Many online banking customers were hit with a surprising message in their inboxes early this week.ING DIRECT, well known for their checking accounts (that are all but devoid of the usual fees) and attractive high-yield savings accounts, will merge with financial services giant Capital One
What will this mean for ING customers?
For those that didn’t already know, ING has been a part of Capital One for 7 months now (acquired on February 17, 2012). On November 1, the two banks will legally become a single entity. With this change, the following will apply:
- FDIC insured deposits will be limited to a combined $250,000 over both institutions. The email to customers begins by noting:
ING DIRECT is part of the Capital One family and our 1st order of biz is FDIC coverage.
This affects your federal deposit insurance because the FDIC insures up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank for regular accounts. So, while this won’t be a major issue for many customers, those with large deposit balances (checking, savings and CDs) in both ING and Capital One accounts may find themselves partially uninsured come May 1, 2013 (6 months after the banks merge).
- Customers will still not have access to regular branch locations. ING DIRECT has assured their customers that nothing will change regarding account access. You will apparently still be able to log into accounts through ingdirect.com, use the same mobile apps, call the same customer service numbers and use the same ATMs. Customers won’t be able to use a Capital One branch, however, so the same limitations of an online bank account still apply.
- A name change is in store for the near future. ING Group, ING DIRECT’s former parent company, has only allowed Capital One to utilise the name and brand for one year (ending February, 2013).
Customers have expressed concerns about other potential changes in the future.
- New fees. Although Capital One has stated that no changes are currently in the works, some may worry that this will mean the end of the customer-friendly “Electric Orange” checking accounts. These accounts have no monthly fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, or other common charges (even those fees that do apply are generally much lower than at traditional banks).
- Lower savings rates. Savers should hope that their “Orange Savings Accounts” and CDs will continue to offer competitive rates on balances. At 0.80% as of this post, their savings rate is far above what is typically offered by the biggest traditional banks.
- Customer service. Capital One will need to up their game to maintain the high level of customer service that ING DIRECT has generally been able to provide to their customers in the past.
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