Capital One 360: New brand, tested concept
Note: Capital One 360 is the online division of Capital One Bank. The information on this page does not pertain to the branch-based division of Capital One Bank.
When the announcement came in 2012 that ING DIRECT -- the world's largest direct online bank -- had been purchased by Capital One, it set off alarms for many of ING's customers. Since 2000, ING had pioneered a direct-banking model that savers had come to love. Some worried that an acquisition might alter ING's unique approach to banking, in particular its emphasis on minimal fees on checking accounts and high interest rates on savings accounts.
But now that ING's transition to Capital One 360 is complete, it appears many of those fears may have been unfounded, at least as far as the company's deposit account are concerned.
Continuing the legacy
February 2013 marked the formal change from ING DIRECT to Capital One 360. To the relief of many savers, most of the best features on ING's deposit accounts remained intact immediately after the switch, including:
- Its saving account interest rate. ING has long offered competitive interest rates on its savings account, and though its name changed to the 360 Savings Account upon the transition, its rate stayed the same as it was with ING.
- Its customer service team. Capital One 360 representatives confirmed to MoneyRates.com that the ING customer service team had been retained.
- Its minimal checking account fees. The newly minted 360 Checking Account carries no monthly maintenance fee and no overdraft fees. While Capital One 360 will still charge you interest on overdrawn balances, even that seems reasonable considering this is one of the few interest-bearing checking accounts still around.
- Its website. While the colors are now red and blue instead of orange, the site's layout and feel is unmistakably similar to that of ING's.
For customers who worried that Capital One's acquisition would uproot the foundations of ING's checking and savings accounts, these familiar features likely offered some reassurance.
If you were acquainted with the ING DIRECT line-up of products, Capital One 360's deposit offerings may evoke déjà vu:
- 360 Savings Account: Competitive interest, no fees and no minimums are the key words here. Free transfers and FDIC insurance are also part of the package.
- 360 Checking Account: Interest-bearing checking accounts are a rarity today - particularly ones that also charge no maintenance fees and require no minimums. Making deposits remains as simple as it was with ING, with check deposits via computer or the Capital One 360 mobile app and electronic transfers at your fingertips.
- Certificates of deposit (CDs): For those who prefer a little commitment in their savings, terms are available from six months to five years.
- Kids Savings Account: This bears a striking similarity to the 360 Savings Account, except that it's designed specifically designed to give children access to certain account privileges -- such as checking their balance and creating their own Saver ID -- while still keeping an adult in charge of the major transactions.
- MONEY Teen Checking Account: Again, this account shares most of its features with the 360 Checking Account, but it also includes some helpful features for parents -- such as text alerts for the parent whenever a transaction is made.
Capital One 360 also offers home loans, investment products and business and retirement accounts, making it one of the more complete direct banks.
A tradition of innovation
When ING DIRECT USA launched more than a decade ago, the concept of an online-only bank was foreign to most consumers. But by offering its customers features that traditional banks couldn't, it sparked a revolution in electronic banking that has spawned countless competitors and redefined how customers interact with banks. Capital One appears to have wisely noted the success of ING's deposit products, as it appears to have no immediate intention of altering many of the things that brought customers to its direct-banking model in the first place.