As it was finally offered to me recently, I signed up for the new paperless checking account at ING Direct. Since I am a current customer of this particular bank, the account opening process was quick and straightforward. Right now, the account offers 0.20% APY interest on the first $50,000, which is great for a checking account.
Over the next few months, I’ll be testing the feasibility of using this account as my primary checking account. If all goes well, I can get rid of my accounts at Wachovia. That brick-and-mortar bank requires me to keep a savings account of at least $400 earning 0.25% APY interest in order to qualify for free checking, and their rules change too often for me. I’d rather keep everything at ING Direct (for the features and service) and HSBC Direct (for the higher interest rates) if possible.
Banking Deal: Earn 1.20% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.
To access your cash, ING Direct has partnered with Allpoint, an ATM network. It’s free to use ATMs on this network. I took a quick look and there are locations that are relatively convenient to my home, my girlfriend’s home, and my office.
Over the weekend, I received my ATM card in the mail. In order to activate the card, I must still wait for a separate mailing containing my PIN. This seems like a bit of a hassle, but it makes sense not to package the card with the PIN in the off chance that the mail is intercepted or sent to the wrong address.
While I look forward to using ING’s Electric Orange as my main checking account, there are some situations when I can foresee life without a checkbook being troublesome. Put simply, problems may arise when shopping for large items (cars, house, etc.) in which credit cards are not accepted and the deposit amount may not be known with enough lead time to have a check generated by ING and sent to me. I’ll end up keeping my pathetic Wachovia accounts with a minimum of $400 in the savings account.
Read more about ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking at pfblogs.org.
Updated September 24, 2015 and originally published March 19, 2007.