ING Electric Orange
Why? It’s a complex answer, but the meat of it boils down to this: interest.
ING Direct offers almost all of the same features as banking with a standard brick & mortar bank, but also has an interest rate of around 4-4.5% (APY), whereas Chase (and probably your bank too) offers interest at sub-1.0%.
There are downsides to Electric Orange.
One is that there is no physical bank for you to go to. Since I haven’t been inside a Chase/BankOne branch for probably 2+ years, this doesn’t matter to me. My wife and I have direct deposit.
Second, you don’t get a real checkbook. You can have paper checks sent via the website, but you can’t whip out the checkbook to pay for a pizza, for instance. I don’t write a lot of paper checks anymore, especially since I started using online bill pay. But this can be hassle sometimes.
Third, you can’t really deposit cash or checks directly. You can send endorsed check by mail to be deposited, but that takes way too long. Direct deposit works, but for everything else, I have to keep my Chase account open and linked to this account. Even so, transfers from Chase to ING can take 3-4 days or more. Because I don’t want to pay fees to Chase, I have to keep my wife’s direct deposit to Chase. This is my only gripe with ING, and I’m not sure there’s a good workaround now or will there be soon.
Despit these downsides, I’m still sticking with Electric Orange. I have literally made more money on interest in the last 3 months than I have made in my life with normal savings/checking accounts. Combine this with the ease of opening CD accounts with ING (at 4.75%-5.25% interest), and ING becomes a fine oiled interest generating machine.
Oh, and then there’s this 2-month promotion that I had no idea was going on:
Nice! Free money!
In conclusion, it’s not for everyone, but I think it’s great.