The Safest Banks: Everbank and ING are the Best

If you’re interested in opening an online savings account, check this out:

FNBO Direct, EverBank. and ING Direct have all received a four star rating from Bankrate, indicating a high level of solvency and stability. If you’d like to see the complete rundown, please check out my updated list of the safest online banks.

Beyond this, ING Direct’s parent company has received high marks in terms of protecting customers from identity theft. In talking about how well different corners of corporate America do when it comes to protecting their customers, the NY Times Bits weblog put together a rundown of the estimated annual number of “incidents” related to identity theft per billion dollars in deposits for each of the 25 largest banks in the United States.

Interestingly, ING came out smelling like a rose, with just 0.085 incidents per billion dollars in deposits, whereas HSBC came in dead last*, with 21.293 incidents per billion dollars in deposits.

Other notables included Bank of America, which was second worst with 17.646 incidents/billion, Washington Mutual (3rd worst) with 16.163 incidents/billion, JP Morgan/Chase/Bank One (4th worst) with 11.306 incidents/billion, Wells Fargo (5th worst) with 10.117 incidents/billion, US Bank (6th worst) with 9.360 incidents/billion, and Citibank (7th worst) with 7.450 incidents/billion.

One thing that you’ll notice is that, even though these data are scaled against the size of the bank, it’s still the biggest banks that are doing the worst. In fact, the seven worst banks listed above are amongst the nine largest banks on the list.

Despite ING Direct’s major online presence, ING is the fifth smallest bank on the list. This makes me wonder if there’s a meaningful difference in security practices, or if bigger banks are disproportionately targeted by fraudsters because they’re so large and well known.

*Note that this is a rating of each bank overall, and not just their online endeavors.

16 Responses to “The Safest Banks: Everbank and ING are the Best”

  1. Anonymous

    I would NOT recommend Everbank. First off, they mislead customers on the web site who want to open an account online by indicating there will be no adverse affect on their credit rating due to the application.
    They do a hard credit pull (just to open a freakin’ checking account — REALLY?!!!) just as though you were requesting a loan. They say this is not what they are doing, but the impact is the same.
    With my stellar credit rating, I don’t want unnecessary inquiries on my account record, and Everbank’s web site does not tell the truth about this to potential customers. (See info link on page where you sign up regarding credit impact — the link is hard to see but it is hidden down below on the page in small print.)

    The staff that works after hours are very poorly trained and incompetent. If you have issues with them, you really need to call during the day.

  2. Anonymous

    why do you put so much into a rating? Do they study the financials which nowadays a forensic accountant is needed to do… I remember 2 years ago a 4 star bank that I had money in turned to 2 stars in the course of a month… took 3 months to get my monies out. Bankrate is worthless to me… Local banks and credit unions are the way to go… Our local credit union where we do most of our banking has better rates than ING.

  3. Anonymous

    I deposited money in an Everbank savings account. The application procedure was more inconvenient than most. I was never able to link it to my local checking account and an e-mail asking for help had no response. I closed the account only to have trouble getting the money. They are polite on the phone, but really don’t care if your money is at a FedEx office. They require a direct signature, but won’t route it anywhere that you will be during the day. If you want to avoid headaches, avoid Everbank.

  4. Anonymous

    I had been a happy customer with HSBC bank for over a decade. My father became ill and the extra strain distracted me. I was six days late on a payment, and without telling me, they put me in a “punitive status,” with an outrageous 32% interest rate.

    Three things happened simultaneously that smells of duplicitous and wily trickery. First, I explained that I was late due to the issues with my family, and they cancelled a late fee. Simultaneously, without telling me, they put me in this “punitive status.” Then , every month, they sent me checks offering me a 5.99 or a 3.99 interest rate, the former was “guaranteed for the life of the loan” if all other balances are paid off. Moreover, they indicated that they had doubled my credit line. All these signs suggest that a) I’m a valued customer and b) that I am credit worthy. Around the holidays I paid off my outstanding debts to HSBC and took out one of these loans, thinking Id have a lower interest rate in order to pay off other credit card debts at a higher rate (but not 32%). Then I saw the enormous finance charges and called. Finally they admitted that I’d been placed in the “punitive status.” I had been targeted as someone who they could milk for these outrageous interest rates by pretending to offer 5.99 or 3.99% interest rates. I wrote to HSBC to complain. They felt this banking practice was fair. I have indicated to them that I would tell this story to as many consumers as possible in order to prevent them from being duped by HSBC!

  5. Nickel

    Steve: You’re right, which is why I wonder if it’s not the larger banks that are being disproportionately target. I regularly get phishing e-mails for all sorts of big banks that I’ve heard of, but it’s rare to receive on targeting a smaller bank.

  6. Anonymous

    The article doesn’t differentiate between breeches through cracking the site versus social engineering. It would make sense that through social engineering, larger banks would be affected.

    One common scheme is phishing, where a mass email is sent out saying that “your account at such and such bank needs to verify information.” The person then goes to a fake site through the link provided in the email, and the fake site will ask for name, SSN, password, mothers maiden name, etc. This scheme will work better for a large bank, as a mass spam is more likely to get people that have Citibank or BofA accounts than a local credit union.

    In the same vein, this is why Microsoft Windows is more likely to get a virus than Mac or Linux, as more people are likely to have Windows on their home computer, so the virus writer is going to write a virus that will infect the most computers available. This doesn’t mean that Windows is more suseptable to a virus, just that it is a more likely target. The same could be made for small banks versus large banks.

  7. Anonymous

    Another interesting point, last I checked, it seemed like HSBC has you jump through all sorts of verification hoops and mail forms back and forth for security purposes. Whereas ING is one of the easier places to open an account.

    I suspect that they might be related; in my experience, there is an optimum number of hoops one can jump through for security before it starts to take the opposite effect. For example, if you require two passwords (as HSBC does), then it becomes more likely that customers are writing down their passwords on slips of paper which are easily lost or stolen.

  8. Anonymous

    That makes me feel really good! I’m a huge advocate of ING and this just backs up everything I’ve been telling my readers. Thanks for the stats!

  9. Anonymous

    One thing to remember is those numbers are based on what people are reporting. They don’t differentiate between people who had their identity stolen through HSBC and people who had their identity stolen elsewhere but the fraudster opened an account at HSBC.

    Often people don’t know exactly when/where/how their info was taken, so some of these are guesses.

    Many years ago my mother had her credit card number stolen and thousands of dollars charged (in the middle east) while she still had her card in her hands. For weeks she was blaming a gas station in NJ where they pump your gas and physically walk away with the card for a few minutes to charge it (this was before pay-at-the-pump).

    Turns out that it was an employee at one of the big three credit reporting bureaus who stole a huge file of customer info. So if she had filed a complaint part way through the process she would have identified the gas station as where the info was stolen.

  10. Anonymous

    Phew, I am glad to hear that. I just signed up with ING in February and have been really happy with them so far — and that makes me feel even better. However, my credit cards and other accounts are with Bank of America. Better keep my eye on those.

  11. Anonymous

    Another interesting point, last I checked, it seemed like HSBC has you jump through all sorts of verification hoops and mail forms back and forth for security purposes. Whereas ING is one of the easier places to open an account.

    I’ve even heard people say something like, “yeah, it was a pain to open my account at HSBC Direct, but at least I know my information is safe.”

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