Here’s an easy way to make $25 cash and open a high-interest online savings account (currently earning
3.5% 3.75%) for just a few minutes of your time.
Ing Direct is a very popular online bank that will pay you a $25 cash bonus for opening a free account with them. Ing is purely an online bank with no physical branches, which honestly made me a bit skeptical at first, but they turn it into a strength by keeping their overhead low and offering a high interest rate. I signed up for an account with them in June 2004 after my financial advisor recommended their Orange Savings Account as a good place to keep extra cash. My family now has four Ing Direct accounts (for myself, my wife, our daughter, and our son). And the nice thing is that I was able to collect the referral bonuses for my family as well – I checked to make sure it was OK to do this, and they were OK with it, as long as each account had its own unique Social Security number.
$130 Free for a Family of Four
If someone refers you to Ing Direct, you get a $25 bonus (cash) deposited into your account, and the referring person gets a $10 bonus. And if you have a family, you can collect an additional $35 ($10 + $25) for each account you setup for your family members. So for me this was a free $25 + $35 x 3 = $130 for about 30 minutes of my time to open four accounts. I think the bonus alone makes this worth doing for most people. It’s free money.
The only catch is that you have to deposit at least $250 into your account to collect the bonus, and you’ll receive the bonus 30 days later. They didn’t have the $250 restriction when I opened my account last year, but for most people who qualify for an account, that shouldn’t be much of a barrier. You can withdraw the money right away once you receive the bonus.
3.5% 3.75% Interest Rate, Nice Interface, No Spam
I still actively use my Ing accounts – I didn’t just sign up for the bonus money – because
3.5% 3.75% is a great interest rate for a savings account, and lately their rate has been continuing to rise to keep it well above what you’ll find at most banks (it was around 2.1% when I first signed up last year). It’s still a paltry amount of interest in the grand scheme of things, but it’s better than nothing if you’re currently earning less than that. And the account is completely free.
You need an existing checking account in order to open an Orange Savings Account with Ing. Your checking account then becomes linked to your online savings account, so you can login to your Ing account to transfer money back and forth with a few clicks. You can also setup an automated savings plan if you like. This is a very nice way to automate the process of saving a certain percentage of your income each month – you don’t even have to think about it then.
I’ve never received any spam from Ing – just the notifications of new monthly statements and money transfers. I find the interface very easy to use and the web site highly responsive at all times. The only downside (which for me isn’t a big deal) is that it takes about 48 hours to transfer money either way. So you wouldn’t want to keep money in your Ing account that you need absolute immediate access to, but I doubt most people will find this limitation too problematic.
You Need a Referral to Claim the $25 Bonus
Every Ing account holder is limited to 25 referrals. I’ve used 3 so far, so I have 22 left. If you would like a referral from me which will give you the $25 bonus (and me $10), just
contact me to ask for an Ing Direct referral, and I’ll login to my account and have it emailed to you (update: all referrals are gone). I’ll send them out to the first 22 people who request them. If I send out all 22 referrals and all 22 people collect their bonuses, I’ll gain an extra $220, and I’ll have created an extra $550 in wealth for others. So there’s the potential to manifest an extra $770 out of thin air here.
If you don’t have $250 to deposit and therefore can’t claim the bonus, you can still get the free savings account. In that case simply go to Ing Direct straightaway and sign up for an Orange Savings Account.
I know several people who have Ing savings accounts, and I’ve never heard any complaints about Ing from any of them. I’ve found the Orange Savings Account to be a nice place to store extra cash that I want to keep semi-liquid and have it earn interest but don’t need to keep in my checking account. You can also hold an Ing account as part of your IRA, so if you want to hold at least some of your IRA investment funds as cash (which a lot of investors seem to be doing lately due to market uncertainty), your Ing account is a nice place to store it.
Setup Savings Accounts for Your Kids
When I was very young, my parents opened savings accounts for me and my siblings, and we weren’t allowed to touch the money deposited into those accounts until we turned 18. Whenever I received birthday money or other financial gifts, the general rule was that I had to put half of it into savings and could freely spend the other half. I’ll admit I wasn’t fond of this practice when I was a child, as it felt like half my gift money was being taxed – the bank might as well have been Never Never Land. However, by the time I graduated high school in 1989, I had over $20,000 cash in the bank, which was a lot more than most of my peers had. Consequently, I never had to worry about money as I went through college (my college tuition was nowhere near that amount), and I was still earning interest on that money throughout college. I just wish my parents had invested it more aggressively instead of maintaining it only in a credit union savings account - with more aggressive investing, it could have run up a much higher balance.
Even so, while you’re waiting to figure out how to setup long-term investment vehicles for your kids, at least get them started with their own savings accounts. It only takes a few minutes to open each account, and it’s a nice way to give to your children.
Update: All referrals are gone, so if you want one you’ll have to look elsewhere.