ING Electric Orange Online Checking Account

This may be old news to some of you, but I was just going through a stack of unopened mail when I ran across a flyer for ING Direct’s new “Electric Orange” checking account. In short, it’s a fee-free online checking account with a current APY of 3.00% for balances under $50k. This bumps up to 5.05% for balances between $50k-$100k, and 5.30% for greater than $100k.

Of course, a major concern with online accounts is ATM access… In this case, you get free ATM transactions at over 32k locations nationwide via the Allpoint Network. I’ve never heard of Allpoint, but a quick search of their website reveals that there are 119 Allpoint ATMs within 50 miles of my house, and 560 within 100 miles.

The Electric Orange account also offers a MasterCard-branded debit card, free online billpay, and $0 liability for unauthorized purchases. The wording on this latter point is kind of strange; does it only cover fraudulent transactions if they involve a purchase, as opposed to a withdrawal?

If you have an ING Direct savings account, and you’re looking to expand into the realm of checking, the Electric Orange account might be right up your alley. I’m guessing that ING is hoping that the convenience of having checking and savings in one place is enough to offset the fact that their savings rate is at least 0.50% behind that of the competition. In fact, if I was looking for an online checking account, it very well might be.

16 Responses to “ING Electric Orange Online Checking Account”

  1. Anonymous

    I agree with some of the posters on this topic. I am intrigued about getting interest from my checking account because right now I am getting 0% (BofA). Getting 4% plus the additional interest on my savings accounts with ING means I won’t have to go rate chasing for a while. This assumes transferring money from my ING checking to ING Savings is instant.

    Having no checks available does provide a minor inconvenience so I will probably keep a small chunk of money in BofA so I can take care of those small purchases. However, most of our purchases are done via credit card so we can get reward points.

  2. Anonymous

    Clever Dude – ING’s billpay is light-years behind BofA. BofA uses Yodlee if I am not mistaken and ING looks like they have home-grown their system. As you already know, with BofA you are able to quickly and easily set up your Payees (payment addresses are already stored in BofA’s system for many Payees) and you can also automatically collect eBills right in your BofA account with amount due and due dates instead of working with paper bills or having to log into the Payee websites yourself.

    ING’s billpay system is in the stone age right now compared to BofA. You have to manually enter all bill pay information (account number, address, etc.). You have to get the amount due from your paper bill or the payee website. It seems rather tedious compared with the simplicity I am used to at BofA.

    If you use BofA’s BillPay and eBills extensively (I use it for 95% of my bills and a good 80% come in as eBills), you will be disappointed with ING’s current BillPay offering.

    I am still going to attempt to use Electric Orange for some payees. My mortgage company does not offer eBills, so the difference between BofA and ING would be moot. I would love to float my mortgage payment for a couple weeks in an interest-bearing account if the payment method is similar. I’ll see how it goes.


  3. Anonymous

    I recently opened an Orange Checking account with ING. I have a checking account with BofA and have been happy with their service, but I like ING’s rate for a checking account. At the time I am testing to see how long it takes some of my various payment recipients (credit card companies, utility, etc) to receive a payment sent via ING’s bill pay. I just started this test and do not have any results yet to offer. I must say though that when transferring money from another bank to your ING account only takes at most 2 days until you can actually use that amount, which still isn’t bad. I’m hoping this proves to be a great service. Personally I am with BofA just for their locations, but looking at ING Allpoint ATM network it seems as if they have MANY locations. It’s kinda bad that you can not make any deposits via these ATMs.

  4. Anonymous

    Why can’t you get your own checks printed? I still use checks to pay my property taxes, and small stuff that I need to mail off. Sometimes even people coming to fix the house, and I wonder about the ATM access. It say free for now, but in 1 year? Will they start charging or will the ATMs they use charge you a fee even if ING doesn’t?

  5. Anonymous

    I read somewhere on their site that you cannot get your own checks printed. I opened a checking account with them so I could get my money out of my Orange savings account. I had closed the account that originally linked to it and couldn’t link it to my BOA checking because they wanted a physical check which I don’t have. I’m going to keep both my BOA and the Electric Orange. Since they’re free I think it will be convenient to have both.

  6. Great question, Blaine. I wonder how they’d respond if checks with the proper routing and account number just started showing up. This would obviously add to the expense on their end, so I doubt they be happy. But would they tolerate it?

    While we’re on the topic, here’s an article that I wrote about getting checks printed without getting hosed.

  7. Anonymous

    They may not provide a physical checkbook, but does that mean they don’t accept you getting your own checks printed? It is an additional expense (unless you happen to work for a check printing company like I do) but checks can be printed fairly cheaply these days.

  8. Anonymous

    These interest checking accounts only seem to make much sense to me if you have occasion to write really big checks. I hardly ever write a check for more than $50 or so. So this account seems like it would be a hassle for the two things I do use my checking account for: writing small personal checks and easy ATM access.

    Seems better to me to keep an account at a BoA or WAMU or whoever has ATMs in your area and just leave a couple hundred bucks in it.

  9. Anonymous

    My thing is that I still like to go into a bank to buy quarters for the laundry. Since I’m still taking a trip to a brick and mortar bank, I don’t find it inconvenient to have a regular account. But I have lately been tempted by the interest rates to move over to something like Orange Checking or Virtual Bank. I’m just wary of the lack of paper trail on times when I need paper checks.

  10. Lua: I would assume that’s the case. That’s how it works for online billpay for other banks… For example, Bank of America will make an electronic payment if possible, but will cut and mail a paper check if the recipient doesn’t accept electronic payments. I’ve sent money to my mom in the past using this, and she got a check mailed to her from them. We also have my son’s preschool set up for auto-payments, and BofA mails a physical check to them every month.

    As an aside, I didn’t realize that you don’t actually get a physical checkbook with this account. If that’s the case, then I’m not really interested… While check writing is becoming less and less common, we still need to write checks for a bunch of kid-related stuff — monthly checks for hot lunches, random Cub Scout stuff, etc. Requesting checks online just wouldn’t cut it for us.

  11. Anonymous

    I just opened my Electric Orange checking and I sent my first check to pay my car insurance. On the website there was a paper looking check that I had to fill out and put an address. The site said that an electronic check would be sent if the recipient allows e-checks and that would also save ING the cost of postage. So I am assuming that there is a paper check you can send also. I am going to test it by sending $1.00 to someone..which I should have done first….but I think you can do both paper and online checks now.

  12. Anonymous

    I still like to have that optional brick and mortar bank closeby, but I don’t know when the last time was that I actually went into a bank not to use the ATM.

    How is their billpay feature? Are you able to compare it to Bank of America’s billpay.

  13. Anonymous

    I am not in the market for an online checking account, but the convenience of having checking and savings in one place and being able to make 3% on my checking might just be enough of an incentive for me to sign up. The half percent difference could easily be made up by not having the fund transfer delays between my current accounts.

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