I opened a savings account with ING Direct http://home.ingdirect.com/ in April 2005. At that time, they had a promotion that deposited $25.00 into your account when it was opened. Since there was no minimum amount needed for opening a new account, I deposited a mere $5.00. One month later, my $5.00 deposit became $30.00 due to the bonus from ING. Each time someone opened an account using my referral code (up to a maximum of twenty-five referrals), they received $25.00 and I received $10.00. I couldn't believe how hard it was to get people to sign up for this amazing program! While many people got a free $250.00 for getting the maximum number of referrals, I only got three or four people to sign up under me. Still, I received $10.00 each time one of them did.
When I opened the account, I also signed up for their Automatic Savings Plan. Although I only have $25.00 transferred to my ING Direct savings account each month, it does add up. It was very easy to sign up for this automatic withdrawal program and I never miss the money.
ING Direct has offered a phenomenal savings rate since I opened an account. I have a checking account with Bank of America and just called to find out what their interest rate on a savings account is. I learned it is a paltry .20% (less than one-quarter of one percent) and they have a $300 minimum balance in order to earn that rate. I also called my local credit union and was told their interest rate is 1% on a regular account, with a $0.01 minimum balance. In comparison, ING is paying me 4.40%!
I first heard about ING Direct through an e-mail I received about the $25.00 sign-up bonus promotion. Under the circumstances, I was afraid this was a scam so I did a little bit of research. I found this review http://www.epinions.com/content_6747557508 on Epinions.com very helpful.
I also learned that ING Direct only does business online, over the phone and by mail. Without the overhead and high operational costs of a normal brick and mortar bank, they are able to pass the savings onto their customers through higher interest rates for earning accounts and lower rates on mortgages.
I further learned that ING Direct "is backed by ING (NYSE:ING), a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to over 60 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. ING employs over 112,000 people in 50 countries, including more than 10,000 in the US, and has been operating in America for over 100 years. ING Direct is a member of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) which insures bank deposits up to $100,000."
All of this information helped me feel secure enough to open my account with ING Direct and I've never regretted it. I must say, however, that the one drawback to having an account with ING is that my money is not immediately available. I needed some emergency funds one time since opening my ING account and it took two days for the money to be transferred to my savings account. While I thought the two-day time frame was above average, I did have to take out a temporary payday loan advance from AMSCOT to cover the emergency. Since then, I keep a small amount of money in a local savings account should I ever be caught in an emergency situation again.
If you'd like to open an account with ING Direct, I'll be happy to send you an invitation to join. Their current promotion requires that you open your savings account with a minimum of $250.00 in order to qualify for a bonus. If you do, ING Direct will deposit a $25 bonus in your new account and I will receive a $10 thank-you bonus in my account.