For the last few months ING Direct has been listing a $50 bonus on its home page for opening its Electric Orange Checking account. The bonus listing comes and goes, and it always points to the promo page www.ingdirect.com/nofees. I checked the home page today, and it's again listed. I took this snapshot of the home page showing the bonus.
The nofees promo page lists the following bonus details:
- Click on 'Apply Now.'
- Activate your Electric Orange Debit MasterCard and use it to make at least 3 signature-based purchases within 45 days of account opening.
- Your $50 bonus will automatically be deposited into your account on day 50.
Like the promos I've mentioned in the past, this appears to be available for both new and existing ING Direct customers who don't yet have an EO account. Another nice feature is that it has no initial deposit requirement. It just requires that you make at least 3 signature-based purchases with your EO Debit MasterCard.
Past Electric Orange Hot Deals
ING Direct has offered some sweeter EO bonuses in the past. The best one was last year's Black Friday promo (day after Thanksgiving), when the EO bonus was $121. The last special EO bonus was just before last July's Independence Day when it was $76. So you may want to wait until Thanksgiving to see if ING Direct will have a similar special EO bonus.
10-Year Anniversary of ING Direct
These EO promotions appear to be working to attract new customers. This recent Delaware newspaper article reviewed ING Direct's 10-year history on the internet and at its headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. The growth of the EO account was mentioned:
in the first half of 2010, the trademark "Electric Orange" high-yield checking account doubled business over the same period in 2009
Electric Orange's Pros and Cons
For those looking for a checking account without monthly fees and without overdraft fees, ING Direct is a good choice. There are some atypical services that you could be charged for. ING Direct lists five them in this FAQ.
I can think of only three negatives with the EO account:
- Interest rate is low for balances under $50K (it's only 0.25% as of 9/5/2010). However, the rate is respectable for balances of $50K and above (1.20% APY for $50K to under $100K and 1.25% APY for $100K+ as of 9/5/2010).
- You can't write paper checks (see ING's FAQ)
- There's a potential hard credit inquiry in the application which can temporarily ding your credit score. According to this ING FAQ: "As part of the account opening process, we may or may not obtain information about you from a consumer reporting agency (a 'hard pull')."
ING Direct's bank deposit products are FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 35489).
Better Checking Account Options?
If you don't care about a sign-up bonus, and you just want the best online checking account, there may be better options including Ally's new interest checking account (see my review). If high interest rate is your main concern, and you don't want to worry about debit card usage, check out the best checking accounts section of DepositAccounts.com. If you want the highest interest rate, and you don't mind using a debit card, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com.
Other Checking Account Bonuses
To find other bank bonus deals, please refer to the bank bonus page which has all of my recent bank bonus posts.