This is a guest post from David Spader who writes about the best saving accounts over at SavingsAccount.org.
Hands down, customers and financial bloggers have agreed that the system established by ING Direct provides the easiest, trouble-free approach to online bank saving. The ease of the bank’s website along with its tools encouraging saving has turned many a person into a saver as well as a personal retirement planner.
ING Direct began as an intentional branchless bank operating primarily over the Internet and as a subdivision of ING Group, a Dutch banking holding company well-known in Europe. Established in the U.S. at the beginning of the decade in 2000, ING Direct began building its customer base through Internet ads and account-opening bonuses. Unlike other banks, ING Direct made a point to immediately fund new customers with $25 for every new account a household created. The offer went viral and brought in even more customers.
Ease of Use
ING Direct quickly gains appeal because of how easy the bank account website works. A customer has almost complete front-end control of what accounts he can have once a checking or savings account has been created. Savings can be created by one-time transfers or automated withdrawals from source accounts. The bank offers all the traditional links to payments sources for deposit as well, removing as many barriers as possible to get money into the bank.
Certificates of Deposit
Known has one of the most traditional forms of savings with a better rate than a generic savings account, CDs have often been hard to establish for young savers because many banks wanted at least $1,000 before creating one. ING Direct chose to make CD creation as easy as possible with no pre-set amount. In fact, if a saver wanted to, he could create a CD for $1. Again, the entire control is left to the account holder via an Internet website. At the height of the U.S. economy in 2008, ING Direct was easily paying CD rates in the range of four to five percent and lockable up to five years at a time. Many savers took advantage of the option and ING Direct grew further.
Currently, CDs unfortunately suffers the same as all bank accounts with very low interest rates, and ING’s offerings are no exception. However, the tools to create them still remain in the control of the customer.
ING’s plan to put the customer in charge works double with a built-in system for individual retirement account, or IRA, savings. The system sets up a new Roth IRA account to keep IRA monies separate from regular funds for tax purposes, but it works the same way as the regular account. It includes a basic IRA savings account and then the option to create IRA CDs as well. Funds can easily be transferred into the IRA from any other ING account as well as external bank accounts. At the end of the year all the necessary tax reporting is provided as well.
Stock Marketing Investing
In the end of 2007 ING Direct acquired Sharebuilder, an online stock brokerage made popular by low fee trades based on pre-set calendar trading dates. As soon as the brokerage site was integrated, ING Direct accountholders became able to transfer funds into new investment options in the stock market. In doing so, ING Direct became able to offer its customers a full financial service in terms of saving and investment.
The combination of all the above features and continued customer control makes ING Direct still the best online savings tool available on the Internet.