ING Direct Review: Is This Online Bank Right for You?

What is ING Direct?
ING Direct is an online financial institution that offers many of the same services of traditional banks. At ING Direct customers can:
-Establish checking accounts
-Establish savings accounts
There are 2 types of checking and savings accounts at ING that offer different minimum balances and interest rates.
-Apply for mortgage loans
-Apply for home equity loans
The rates at ING direct are competitive and they also offer a 60-day rate protection guarantee.
-Open an IRA account
ING Direct offers IRA Savings, investments plans and IRA CDs.
-Purchase securities
-Set up business accounts including savings, checking and 401K plans
-Set up accounts for kids
At ING Direct you can set up kid’s accounts with no minimum balance, no inactivity fees and you start with any amount.
Investments at ING Direct are through ShareBuilder Securities Corporation, a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. ShareBuilder is a subsidiary of ING Bank, fsb.
Setting Up Accounts at ING Direct:
Setting up an account or accounts at ING is easy. You simply log on, fill in some personal information, select accounts and transfer funds from another checking account.
Why did our family switch to ING Direct?
In two words, we switched to ING Direct because of “interest rates.” We were not pleased with the low interest rates offered by our local and other banks. In some cases our interest rates had dipped as low as 0.7 percent. When a $1,000 savings is only going to earn less than $10.00 a year, it was time to make a banking change.
What we like about ING Direct:
We can set up an automatic investment on a certain day of the month.
Fees are low and many options have no fees.
ING offers higher interest rates on savings and checking balances.
Online banking is so convenient.
Customer service questions are answered via e-mail in a timely and helpful fashion.
ING has tight online security including several security questions and an image recognition system. As identity theft specialist, we’ve been pleased with the security at ING Direct.
The drawbacks with ING Direct:
The only way to move money is online. There are no ATM withdrawal options.
You must maintain another checking or savings account to transfer funds from. For us this wasn’t really a drawback because we didn’t want to close our other accounts. We just didn’t want to keep a lot of money sitting in them not earning interest.
ING Direct sends annoying e-mail messages occasionally.
The website is in some ways lacking. Some questions are simply not answered in the FAQs section. However, we’ve found customer service replies quickly.
It takes about three days for money transfer to go through, which seems slow in today’s world.
Although not perfect in every way and not meant to be an “only” account, we recommend ING Direct because of the higher interest rates and easy ways to save at ING Direct. The bottom line is that the fees are low and the interest rates are higher than traditional banks. The online banking is really convenient but since you can’t access money quickly, always have a reserve elsewhere if you choose an ING Direct account.