You know you should be saving money, right? Everyone realizes that, although how much and where and all of that are separate issues. What you might not realize is that online savings banks are a smart choice for savvy consumers, both in terms of ease-of-use and interest rates.
I happen to use ING Direct. (No, I am not affiliated with them in any way. Just a happy customer.) There are other online options, of course, though I’ve been very happy with ING. Let me count the ways….
- They gave me free money. I opened my account when they were running a special where new accounts were credited $100. I don’t think they’re running that same promotion right now, but they might do it (or something else good) at some point again.
- Linking up to my local bank accounts was secure and easy. I transfer money between accounts without any problems.
- The interest rate is much higher than what my local bank offers. Orange Savings accounts (at ING) are currently offering 4.35% APY. I forget what the rate was when I opened the account, but it goes up all the time. I get an email that says “Congratulations! Your rate just went up!” and I feel all warm and fuzzy, each time it happens. [And yes—I’m not going to give up local banking entirely, because there are good and reasonable reasons to be able to walk into your local branch and deal with a human, but for a savings account? This is fine.]
- I get email alerts about other deals, like hot CD rates. It never occurs to me to check CD rates at the bank. But if I get an email telling me that rates are high on a 9-month CD, chances are good that I can find a little bit of money to throw that way.
- Out of sight, out of mind. I don’t touch the money in that account, and part of the reason it’s easy not to dip into it is because I don’t see it all that often. I’m mucking around in and balancing my other accounts each and every month. I check into my ING account every few months (usually when I get a rate increase email) and just pat myself on the back and feel relieved to know that if I had some dire emergency, I’d have some money I could access.
Take a look at the online savings bank options. Do your research, and make sure they’re FDIC insured, and then start thinking about how you can save a bit more than you’re currently socking away. Even $5 or $10 each month adds up.
And I’ll tell you a secret. As addictive as shopping can be? Saving money can be even more addictive. Crazy, huh? I swear it’s true.