ING Direct is a hugely popular online bank with some noteworthy products I’d like to review. They’re one of a few online banks I know that offer both savings vehicles and investment products (via ShareBuilder), which helps their customers consolidate accounts under one bank. You can read more about ING Direct’s online stock broker in our ShareBuilder review, but if you are looking for a place to park your liquid savings, then the following ING Direct products may be more up your alley:
ING Direct Orange Savings Account
The Orange Savings Account is considered one of the best high interest savings accounts out there with a current interest rate of .90% APY — still low but relatively higher than the interest offered in many larger banks. As an example, Bank of America’s Regular Savings Account has a much lower yield. Also, unlike some savings accounts, Orange Savings is a no minimum balance, no fee savings account.
Of course, deposits here are backed by FDIC insurance, and you can access your account online anytime you need to, instead of waiting on a teller downtown.
When you open an Orange Savings Account, you’re asked to link it to a checking account you already own. Making deposits is pretty straightforward: you can transfer funds to your ING Direct account via the website or by phone. Withdrawals are also easy to navigate, but be warned that it can take a few days for the money to move between accounts.
I actually have an Orange Savings Account and I enjoy this benefit: statements aren’t cluttering up my file cabinet! Instead, I’m signed up for eStatements, which are paperless statements. I simply get email to let me know that my eStatement is ready to view.
One other feature I really like is the Automatic Savings Plan. With it, I can have a set amount transferred from my linked checking account to my Orange Savings Account each month. In the past, this feature’s been handy for building up a down payment for a house, saving for holiday gifts, and acting as my rainy day fund. It’s been easy to manage the automatic transfers as needed.
Electric Orange High Yield Checking Account
If I want to do my checking with ING Direct as well, I can try the Electric Orange Checking Account. Unlike my regular neighborhood checking account, this one pays interest. It pays from .20% to 1.10%, depending on your account balance.
With it, you receive a free MasterCard debit card, so you’ll be able to make purchases or withdraw money at ATMs. I could actually use a card like this and take advantage of free access at the AllPoint network — those ATMs are at Target and some grocery stores in my area.
Another useful feature of the Electric Orange Checking Account is the free online bill pay. If you centralize your bill paying routine, you could save time and the hassle of hitting half a dozen websites or the post office each month. The bank will even mail you paper checks for free.
There’s also the ability to send electric checks to an individual: it’s simply a paperless way to send someone a check. It’s a pretty convenient way to electronically transfer funds between accounts under different registrations.
One thing to note though: this is a paperless account, so don’t look for a set of paper checks to come to you in the mail. You can still set up Direct Deposit if you like. Also, you’re limited to having only one Electric Orange Account (of any particular account registration).
While there isn’t a monthly maintenance fee, you might incur other types of charges such as overnight delivery of a check, overnight delivery of a replacement card, stop payments, or foreign transactions. You should also note that instead of paying traditional overdraft fees, there’s an overdraft line of credit.
ING Direct Business Savings Account
For those of us with businesses, a Business Savings Account with ING Direct might be beneficial. Right now, the account sports an APY of 0.75%, and has no fees or service charges. Like the Orange Savings Account, you’ll need to link your Business Savings account to your existing business checking account. For added convenience, you can arrange to have up to three people gain access to the account, each with their own login PINs and customer numbers. Business users can also set up an automatic savings plan.
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