Pros: Great rates - easy to transfer money - easy to use website
Cons: Day or two wait when transferring money (not really all that bad)
About 3 years ago, I was looking for a bank that offered a higher rate of interest than my current neighborhood bank does. That's when I found ING Direct online bank. They were offering an interest rate that was much higher than my current bank, so I thought I would give them a try.
First of all, Ing Direct isn't your normal type of bank. They are headquartered in St. Cloud Minnesota, but don't have any actual bank buildings. With Ing Direct, you do all of your banking activity by mail, phone, or via the internet. I use the internet, as it is just more convenient for me, and definitely faster than the mail. With the internet, you are able to access your accounts anytime from any computer. The interest rates may not be the highest you can find with an online bank, but they are still much higher than what a local bank offers.
Ing Direct also offers other products than just savings accounts. They have mortgages, home equity loans/lines of credit, mutual funds, as well as cd's ranging from 6 to 60 months long. Besides the savings accounts I have with them, I have also used Ing Direct for my mortgage, as well as a home equity line of credit.
When first setting up an account with Ing Direct, you have to provide them with the account information for your current checking account at your local bank. They need this info for 2 reasons. When you first open an account with Ing Direct, they make a couple of small deposits (usually just a few cents) into your checking account. After these deposits are made, you must call them and tell them what the amounts were. This helps to verify with them that you have given them the correct account info. Your checking account is also used to transfer your money from your bank over to Ing Direct.
I suggest that you use a checking, rather than a savings account as your account that is linked with Ing Direct. I don't really know why, but the government has some regulation that only permits 6 transfers with a savings account, but an unlimited number of transfers with a checking account.
Ing Direct lets you open as many savings accounts as you wish, and they have no minimum account balance. The accounts they offer have great interest rates compared to any other local bank I have found. The savings account rate is currently 4.4%. I have numerous accounts with them and one feature that I like is that you can name your accounts as well. For instance, I have one account named $28 gas/electric. Every payday The name reminds me to transfer $28 into this account so I have enough to cover my gas/electric bill every month.
Their website is very easily navigated. Transferring your money is easy, just log onto their website and click on the accounts you wish to transfer money to or from. For me, it usually takes 1 day for the money to transfer from my bank to Ing and 2 days for it to show up at my local bank after transferring from Ing. Due to the day or two delay, make sure to plan in advance if you need some money.
I also have my home mortgage Ing Direct. They only offer adjustable rate mortgages which may not be for everybody but the interest rates are very competitive, with no points, and very low closing costs. From time to time I have even seen offers for no closing costs. When I refinanced my mortgage with Ing Direct, everything went very smooth. I needed to provide them with the normal things you need when getting a mortgage such as current earnings, proof of homeowners insurance, stuff like that. Once they had the info they needed from me an appointment was made for the closing. The closing was in my local area and everything went well. The day this was written, the current mortgage interest rates with Ing Direct are from 5.95% to 6.25% for 3,5, and 7 year adjustable mortgages.
Mortgages with Ing Direct do not escrow money for your taxes and insurance. I opened a savings account just for the purpose of my own escrow account so that I have enough money set aside at the end of the year. I even like the fact that I have my own account for the taxes because at least I am earning a high rate of interest on my money rather than letting my mortgage holder earn it.
Ing Direct, also has home equity lines of credit as well as home equity loans. The interest rates on the lines of credit will fluctuate, but you can always choose to make this a loan with a fixed rate of interest if you so desire.
The home equity lines/loans have no application fee, no annual fee, and no pre-payment penalties. My home equity line of credit was very easy to set up, and when it was time to sign the paperwork, they even had a person come to my house! This was nice. I didn't have to go anywhere.
The cd's they offer range from 6 to 60 months long, and seem to have a pretty good rate of interest. I have noticed that the interest rates don't seem all that much better though than what you could find elsewhere. Might be best to shop around here.
Ing Direct also has some offerings of 9 mutual funds. I haven't really looked into these as I invest elsewhere but it seems to be an average mix of stock and bond funds.
The couple of times when I have had to call customer service, things went quite well. The people I talked with were very helpful and answered all my questions.
With Ing Direct, your cd's and savings accounts are FDIC insured as with any other bank.
For current interest rate info check out ingdirect.com
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Thanks for reading,