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About eighteen months ago I took out a personal loan to upgrade my car, but illness has since prevented me from doing so. I didn't want to leave the money in my current account when it could be accrue better interest elsewhere. A quick check on what was available on the high street soon had me using the Internet.
That was where I discovered www.ingdirect.co.uk. The first thing that struck me was the simplicity of the site, which was not plastered with self-advertisement and distracting graphics cluttering up the screen. For me there is nothing more irritating.
The whole site is co-ordinated in the colours of orange and dark blue used on a plain, white background with text in white or dark blue.
The simplicity of the site design seems to be applied to the whole business. All the information required is clearly laid out and easy to understand. They are solely a savings bank and they pay the same interest rate whether you have £1 or £10,000. When I first opened my account the Annual Equivalent Rate (AER), which illustrates the interest rate if it was paid and compounded each year, was just 4.3%, has risen to 5% and is currently 4.75%. I have just been notified that they do not intend reducing this rate following the recent raising of the borrowing rate by the Bank of England.
You can open an account online, by telephone or post, and they ask you to send them a cheque for £1 cashed against the current account you want linked to the savings account. They use this to set up a direct debit but you do not need to save a set amount unless you wish to as it just puts in a route between the accounts.
You can access your money whenever you want to, with no penalties, but it does take about three working days for a transfer to go through the system. This would apply to any savings account not at the same bank as your current one.
I have never had any problems with ING Direct and it is the only bank, which has backdated a rise in its saving rate to the beginning of a month following a rise in borrowing interest rates. In a survey 98% of customers sampled said they were happy to recommend ING Direct to their friends (Source: TNS sample of 1,934) and so would I.
NB Specific Criteria rated 'average' are not applicable.