I received an email the other day asking if it was difficult to open an online savings account.
It could not be easier! We have several accounts at online banks and brokerages, but I thought giving a step by step on opening an account at a popular online bank could be useful for some people. For this example, I will use ING DIRECT, where we have two of our savings accounts.
First off, if you want to open an ING Direct account, there are bonus referrals available to you. Whether through a friend that has an account, another blog you came across or even me, there are referral links that you can sign up with that get you a $25 bonus deposited in your account just opening it. You get $25 and the referrer gets $10. Not bad, huh? If you do not have a referral code and need one, just shoot me at email and I will hook you up. To get the bonus money you DO need to deposit an initial $250, so if you are not planning on depositing that much, you don’t need a referral to sign up. But you can still set up an account because there are no minimums.
That all being said, let’s get started.
The first thing you would do is to visit ING DIRECT directly if you do not have the referral. If you do, clicking on the referral link you have will get you to the same place. Easy enough. When you go to their homepage, there are three orange circles on the left hand side of the page. You want to click on the middle one that says “Open An Account”. Go ahead, click it. I will wait for you.
On this second page, there is a plethora of accounts that you can open, but I will assume you are just looking for a regular old savings account which is called the “Orange Savings Account”. You will see this link in the white section in the first column on the left. Click the “Open Now” link to open your account online. Don’t worry, its safe to do as lots of people have these accounts, myself included.
After clicking on “Open Now”, a new page will open up. Don’t be scared, it is ok. It is supposed to do that. On this new page are the instructions from here on out. Here is what it says:
Simple Steps to Orange Savings
Enter your personal information
Agree to terms and conditions
Electronically make a deposit from your existing checking account
Review information and submit your application
See, told you it was easy. Just click on the giant “OPEN NOW” button.
On this next page you will need to fill in your personal information; name, address, etc. You will also need to pick a pin number, which is kind of like the code you use for your ATM card. But don’t pick that number, pick something else you can remember. You will need this number when you log on to your account. You will also pick a security question, make sure it is something that not too many people know. And be sure to tell them that you do not want your information shared. Once you have filled it all in, click on the “continue” button.
The next page you see will be a page asking you to agree to review your account information electronically. Click on the “accept” button. The next page will ask you to accept the terms of your account. Go ahead and read through them, I am sure you will not see anything strange. Click to accept the terms. For the next step, you will need your checking account information. Go ahead and get it ready, I will wait.
On this next page you will be entering your bank routing number and your actual checking account number. The website tells you exactly where to find this information at the bottom of your checks. These numbers will be used for transferring money between your regular checking account and your new savings account. It will also ask you for the amount of your first deposit. If you signed up under a referral, you will need to deposit at least $250. If not, you can deposit any amount you wish. You can also go ahead and set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account here on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. This is a good way to build up your savings, even if it is only for a few dollars a month to start with.
After you have filled in this information and submitted it, the final page will be a review of your account. Click to accept it if all is well and you have filled everything out correctly. After you submit it, you will be shown a confirmation page. I suggest you print it out so you have a record of signing up for your new account!
You now have an account with ING DIRECT…congrats! You can log in with your customer number and your pin number, but your initial deposits will not be available right away. ING does a security step here of depositing two small $ amounts into your checking account to verify that you own the account listed. These amounts should show up in a few days in your checking account. Be sure to be on the lookout for them. Once these two deposits show up, you need to go back to ING and enter the amounts to verify your account.
And that is it! You now have full access to your account and you can transfer money back and forth. Normally when you send money TO your ING Direct account, it goes in rather quickly. When you request money back out of your ING Direct account and into your checking account, it can take a few days.
I hope this helps the e-mailer with setting up an online savings account, along with anyone else that might be in need of assistance. I am sure the process is about the same for any reputable bank, like Citi or Emigrant Direct or the like. If you have any questions or comments, let me know, and I will do my best to help you out!