I’m aware that many regular Consumerism Commentary readers already have ING Direct savings accounts. Those who have been reading this website since the beginning know that I’m a fan. Their interest rates may not be at the top of the chart these days, and there is some concern that ING Direct’s parent company plans to sell off the bank’s American operations by 2013. Nevertheless, ING Direct is a solid choice for savings.
ING Direct’s paperless checking account, called Electric Orange, is an integral part of the bank’s services. I’ve been a customer of this type of account for almost as long as it has been offered. Although many readers have savings accounts at ING Direct, fewer have the associated Electric Orange account.
This is my main account for personal electronic transactions, including bill payments. Savings accounts are limited by regulators to only six withdrawals per statement cycle, so having a transactional account at the same bank allows me to easily and immediately transfer money from the account that receives payments to savings, while also allowing me to pay my bills.
ING Direct doesn’t send you a book of checks. If you need to send a paper check, you can do so my viewing your account online and entering the payee and address. The bank will send a paper check directly, and for $20 you can choose to send the check overnight for faster delivery. Otherwise, the process of sending payments are free. Customers will receive a debit card that can be used for purchases and in many ATMs throughout the country for free.
Be aware that if you are interested in opening an Electric Orange account, ING Direct will subject you to a credit check. For overdraft protection, rather than using funds from a linked savings account, ING Direct extends a small line of credit. You can still open the account if you don’t qualify for a line of credit, but you won’t have the option of overdraft protection.
To encourage new customers, ING Direct is now offering a $50 bonus for signing up for an Electric Orange checking account. In order to qualify, open a new account and use the debit card for a combination of signature-based (not PIN-based) purchases and Person2Person payments three times within 45 days of opening the account. This $50 bonus is better than the commonly-offered ING Direct referrals, but it’s only available for a limited time.
Updated May 20, 2013 and originally published April 9, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.