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ING Sub-Accounts

Have I ever told you about my savings accounts?

(God, isn’t that just the worst way to start a blog entry?  How many people do you think immediately clicked away after the first sentence?)

There are a lot of people who are extremely diligent about trying to find the best possible interest rate for their savings.  Websites like MoneyRates and BankRate will execute searches to find the highest offered savings interest on any given day (well, except maybe Sundays, since God allegedly doesn’t approve of interest payments).  The best rates are, without exception as far as I can tell, always from online banking institutions rather than brick-and-mortar banks, because without having to pay maintenance fees on, you know, bricks and mortar, online banks are able to pass their reduced overhead on to their customers.  So, that’s one route for housing some savings.

Another (less wise) method would be finding a convenient bank with which to keep your savings.  This, in my case, is the basis for my decision to keep my checking account with the much-detested Chase, which has a branch only three blocks from my house, not to mention the fact that they have, I believe, over 14 trillion ATMs in the city of Chicago alone.  But, even with my checking account conveniently housed in the vast vaults of J.P. Morgan’s ghost (who is still the acting CEO in spite of his somewhat ethereal behavior), I’m not dumb enough to overlook the fact that Chase only pays 0.01% annual interest on a savings account.

I found a happy medium, opting not for the best interest, nor for the most convenient bank I could find.  Instead, I went for the one with the coolest online features.  (This is typical of me; I like innovation, creativity, bells, and sometimes whistles.)  The winner:  ING Direct, home of the ingenious sub-account.

Now, to summarize:  I only have one savings account with ING, but it’s partitioned into six different, separately titled sub-accounts, each of which can be directed using their “automated savings program” to conduct transactions among themselves or with non-ING accounts.  So, when my paycheck arrives in my checking account every other week, I’m technically just transferring a chunk of it to my ING account…but what I’m really doing is transferring a mini-chunk to my emergency savings, a mini-chunk to my vacation savings, a mini-chunk to my “big ticket” fund (which will be spent in its entirety on our upcoming move…so long, big screen TV dreams), and so on.

ING also has a vast array of features intended to create a sort of culture (cult?) of savers…a blog about saving, a section for personal testimonials, tips for frugality.  It’s sort of a cool little corner of the banking world.  What’s more, ING as a company discourages people from keeping too much money with them.  That is, if someone is housing hundreds of thousands of dollars with them, they are apparently polite enough to suggest that that person pursue one of the plethora of possible ways to make more than [today’s current rate of] 1.00% interest for everything besides their rainy-day funds and other smaller accounts.

Now, I have no beef with people who want to seek out higher interest rates.  But, with rates changing every day and banks constantly competing with one another, it seems more important to me to find a trustworthy, comfortable, and well-designed place for your money.  ING’s sub-accounts are all I need to make me a loyal and long-term customer.  And also sort of a fanboy.  And also, apparently a shill.  Oh well.

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