ING Direct mass-"firing" customers based on credit reports?

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Is ING Direct running credit checks on all of the customers for its innovative new “Electric Orange” online checking accounts — and booting the people who don’t meet its criteria? In the Smart Banking group, Wesabe user BillM reports that he was signed up for and got an ING Direct Electric Orange checking account, but then was told ING was closing his account based on his credit score:

I received an e-mail from ING yesterday at 4pm informing me that they had obtained my credit score from a consumer reporting agency and had decided to close my Electric Orange account and reduced my overdraft line of credit to $0. […] They had made a decision and had no intention of reversing it, despite the fact that their major pitch in advertising the Electric Orange account was that they would not, in their own words, “Ding your credit with an inquiry”. […]

I got another representative who explained that the institution had recently decided to exercise its right under the disclosure agreement and run credit checks across the board. I assume they decided that they had openened themselves up to a great deal of financial risk by giving everyone who opened an account an open ended $165 line of credit. […]

I have closed my ING accounts and transferred my money to an institution that treats its customers with a little more respect and courtesy than what they afforded me in this situation. I doubt that my little piece of business will make much of a dent in their profitable operation, but I feel an obligation to let everyone know about what I consider to be a dirty, underhanded trick.

The whole thread is well worth a read if you’re considering an Electric Orange account.

ING Direct has long boasted about its policy of “firing” customers in order to keep their costs low. They argue that this allows them to provide better value for the customers that fit its model, while cycling out those that don’t. I’m perfectly fine with any company saying that they do or do not offer a product or service, and it certainly makes sense for a business to focus on their specific products or offerings rather than trying to be all things to all people. But, I think it’s downright dumb to talk about how you’re “firing” your customers (see also here and here for more examples of their anti-marketing), and in BillM’s report, it seems positively underhanded to accept a customer, run a credit check on them after claiming you won’t, and then to boot them unilaterally. That’s a recipe for making people unhappy.

Has anyone else been affected by this?

13 Responses to “ING Direct mass-"firing" customers based on credit reports?”

  1. Steve Says:

    I have a 550 credit score and $16,000 in open delinquencies and my Electric Orange hasn’t been closed yet. I hope it doesn’t get closed either.

  2. Jay Says:

    I agree that ING is handling the poorly. Customers feel like they’ve been mislead or lied to, and that’s never good business.

    However, I think it is good business to only accept “angel” customers and turn the devil customers away. I have several CDs with ING. I want them to turn away customers that are going to cost them money so that can offer me high rates. I want to be rewarded for being a good customer!

    I highly recommend reading Angel Customers and Demon Customers. It discusses how Best Buy’s poor policies were loosing them money. I don’t want to pay more for a TV at Best Buy because someone else abused their return policy. If I’m a good customer I don’t want to be treated the same way as a bad customer.

    I’m a happy ING customer with a good credit score. I will continue to recommend ING to my friends because they do a good job of keeping their costs low so they can offer me a great rate.

  3. Jen Says:

    I received the same such letter. I promptly emailed customer service, reminding them that I have had an ING savings account pretty much since their birth, and that THEY solicited me to open an Electric Orange account, not the other way around. I received a response three days later telling me very briefly that their decision was final. I got an email tonight from the CEO of ING telling me that I should ignore the previous emails and that my account and overdraft limit will be reinstated within 24 hours…….what is going on over there???

  4. Reggie Says:

    ING will fire you if they suspect (yes, suspect) you have provided your confidential information (password, answer to security questions) to someone else. They closed out my son’s account based on the fact they suspected he gave his information to someone else – no explanation, just closed it. The company’s policies are very hypocritical. Don’t waste your time calling the toll free number and speaking to the morons in customer service. Contact Cathy McFarlane at (302) 255.3577 and let her know how you feel about the company.

  5. Marie Smith Says:

    I got an email from INGdirect last week stating that they were closing my recently opened Electric Orange account. I had used and replaced the overdraft which was very little anyway. Over the last 2 years I had saved thousands of dollars with them and purchased CDs over long periods of time. Last October my husband and I decided to renovate our home in The Bahamas to use as vacation rental so we needed most the funds that I had saved but each of our two children still had savings accounts with hundreds of dollars and when I applied for the Electric Orange account and they gave it to me.

    I felt totally blindsided by this email from ING and it’s strange that they don’t really value their customers. When things were benefitting them, I was a great customer but when I needed my own money, they disposed of me.

    Now I have to change my direct deposit (I’m with bank of america) and tell my kids that their savings accounts are being closed.

  6. None Says:

    First I’d say STAY AWAY COMPLETELY from ING Direct.

    Back in September 2001 I opened an account with $10K. Within 2 months I added another $10K to the account. Then I tried to get my money out 18 months later and for over 3 months ING DIRECT kept sending me in the postal mail system a notice saying “Invalid Account Number”. Even though I called them numerous times to correct the problem, ING Direct continued to site the “Invalid Account Number” excuse and sent rejects via mail even though ING DIRECT had both my work and home numbers (both with answering systems attached). The folks at 1-888-ING-0272 were of no help. Mostly excuses and more excuses but they never solved the problem.

    I had to write them two checks for one dollar to finally get my needed money. The first check resulted in the account number being updated according to the letter but when I requested the transfer I got the “Invalid Account Number” excuse again. The whole thing took a second check for a dollar (with a letter from my new lawyer) before they got me my money 6 months after I needed it. (We lost the house because I could not get the down payment out of ING DIRECT from my account.)

    Then in 2004 I emptied the account down to $40.00. I changed my will to include the ING DIRECT account as a gift to my granddaughter when she turns 65, she is 8 now and was 5 then. I left the account in my name so that I was responsible for the taxes on interest until my death. Then I proceeded to forget about the account and talk anyone I hear talking about ING DIRECT out of doing business with ING DIRECT. I think I was mostly successful in my attempts.

    This month I received a letter from ING DIRECT out of the blue. Since September 2005 ING DIRECT stopped sending me quarterly statements.. In the letter ING DIRECT states account was closed. The statement says “Since your Orange Savings Account has had little to no activity it looks like we weren’t able to help you save. As a result we closed your account.” Yet on the same statement the “Year to date interest” is $1.10 at an “Annual Percentage Interest Yield” of 4.47%. So it has had activity through 3 quarters of the year.

    So now an 8 year old girl lost her future account. The almost $50.00 was transferred to my checking account and now I have to go back to the lawyer to remove the account from my will. Yet THEY NEVER GAVE ANY WARNING or ATTEMPTED TO CONTACT ME before closing this account. I’d have easily transferred as much as necessary to keep it open. And I have a great credit score so I know they could not have decided to can me due to bad credit rating.

    ING DIRECT has no concern for you as a customer, they just want your $25.00 to start and then more. But if you don’t keep adding to it ING DIRECT will just throw you out without any warning at all.

    My advice to one and all, STAY AWAY FROM ING DIRECT!!! Go to any other on line bank and you will be much better off.

  7. Mary Says:

    I have two ING savings accounts and haven’t had any problems with them. One account has $xx.00 automatically transferred into it each month from my regular bank checking accout. I transfer $xx.00 into the other account several times during the month.

    When I’ve needed money out of these accounts, all I’ve done is go to their website and transfer the money into my checking account. Depending what time of day I request the transfer, it is either transferred that day or no later than the next day.

    My brick and motor bank was giving me .25% interest on my money market account. ING pays 5.25%!!!!

  8. Sarah Miller Says:

    I say stay away too. I’ve had my share of problems with their accounts, and I hear that it’s a very poorly run company. I don’t trust my money with those people anymore.

  9. Sue W. Says:

    I have been using an Electric Orange account now for almost 6 months. As of yesterday, they reduced my credit line to $0 without any notice and denied any of the payments that were scheduled for that day.

    I did not receive any notice from them until late yesterday evening. So now, I am stuck going to my creditors to explain why my payments did not go through on time.

    it did not help that the notification they sent to me told me that this was “in my best interest”.

    If you have any question about your credit-worthiness, I would choose another bank.

  10. John D. Says:

    ING DIRECT – BEWARE of 10 business day hold on initial savings deposit!!!!

    I MADE A MISTAKE.

    NETBANK and ING DIRECT are merging. When I followed ING DIRECTs prompts, they led me to open a savings account. I did not read all the statements clearly. After my $11,000 was transferred from NETBANK, I logged in to ING DIRECT and attempted to access my funds. When I could not access my money, I called them and was told there is a 10 business day hold on my money — 10 days!!!. 12 days when you add the weekend. Is anyone aware of such a thing as a 12 day hold for any transaction in todays world???

    Anyway, I spoke to a supervisor, and they attempted to stop the transfer on 30 Nov. Even though ING owns NETBANK, they were not successful. Now I have to wait until 12 December to access my money.

    The customer service people are nice, and they somewhat tried to help. However, they are not enabled to help in this case. Policy overrides logic. Policy overrides customer satisfaction. Policy causes the money you put in a savings to be locked up for 10 business days.

    Maybe the web page could have been designed to inform me totally that there was a better way.

    I suppose now, on 12 December I will take my money and go elsewhere because of this experience. Too bad, because I think that ING DIRECT has some features I like.

    By the way, their Bill Pay is not as good as Bank of America (BOA). BOA lets you set up automatic bill payment to pay a bill in full (versus the minimum amount).

    I found via http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf56354852.tip.html that HSBC and Emigrant Direct compete with them.

    To be somewhat fair, once your account is established, the delay for transfers is 2 business days. Still, this delay not acceptable to me, and I am in search of other products out there.

  11. Scott Winter Says:

    ING took me for a ride. Someone in Spin got my account info and took big money out. ING called me becuase the saw the fraud but now will not give me access to the money taken. They are making me jump through hoops, paperwork and keep avoiding their responsibility to their customers. Plus I am not getting interest on the money and its big money.

    ING only care about ING. run run run and pray if you ever have fraud on your account.

  12. Sam G Says:

    The landscape has really changed here. Checking accounts are now paying interest, almost as high as Certificates of Deposits in some cases. Schwab, Etrade and ING have some pretty good offers.

    I’ve found a few http://www.topcheckingaccounts.com and at http://www.bankrate.com but that Bankrate has become a bit of mess.

    The only downside to these accounts, is that none of these banks/brokerages have local or nationwide branches. So you’ll probably have to have one of these online checking accounts in conjuntion with a local/nationwide bank. Once it’s open though you can setup direct deposit and start earning interest and have cash readily available.

    -Sam

  13. "When Banks Turn Evil" on MSN Money « Wesabe: Your Money. Your Community. Says:

    […] user haberschmidt and his complaint about Wachovia is mentioned, as is Wesabe user BillM’s recent issue with Electric Orange checking accounts. Definitely worth reading — there’s lots of great advice in the […]

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