What can Orange do for you (ING Direct Bank)
Written: Jun 1, 2003 (Updated Jan 23, 2006)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:High savings rates, low loan rates, Internet convenience, referral bonus
Cons:no "checking" accounts, only available for individual and 2-party joint accounts
The Bottom Line: A good place for a savings account if you already have a checking account.
Updated to change interest rate information, and add a note on the referral bonus.
Updated again to correct referral information.
Updated yet again to change interest rate information, and correct referral information.
Some of you may recall from my credit card reviews (such as MBNA and Discover), that I used to spend a lot of time using balance transfers between credit card accounts. With the death of my mother and part of the life insurance being paid directly to me and my sister, I now have net positive liquid assets, so I went looking for a high rate savings account. ING showed up frequently as one of the highest rate savings account on the net (although not at Bankrate.com) and in our local paper, so I decided to enquire.
They offer the Orange Savings Account, various time deposit accounts, home mortgages and home equity line of credits, and investment accounts with access to 6 mutual funds. The investment accounts (but apparently not the time deposit accounts) can also be in IRAs.
Update January 2006
Current Orange Savings Account interest rate is 3.75%, with a bonus rate of 4.75% for "new" funds for the next few months.
Since I also am primary trustee of a trust with a mid 6-figure balance, I sent an E-mail through the web site asking about 8 questions about account types available, access restrictions, etc. I got answers to all of my questions within 48 hours. (Yes, they actually answered the questions I asked, rather than reinterpreting them, as some other banks have done.)
Opening the account
As you may recall from my Wells Fargo Bank review, I use Windows 3.1 at home as my operating system. It's obsolete, but fairly safe from new viruses. Even so, I had no trouble opening a joint Orange Savings account with my wife. In order to open an Orange Savings account over the Internet, you have to specify a checking or savings account from which the funds are to be taken. For a joint account, each of the account-holders must specify a linked account. (Since we linked the Orange account to a joint checking account, I don't know the precise restrictions if joint account-holders do not have a joint checking account to link to, but each account-holder must have a linked account.) As is "traditional" in Internet account verification, ING sends two small deposits to the linked account, and you have to log back in to ING to confirm the amounts.
Apparently, they've had trouble with fraud, so (at least in my case) they required me (but not my wife) to call a toll-free number (which was usually busy) to confirm additional information on the account application. Fortunately, we had 10 days to make the confirmation. If the confirmation was not completed in those 10 days, they would have returned the money to the linked account.
OK -- I've finally found the referral bonus link on the web site, although it's been advertised for years. In any case, if someone (call him "B") opens an account with a referral from an existing account-holder (call her "A"), then A gets $10 and B gets $25, although B has to keep the account open for some time (3 to 6 months) in order to keep it. This only applies if A and B are in the same country. I don't think it works if "A" is in the United States and "B" is in Canada. At least in the US, "A" is given 25 referral codes, and (since sometime in 2005) "B" must open the account with $250 for the bonuses to be offered. In any case, if you Email me with your first and last name, and a valid return Email address, I'll send you a referral code (while I have them).
In general, for each account-holder, you must have at least one, but no more than three, accounts linked to the Orange account. Once that is arranged (either over the Internet or by mailing a deposit from the account to be linked), you can transfer funds from your account to or from a linked account by phone (either using an operator, an automated phone system) or over the Internet. If you use the phone, the transfer request is submitted the next business day, and is usually completed within 2 additional business days. (According the account information, it's credited to the Orange account within 2 additional business days even if not completed.) If you use the Internet, you can specify the transfer request date, but no earlier than the next business day. However the request is generated, you can cancel it (over the Internet) before the specified transfer date. All transfers are submitted through the ACH (Automated Clearing House) system.
You can also set up recurring transfers on the Internet. As my paychecks are biweekly (with slightly variable amounts), and major expenses are on a monthly basis, I haven't tried any of these. It appears you can set the initial transfer date, transfer interval, and final transfer date.
There's an initial 10-day hold on withdrawals from the account, and a 5-day hold (seems to be calendar days, rather than business days) on newly deposited funds. In addition, there's a limit of 6 withdrawals per month.
Account information accessibility
You can easily get balance and available balance information by phone or on the Internet. In addition, you can get account history information over the Internet (apparently except on the last business day of the month, when interest is applied).
Each customer has a unique customer ID, and a 4-digit PIN. In addition, to log on, you have to answer a numerical question, usually related to your birth date, Social Security Number, or ZIP code.
In addition, you set up two security questions (from their list) and text answers. I think these are only used for live operator actions or for PIN reset.
As for as I can tell, all Internet transactions that should be under a secure link (SSH) are.
So far -- this looks like a good place to put a savings account, if you already have a checking account at a traditional bank. (It might even work if you have a checking account at an Internet bank, but I haven't tried.)
MBNA credit cards.
Discover credit card.
Wells Fargo Bank
Living Trusts (for information about the trust mentioned above under "initial contact")
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