ING Direct Review

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Click here to start saving with ING DIRECT!Several years ago, ING Direct made a name for themselves when they introduced the Orange Savings Account. At the time, the concept of an online savings account was as foreign as its owners, Dutch-owned ING Group, and many folks wondered if the offer was a scam. At the time, I know my credit union’s savings account APY was sub-1% and here ING was offering 2.60%! It was unheard of!

I had my reservations though. First, the company was Dutch so I didn’t know if that had any implications (it doesn’t). I was new to managing my own money so I was always wary of doing something stupid (I still do stupid things). Lastly, I didn’t want to jump too quickly even with the ING Direct $25 referral bonus dangling out there. Fortunately, my comfort with all things online coupled with my inexperience pushed me towards opening an account at ING Direct and I’m glad I did.

Since then, many banks have begun offering high interest savings accounts and ING Direct has ceased to be one of the top interest rates out there… but it still has some merits and a warm place in my heart.

Account Signup

Signing up for an account takes mere minutes and is actually one of the strengths of ING Direct when ING first started. Back then, opening an account online was practically unheard of. You always had to visit a physical branch so that a teller or account representative could go through the screens themselves. Now, a quick account signup process is the norm.

Account Features

One feature that is noticeably absent from many other online banks is the ability to add new accounts as quickly. Once your first account is opened, subsequent accounts can be added in mere seconds. Everything managed through the same login, which recently benefited from a face lift, and it really does help you save more.

For example, opening new savings accounts are trivial and, given the ability to name them whatever you’d like, you can easily open an account for the purposes of a saving goal. If you have a big expense, such as a vacation, coming up in the future you can set up an account specifically for that. Once you set up an account, you can establish automatic transfers between all of your linked accounts (ING Direct accounts are automatically linked). So, you could set up a monthly transfer from your checking account to your ING Direct savings account and then intra-ING Direct transfer from your main ING Direct account to your vacation savings account. This transferring feature isn’t unique to ING Direct but the ability to add new accounts so easily is.

ING offers a CD laddering form that makes CD laddering a cinch. While the interest rates aren’t especially competitive, the 12 month CD is 3.40% APY and the 60 month CD is 4.00% APY (compared to FNBO Direct’s 3.50% APY high yield savings account), this feature is the only one of its kind I’ve seen available anywhere. When their CD rates become more competitive, I can see this form getting a lot more use.

Overall, I was very pleased with ING Direct. While their rates have lagged their competitors lately, I think the intuitive and friendly interface really puts new online banking customers at ease. I have accounts at Emigrant Direct and HSBC Direct and their banking screens look very antiseptic and austere. While you can’t judge a book by its cover, ING Direct does a great job putting the softer elements into its interface that puts someone at easy.

{ 46 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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46 Responses to “ING Direct Review”

  1. Cameron says:

    ING seems to be constantly overhyped by the personal finance blogs, because everyone has a soft spot remembering them as leading the high-yield online savings revolution. I love the multiple subaccounts thing (and frankly, I wonder why others haven’t imitated it yet), but I feel like I continue to use ING primarily out of sentiment rather than sensibility, given their lagging rates.

  2. Gail says:

    I have been with ING for 6 years now but am in the process of closing the account eventually. Why? Yes, it was nice to have subaccounts, and several CDs. However, most of my online savings accounts all have POD (payable on death) or beneficiary applications. ING does not. Even though I have a Last Will & Testament listing who has my financial accounts, ING does not have this type of safety net and don’t seem to accept my Will. Therefore I’d rather have accounts that can provide acceptance of Will and PODs/beneficiaries. I almost died two years ago of leukemia and cancer and revised a lot since then. Keep that in mind with ING.

  3. Thank you for this review, Jim! I’m waaaay late to the ING party, but I’ve been more comfortable with the simplicity of keeping the bulk of my money at the brick & mortar bank we’ve been with for years. Lately, though, with banks becoming somewhat unreliable, I’ve been thinking of moving a chunk of our emergency fund to a different bank, just for accessibility in case the B&M bank shuts down and it would take longer to get our money out. So I’ve been trying to decide where our money should go (I wish one of our credit unions offered a high interest savings account, that would make things so much easier). ING has been at the top of my list, so I’m going to have hubby read your review. Although, after reading Gail’s comment, I’m going to have to check with our estates attorney before opening an account …

  4. jim says:

    CFO: I’ve always advocated diversifying where you put your savings not so much because I’m afraid of bank failures but because crazy glitchy stuff happens. Emigrant Direct went down for a couple days with their new site design a few years ago, you can’t predict that and it’s a problem if you need that money. That’s why I keep a little cash on hand, a little buffer in a checking account, and the rest in high yield accounts (savings that is).

    • Jaime Bradford says:

      Jim, Can I ask you where you have high yield accounts at? I have the bulk of our money in a money market acct., but it only gets 2%. I recently opened an ING direct acct, but it is only getting .99%.

      Also, is there a way to use ING to purchase something online? We are saving for a camera and are using ING to save the money until we have enough. We are planning on purchasing one from Amazon and want to pay online. I’d like to be able to do that directly from ING instead of having to xfer the money to Chase first and then waiting on it to clear and then paying from there… any thoughts?


      • Jim says:

        I currently have my savings at Capital One, Ally, and ING Direct; each earning only around 1%. I don’t think you can use ING to purchase something online unless you open their checking account and use their debit card.

  5. Laura says:

    We used ING Direct for our joint accounts and have had a good experience with them. The online bill pay is great and as easy to use as many of the B&M banks. I also love the fact that upcoming bills are included on the first page when you select your account. I have to dig a few pages to get that info from Wachovia.

  6. David says:

    I have nothing but praise for ING I love my Electric Orange checking. It pays good interest . However I hope Congress increases the FDIC insurance limits to 250,000 or I will have to find some different banks so my money will be safer than now, with all these financial disasters and bank failures.

  7. aamilesslave says:

    I’ve been a big fan of ING Direct since I opened my Orange Savings account in 2002. It was a no brainer to open an Electric Orange Checking account when they started offering that. The Electric Orange account features a tiered interest rate that beats the Orange Savings rate if you have more than $50k in the account (and now there is another tier at $100k). Their free ACH transfers make moving money around very easiy.

    My only very minor issue with them is that in April they changed their policy to start charging a foreign transaction fee of 2% on foreign purchases and withdrawals using their ATM/debit card. Evidently I missed an email they sent out announcing this change.

  8. iwant2brich says:

    I know a lot of people discourage moving your money from bank to bank, but with INGDirect’s falling interest rates, isn’t it a good idea to begin looking elsewhere to store your savings?

    • Jim says:

      The problem with rates is that all of them are falling, I would recommend looking around for a certificate of deposit that you can lock in a good rate with.

      • iwant2brich says:

        That is a good idea… luckliy, I locked $15K in a 24 month CD with INGDirect at 4.65%, that was in Oct 08, and the rates fell right then. Whew. I was looking for comments on “DollarSavingsDirect,” a division of emigrant. They compound their interest daily at 2.25% apy as opposed to ING’s monthly compounding at 1.65% apy. Convenience of INGDirect aside, is that a better deal? Afterall, the money is just going in and sitting, no need for too many conveniences (just login and look at it from time to time). Thoughts anyone?

  9. janet mccann says:

    Congratulations on the fabulous publicity in the Chicago Tribune. I read the article this morning and went directly to the computer to check it out. As an interior designer I know how valuable that acknowledgement is. Best of luck.

    Janet McCann

  10. labelcd6 says:

    ING Direct is fantastic! I’ve been a customer for over a year, and I have nothing but good things to say!

  11. Splendor says:

    Best. Savings account. Ever.

    • barry says:

      a savings account that pays no intetest? how’s that the “best ever”?

      sure it’s convenient and all. but if a savings account doesn’t pay good interest, what good is it at all?

  12. Jon says:

    Why would one get a sign up bonus reversal?

    • Jim says:

      If someone signed up and didn’t keep the required amount in their account, it happens about one in ever 10 signups based on my experience. It stinks (because no one gets a bonus, the referrer or the referee).

      • Jon says:

        Seems odd as it had to have happened within the same week or so that it was opened.

        • Jim says:

          Maybe they never deposited funds? Or the bank transaction was rejected? It’s hard to know.

          • Jon says:

            I thought that I would only get it if they had successfully deposited the $250. Maybe they yanked it early…? I’ll have to review the terms.

          • Jim says:

            They have to keep it there for $250 days, could be they withdrew it early?

          • Jon says:

            Yeah, that’s what I meant. Still seems weird though. 🙂

          • NateUVM says:

            In my experience, that’s really the only reason there would ever be a reversal of the bonus. Do you have any reason to beleive that the person DIDN’T withdraw their funds before the required time had expired?

  13. bankshopper says:

    I am done with ING. They have poor rates compared to some of the other choices and they just dropped a CD rate on me after I opened the CD. How can they do that when my external account was already registered? Had I known they were going to drop the CD rate on me, I would looked elsewhere in the first place. Now, I am stuck with their bogus rate and can’t close the CD without paying a penalty.
    Low rates and bait and switch…..nice way to lose customers. You lost one for sure.

    • NateUVM says:

      I’ve opened plenty (5+) of CDs with ING and have never had a “bait & switch” issue with them.

      Perhaps you could have avoided this issue if you funded your ING CD directly from an ING account (Orange Savings, Elecrtic Orange, etc…) where the transfer would have been instantaneous and you would’ve known exactly what rate you were getting?

      A transfer from your external account is always going to take a couple of days, even if that account is “registered.” A rate change could always happen in the interim. Basically, this just sounds like a case of bad timing.

  14. Daniel says:

    Is ING Direct still the only online high-yield savings that offers a subaccount feature?

  15. Jon W says:

    I’ve had an Orange Savings account with ING Direct since 2006, and I’ve had a wonderful experience.

    I recently opened the Electric Orange- they day after I turned 18 and LOVE it. There’s only five possible fees you could incur with the electric orange, EVER. And none of those are really fees I would ever have. There’s no overdraft fee, you just pay a very small interest rate on the money you have to borrow which is compounded at midnight ET. And the best part is, you can set up e-mail notifications when you overdraft. So if I just overdrafted by taking $60 out of an ATM, I’ll know about it later in the day when I check my email and can easily transfer from ING savings later in that day to cover that withdrawal. And since it’s immediately available and I transferred to make my checking balance positive before midnight, no interest has to be paid!

    You can easily transfer from your ING savings to ING checking and it’s immediately available (unlike if you transfer from ING savings to external bank, that takes 2 business days). If you transfer from external checking to ING Savings, 5 day hold; external checking to ING Checking, 2 day hold. The 2 day hold is the same hold you’d have if you deposited a check to your local bank that’s from a different bank.

    The 10 day hold that everyone keeps complaining about is ONLY ON THE INITIAL ACCOUNT DEPOSIT. Every other bank that I’ve ever had an account with holds the deposit for that long, at least. I think US Bank held my inital check deposit for like 30 days.

    The foreign transaction fee is I think 3% or it could be 2%. That’s a STEAL compared to almost every other bank. B of A charges a $2.50 ATM fee to use a non-BofA ATM plus a flat $5.00 foreign transaction fee PLUS another foreign transaction fee of 2% of the transaction.

    Bill pay is SO EASY! You can even get E-Bills, which means you can view your bill right from the ING website.

    Customer service is EXCELLENT. Every time I call them to ask a question (which rarely happens because their online FAQ section is so good) someone picks up the phone within 30 seconds. And there’s no annoying automated system, I think it just tells you that the call could be recorded then instantly connects to a service rep.

    Sure, the savings account rates are going down, but so is everywhere other bank! The only other savings account I can find with no minimum balance that’s a better rate is an American Express online savings account.

    Of course, when I discovered the bank I had to share with my friends and family. Both my siblings and my parents now have accounts and love them too. We all have the electric orange and it’s so easy to send each other electric checks, which are instantly available in the depositing account. And my parents really like the ING accounts because they can be put in the name of their living trust, so they don’t have to fill out an additional distribute on death form or whatever that is. That’s why they haven’t moved their money to AmEx savings yet.

    I’m an ING Direct customer for life. I’ve had a great experience with American Express as well so I wouldn’t hesitate to move money there- it’s just that I don’t have much to move and I’ve had such a great experience with them that I would feel guilty moving money out of ING Direct.

    Thank you, ING Direct, for your superior customer service, great rates, and the wonderful services you offer for such a fair cost to the consumer.

  16. nxu says:

    INGDIRECT saving and checking account is OK, but their easy orange mortgage is terrible. First of all, when I applied mortgage, the customer service gave me the wrong information. They said that when I relock my rate, the clock does not restart which means that no matter how many times I relock my rate, the prepayment penalty only applies to the 1st year from the initial refinance. But when I signed the paper work, I saw that I still need to stay with ING for another year to avoid the prepayment penalty. Then I called customer service, basically they said that I could get out of my loan now but I still had to pay $300. I went ahead sign the loan because I thought relocking the rate for $700 is still attractive. Then now I am ready to relock, they told me its two month mortgage or $2500 just to relock the rate. I think this is a total scum. I will never use ING mortgage.

  17. Art says:

    I agree with Gail, above, who commented about why she found ING’s ‘beneficiary’ policy inadequate. When Netbank failed several years ago, our accounts were transferred to ING… Several times over the past few years I’ve inquired about the beneficiary issue, and their only suggestion is that I should contact an attorney and establish a trust. I find it astonishing that ING will not allow you to name a POD or ITF beneficiary designation for a simple bank account. (At least, that was the case the last time I checked about six months ago. I will ask one more time and then plan to remove the rest of my money).It’s irresponsible to to leave funds in a bank that will not permit a beneficiary designation. Now that rates have dropped, the idea of closing my accounts is less troubling. There is little to gain and much to lose by keeping money there. I don’t understand the policy — it must have something to do with the foreign ownership. Much as I’ve liked banking with them, it seems the only solution is to close the accounts that are not jointly owned and take my business elsewhere.

  18. G says:

    Do not get an ING Direct mortgage – it is classed a Predatory Home Loan in Massachusetts, due to their 3% prepayment penalty! ING Direct may be a Predatory Lender in your state too. I held my loan for 3 years and did not miss a payment, upon selling my house ING took 60% of the profits as a fee without any warning, which is illegal under Mass State Law. I’m trying to recover the thousands ING decided to keep for themselves and I’ll let you know what progress I make…

  19. thunderthighs says:

    The only bank I haven’t canceled my account with at some point.

    • miles says:

      If you did you could b=never open another account with them for life. That is if you asked to have the externally linked account removed because you had no accounts with ING they tell you that they cannot. Then if you say, please remove internet access into ING because of the externally linked account they will say we can but you will never be able to open another account with us, EVER. Even it it did make sence to interest earning wise.

      Right now I think American Express SAVINGS is paying the best interest and that is only 1.15%. Also, ING offering to help us save our money, is offering higher interest rates on checking than they do savings accounts.

  20. JCG says:

    ING’s Mortgage practice is deceptive! We completed the application process in order to refinance our mortgage and re-roof our home. We were up front with ING the entire time. After our home appraised at 240k and we were asking for 150k, we were told we needed a home inspection as well. Our loan was then denied because, per their underwriting dept, our home was “structurally unsound” we need new shingles on our roof. Really? We even asked of they would write a check directly to the roofing company. I called and asked to speak to someone, anyone, in management and underwriting and was told I had to send an e-mail. The response to the e-mail was “we don’t finance homes with a roof that will not last more than 5 years” Wow! They could have said that in the beginning and saved us the $350.00 application fee plus the home inspection fee and the time we wasted trying to get that .5% lower interest. Bad business and a bad online banking experience.

  21. josh says:

    Reversal would have been done if the person was already a customer or they canceled the transfer before it posted. There are no mins for the accounts so you could withdrawal the funds as soon as they are available

  22. Capt. Monterey Jack says:

    I’ve had my savings account with ING since 2004 and remember at one point the rate was around 4%. I don’t know why people are so uptight about ING’s interest rate falling. EVERY online bank’s APY has progressively fallen over the past 2-3 years. Ally Bank had 1.75% rate earlier last year, and I thought about switching. I’m glad I didn’t because their rate is now exactly the same as ING’s. I’m sure once rates start to go up ING’s will be competitive.

  23. Alex B. says:

    Stay away from ING. If you login from outside the US (like from Canada), they can lock your account and keep the money for up to a year. They are great until you run into a single problem. Only then you’ll see the true face of this nasty bank. A friend of mine also had a very bad experience with ING. They blocked his account because he used PO box as a mailing address (While moving to another state). If you change your mailing address it raises the ‘red flag’ automatically and they pull your credit history to verify that the mailing address is already part of your credit report. If not, then say good bye to your money. Stay away from this “bank”.

    • Shirley says:

      Do you think an advance phone call to ING Direct with an explanation of impending plans would have prevented these problems?

      I’m sure they could have given options for how to go about it since dissatisfaction and unhappy customers are not their goal.

    • Brent says:

      I’m currently serving in Iraq and have never had a problem with ING. I never informed them of my deployment either. I log in everday to check on my accounts. I’ve had my account since 2006 and have been to 3 different duty stations and 2 deployments and have never had an issue with them.

  24. miles says:

    I removed all money from ING and could not un-link my external account do to ING policy. I asked that online account access be removed because it seemed like a liability with the externaly linked account still there. I did want to be monitoring ING just because it would not remove my externally linked account. They told me they could remove internet access but then I could never do business with them ever again. below is the last e-mail.

    “Dear Miles,

    This email will confirm that we have removed your online access, and also removed you from our marketing distribution lists. Keep in mind that you will not be able to open any additional ING DIRECT accounts in the future.


    Mike Wynne

    And here is the preceeding warning.

    “Dear Miles,

    Since you agreed to the Electronic Delivery Disclosure Notice (EDDN), you will receive all communications including statements and tax forms electronically. As a result, your 2011 tax form won’t be mailed to you.

    Please know that we keep your personal information so that you can retrieve your statements, tax forms and open accounts in the future. We’re unable to make an exception and remove this information from our records even though you have no open accounts with us.

    However, we’re able to disable your online access. This will also result in your 2011 1099 being mailed to your address on file. If you’d like to take advantage of this option, please respond to this email. Please keep in mind that disabling your access online will result in no other person including you, accessing your information online or on the phone. This will also prohibit you from opening any accounts with ING DIRECT in the future


    Danielle Delgrego

  25. Neal says:

    ING Customer Service

    Although ING has very competitive rates, they should not be used for mortgages. They set a variety of tricks and traps for unwary consumers to capture bogus fees. Many comments on this website will attest to this problem, I will describe our issue.

    We refinanced our home, starting in October 2010. It took nearly five months to complete the refinancing, which was irritating, but not the focus of this note. In May of 2011 we decided to move for reasons unrelated to the mortgage. I knew that we had agreed to a 1% pre-payment penalty, but asked, and was told, that this penalty would be waived if we financed the new purchase with ING.

    We got contract on a new house prior to selling our first property. When we went to finance our new purchase with ING, we were rejected. The reason given was that we were attempting to hold two primary residences. ING insisted that this was our intention even though we had contracted with a realtor to list the home, and the homes were approximately five miles apart. ING would not accept that we were trying to sell the house. When we asked for a waiver of prepayment penalty, since we had attempted to purchase the new home from ING they refused, again claiming that we were trying to own two primary residences. When we pointed out that if we wanted to hold both homes, we wouldn’t care about prepayment they sent the following message:

    Hi XXXX,

    We will review the 1% penalty if/when you decide to sell your current home. If you have additional questions, please give us a call at 1-877-464-2151.



    Member FDIC
    Equal Housing Lender

    Less than a month later, we received an offer on our existing home (the one financed by ING). At this time, we had already gone through financing with another institution, one that realized that we probably weren’t trying to own two primary residences in the same city.

    However, when I called to check on the waiver of the prepayment penalty I was refused. Crystal (Employee number 701590) told me that regardless of what I had been told, or what had been written previously, they would not waive the prepayment penalty. She instructed me to apply again. When I told her that ING was not trustworthy enough for me to reapply, and that we had furthermore already paid some fees to arrange our new mortgage, she told me that ING would enforce the penalties. She did promise that Justen would get a slap on the wrist for what he had written us, I’m not sure how that will help me.

    $1800 is certainly not enough for me to ever trust ING again. They are a very poorly run operation. Hold times for any discussion or decision are eternal. In our case, instead of financing our new purchase, they decided to grab our money and run with it. This bank neither wants nor deserves new customers. Do not be fooled by their rates. Do not finance your loan with ING. I have learned my lesson.

    • Neal says:

      ING has waived the fee mentioned in the previous complaint. If this forum is moderated, please remove this comment and the previous comment containing the complaint.

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