Use ING as a Firewall Bank Account

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One of my favorite features about ING Direct is the fact that you can create so many savings accounts so easily. It’s a great way to help segregate your savings in a very visually simplistic way. Another great feature about those separate accounts is that they each have their own account number. As you link up accounts via ACH, you can keep things nice and separate. Here’s where the concept of a firewall account comes in.

Firewall Bank Account

A firewall account is an empty, or near empty, bank account that you use as an intermediary between your main accounts and a questionable one. The firewall account is kept in a near empty state so that in the event that the questionable account is compromised or otherwise makes an improper transaction, your main funds are safe.

In my case, I have a PayPal account that I have linked to an ING firewall account. PayPal once had a history of reversing payments, sometimes freezing funds, and even allegedly withdrawing money from bank accounts. I don’t know if those stories are substantiated but the risk was great enough to warrant using a firewall account.

Anyway, this is a great strategy I’ve employed for a couple years now using my ING Direct account as the firewall because it’s so easy and straightforward to open a new account (after you already have one).

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “Use ING as a Firewall Bank Account”

  1. Dean says:

    Good point about setting up another account with ING. I was thinking that ING and most other high yield savings would not be good for buffer account since they put a lengthy hold on new funds (at least a week, if I recall correctly). How easy is it to create another account with ING? Is it instantaneous?

  2. dakboy says:

    Wouldn’t doing this regularly send up some money laundering red flags with certain agencies?

  3. jim says:

    Dean – It’s instantaneous, just login and open a new account, it used to happen immediately.

    Dakboy – If everything is in your name, it should be okay.

  4. GaryP says:

    You don’t mean to open up an account each time you need to use paypal or something similar. Just 1 account that usually has a very low (if not zero) balance so that if it was compromised they would get nothing.

    Each time you buy something on EBay you would just put money in the account. When you sell something on EBay you pull the money out of this account after it transfers.

  5. NateUVM says:

    Just set up an extra account at ING for this very purpose. Getting all my external accounts that are usually linked to my main savings is going to take a while (for confirmations, etc…), but the peace of mind that this extra layer of security will provide is going to be well worth the effort.

  6. ziglet19 says:

    I like this idea alot. I have an ING account, and it never occurred to me to do this, even though I have my paypal linked to my main checking account, which I don’t love. Great idea, thanks!

  7. PA Mom says:

    How did you link PayPal to ING? I asked ING how to do that and they said it wasn’t possible.

  8. PJ says:

    I’ve been doing this with ING and Paypal since 2005!

    PA Mom, from the “My Account” tab in PayPal, go to “Profile”, then “Add or Edit Bank Account”.

  9. Shannon says:

    Great idea. Just did this – took about 30 seconds!

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