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Ally Bank0.65%$15k-Interest Checking Account
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of April 20, 2014

Updated Comparison of Internet Checking Accounts at Ally Bank and ING DIRECT

POSTED ON BY

Update 6/26/13: ING DIRECT is now called Capital One 360, and the Electric Orange Checking Account is now called 360 Checking.

Both ING Direct and Ally Bank have made several improvements to their internet checking accounts since my last comparison of these two accounts in 2010. So I thought it was a good time for another comparison. ING DIRECT was the first to offer a checking account (it calls Electric Orange) in late 2006. Ally Bank's Interest Checking Account was launched in early 2010.

I'm sure I'll need to do another comparison next year. We may see more changes at ING DIRECT as it completes the merger into Capital One. Ally Bank released the first phase of its mobile banking earlier this year, and its second phase is planned for later this year.

One thing new at both banks is online check deposit. This can almost eliminate the need to mail checks that you want to deposit. It may not be able to completely eliminate the need since both banks have limits on the size of the checks that can be deposited online. Some may prefer to deposit checks at their local banks which are linked to their internet bank accounts. They can then log into their internet accounts and initiate an ACH transfer to deposit the funds.

Ally Bank released its eCheck Deposit service for all customers last October. As you can read in my eCheck Deposit review, it can be a little difficult to use. Also, it's not yet available in mobile banking.

ING DIRECT released its online deposit service, called CheckMate, last April. Checks can be deposited with a PC/scanner or with a smartphone. Just like Ally's service, readers have reported some difficulties in depositing the checks. You can view the readers' comments in my CheckMate review.

Not all of the changes were related to new technology. One important change since 2010 at ING DIRECT was the addition of paper checks. ING DIRECT had intended for the Electric Orange to be a paperless checking account. However, they realized that most people always find a need for an occasional paper check. Thus, ING DIRECT finally started to allow customers to write paper checks in August 2011.

As I described in 2010, both Ally Bank and ING DIRECT offer many of the same services that you would expect from an internet bank. This includes no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. Both provide free online bill pay and a free debit card. So in the comparison below I focus on areas where there are some differences. Which checking account feature is most important for you?

Comparing Checking Accounts at Ally Bank and ING Direct

 

Checking Account Feature ING Direct's Electric Orange Checking Ally Bank's Interest Checking
Interest Rates Higher rates for balances over $50K (rate tiers of $50K and $100K) Higher rates for balances under $50K (top rate requires $15K balance)
Customer Service Offers secure message service. Available by phone 8AM–8PM, 7 days a week. No online chat service Offers secure message service. Available by phone 24/7. Online chat service available
Paper Checks Only checks ordered from ING DIRECT accepted. Checkbook of 50 checks cost $5 Paper checks allowed. Ally standard checks are free.
ATM Fees Free at Allpoint ATMs (network of 35,000 ATMs nationwide) & Capital One ATMs. For other ATMs, there's no reimbursement of ATM fees charged by ATM owners. No Fees. Fees charged by other banks are automatically refunded at end of month at any ATM nationwide
Maximum number of links to external accounts for ACH transfers 3 20, Ally may allow higher limit on request.
Accept mailed checks & money orders for deposit Accept checks but no money orders. No postage paid evelopes Accept checks and money orders. Postage paid envelopes available
Person-to-person payment service Yes. Sender must have recipient's last 4 digits of bank account number. Yes. Popmoney service. Sender doesn't need to know any of recipient's account number
Overdraft Policy No overdraft fees. Provides an overdraft line of credit. Interest charged on the amount borrowed. NSF fee of $9 per day. Overdraft transfer service provides free automatic transfers from Ally savings account to checking account to cover transactions when you exceed your checking balance.
Mobile Banking Yes, full featured Yes, not full featured. 2nd phase scheduled for later in 2012
Online Check Deposit Yes, PC & mobile Yes, PC only. Mobile scheduled for later in 2012

You can also compare rates on checking accounts from both internet banks and brick-and-mortar banks in our checking account rate table. If you don't mind using a debit card, high-yield reward checking accounts pay the best interest rates. Please refer to our table of reward checking accounts.

  Tags: Ally Bank, ING DIRECT, checking account

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Comments
10 comments.
Comment #1 by Ken (not the banking guy) (anonymous) posted on
Ken (not the banking guy)
do ING direct and Ally bank both do hard pull when you open an account?

4
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'd be interested in knowing the policies of these banks w/regard to Pyable On Death beneficiaries. My understanding is that ING hasn't provided for this type of beneficiary arrangement and I believe Ally, where I formerly was an account holder, does permit a POD beneficiary arrangement.

4
Comment #3 by KenBDG posted on
KenBDG
The last time I checked in December, ING DIRECT was still not allowing customers to designate POD beneficiaries. Here is an excerpt of the email reply I received from ING DIRECT:

At this time, we don't offer beneficiary, payable on death or custodial accounts. You may title an account in your own name only or in the name of yourself and a joint holder. You may also choose to register your deposit account as a living trust account.

Ally Bank allows up to 10 beneficiaries (POD or ITF) per account.

4
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Under interest rates for Ally, I think your table should say "Higher rates for balances over $15K"  instead of "Higher rates for balances under $50K."

 

4
Comment #5 by cumulus posted on
cumulus
It's worth noting that any ING external transfer account MUST be
a checking account; i.e., Savings or Money Market accounts are
disallowed.

This makes ING external accounts less flexible/valuable than Ally
transfer accounts (which may be either checking, Savings, or Money
Market).

4
Comment #6 by RJM posted on
RJM
Surprised you didnt mention Billpay and any delays.

My old checking account at Presidential, years ago, their billpay via checkfree, ings is too. But, at PRES, I could enter the date my payment was due and the $ didnt come out of my account until THAT day. With ING, I have to schedule the payment 1 business day AHEAD of the due date so my money is "lost" for a day and I have to keep up with banking holidays. So the loss of interest isnt as bothersome as always having to check the calander to determine exactly when I need to schedule payments to avoid paying early but also avoid being late.

 

I have not tried Allys billpay or checking but I do have a money market and savings with them. I get free checks at Ally so no need to pay for them at ING and really, I use 6 or less paper checks per year.

 

Ally wouldnt reveal who did tgheir billpay which is why I went with ING figuring the learning curve would be shorter.

 

When Pres rate went really low, I attempted to go back to pcbanker but they rejected me apparently because I have great credit and too many bank accounts and was a customer in good standing for years.

3
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
My car lease is through Ally.  Hopefully Ally bank's customer service is different from the awful customer service for their car finance customers in India.

3
Comment #9 by KJR (anonymous) posted on
KJR
re: POD (Payable on Death) designations at ING / now Capital One 360.  I just got off the phone with CO360.  Because Capital One (bank) offers POD designations, they will be offering it to former ING customers soon. 

2
Comment #10 by RJM posted on
RJM
recently tried the check imgage deposits at BOTH places and even with reps walking me thru it, I couldnt get them to accept my images.

A half hour wasted at both places.

1