ING Direct Orange Key

How to save money and earn extra money with banking

Archive for July, 2009

PC Financial or ING Direct?

Posted by martinharford on July 28, 2009

Admittedly, I am a person who deal with banks almost exclusively over the internet and phone.  Years ago I was a customer of RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) who I effectively choose by default due to it being the only bank in the town I lived in.  Since then I have decided to switch to switch to online banks due mainly to the fact that there are no fees and they have higher Savings & GIC account interest rates.

Initially I chose to go with PC Fincancial, the bank which is linked to the Canadian grocery chain Loblaws (although it has many different names).  And later decided to add ING Direct to my mix.

While selecting a bank I had a fair amount of decision making to like you do always.  Which leads to the typical questions:

  • What is so great about ING Direct?
  • What is so great about PC Financial?
  • Which one is better?

What’s so great about ING Direct?

Savings Rates

While not the absolute top for interest on a savings account, ING Direct typically offers interest rates near the top of all banks in Canada.  Additionally, ING frequently has some promotion going on where you can get a higher interest rate for at least a few months.

Mutual Funds

As I have already stated in a previous post ING’s streetwise mutual funds are a pretty quick and simple choice for anyone starting out in mutual fund investing.  Although I think it’s probably a good choice also for those people who have been doing it a long time too.

Free debit card

You get an ING debit card that you can use to withdraw from your account.  I personally have never used it since I primarily use my PC debit for most transactions.

Some free money

For those people who are new customers and have a promotion code to enter (ie Orange Key)

No fees

As with most online banks they do not charge you for any of their services.

What is so great about PC Financial?

(Almost) Full Service Bank

PC Financial offers all the services of a brick and mortar bank.  You can have a checking account, choose from one of several savings accounts, GICs, a MasterCard, etc.  PC uses CIBC bank machines so you don’t have to pay for ATM fees at any of their machines.

I say almost because I know of people who have switched from PC Financial due to them needing services that are not offered.

Free checks

When you set up a checking account you will be sent a free book of checks.  And you can get additional checks whenever you move (with your new address) or when you run out.

PC Points

When you use your card and most especially you PC MasterCard you get free points which can be redeemed against your purchases at any Loblaws stores or their subsidiaries.  The most significant is the points you get with your MasterCard which comes to the equivalent of 1% cashback.

Savings rates

Like ING, PC Financial has fairly high interest rates, although at the time of writing ING is higher.

Few fees

For most services PC doesn’t charge, such as using your debit card, monthly account fees etc.  However, they do charge for the typical bank extras such as NSF (non sufficient funds) and like, which I would imagine ING does too.

Which one is better?

This is a tough one, if you are in need of a bank and need a checking account (who doesn’t?) then you are likely to choose PC Financial at least for that.

If you are just looking for a safe and easy place to put your savings I would think ING would take top prize.

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Posted in ING Direct, Online Banking, Orange Key | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

What is the Orange Key at ING Direct?

Posted by martinharford on July 21, 2009

So you are ready to sign up for an ING Direct account, you click on the link saying “Sign Me UP!!”

You proceed to fill out all the questions about yourself and then at the bottom of the page you see a field for something called an “Orange Key”

This of course makes you wonder, what exactly is this?  If I fill it out will it benefit me in anyway?

What is the Orange Key?

To answer your first question, the Orange Key is a promotional code that ING can use to track the various promotions it has in effect at any point in time.  The most common one that I am aware of is their refer a friend promotion.

This friend referral program is offered to any person who has an ING Direct account already in the form of giving each current customer an Orange Key number with their account.  With it alone the customer actually cannot benefit what so ever.  In order to gain any benefit this customer has to persuade their friend, coworkers, relatives or anyone else to open an account presumably by saying how great it is being a customer is and all the benefits.

Okay, so how could this benefit me?

This gets me to what matters the most.

Now that a customer has convinced another to signup he then gives the new person his Orange Key.  With it the person signing up get a bonus when they deposit $100 into their new account.  Currently this bonus is $25 which ING Canada gives to both the person signing up and to the person that helped them to sign up, which ING knows by way of the code.

Summary:

If you sign up for an account with ING you can get $25 if you give include an Orange Key.

How can I learn more?

To find more about the Orange Key program feel free to check my Orange Key page or you can take a look on the ING Direct Canada page explaining the refer a friend program.

Posted in ING Direct, Orange Code, Orange Key, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 32 Comments »

ING to offer a New Children Savings Account

Posted by martinharford on July 16, 2009

Recently, I was reading my messages I get from ING in my account screen and I noticed a new offering for a Children Savings Account, which they have abbreviate (as ING likes to do) as CSA.  Although I don’t actually have any children that could potentially benefit from this program I decided to read on (I’m a bit of an information junkie).

The short version of the story is that you can setup an account for a minor as long as you are a legal guardian.  Once set up, your child would have the equivalent of a regular ISA but you apparently have the ability to watch the account somehow.  There is of course one additional necessity, you have to be a customer of ING direct as well.

Additionally for a limited time ING is offering a $25 bonus for deposits of $100 or more.  There appears to be no option for the use of yours or anyone else’s Orange to get that bonus as well.

If this sounds interesting you can check it out at:

http://www.ingdirect.ca/en/save-invest/csa/

Posted in $25, Canada, ING Direct, Orange Key | 1 Comment »

Moved from Blogger to WordPress

Posted by martinharford on July 12, 2009

I don’t believe it is a very big issue for most people as I do not believe there is much traffic on my yet for it to warrant a major uprising on this change.  However, I just wanted to appologize to anyone who may have been initially directed to the old location.  My reason for the change was simple I didn’t like the interface that was offered to me to edit my blog I found it a bit too much, that and the slight differences available to me here in wordpress make it a better match for me.  On top of it all I believe that working with the WordPress.com interface will make it easy for me to transition to a self managed WordPress blog if I were to ever decide to start one.

With that being said, welcome to my new location.  I hope you enjoy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

What ever happened to the Non-Streetwise Funds?

Posted by martinharford on July 11, 2009

I was a bit curious about the mutual funds that ING Direct used to offer after writing my previous post about their Streetwise funds. So I decided to ask them what happened to them.

Well, it turns out that if you currently are an owner of any of these funds you’re in luck. You can still continue to invest in them as you had before, but of course you still have to call them to make any changes as well most likely a sales pitch about the Streetwise fund and why you should switch.

So if you are new to investing with ING Mutual funds, then I’m sorry to say that you cannot invest in their old portfolio. But I suspect it just as likely that you were unaware that there was a different list to choose from anyway. Add to my previously stated fact that I think the Streetwise funds are better for beginner investers anyway so I don’t think there’s any harm done. As well let’s be honest if you are a more advanced investor you’re looking for a company that lets you do online trades with better support then what ING has to offer anyway.

Overall, I think it was a great decision on the ING’s part to eliminate the old scheme and replace it with the three tier system they have now.

For those of you interested this is the sales pitch I received from ING Direct:

We no longer offer third party funds to our new clients. Only those clients that currently have third party funds with us can invest from our list of those funds. The Streetwise Fund is our simple one fund solution. It is the only fund available to our new clients since January 2008.
Please consider the Streetwise Fund. The Streetwise Fund is a diversified and balanced index fund. Research indicates to us that 80% of fund managers that try to outperform the market have not been able to consistently do so in the long-run. Therefore, why not go with the market? Instead of trying to outperform the markets, the Streetwise Fund goes with the market by replicating indices. The Streetwise Fund replicates indices for Canadian Bonds, Canadian Equities, U.S. Equities, and International Equities.

The average Management Expense Ratio for balanced funds in the market is 2.6% approximately. The Streetwise Fund is passively managed and therefore has a low Management Expense Ratio of only 1%. There are therefore more dollars left in your fund to work for you. There are no loads, and no commissions to buy or sell.

As with all mutual funds, there is no guarantee of the principal or the returns. There is an element of risk. Investing in a diversified fund for the long-term gives a client the potential of outperforming interest bearing accounts.

Posted in ING Direct, Mutual Funds, Non-Streetwise | Leave a Comment »

ING Direct Streetwise Mutual Funds

Posted by martinharford on July 8, 2009

Some time ago ING Direct Canada started offering Mutual funds as a part of their investment offerings. What was nice about this is they had a reasonable mutual fund portfolio to choose from. What was no nice was that you had to call ING Mutual Funds every time you wanted to make any changes to your holdings. Additionally every time you would call they would ask you to update you “risk” portfolio which in my opinion has absolutely no value and only takes up time making changes. I would have appreciated the ability to change and rebalance automatically or online but that was not available.

Fortunately since then ING has started offering a new series of “Streetwise” mutual funds. These funds are simply investments in different index to different degrees depending on which of the three you pick.

Streetwise Income Fund

  • 70% Bond Index
  • 10% Canadian Stock Index
  • 10% US Stock Index
  • 10% International Stock Index

Streetwise Balanced Fund

  • 40% Bond Index
  • 20% Canadian Stock Index
  • 20% US Stock Index
  • 20% International Stock Index

Streetwise Growth Fund

  • 25% Bond Index
  • 25% Canadian Stock Index
  • 25% US Stock Index
  • 25% International Stock Index

Further explaination of the funds

Personally I think this is a very good option for someone just starting out with investing (ie less then $50,000 in investments) because:

  1. No buying or selling fees
  2. Low minimum initial investment
  3. Invests only in indexes keeping the managment fees low (currently 0.8%)
  4. Great diversity in one fund

There are quite a few index funds out there but to my knowledge none that are provide the diversity found in these. And of course statistically indexes outperform most manage funds in the long run especially considering the increased management funds involved.

For those of you interested in reading the actual prospectus you can get it here:
Prospectus

Posted in ING Direct, Mutual Funds | Leave a Comment »