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I was always rather dubious of internet banking. For some reason it just seemed a rather iffy proposition. I didnít feel entirely safe. Then, whilst looking for a place to store my pennies (hopefully to build a deposit for a mortgage - but I live in London, soÖ weep!) I was recommended ING Direct by a friend and so thought Iíd look into it, there wasnít really much to lose by looking at a website except maybe five minutes of my time.
And so what was ING Direct? Ií seen the ads, butÖ ING Direct is a Dutch bank that works entirely on the internet, by phone or post and hence has no branches and fewer overheads. It is apparently well respected in mainland Europe but rather new over here. It has one single savings account which currently pays the set figure of 4.1% interest. Not bad, huh?
After having read the blurb and looked over the information on the website I decided to give it a go. It didnít seem an onerous task to open an account unlike most bank accounts Iíve ever had to open, where Iíve had to come and go as Iíve been told I need this, then that, and oh, what aboutÖ etc. till Iím ready to scream and give up.
In this case it was simple. All that is required to start with is for you to fill in your date of birth, address and bank details and for to choose your PIN number and Password. Thena send a check to ING Direct payable to yourself and wait for it to clear. After which they will send you some general information and details of your customer and account number, which you need to be able to log in over the internet.
You can also open your account by phone but as I didnít take this approach Iím not entirely sure what is necessary, though I would suggest that it is no different than registering over the internet except youíre talking to a live human being. Customer Services are open Monday-Friday 7am-11pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-9pm. - on 0800 376 8844 Ė so itís free too, which is always a good sign!
The first payment via cheque is from as little as £1 so you donít have to worry about building up a sizeable amount before opening your account as some high interest accounts appear to be.
So after everything has arrived and you can log into your account you have the choice of having different sub-accounts, each named differently. So if you want to have two accounts, one for a deposit for a mortgage (like me) and one saving for a rainy day then you could call them ďMortgageĒ (not very inspired Iíll grant you) and ďrainy day,Ē so it is clear which account is for which purpose. As far as Iím aware there is absolutely no limit to the number of named accounts you can open. These can be opened form the log-in section so itís no time consuming or difficult to do at all. Though it seems if you own a joint account you have to do this over the phone.
An added bonus (to my mind anyway) is that Interest is paid monthly and for which you are not penalised. Often bank accounts seem to penalise savers who open accounts that pay monthly but no such churlishness here!
How about moving your money? This is simplicity itself. Simply log into your account and choose the amount that you want to move from your current account into which ING Direct account (or vice versa) and click ok. You can do this to make one off transfers on that day or another specified date or set up regular direct debits between accounts.
You can also move money into your ING Direct from another bank account which ING Direct does not have the details of, by either posting a check to ING Direct or by contacting your bank directly. The details are all on the website when youíve logged in.
It usually takes about 3 banking days to move money which is maybe the one drawback because in this modern age of instantaneous information transfer you would have thought this rather to be a more speedy process, but apparently not.
Personally I have had absolutely no problems with ING Direct and would recommend them to any one as it is easier to sit down in comfort at home and click the mouse a few times than have to trudge down to my local bank and queue.
But see what you think.
But lastly, and most importantly! The URL. http://www.ingdirect.co.uk
I've just opened an account and sent off a cheque for my first deposit. I have money in a Halifax Cashcard, a National Savings account, and a Bradford & Bingley Easy ISA. I'm closing the NS account soon and putting the money into ING Direct.
The high interest rates and it being easy to use tempted me from the TV adverts but it's good to know that people already using the service are having good experiences.
natalierees 24.11.2003 20:59
I have seen these adverts and always been tempted - think you may have converted me with the old proverbial kick that I generally need!!!
CareBear 24.11.2003 15:32
All my spare pennies go into my mortgage but this is one bank I will be keeping my eye on for those mortgage free days!