They have a ton of cool features that I like to use to help me organize my money, prevent identity theft, make budgeting easier, and give me peace of mind.
Help #1: Categorizing Funds
You can create as many savings accounts as you want. I categorize my money into separate accounts that match my budget each month.
My Checking and Savings accounts:
Instead of having to go into a bank and create separate savings accounts you just create them online. I have opened three savings accounts at one bank and they looked at me like I was crazy. I’m glad I didn’t ask them to create seven!
All you need to do to create a new savings account in ING is to log into your account and click on Open an Account. Go through the process to open an account. Nickname the account to match the name on your budget.
Note: It doesn’t look like it will link to your previous account, but it will show up listed in your account when you log in.
Help #2: Prevent Identity Theft
I have an Electric Orange Checking account. I like it because it earns interest (though the rate is only 0.24% currently), there are no fees or minimums, and it’s completely paperless.
I also like them because they help prevent identity theft. They give you the option to have an email alert sent to you every time a purchase is made with your debit card, or if a purchase goes above a specific amount.
The email is from ING Direct and has the subject of Electric Orange Card Security: Transaction Notification. I usually get the email within 30 minutes of a transaction.
I have found this extremely helpful. I’ve had a previous debit card stolen (though Bank Of America) and didn’t know until I checked my bank account. Now I get an email every time I have a transaction, so I know exactly what is happening on my account when it happens.
Help #3: Forgetting to Save Receipts
I forget to save receipts occasionally (Ok I’ll be honest, quite a bit!). So another great benefit about the email alerts is that I have a record of all of my transactions. A message usually looks like this:
This is a notification that a purchase was made using your Electric Orange Card.
Here are the transaction details:
Merchant: BJ’S WHOLESALE 110 MT. AUBURN AVENUE
$ Amount: $29.55
I usually check my email as soon as I come home from the store. If I have forgotten the receipt, I have this handy record of what store I went to and how much I spent. Usually, I’ll update the budget right away so I remember, but if I don’t I leave that email in my inbox until I do.
You can set up the alerts per debit card, so you can know every time your significant other makes a purchase too. I personally don’t do that, but it might be easier to have one person keep track of all of the spending. Make sure you agree on that first, so it doesn’t seem like you are spying on them!
Help #4: Never Bounce a Check! Or Keep A Cushion
ING Direct has another email alert called “Time to Deposit More Money Notification”. It tells you when your account hits a certain amount that you specify. If it goes below that number, it’s time to deposit more money!
This is useful to prevent bounced checks, but I use it to make sure my $500 cushion is still there. When I budget I always want to have a $500 cushion in case something comes up, and I need to have cash available now. I like to run my checking account to the penny, but have that cushion if needed.
This prevents having to always transfer money from other accounts. If I’m at the mechanic for an oil change, and they tell me I need to fix something, I can just tell them to fix it even if it’s $500. Previously I had to think back to figure out how much was in the account, and decide if I should transfer money from my emergency fund or not.
For more from Jaime check out her blog, Eventual Millionaire, where you can join the journey to be a millionaire by becoming debt free, creating your ideal life style and making your millions doing what you love.
If you don’t have an ING Direct account, be sure to check out The Orange Savings Account. Earn high interest. Great rates, no fees, no minimums. Start saving in under 5 minutes.