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What is the ING Direct Refer a Friend Program?

Posted by martinharford on August 27, 2009

For a relatively long time now ING Direct Canada has been offering a program to encourage their current customers to get people they know, whether friends, family or associates, to sign up for an account.

The program essentially gives both the person referring and the person being referred a small bonus as long as a certain minimal deposit amount.

The deposit:

Currently this minimum amount is $100 and can be deposited into any type of account with ING Direct.  This includes pretty much any account that ING offers whether it be RSP, TFSA or regular.

The reward/bonus:

While in the past the values of the referral bonus has varied a bit, typically $13 but the program has been cancelled at times and was $0 for a while.  Currently the reward is $25 for each the referrer and the person signing up.

According to ING Canada you are supposed to get the bonus within 24hrs of depositing the minimal $100 into your account.  Note the distinction between 24hrs from opening your account and 24hrs from depositing the money.  As the typical manner of depositing the money is a check in the mail this of course will likely be more then just one day and could be as much as a few weeks depending on how fast postal mail takes your check to Toronto.

Signing up & actually getting the bonus:

All this information is great, however I have left out one important part, how does ING Direct know that you have been referred to sign up for the account and hence how do you get the money for being referred?

Well, put when you are referred you should be given a referral code which ING calls an Orange Key.  How you get this key is relatively unimportant to them just as long as you use it when you sign up.

It is of course important to include the referral code when you sign up for whatever account you have chosen.  Without the code you will not be able to get the bonus money.

Getting the referral code or Orange Key:

As already stated as far as ING is concerned it doesn’t really matter where you get the code just as long as you use it when sign up.  In fact they’d probably prefer that you didn’t use it when you sign up since it would save them money.

So where do you find a code?

Well maybe you have a friend that is already an ING Direct customer and as such would love to share their Orange Key with you.

Short of that you can of course search the internet for one as there are plenty of people out there who are posting theirs in various places all over the internet.  A word of caution with doing that is simply that the ones you might find may no longer be valid so just be sure that the number has been posted relatively recently.

You could of course use the one I have posted here (34908230S1), which I know is valid since I do find my account getting the bonus from time to time.  As you may guess this is my preference, but feel free to do however you like.

Conclusion:

While I wouldn’t necessarily say that everyone should just go out and sign up with ING Direct Canada just because they can get $25 when the do it.  I would say that if you are planning on doing so I would make certain that I had valid Orange Key since there certainly is no harm in getting yourself an extra bit of money.

Posted in $25, Canada, ING Direct, Online Banking, Orange Code, Orange Key | 19 Comments »

Using online banks

Posted by martinharford on August 14, 2009

People have been turning to online banks for years as a way save themselves money from banking fees.  It is as well as a way to get a better return on their deposits then they can get from traditional banks.  However, there have been some people who have transitioned from the traditional banks only to later regret it when they discover that some services they took for granted are not available with their new bank.

Questions you may want answered before making the switch likely include:

  • What services can I expect from an online bank?
  • How do online banks save me money?
  • Why doesn’t everyone use online banks?

What services can I expect from an online bank?

In general an online (or discount) bank provides most of the basic services that traditional banks offer as well.  Essentially this means that you can both deposit and borrow money from these banks, how this is performed and the portfolio of services offered varies greatly between online banks.

The first and standard service offered is typically a high interest savings account, the actual interest rate can vary between different banks but you are more or less guaranteed a rate much higher then any traditional bank.

Next are low interest loans which is effectively the counterpart to the savings account.  The reason why these banks can offer these services is because they have a low overhead having effectively no physical presence in the “real” world.

Other services that you might find include chequing accounts, mutual funds, and credit cards.  This may seem like an exhaustive list but for some it may not cover all their needs.

How do online banks save me money?

Unlike your traditional banks, online ones do not have a significant presence in the physical world.  This alone difference allows them to offer services at a substantially discounted rate.

Typically, you will not pay any fees for any services offered by online banks.  With this said there are some cases where they will charge for some services such as non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees or fees for using ATMs outside your network.

The next way is that these banks also offer better interest rates then other banks.   This means you get a higher interest on your deposits and you pay a lower rate on your loans from them.  Again, this is effectively due to the bank passing on their savings on to you for not have any (or many) branches.

Why doesn’t everyone use online banks?

The big one would be because they want to be able to talk to someone face to face.  Although some do have a handful of locations to talk to someone they are typically either not very convenient or not common.  Examples includes PC has locations in Loblaws (and subsidiary) stores, and ING has a couple in a few major cities.

There are also other reason too:

  • perhaps you want to have an add-on trading account
  • maybe you want to travel overseas and use ATMs there
  • you need a chequing account
  • etc

And then there’s just the comfort factor in knowing that there is a physical bank to got to if you wanted.  Although I believe the fear of dealing with companies without ever seeing them is going away I think this probably remains a common factor.

Posted in ING Direct, Online Banking, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

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.

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 »

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 »

ING Direct increases sign up Bonus to $25

Posted by martinharford on June 30, 2009

For years now ING Direct Canada has been offering a sign up bonuses of $13 to new customers.  This is most likely of no news to most people familiar with the company.

However, as of June 30, 2009 they have decided to increase they’re offer from $13 to $25.

The same speculations of course still apply:

  • Deposit $100 into your account
  • Enter the Orange Key when signing up
  • The account being with the ING Direct Canada portion of ING Direct (other divisions have different promotions)

This is a considerable increase in their incentive considering that it is a 25% return with no requirement for further investment.  Add to that the fact that ING Direct also gives an equal amount to the person referring the other this means that ING Direct is giving away a whole 50% of the initial investment, which could then be simply withdrawn from the account (I assume there are time restrictions which I haven’t read further into) this is very considerable.

However, I imagine that ING Canada is of course assuming, presumably rightfully, that most people will invest more then the minimum amount and likely for an extended period of time.  This making the value to the company more than that of the few that may choose to abuse the system.

There has been a little bit of confusion online with people advertising that they have a “rare” $25 Orange Key.  This is in fact incorrect as of June 30, 2009 all valid Orange Keys that previous were giving $13 are now giving the new amount.  So if you have an old number that a friend gave you but you heard about the new amount feel free to use to get the higher amount (although you might still feel safer just asking him or her to be sure).

Posted in $25, ING Direct, Online Banking, Orange Code, Orange Key | 5 Comments »

Get $13 free from ING Direct Canada (now $25)

Posted by martinharford on June 23, 2009

ING Direct Bank of Canada is a web based bank available for all residents of Canada who have valid Social Insurance Numbers.

One great advantage in having an account with this bank is that their interest rates are very favourable in comparison to that of the other mainstream banks available in Canada. This goes for both investing money with them (ie Savings Accounts) as well as borrowing money at a lower rate.

Unfortunately, for some, this comes with a bit of a draw back, since in order to achieve these great rates ING has very few locations that are available to speak to a person face to face. Which may come as an inconvenience, however they’re very accessible website as well as they’re phone availability makes up for most who do not need that service.

A program that is only somewhat well known by the public is ING’s Orange Key promotion which allows new customers to sign up with a $100 deposit and receive a $13 bonus in their account. Unfortunately for some times these keys are not readily available (one know key is 16157624S1 which worked at the time of writing).

Keep in mind that you need to be a Canadian Resident with a valid Social Insurance Number in order to open an account with ING Direct. And of course you need to both enter in a valid Orange Key (ie the aforementioned 16157624S1) as well as deposit $100 before you will be given your money.

Update: As of June 30, 2009 the bonus about has been increase to $25

Posted in Canada, ING Direct, Orange Code, Orange Key | 11 Comments »