So, here's the deal. For the last three or so years, I have used an online bank called ING Direct. It's an excellent bank, and provides full service. They have checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and some of the best interest rates out there. (These are still poor interest rates in this economy, but they're better than any brick-and-mortar bank. Right now, the checking account is giving 1.35%.)
ING Direct currently has a referral program where I can refer someone, and that person (upon funding a bank account with ING) gets $25 deposited into the account. They always have this plan in place, but the plan normally results in the referrer getting a $10 referral fee. From February 18 to March 31, however, the referral fee is being increased to $20!
So here's today's giving opportunity:
Sign up for ING, get $25 added to your account, and I will donate the $20 that I receive to a charity of your choice.
Here's what you need to do:
- E-mail me at email@example.com with your e-mail address and what charity you want the money to go to.
- Upon receiving an e-mail from ING Direct, follow the steps to sign up for a bank account with them. This will include actually putting at least $250 into the account.
- You will get another $25 deposited into the account - an instant 10% return, which is better than your $250 will get sitting in any other bank account these days!
- Leave it there, and save up for a vacation, education, or whatever else you want through their Automatic Savings Plan ... or close the account after April 7. (This is when I actually get the second half of the referral fee, so if you close the account before then, I probably won't get the full fee.)
If you sign up for a checking account, you get a debit card to access the account. You do not actually get paper checks for ING checking accounts, although you can send checks from the website and they arrive in a couple of days. I've used online banking pretty much exclusively for at least 7 years and think that it's great. You can find out more about how they work at the ING Direct website.
Note: If you are one of the people who is part of the Move Your Money movement, seeking to keep money in local banks, then you might resist starting an account with ING Direct, a large international bank. But keep in mind that you're getting $45 from them, $20 of which goes to charity, and you can close the account in mid-April with no penalties. (They are assuming, of course, that people who open the account will stick with them, but they aren't requiring it.)