Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ING Direct: My favorite bank

I opened my first ING Direct account about six years ago, motivated by the sign-up bonus. Years later, I'm still using ING Direct--more than ever, in fact--and I'm still quite happy with them. Why? Several reasons:

1. ING Direct's interest rates. I'm earning 4.025% on my savings accounts and 3.11% on my no-minimum-balance checking account. I don't know of any way I could beat either of those rates at a brick-and-mortar bank.

2. ING Direct's website is thrillingly simple and common-sense.

3. ING Direct's sign-up incentives. I got $25 when I initially signed up, and I am paid $10 for each referral who opens an account with a minimum of $250.

4. ING Direct's emphasis on customer security. ING Direct has taken several measures above and beyond standard online banking websites to secure customers' privacy.

5. ING Direct's multiple account savings setup. I started with one basic savings account, and have gradually added more for various projects. For instance, I have one for an expensive test I will be needing to take, one for some monetary birthday and Christmas gifts I received, one for money waiting to be put into my Roth IRA. Rather than trying to keep track of each of these categories on paper, I simply open a new savings account when I need to save toward a specific project. I can open as many accounts as I need to for various savings projects. When one project is completed, I can change the account nickname and use it for a different project.

6. ING Direct's integrated checking and savings acounts. When I log into my account, I can see my checking account and all of my savings accounts on the home page, and can move money very simply between them.

7. ING Direct's free checking supplies. I don't ever have to shell out money for checks on my account. Further, I don't have to pay postage on checks I mail. (For the downside of this, see #3 below.)

8. ING Direct's free debit card with the online checking account.

9. ING Direct's more-than-helpful customer service. I've rarely had to call customer service, but when I have, they have been incredibly corteous while maintaining high security standards.

Is there anything I don't like about ING Direct? Yep, a couple of things:

1. The automatic overdraft line of credit on my checking account. While this hasn't ever actually effected me, the idea of it irritates me. :-)

2. I don't have my checks in hand. I do have a free debit card, but I have to plan ahead if I want to write a check. (ING Direct mails the completed check themselves, first-class mail. It's free to me, but takes a couple days to arrive.)

3. The hold on external funds transfers. It's a bit long (a week?) on transfers to savings accounts, but I've learned to get around it by transferring my money into my checking account (much shorter hold on funds), then on to whereever I need it.

If you want to open an account with ING Direct, drop me a note and I'll send you an invitation. You'll get $25 if you open your account with a minimum of $250 and I'll get $10 for referring you. (If you are going to open your account with less than $250, let me know so I can send you a different invitation. I have a limited number of paid referrals.)


Anonymous said...

We used to have ING but then switched to HSBC because it had an even better rate.