ING Direct's Winter Save Up Sale may be over, but at least they still have one of the best referral bonuses. This helps to make up for the fact that their rates have lagged many of their online competitors by about 0.5% over the last year.
If you plan to keep a small balance, a signup bonus can be more important than top rates. For example, if you plan only to keep $500 in the account, it'll take 10 years of interest at EmigrantDirect to exceed the $25 ING referral bonus plus the interest at ING Direct (assuming ING continues to lag by 0.5%). The referral bonus has the extra benefit in that after you sign up, you can make $10 for each referral bonus you send to a friend.
ING Direct Referral Bonus
I've used up all my ING Direct referrals, however, a friend who has helped me on this blog still has many left. He has created a special email address to receive referral requests @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to include "ING Direct" and your first and last name in the email.
The referral bonus pays $25 when you sign up at ING Direct and make an initial deposit of $250. There is no minimum balance requirement after the hold period is over. You can make $10 for each referral that you make up to a total of $250.
Please refer to this post for more info on ING Direct.
Virtual Bank Referral Bonus
Virtual Bank has a similar referral bonus as ING Direct. In VirtualBank's case, the bonus is $20 and the person sending the bonus gets $20. The initial deposit has to be at least $100 for the eMoney Market account. There is no minimum after the account is opened. Currently Virtual Bank is paying a nice 4.60% APY. However, the interest rate did lag for most of last year. For more info on VirtualBank and the referral bonus, refer to this previous post.
Virtual Bank handles referrals a little different than ING Direct in that once you send a referral, you can't cancel it. So if the person doesn't join within 30 days, you lose that referral opportunity. If you would like a Virtual Bank referral, please send a request to my friend @ email@example.com with your first and last name and specifying that you want a VirtualBank referral.
[Post updated on 10/29/07]