Here’s our review of one of the best high interest savings accounts around.
These days, a savings account is still considered “high yielding” even when it returns but a mere few percentage points. It’s all relative after all: when you can make an actual positive return without any risk, it’s still much more appealing than seeing the red in your brokerage statements. So while you await a better opportunity to utilize your savings, it’s a good idea to scout around for ideal places to park this money.
I want to put the spotlight on the ING Direct Orange Savings Account and ING Direct Electric Orange Savings and Checking Account today, given that they’re some of the most popular online savings and checking accounts around, and a clear favorite among many financial bloggers. These particular savings accounts are highly regarded, and I can see why! Here are just some of the positives about these bank offerings:
Review Of ING Direct’s Online Bank Account Features
- ING Direct is a pioneer in the online banking industry. The bank has been around a while (since 2000) with an established reputation.
- Everyone I know has an ING Direct account (well, almost everyone) and can only say good things about it. Although ING’s bank accounts may not have won the awards that other online savings accounts have (such as Ally Bank or FNBO Direct), they remain as top choices for many in the financial community (for reasons I describe below).
- The returns are good, but not exceptional. The Orange Savings Account (at .90% APY) beats the average returns for money market and bank savings accounts, while the Electric Orange Savings/Checking Account yields up to 1.10%. Their yields are fairly competitive and can compare to other online savings accounts offered by a lot of other banks.
- There are no minimums for opening these accounts, which makes them accessible to everyone.
- All transfers between your ING Direct accounts and other accounts are free, easy and straightforward. Transfers can be made online, through a phone service or customer representative, and takes around 2 to 3 business days to happen.
- The savings account easily links to any checking account you designate. You can electronically link up to 3 non-ING Direct personal checking accounts to your Orange Savings Account (of course, ING Direct accounts are automatically interlinked). I’ve also heard that some people have successfully linked their external savings accounts to their Orange account, but this is something you’ll need to verify (I can’t vouch for it).
- Banking with ING Direct is safe! Your funds with them are guaranteed since your deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per account owner.
What’s Great About The ING Direct Orange Savings Account?
It goes without saying that ING Direct supports standard bank features such as monthly electronic statements, direct deposits, automatic deposits, transfers and such. So what makes them stand out? Let’s review the Orange Savings account for the moment.
- The Orange Savings Account has absolutely NO fees! You won’t need to pay anything for account maintenance. You won’t be charged any fees at all: not for inactivity, not for anything else. This is something you can’t say for many other bank products out there.
- They’ve got a nice and simple interface. The site is straightforward, clean, easy to use and to navigate. You’re presented with the current APY (interest rate), your current balance, transaction history and the total interest you’ve earned during the month. You’re able to keep tabs on the interest income you’re accruing on a real time basis.
- You can create subaccounts. This is one of those unique features that ING Direct has, that most other banks (including the large, well-known bank I used to work for) don’t have. And suffice it to say, lots of ING customers simply love this feature: you’re able to create new subaccounts under your Orange Savings Account, which is designated as your primary account. These subaccounts are all tied to the primary under the same customer ID number and have the benefit of allowing you to “bucket” your money into different categories. It’s pretty cool that you can designate the subaccounts for different purposes and goals in order to help you better plan how your money is saved and used.
- You can rename your accounts with their own labels (e.g. nicknames). Along with the subaccount creation feature, you can relabel all your accounts under ING Direct with custom nicknames that can help describe your accounts better. For instance, you can create subaccounts called “Emergency Fund” or “Holiday Travel” or “New Refrigerator” if you so wish. Again, this facilitates your saving efforts when you see your money broken down into well-named convenient savings buckets.
- Create an ING Direct CD ladder easily! My late grandmother was very big on CD ladders. She enjoyed distributing her money across different CDs with various maturation dates and yields. When you spread your money among several CDs with staggered dates of maturity, your money is not locked in on earning a particular interest rate. By laddering, you can gain liquidity and have a more stable source of income through CDs. My grandmother would have appreciated this account feature. You can easily use your Orange Savings Account (or other account) to purchase a CD or CD ladder via a specially designed page that takes in your CD allocations.
- Spread the news about ING Direct and you’ll earn extra income. As an existing customer, you can actually earn extra income through ING Direct’s referral system. ING Direct gives you free money if you get others to sign up with them. Under their referral bonus plan, you’ll earn $10 for each customer you refer. Each new customer who signs up then receives a bonus of $25 to start off his or her account! As the referrer, you can earn up to a maximum of $500 (at $10 per new customer, that’s $250 for 25 customers referred to the Orange Savings Account, and $250 for 25 customers referred to the ING Direct Electric Orange Checking Account).
- You can download transactions into your favorite financial application. This may be standard fare for many banks, but it’s good to know you have the convenience of downloading your ING data into desktop Quicken, free Quicken Online or Microsoft Money.
You have access to a wide array of financial products and services from ING Direct, such as:
- a savings/checking account (Electric Orange)
- a savings account (Orange Savings Account)
- an investment account for stocks and mutual funds (ShareBuilder)
- certificates of deposits (Orange CDs)
- business accounts (Business Savings Account, Business CDs, Sharebuilder 401k)
- home mortgage loans (Orange Mortgage, Easy Orange)
Is there anything that you need to be wary of about ING Direct?
- Do not expect the same level of customer support as you’d get at a traditional bank. By their very nature, online banks won’t have the same kind of customer service set up as that offered by brick and mortar banks. If you’re a customer who will require a lot of assistance, an online bank environment may not be a fit for you.
- ING Direct’s web site(s) can be slow. Although the interfaces for the ING Direct Orange Savings and Electric Orange Checking accounts work pretty well, the Sharebuilder site has been consistently pretty sluggish for me. I look forward to seeing improvements to the sites’ performance.
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