ING Direct - Banking Reviews
The ING Direct Orange Savings Account
Note: ING Direct was sold to Capital One in 2011, and all accounts were rebranded to Capital One 360 accounts in 2012. For current information, read about Capital One 360 offerings. Capital One continues to offer free online banking, high-yield checking, and online savings accounts under the new name. However, the ING Direct login process was converted to Capital One's system, so ING customers need to update their credentials.
ING Direct, Pre-2012
With prominent and sophisticated marketing, ING Direct is collecting a lot of deposits. That orange ball gets consumers’ attention.
Below you’ll find my understanding of the product at the time of this writing. I won’t quote interest rates because they constantly change. You should visit the bank’s website and read all the fine print if you’re thinking of using their services.
ING Direct is a simple online savings account with a few extra bells and whistles. The main attraction is the APY (Annual Percentage Yield). You can typically earn more than brick-and-mortar banks. Furthermore, there are no fees for the service or minimum balance requirements. You can literally open an account with $1.
With ING Direct, you keep your existing checking account and link it to your ING Direct account. To move money back and forth, you login to your ING Direct account and request a transfer (transfers are free on the ING Direct side, but you should check with your bank to make sure they won’t assess any fees).
For details on other ING Direct offers, see the following:
- ING Direct Electric Orange Checking account (pays interest)
- ING Direct Orange for Business (business savings)
Note: again, these accounts have been converted to Capital One 360 accounts. Capital One offers business accounts under the Spark name.
Besides a simple savings account, you have a few other options at ING Direct. You can get certificates of deposit CDs ranging from 1 to 5 years. The rates seem competitive, so if you’ve got some cash that you’re not going to spend, you can zap it into a CD.
They also do mortgages and home equity loans, but I have not looked into the details on those offers.
Be sure to compare ING Direct with the other leading offers to get what's best for you:
- HSBC Online Savings Account
- CapitalOne High Yield Money Market Account (offers checks)
- GMAC Bank Money Market Savings (offers checks, now known as Ally Bank)
You can open an ING Direct account in a variety of ways. The first option is to submit your information online and skip any paperwork. You can also print their application and mail it in. Either way, you’ll need all your basic information and a checking account number.
The setup process can take several weeks. ING Direct will create a few small transactions in your linked checking account to make sure that they got all the numbers right (and that the account is really yours). After you verify these transactions and validate your PIN (which comes via mail), you are ready to roll.
Requesting the transfers at ING Direct’s website is really easy and intuitive, and it seems like they go through quite fast. If you want to get a savings plan on auto-pilot, you can also set up an automatic monthly draft.
ING Direct operates efficiently by urging users to do-it-yourself. Sign up for the financial value, not the customer experience. While I've heard some great customer service stories, I'm not yet convinced that the service level is the highest available (and maybe it doesn't need to be).
In 2004, ING Direct reported that they actually fire customers that are too high-maintenance. More recently, customer service is reportedly much better.
One of the first things you hear if you call ING Direct is “We take security seriously” – and it seems like they do.
Each time you change something on your account, they will freeze the account for several business days and send you a letter. While this can be a hassle and slow things down, it’s probably for the best.
Just remember that this is for short-medium term cash. If you’re going to spend the money next week, you probably shouldn’t zap it into your online-only account. Both ING Direct and the bank with your checking account may place a hold on funds that are zapped back and forth.
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