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ING Direct Electric Orange Checking Account

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Update: ING Direct was sold and converted to Capital One, who continues to build on the services offered by ING Direct. Read more about Capital One 360 accounts, or continue reading for a record of how things used to be.

ING Direct has a free online checking account. Your money earns interest while it's in the account, and you can spend it easily. This account is best for online bill pay -- you don't get a checkbook.

Interest Rate:

Because interest rates constantly change, you should visit the ING Direct Electric Orange page for current rates. The good news is that it's easy to qualify for a competitive rate. It may not be as high as reward checking account rates, but you don't have to jump through hoops to earn interest.

Access to Your Money:

You have access to your money in the following ways:

  • Make a payment from the Website
  • Transfer to your linked bank account
  • ATM withdrawal or debit card purchase
  • Transfer to another of your ING Direct accounts
  • Write a check against your Electric Orange account

 

How to Make Payments Online:

To make a payment from your account, you can do one of the following:

  • Have ING Direct electronically pay for you
  • Have ING Direct print and mail a check for you
  • Transfer the money directly to your payee's bank account
You can have checks mailed to your payee, or you can have them mailed to your home so that you can hand the check over personally.

Note that you'll need your payee's bank account information if you want to use the third option above (called the Electric Check). In addition, you can't make these transfers to business accounts.

 

Pitfalls:

If you're considering the account, you should be aware of these potential pitfalls:

  • You can't walk into a branch
  • Electric Checks require effort and exchange of bank information
You can get yourself in trouble if you rely too heavily on this account. Without access to a branch, you can't get a cashier's check for urgent transactions. Keep a brick and mortar account open at a local bank or credit union -- and keep some emergency cash in the account. Also, a lot of customers do not have checks for this account, so it's hard for them to access cash (ING Direct did not offer or allow you to use paper checks before 2011).

 

Fees:

The account does not charge fees for normal use. However, you may have to pay fees in special circumstances. They make an overdraft line of credit available at no charge, but you'll pay interest if you end up borrowing money.

Be prepared to have your credit checked. Their Website says "we will obtain information about you from a consumer reporting agency" (although elsewhere it says "we may or may not obtain…"). Either way, they may decide not to open an account for you.

 

 

Bottom Line:

This account is a pretty good deal. You can earn interest on your cash, while keeping it readily available. A highlight of this account is that you actually make payments from the interest bearing money. At most other banks, you have to transfer money from your high yield savings account into your checking account to make payments.

ING Direct also makes it easy to deposit checks into this account -- allowing remote deposits from your home computer or wireless device.

Return to Online Banking 101.

 

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