Despite Lower Rate, Why I Love Saving With ING

Astute readers may notice that I often plug my high yield savings accounts review. (See?)

Yes, I earn affiliate commissions from that page, but even if not, I would still plug it. I love helping readers start saving. An interesting observation I have made, however, is that new savers choose the highest interest rate (currently HSBC) about 8 to 1 over the other banks, despite their unique attributes. I actually save with ING despite their lower APY, and I am very happy with my decision. A recent email from ING reinforced that sentiment.

For starters, ING Direct was the first totally online bank. They took the risk, and I admire entrepreneurial pioneers. But that’s just a start.

Secondly, ING Direct takes account security very seriously. You can tell when you sign up because you have to answer about 10 security questions.

In fact, in a recent study of bank fraud, ING had among the lowest instances of fraud. Incidentally, HSBC had among the most. (To be fair, HSBC is monstrous in size compared to ING, so it is possible scammers target more well-known banks).

Perhaps most importantly, ING Direct is first a savings bank. You get the sense they want you to save money and spend wisely. To get out of debt. And to live a balanced financial life.

Do I sound crazy? I am, after all, talking about a bank. Let’s not kid ourselves, they are in it to make money by loaning out the money we save. OK. But this week I received an email from ING Direct noting its seventh year in business and reflecting on continuing growth. Then, they wrote about this year’s mortgage crises and added something profound:

“The fact that ING DIRECT was not adversely affected is a testament to our operating philosophy that, as Americans, we should only buy houses we can afford. That way we can keep them for years to come. We believe a mortgage is a contract that both parties should execute in good faith and expect to see through to its conclusion. We will not waver from our sworn promise to provide you with great value, service and convenience.”

Hopefully it is true and not just fuzzy marketing speak, but one thing I know is that this isn’t other big banks’ philosophies.

Take HSBC, for example. HSBC underwrites numerous lending arms that prey on people with low incomes and bad credit. I’ll never forget I once received an unsolicited credit offer from HSBC. It was a real check for $5,000. Not a fake one like a lot of mailers use. A real check I could take to the bank. Of course, if I were to cash it I would be enrolled in a 60-month personal loan at 23% APR! And to imagine that some people probably cashed (and spent) that check before they ever even knew what they were in for.

So I’d just like to say to ING, thanks for going about banking the right way. I’m a happy customer and hope to be for a very long time. Learn more about ING Direct and other high yield savings accounts.

Have you had an experience with a company that makes you happy to be their customer? It seems so rare these days!

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


  1. I love ING too. It was the first online bank I tried a few years ago and I must say I have been completely pleased with the service.

    I did have one time when they reduced my overdraft (not that I would ever use it) but I called and they got it fixed the next day.

    They have great customer service and the site is easy to use. It is my main savings account and I also have my main checking there with their Electric Orange too.

  2. I have had good experiences with USAA. I travel a lot internationally and they have some of the most user-friendly policies for using foreign ATM’s. Also, they refund up to fifteen dollars’ worth of ATM fees in the US, and their online banking systems are streamlined and secure.

    Their financial advice and customer support are top-notch, as well. Because phone and email are the only ways they communicate with account holders (they don’t have physical branches), their systems are well-designed and it’s easy to talk to a human– even when you’re eleven time zones away!

  3. I’m also a fan of ING Direct. If you don’t mind, I’m going to link to this post on my website. Even though I’m a a happy customer of ING Direct, I’m in the process of moving some of my emergency fund to Vanguards Tax Exempt Money Market fund (VMSXX). The current Yield is 2.83%. Since it’s tax exempt, that’s equivalent to 3.77% if you are in the 25% tax bracket. Not bad! Of course, it’s not FDIC insured.

  4. Oh yeah, USAA is awesome. If you or one of your parents was in the military, it is a seriously great opportunity for banking, insurance, and investing.

    I have ING too for rainy day savings, they are pretty cool too.

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