Since this post was written, ING Direct has been officially renamed to “Capital One 360.” Although there have been some other cosmetic changes (such as the brand colors changing from orange and blue to blue and red), there have been no changes to the functionality or awesomeness of the accounts themselves whatsoever.
If anything does change, there will be an update to this post to let you know.
A friend of mine recently recommended ING Direct (soon to be renamed Capital One 360) in a post on her Facebook page. When the question was asked…
“Tell me more about ING. Do you use them? What are the advantages? I was thinking about switching from our BofA…”
Fingers were pointed at me for an answer. This happens to me a lot.
After I gave my detailed response, another friend popped in to say “Uh oh… You’ve unleashed the financial beast!” Rawr! Financial Beast Stephonee is here to smash fees and helpfully describe her favorite bank accounts! RAWR!
For your benefit, Financial Beast Stephonee presents a cleaned-up and better-formatted repost of my answer on Facebook:
Me: “Are we talking about their checking or their savings accounts here, specifically?”
Reply: “Either or”
ING is different from most banks…
ING Direct in General
The lack of a physical brick-and-mortar presence might be bothersome to some people, but I’ve never felt like I needed it. Also, that’s the downside to any high-yield online-only account, so it’s not really a surprise — it’s just the way these types of accounts work.
They do make up for their lack of physical presence by having the best customer service anywhere. Not just of any bank, but anywhere. Keep in mind that I say that having worked in customer service, and while having accounts at many, many different banks over the course of this blog.
ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking
Interest and Fees
They offer interest on the checking account, no minimum. Very, very rare for a checking account. Also the way they handle overdrafts is different – they give you an overdraft line of credit, at a super low interest rate. Which means if you overdraft and then put money into the account soon after, you pay only pennies in overdraft fees.
Moving Money In and Out of the Account
The Electric Orange Checking account has every standard feature I’ve seen in checking accounts nowadays: online bill pay, check deposit via phone app, free debit card, etc. etc..
They also offer Person2Person payments with a checking account, which means you can transfer money to anyone else, via ACH electronic transfer. If it’s to another ING account, the transfer is instant – if it’s to another bank, it takes a couple days. I use the Person2Person payment whenever I can, instead of a check.
One of the really great features they have is online checks: you put all the check details in online, and they create, print, electronically sign and mail the check to your intended recipient (all for free; they don’t even charge you for the postage).
Free ATMs at any AllPoint ATM (which includes most 7Eleven ATMs and a ton of other places). You can buy a checkbook from them if you need one, and a book of checks only costs $5. Buying a checkbook is the only fee I have ever had to pay ING, ever.
Check deposit used to be the only downside I could think of, since they don’t have physical banks or their own ATMs for you use. You used to have to rely on direct deposit or transfer from another bank account to get money into the account (or, they do offer the option to physically mail your checks into them, but I never used it).
But I don’t even think that applies as a downside anymore, now that they offer check deposit via the mobile app, and I can just snap 2 pictures of any physical check to get it into my ING checking account.
ING Direct’s Orange Savings Account
You get a higher interest rate than brick-and-mortar banks, but lower than most other online-only high-yield savings account. Many people have skipped over these accounts because of higher rates elsewhere. But you see, there are some things I really like about Orange Savings…
Multiple Accounts for Multiple Goals
They let you open as many savings accounts with them as you wish, and once you have one savings account with them, opening another one takes about 10 seconds. I use this feature to partition savings goals into separate accounts, like an “Emergency Fund” account, a “Travel” account, etc. etc.
Transferring money between the accounts (and into and out of an ING checking account) is instant. The only restriction (and this is a federal law designed to prevent money laundering) is that you can only make 6 transfers out of any one savings account per month. Transfers into the savings account are unlimited.
There are no minimums or fees associated with the savings accounts.
Pretty much the same as the checking: getting money into the account from outside of ING. The “Check Mate” deposit-by-smartphone app also works with their savings accounts, so it’s actually easier than it used to be.
This was all brought up in the context of the bonuses ING Direct is currently offering when you open a new account — bonuses that you, too, can take advantage of.
What do you think? Have you used ING Direct at all — and are you as stupid in-love with it as I am, or do you have a different opinion? Is there another bank out there that has won your heart? Tell us in the comments!