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In Profile: ING Direct

The ING Direct savings account was launched in May 2003 and immediately took the savings market by storm by offering a simple, "no catches" savings account with a market beating rate of 4.3% AER interest with just a 1 minimum deposit. The account pays the same interest rate to all customers irrespective of the size of deposit, which can be as high as 2m.

At the time of launch, Lindsay Sinclair, chief executive of ING Direct said "The UK banking industry needs shaking up. Customers need to be able to unlock the complex and confusing savings market. Our savings rate of 4.3%, delivered simply and securely, will remain at the forefront of the industry,"

ING with its orange lifebelt logo, provided a wake-up call to savings accounts providers by attracting 500,000 new customers by the end of its first year. Today the firm has over 1 million customers in the UK.

ING Direct is part of ING (International Netherlands Group), a Dutch group that is one of the biggest financial services providers in the world with over 15 million customers. In addition to the UK, the company is active in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.S.A.

It is licensed to operate in the UK and adheres to the banking code.

More importantly, ING is a member of the financial services compensation scheme, so money you deposit with it is protected. If the bank went bust, the scheme would reimburse 100% of the first 2,000 you lost, plus 90% of the next 33,000, subject to an overall limit of 31,700.

The ING Direct account can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week via its website, and by phone, as well as postal options. Interest on the account is paid monthly, and customers wanting an account must be resident in the UK and aged over 18.

Awards

  • Moneyfacts Awards - Best Monthly Interest Account Provider 2005
  • Guardian Observer Consumer Finance Awards - Top Savings Account Provider - 2004 and 2005.
  • Personal Finance Awards - Best Savings Provider 2004 and Runner-up 2005.