I’ve been banking online for a good ten years if not more and have no qualms about putting my money in a bank with no walls. In fact, I have four banks that I do business with and two of the four are completely virtual. One of them is ING Direct.
One of the best things ING Direct has going for it is their interest rate of 4.25% with no fees, no minimum balance or service charges on their Orange Savings Account. In addition to the savings account, ING Direct also offers CDs, mortgages, home equity lines of credit and an investment account. I currently only participate in the savings account though I may consider opening a CD soon.
Opening an account with ING Direct was an easy process. I filled out a short application, linked the new account to my existing checking account, agreed to their terms, and made a small deposit from my checking account into my new ING Direct Orange Savings Account. Once the account was set up, ING Direct made two small deposits into my checking account for me to confirm. This step is a security measure they use to determine ownership of the linked checking account. Only I would possibly know the amounts they deposited.
Doing business online with ING Direct is straightforward, simply log on to the secure ING Direct website with the customer number, a rotating list of personal identifiers, and finally, enter the PIN through an encrypted keypad. Since the account is linked to my checking account, I can make transfers to and from ING Direct to my local bank.
I use the ING Direct savings account strictly for saving up for my annual property tax bill. I set up bimonthly transfers from my checking account to ING. Twice a year, I pay my property taxes using the money I have put aside into ING Direct. Since this is a savings rather than checking account, I must first transfer the money back into my checking account which takes several days to complete.
Data from the ING Direct account can be downloaded into popular banking products such as Microsoft Money. Statements are available online each month. In addition, ING Direct can be reached by phone or mail. I have done 100% of my business with ING via the internet and have been doing so for the past five years.
The ING Direct website also offers calculators, tools, tips, financial worksheets, newsletters and a whole section called Planet Orange dedicated to teaching kids financial literacy. The Planet Orange spinoff site guides kids through the world of money with continents to explore such as Moneyland, Republic of Saving, South Spending and Investor Islands.
ING Direct is one of the most customer friendly banks I’ve ever worked with in that there are literally no fees. They pay me. That’s refreshing.