The personal finance community always talk about online savings accounts but seldom, if ever, does anyone inquire about the actual institution that readers use. Why only listen to one of us talk about a particular offering when everyone on the face of this planet have experiences with them? Today, let’s find out by asking.
Which online bank (if any) do you use for your savings? Are you using it out of convenience or is it because you think the online savings account you use is the best out there?
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair for me to pose the question and not share, so let me share my online savings history.
Disclaimer: I have accounts with a ton of banks, but these are online savings accounts that I actually deposited a meaningful amount for a certain period of time.
ING to Ally, and the Windy Road
I’m almost embarrassed to say that I applied for so many different savings account over the years. Here’s a brief history of how I started and which one I’m with right now.
It All Started with ING Direct
Years ago, way before I started this site, I bought into the bouncing orange ball idea and opened an ING Direct account. I didn’t know much about automatic savings or CD ladders, but the higher yield was reason enough for me to give it a try. The decision opened my eyes. It was the first step in seeing just how much the banks were ripping us off with interests that amounts to a whole lot of nothing.
One particular minor feature I loved – the “SINCE OPENED YOUR ORANGE ACCOUNT(S) EARNED” ball at the top left hand corner. This simple addition of showing me how much interests I earned over the years was not only motivating, it was fun to look at and made me look forward to receiving the statements.
Eventually, the rate chase started and I ended up with Emigrant Direct. I had no idea what the company was about and to be honest, the extreme no frills and basic interface didn’t exactly inspire that much confidence. Then again, I was young and didn’t know any better. Luckily, the decision to move didn’t cost me anything as I got better rates and never had a problem.
Etrade Complete Savings
Moving to Etrade was as natural as asking my bank to bid on a mortgage loan because I was a happy Etrade brokerage customer. When I found out that Etrade allowed me to essentially store my left over cash at an astounding 5% (can you believe it was the rate at the time?), there was no reason to use anyone else. The flexibility of instant transfers between the brokerage and savings account remain to this day, but there’s much less incentive at the current yield.
Around the same time, I also opened a HSBC Direct account. Growing up in HK, HSBC was an iconic brand and I jumped on the opportunity when they started promoting their online offering. The rates were always comparable, and it made me feel safe that my money was with a global brand that is much larger than even the biggest U.S. competitors.
Since that time, I started writing about personal finance and found out about FNBO Direct. I was attracted by the color schemes (I’m not joking. I am very tired of every these bank’s lack of design), the great rates but most of all, the fact that they don’t charges for bill pay privileges. It’s amazing but the little details are always what sets the better offering from the others.
It was weird but what triggered me to look into Ally Bank was the questions surrounding its ties with GMAC and GM when the automaker was going through bankruptcy. Eventually, I learned that since they weren’t quite General Motors, had rates higher than pretty much everyone else and the accounts were FDIC insured up to $250,000, my money would be safe.
One thing led to another and to this day, I still have my short term savings with Ally Bank.
The Start of a Long Journey
Who knows where my short term savings will be and I’m sure my online savings account of choice will change again as rate changes and more options pop up everyday. But enough about me. Which high yield savings do you recommend? Is there one that we should look into because it’s just better?
- Emigrant Direct – Official Site
- Etrade – Official Site
- FNBO Direct – Official Site
- Ally Bank – Official Site
- Online Savings Accounts – With Updated Rates