ING Direct Electric Orange Review — The Paperless Checking Account
If it wasn’t the rate increase announcement from ING yesterday, I probably won’t check my INGDirect account any time soon as ING is no longer my primary savings account and I only have about $500 with them now. However, when I logged in last night, I noticed something new: the ING Direct Electric Orange Checking Account. I haven’t accessed my account for quite a while, so I am not sure how long this new product has been out. It isn’t on their Products & Rates list and only appeared once I logged in. In their FAQ section, it says that you do need an ING Direct account in order to get this checking account.
Following the link under My Account, there are some more details about this new offering, which ING claims to be “America’s first all–electronic, paperless checking account.”
The new Electric Orange pays interests at three different levels
The 5.30% APY is certainly very attractive, but the bar is too high ($100,000) to get in. Otherwise, for a balance of several thousands like I usually keep in my checking account, the 3.00% APY is better than nothing from my Bank of America checking account. However, I don’t think I will use this as my day-to-day checking account. 3.0% APY is not worth the hassle of switching all the deposit and payment services I already set up with BoA.
(The Effective Data of the above interest rates, 11/29/2006, may suggest the Electric Orange only became available since yesterday.)
MasterCard Debit Card
Nothing new here.
Free ATM Access
This probably is the most appealing part of this new product to me. According to ING, Electric Orange customers can make free ATM cash withdraws through the AllPoint Network, which self-claims to be “America’s largest surcharge-free ATM network.” I never uses this network before (because I only withdrew cash from my own bank) and don’t know if there’s really no surcharge from both AllPoint and my own bank (some banks do charge fees for cash withdraw from other bank’s ATMs). I ran a check with AllPoint and found about 20 ATMs located within five miles of where I live, in places such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aide, and Costco.
This may be where the “paperless checking account” statement comes from. ING says that
… you can send money to an individual’s bank account with Electric Checks for free. Simply enter the person’s information, the details of the payment, and an email will be sent to the recipient. The person can click on the link within the email to go to a secure page to enter their account information and the money is transferred!
The information you need to enter include the recipient’s name, email address, bank account number, and routing number. The requirement of banking information may make this service useless as these information is impossible to get even you want to send them money. Sounds good, but not very practical.
The FAQ section also says customers can have the option to send paper checks and it’s free for first-class mail delivery. But you will not get a box of checks when opening the account.
Automatic $1000 Overdraft Line of Credit
Again, this is a very nice feature.
When you open your Electric Orange, you’ll automatically get a $1,000 line of credit that’s connected right to your Electric Orange and is accessed anytime your balance goes below $0.00. There’s no fee to use the line of credit
Finally, Electric Orange also offers free bill pay.
My first impression of the Electric Orange is quite good actually. The service has some nice features that I may not get from other banks. There seems to be no minimum balance requirements (or did I miss it?) to keep the account free of maintenance fees. However, for 3.0% APY with up to $50,000 deposit, it’s not really very attractive. However, if you want to open your first checking account, then the Electric Orange may be worth some serious consideration as the money in the account earns you interests. Also, the paperless check service is quite handy if you want to send money to somebody you know and is willing to give you the bank information; otherwise, the paper check option works just like writing a check from your check book except that you can’t write a check on the fly.
Interested? Open a ING Direct Electric Orange Checking Account and start to save now.
Update: Check out more discussions on ING Electric Orange from Readers’ Feedbacks. Also find out more on bank interest rates at Best Online Savings & Checking Accounts Interest Rates.
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