About a year ago, I signed up for an ING Direct Orange Savings Account. Then I added a couple more accounts. Now I have one for savings for my daughter (the occasional birthday check is going here), one for an emergency fund, and one for my own money. (Mr. Cheap and I have a joint checking and savings account through our credit union, but this is the account where I stash money that’s just mine, like the cash from a few savings bonds my late grandmother left to me.)
ING Direct was very appealing for our emergency fund for several reasons:
- Great interest rates. My credit union’s savings account offers a scintillating 0.5% annual yield, or 4.5% for a six-month certificate of deposit. ING Direct pays 4.5% on the regular savings account.
- No fees. Same as the credit union.
- Easy transfers. I can transfer money in and out of my other accounts just by going online. My favorite is that it is easy (and free) to set up an ongoing transfer. I can set it to transfer an amount monthly from checking to my emergency fund — then enter the transfer as a bill so that I can forget I’m actually saving money. The savings feel far enough away — like a retirement account — that it never occurs to me to raid the funds for any “good reason.”
- Nice reporting. It’s easy to log in and view a monthly statement that makes it simple to reconcile my accounts in Quicken and keep track of interest for the tax man.
This week, I got a letter from ING Direct inviting me to help them add more customers. If someone I refer opens an account with $250 or more, ING Direct will throw another $25 into their account (and pay me $10). I know at least one person’s going to sign up, because hey, $35 is $35 (or, in one year in the ING account, it will be $36.61). If you know me and would like me to send you the code to benefit from this promotion, send me an e-mail at cheaplikeme [at] gmail [dot] com.
Whether you take advantage of this deal or check out ING Direct (or other reputable online banks with great rates and accessibility — I can’t personally comment on them because I don’t use them), online accounts are a great way to sneak some savings into your finances.