit card within 60 days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Bank Accounts for Freelancers

Which Bank Account is Best for Freelancers?
While it really depends on your needs, the best bet for most freelancers is combination of Chase or Axos (Chase if you want physical branch access for cash deposits, Axos if not) and PayPal, the payment system fintech that’s built for business. This gives you a feature-rich business checking account and the additional payment options of a PayPal account.
Which Bank is Best for the Self-Employed?
Chase (specifically Chase Business Complete Banking) tends to be the best option overall for self employed bank accounts due to the presence of thousands of physical locations, as well as a solid online experience. This gives the most options to the widest possible group of self-employed individuals.
Do I Need a Separate Bank Account as a Freelancer?
Technically, no. However, it’s a good idea to separate your business and personal accounts using a separate business checking account. You may also want to look at business savings accounts. This makes it easier to track income and expenses. Additionally, depending on how you structure your business, you may be required to maintain a business banking account to show that your business is a separate entity apart from you.
How Do I Open a Bank Account as a Freelancer?
This is the easy part! Simply head to a physical location or the website of your chosen bank and let them know you want to open a business checking account (and possibly a business savings account). The bank will take care of the rest.

Penny Hoarder contributors Dave Schafer and Jamie Cattanach did the reporting and writing for this story. 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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