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ING Direct Drops Interest Rate From 4.5% to 4.3% APY

This article was written by in Banking. 28 comments.


ING Direct hasn’t been the interest rate leader in years. In a world where some banks are offering yields above 5% on money market or savings accounts, ING Direct sat squarely at 4.5%. Nevertheless, I still have the bulk of my savings there. I am too lazy to chase around for the highest rates every time there is a change.

I do have some money in HSBC Direct and Emigrant Direct, where my cash is earning upwards of 5%, but I find ING’s interface much more user-friendly.

This morning, ING Direct dropped its interest yield on savings from 4.5% to 4.3%. Assuming a steady $20,000 balance, that’s $40 interest (possibly only about $30 after taxes) “lost” due to this change. The “Electric Orange” checking account saw a larger drop: from 4.0% to 3.5% for the lowest balance tier (under $50,000).

With the Federal Reserve Board lowering the federal funds rate by 0.5 percentage points, ING Direct could have theoretically lowered their yield more.

Lower interest rates in savings and lower interest rates for borrowing encourage people to take their money out of the bank while allowing individuals to qualify for less expensive loans. I expect other banks that offer high-yield savings accounts will soon follow ING Direct’s suit. Those who locked in CD rates may consider themselves lucky. As of 10.21.11 the savings rate is 0.90% APY.

Updated May 20, 2013 and originally published September 19, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar henry

Are you thinking of jumping ship?

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avatar Katey

I jumped ship from ING this morning. What finally made me do it? When the Fed was hiking rates from 2004 to 2006, ING was never this fast to respond to go up, but they hit the button immediately going down. Been thinking about moving the money for a while, finally got the kick in the pants to do so. It is now all out of there.

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avatar Sasha ♦644 (Dime)

EmigrantDirect lowered their CD rate as well. Happily, my savings are safe at 6% with FNBO till the end of the month. Now to figure out where to move it after that….

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Henry: I’m hanging onto ING Direct for my primary savings and secondary checking accounts for now, despite the rate drop. I’m the kind of customer ING likes, I suppose.

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avatar Tim

Flexo, you are the kind of customer ING LOVES.

I don’t get the love for ING, since ING hasn’t been loving its customers. ING is now a full 1% lower than my igobanking account. Glad I jumped the ING ship earlier this year. took forever for ING to get to 4.5% and then they stayed there everyone else was at 5%. The immediate drop to 4.3% shouldn’t be any surprise from ING. What’s surprising is how many people still convince themselves that ING is easier to use or they don’t have that much money to justify staying with ING. There really is no incentive for ING to have maintained 4.5% nor have increased previously to be competitive, when there are so many people willing to stay put.

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avatar Baz L

If it wasn’t for the Electric Orange checking account, I would have jumped ship too, but I like the flexibility it offers.

But it is sad that ING is dropping.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Tim: You’re right. I have no desire to spend my already-strapped time moving my money from bank to bank chasing basis points. The best thing for me to do is to reevaluate my accounts once a year to make sure most of my cash is with a bank that is consistently providing the best rates. I’m not a fan of HSBC, so Emigrant might be the answer for me. E*Trade’s and FNBO’s high yield savings accounts are too new and they don’t yet have a track record of being on top for me to switch yet.

Am I missing out on some percentage points? Perhaps, but I’m not wasting my time worrying about less than $100 a year in interest (before taxes) or transferring money back and forth.

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avatar jtlight

I recently opened an ING account, after first trying to open an FNBO account, which was a miserable pain in the ass. I would not recommend FNBO to anyone, despite their high rates, which will only last so long. I am disappointed with INGs rate drop, but after my experience with FNBO, and many hours wasted, ING has been easy and great to deal with. It helped that they opened a ING cafe 2 blocks from my apartment, which have been convenient.

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avatar SonoDavide

I considered opening an ING savings account earlier in the year but instead opted for WaMu’s 5% savings. It made sense because I’ve had a Washington Mutual checking account for 13 years and by linking the two accounts I qualified for the 5% deal. Plus, when I need to transfer money between the two to pay bills it’s done instantly and I can withdraw money at ATMs from both accounts.

I heard ING takes a few business days for transfers to clear and access to ATMs is nonexistent.

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avatar Aaron Forgue

I’ve been a loyal ING customer for a few years now. When I first signed up it was great because they were always upping the rate. However, over the past year the rate increases have stagnated (and are now falling).

What really bothers me is that I have started to receive a lot more junk snail-mail from ING about their mortgages. I also have started seeing a bunch of ING TV spots, as well as some kind of music concert they are sponsoring.

Perhaps they should stop sending so much money on advertising and start spending some money on their existing customers! After all, we were the ones who brought them the success they are enjoying now…

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avatar Mile Taylor

Kudos for this comment – We too signed on in October 2001 – almost 10 full yrs ago – now as of Feb 23rd Savings interest DOWN to one percent – was at 4%+ and the ‘snail mail and trade-online’ mailings and emails are getting hideous. The ‘online’ convenience is now outweighed by Local Credit Union offering same – better interest …

INVESTING PUSHED to the point where an agent – our life Ins Agent called to see if we were interesting in trading via ING’s offer – [Got info from ING] This same agent who forget to get a policy in effect before rates ‘age’ change – needless to say we blew our cool and added Ins w/another company!

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avatar Tim

flexo, this is the logic i find completely fascinating among ING followers. It makes absolutely no sense to me that if people are trying to shave costs by not spending a $1 here and a $1 there, then they would be so dismissive about a 1% difference in savings rate. Yes, $100 in one year (which is often what is argued, rather than $100/yr over a longer term which is argued when people talk about saving) is a relatively small amount, unless you think in real terms like a $100 can pay for a couple months of internet, some food, some gas, some utilities, or some rent, etc.

I agree, I too am not jumping ship to every 3-6 month promo teaser bonus like FBNO’s 6%, because it takes time, not much time, but time nonetheless; however, there are several others out there that have been consistently at 5%.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Tim: I’m fine with reviewing accounts once a year to make sure the interest rate is competitive. I don’t think it’s an issue for “ING followers…” I have no loyalty to any particular company and will freely move my money when I feel like it, when I feel the benefits outweigh the hassle. Rate chasing would waste far too much of my time. An annual review is all that’s necessary, and when I have some down time, I may choose an account that has had a strong history of high interest rates — as well as a history of good customer service.

Again the difference between 5.0% and 4.5% is not so much of a big deal for relatively small balances in the accounts. If I were to get a lower interest rate for years at a time, then there would be more of an impetus to shift.

Whether or not *I* stay has no bearing on whether ING keeps their rates more competitive; I have no control over the mob that would be necessary for ING to change their attitude towards rates.

If you review your accounts once per year, that is more than sufficient.

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avatar Baz L

First off, ING does have ATM, and quite a few in my area actually.

Now, I just got a quick question: why do we have to jump ship? I’ve had the bulk of my money in HSBC at 5% for a while now. That doesn’t mean I need to scrap my ING account.

Again, I hear nothing about the Electric Orange account. It’s free Bill Pay. I love it, and you get 3% (now). If there’s a “regular” checking account that beats that with no minimum balance, someone needs to tell me.

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avatar ddddd

It’s a shame that ING was quick on the trigger to drop its rates. I’ve been with them close to 6 years already. I have some money in Emigrant Direct as well. It looks like I’ll be moving the bulk of my savings over there, since they are still at 5.05%. However, I have no plans to move out of ING completely. Their checking account is far better than my bank or credit union.

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avatar thomas

Flexo,
while I agree that rate chasing can be a hassle – setting up new accounts, faxing signature forms, god forbid actually having to call customer service… there is a tipping point where 20 minutes of work and money earned benificial.

I’m a longtime ING user, and I’ve kept my money with them regardless of the other rates until this most recent move. Like others have stated, they are “cautious” about raising rates along with the others. However, not showing that same due process with lowering the rates is just bad customer service.

Yes, ING has a very friendly UI, and transfer of funds is easy. This used to be enough for me, but not anymore. I realize now that I only touch my savings to deposit, so I really don’t care how the UI works. 5 minutes a month to ensure my transfer has gone through and check my interest earned for the balance is all I need.

You should monitor all your money – savings, 401k, personal investments, IRA on a quarterly basis (if not just to make sure you remember your login :)) and then check when something big happens in the market, like this rate change.

Simply being complacent and saying “eh, it’s a pain” is what makes companies get away with these types of shenanigans.

That’s right, I said shenanigans.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

For the average ING Direct customer, I am sure 20 minutes would be more than sufficient to make the change, particularly if they already have another high-yield account linked to ING Direct.

Personally, I have a number of payment options (my employer’s direct deposit, the IRS for estimated tax payments, various merchant accounts, and several other systems) that are all configured with my ING Direct account information (account number and ABA), not to mention periodic investments, withdrawals or transfers scheduled directy within ING Direct which would have to be re-initiated from the new account — if that particular bank even allows for such options.

It’s not a *huge* chore, but it would be quite annoying to track down all required changes and adjust these options more than once a year.

This is obviously more than a 20 minute endeavor. And I will redistribute my savings at some point by the end of the year — which I have to do for tax/personal purposes anyway… but I’m not jumping just because ING Direct lowered their rate. And I’m not taking time out from my busy day to take care of this until I have time to set aside for more similar projects and can spend a day doing administrative work.

ING Direct hasn’t been the rate leader for several years now, always lagging behind the other banks… so if you’re just now deciding to move your money, you have missed interest-earning opportunities already.

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avatar ib

i am keeping my ing account balance.

flexo, thanks for keeping me up to date about the rates.

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avatar dd

Well, as of today, ING is offering a 5% CD for 6 months. Still better than nothing, so I’m abusing it! :)

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avatar tim

ING is 4.3% APY, but how often is the interest added, because I had a little over $1000 in there and only about $.50 is added a month. and thats not 4%… I know it’s a stupid question but I’m a little confused.

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avatar Arthur

With the Fed likely to cut rates again this week, I advise all ING customers who are going to remain ING customers to open a CD or two right away. Their 6-month CD is still 5%. Don’t wait till after the Fed meeting since those guys at ING will waste no time cutting rates again!

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avatar andrew

ING now down to 4.1%. HSBC has still been at 4.5% after last cut, hopefully it will stay put. I probably will not add more to ING but rather to HSBC…

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avatar Baz L

Now that was kinda my point earlier. What is the point of jumping ship? Everybody’s rate is going to be cut.

And 20 minutes for work? Please…Maybe for you guys, but because of my set up I personally would not be able to make these changes. I would need to contact all the places that I have either direct depositing of withdrawing from my ING account and update routing and account numbers.

Now I don’t know how much money you guys have in these accounts. Maybe it’s well worth it for you, but with what I got in there, all this work is not worth $0.30 a month.

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avatar retiarius

Time for a revisit? Some among us tentatively moved on to greener
pastures, but perhaps the current 3.4% (taxable, via electric orange),
without tying up funds for a year in CDs is not half bad…

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avatar Doug

What am I missing? My ing Orange Savings account seems to have a much, much lower APY than that (1.00%) and has been steadily declining every few months for the last few years. Their website lists their APY as 1.00%, as well: https://secure.ingdirect.com/myaccount/INGDirect/static_container.vm?start=https://home.ingdirect.com/open/open.asp?nf=false&link=2

I really don’t know anything about finance, so it could be that I’m talking about something totally different from what this post is about, but I’d be curious if someone could explain it to me. Thanks!

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Doug — you’re not missing anything. This post is actually a few years old.

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avatar Barbara

Oh, the good old days when we complained about a 4% interest rates. If only we knew.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Perhaps someday again the rates will be that high.

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