Friday, February 24, 2006

Online Savings Accounts...The Good and the Bad.

Online savings accounts are the recent craze...seems that what ING started has taken off and now there are tons of online savings accounts with ING, HSBC, and Emigrant in the spotlight. Personally, I stick to the big names, and have not ventured too much into the lesser known or regional banks just because I like knowing my money is going to be there. Even with FDIC insurance, I just don't want to deal with something I just don't feel comfortable with. I have an ING and a HSBC account, so I'll compare the two. I've been with ING for over a year now, it's a great account. The interface is simple and easy to use, opening additional CDs are amazingly easy, viewing your interest daily is a nice touch, and their site is pretty secure. I only have two complaints about ING, first their interest rates have slowly fallen behind. Their "Winter Savings" program is nice, but only for new money and for 3 months, not that great in my opinion. My second complaint is that their customer service is not open 24 hours a day. It's not critical, but I like being able to call on the weekends and late at night. With HSBC, I've only been using them for a month or so. The process of opening an account is, for the most part, straightfoward. The only "gotcha" that I wish I knew before opening is that I should choose "ATM Card." Other than that, it was smooth sailing. I did receive my $25 bonus for opening the account, which you can get by going here and entering "start" as the promo code. Be sure to check the expiration, at the time I'm writing this, the promo will end on 4/30/06. Their interface is a little more tricky and cluttered. Their bank to bank transfer system is also more complicated then INGs. They do offer higher rates than ING though, which is why I ultimately ended up opening the account. If you asked me to choose, I'd say it's a toss up. If you like interest, then HSBC. If you want a cleaner, more polished experience, ING. If you decide on opening an ING account, let me refer'll get you $25, and I'll get $10. Just shoot me an email, financial dot freedumb at gmail dot com.

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