Online bank ING Direct has been in operation since 2000, and reviewers say that in addition to being one of the oldest and best-known of its kind, it is also one of the most trusted.
Changes are afoot, however. In February, ING Direct was purchased by Capital One. Among other things, the ING Direct name will disappear by early 2013 as the bank is brought under the Capital One umbrella. Although some long-time customers were distressed by the news, experts like Ken Tumin at DepositAccounts.com expect that -- at least for the time being -- the things that made ING Direct so popular with its depositors will remain intact.
Reviewers and consumers alike say ING Direct's website is simple and intuitive. It'sYourMoney.com's review includes numerous screenshots and a video in its enthusiastic reviews of ING's Orange Savings and Electric Orange Checking accounts. The review by MyMoneyBlog.com is also positive; their reviewer loves how easy it is to set up separate subaccounts so you can save for several separate purposes at the same time.
ING Direct's Orange Savings account has no minimum deposit and no fees, though it doesn't have the highest annual percentage yield (APY), either. ING also offers the Electric Orange Checking account. Though primarily paperless, customers can opt to purchase traditional checks (*Est. $5 for 50 checks), or they can request checks be printed and mailed to recipients, with postage paid by the bank. Aside from the optional charge for printed checks, there are no fees and no account minimums for this interest-bearing account.
Cash withdrawals from checking are free on Allpoint's network of ATMs, found in grocery stores, drug stores, other retail locations and newly at Capital One ATMs. ING Direct also allows remote depositing of checks via a mobile device or computer. In addition, the bank offers a person-to-person payment option similar to PayPal that will let you send money directly to another person's account. The bank does set a limit of 25 bank accounts, however.
Though it doesn't offer the highest rates available for either its interest checking or its savings account, ING Direct is named one of the top online banks by most reviewers and is included in recent best-of lists by PCMag.com, Kiplinger.com and GoodFinancialCents.com. Customers are mostly satisfied; reviews posted on MyBankTracker.com give ING an average rating of 3 out of 5 stars. The most frequent complaints are about the bank's customer service, which is often the case with online-only banks.
Based on data supplied by Informa Research Services, this article highlights six online banks that can be identified as the best out there. Each offers an interest checking account with free online-banking and bill-paying services, low fees and high interest rates. ING Direct is one of these, tied with Ally Bank in the "no fees, no strings" category.
Review: Best Online Banks, Joan Goldwasser, Dec. 2010
Eric Griffith consults several reviews of online banks -- including BankRate.com, CNN Money, MyBankTracker.com -- as well as previous PCMag.com coverage to identify the five best choices. ING Direct makes the list, though the banks here don't appear to be rated or ranked.
Review: Five Great Internet Banks, Eric Griffith, Nov. 8, 2011
ING Direct's Electric Orange Checking makes this list of the five best online checking accounts. The list is compiled by personal finance journalist Kevin Mulligan, who offers a brief review of each.
Review: Best Online Checking Accounts, Kevin Mulligan, May 9, 2012
This personal finance website shows customer reviews and issues banks a report card, rating each on several factors, including those customer reviews. ING Direct gets 4 out of 5 marks overall. More than 130 customers also weigh in here; their overall rating of ING Direct is 3 out of 5 marks. Some complain about ING's customer service, a frequent problem for online banks.
Review: ING Direct Report Card, Editors of MyBankTracker.com
The pros and cons of some top online banks are listed in this Kiplinger.com article, with data supplied by Informa Research Services. ING Direct is recommended for its low fees and for its ATM network. Although this is an older review, those two features have not changed.
Review: 7 Great Online Bank Deals, Laura Cohn, June 17, 2009
6. It's Your Money
Unlike most bloggers who review online banks, this one actually tests all of the banks he reviews by opening accounts and maintaining them. This detailed review of ING Direct's Orange Savings account includes screenshots of how to complete various transactions. At the end, ratings are assigned in various areas. There is a separate review of the ING Direct Electric Orange Checking account. The two get identical ratings.
Review: ING Direct: Orange Savings Account, "Michael", Feb. 2010
The ING Direct Electric Orange Checking account is ranked second on this list of the top five checking account promotions (still valid as of June 2012). According to the review, "When you combine a $50 sign-up bonus with the simplicity of the account (as well as the lack of fees) it makes for a pretty enticing offer in 2012."
Review: Checking Account Promotions for New Customers in 2012 (Top 5), Editors of BankVibe.com
This detailed review describes the ING Direct Orange Savings account as being similar to SmartyPig in that you can set it up to save for specific goals. He says it's easy because "they let you easily and instantly create multiple savings accounts that have their own balance and nickname. No credit checks, no applications, and it earns interest."
Review: Save for Specific Goals With Your Own Online Piggy Bank, "Jonathan", April 2008