Sunday, June 28, 2009

Companies Tony Loves: ING Direct

Raise your hand if you enjoy balancing your checkbook. Not many hands up out there? I didn't think so. No one likes balancing the checkbook. Maybe once you sit down to do it, you say rationalize it by saying "it is nice to be in touch with our finances," but the truth is that balancing one's checkbook is an exercise in tedious math. Wouldn't it be nice if your checkbook balanced itself? Now, it can... if you bank with this week's Company I Love, ING Direct.

ING Direct is an online bank that gives customers the whole array of options that any bank should (checking, savings, CDs, mortgages, stocks, etc.). Their rates on savings accounts and certificates of deposit are consistently better than average. Moreover, their rates are competitive, but not suspicious. ING exploits not having many bricks-and-mortar locations to decrease administrative cost; they pass some of the savings on to customers.

These other services are great, but ING Direct's Electric Orange checking is the best service ING provides. On account of Electric Orange, ING Direct is not just a company Tony likes, it is a Company Tony Loves. Why is it so great? Here are a few reasons to love Electric Orange checking.

1. Electric Orange does the checkbook balancing for you. There's no need to enter your debits and credits into the ledger. When you log into the website, Electric Orange tells you precisely how much money you have available. They leave the tedious math to the computer.

2. Electric Checks. With Electric Orange, you can feel like an international finance guru by paying your debts electronically. ING Direct allows you to "write" Electric Checks (i.e., transfer your funds electronically) to whomever you wish to pay. Not only do you feel like a rock star when paying your debts, but it is also surprisingly easy.

3. Paper Checks. If you are afraid of getting shocked by an electric check, ING also allows you to "write" paper checks. You use the same online interface, giving the address where you want the check sent. ING prints the check and then mails it for you. What's even better? They'll pay for the stamp. ING saves on the postage because they are able to do bulk mailings with all of the paper checks being written by other ING customers.

As a side benefit, ING will not waste paper on paper checks if they don't have to. If they can find a way to pay your bill electronically, ING will send your paper check by wire. ING Direct minimizes the paper and saves you a stamp. That's a win for the environment and your account balance.

4. The Debit Card. For those payments you can't make at your desktop or laptop, ING provides you with a debit card with a crazy cool orange logo. I haven't used this option much, but it is comforting to know that you can make all of your payments through one account.

5. They'll pay you. ING Direct is currently running a promotion where they'll pay you $25 for opening an Electric Orange account. What's the catch? You have to know someone who has an ING Direct account; A current account holder has to refer you. Fortunately for you, I have an ING Direct account and I'm willing to refer the first 25 people who e-mail me (thisyoungeconomist AT

Of course, ING Direct is giving me my own incentive to refer anyone who will listen. But, I was planning on doing a Companies Tony Loves segment on ING Direct anyway. They're a wonderfully innovative bank, which provides great service. That's a win for anyone involved. We have been with ING Direct for almost two years now and we're glad we switched. Won't you join the Orange Revolution?

1 comment:

  1. I just discovered that there's one more catch. To get the $25 bonus, you have to start with an initial deposit of $250 or more.

    But, if you think about it, an immediate 10 percent return is wonderful, especially in this economy.


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