Pitting ING Direct vs Ally Bank should yield some interesting results. ING Direct has been one of the pioneers in the online banking industry and has been consistently named as one of the top online banks since it started operations in the country.

UPDATE (8/8/11): Click here for an updated comparison of ING Direct and Ally Bank.

On the other hand, then-GMAC Bank (now Ally Bank) was converted into a bank holding company only last year. Then last May, GMAC Bank rebranded itself into Ally Bank in an attempt to move away from the less-than-impressive image of troubled automaker General Motors. Since then, it has touted itself as being a bank that has no “fine print” or the hidden fees and penalties that has been the source of much consternation from bank customers lately.

Interest Rates and Deposit Products

Some of the most recent feedback on ING Direct that we’ve come across lately has been a growing dissatisfaction for its declining interest rates. Many customers who have been banking with ING for years now would like to stay with ING as much as possible, but this isn’t to say that they haven’t been tempted by the higher rate offerings from other online banks, one of which is Ally Bank.

In a rate-for-rate comparison of ING Direct vs Ally Bank, the latter comes out ahead in all products:


Note that Ally Bank doesn’t actually offer any checking account but has a Money Market account that comes with a checks and a check card. As for ING Direct, its Electric Orange Checking is one of its most popular products and earns a respectable 1.65% APY for balances over $100k. Both banks require $0 minimum to open and charge no fees.


When we talk of choosing the right bank these days, a bank’s stability always comes into play. While ING Direct’s parent company ING Group N.V. is known as one of the world’s largest companies, and there is no question as to how established this financial institution is, Ally Bank is still struggling from the stigma of being associated with the bankrupt automaker.

Some consumers are in fact, quick to assume that Ally Bank is in trouble simply because it used to bear the initials GM, but there is really no valid basis for this. The reality is, GMAC Financial, Ally Bank’s parent company, has been operating separately from General Motors since 2006 when GM sold its majority stake in GMAC to Cerberus Capital Management.

Now that some light has been shed on that common misconception, it’s also worthwhile to remember that you can still rest easy whether you go for any of these two banks because both are FDIC insured. As long as you keep your account within the $250,000 limit, there’s no way you’ll lose your money.

Customer Service and Overall Client Satisfaction

If there’s one thing that can make up for ING Direct’s recent low interest rates, it would be the bank’s excellent service. ING depositors have nothing but praise for the bank’s customer service support and the professionalism that customer representatives exhibit when handling client issues.

Feedbacks for Ally Bank’s customer service on the other hand, were mixed. Many of Ally’s long time depositors and even new ones have expressed satisfaction with the bank’s service but there were some complaints of bank errors that were not immediately resolved. Notwithstanding the handful of Ally customers who weren’t exactly happy with their interaction with the customer service support, many still feel that the bank is worth a try if only for its competitive rates.

Visiting the websites of both ING Direct and Ally Bank, you will be pleasantly surprised to see user-friendly interfaces that were designed for a simple, visually-appealing, and convenient banking experience.

ING Direct vs Ally Bank – Which Is The Better Online Bank?

Choosing the better bank for you would ultimately boil down to a tough choice: staying with a tried and tested institution or going for the higher rates.

ING Direct may no longer be offering the high interest rates that it has previously been known for but the no-nonsense banking and superb service is still there –something that ING patrons refuse to put a price on so they’re sticking with the orange ball. However, if your priority is finding a bank where you can grow your savings fast with the assurance that there will be no “sneaky disclaimers” as they put it, Ally Bank should fit the bill nicely.

So, is it ING Direct or Ally Bank for you? Share your thoughts with us.

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  • kathpdx

    I can tell you that the higher rates COST you!!

    I have had accounts at ING, and my credit union (Pen Fed) and these banks TRULY understand the world of and speed of electrons!!! Both fabulous with transfers, etc.

    ALLY however…. would not ACH my withdrawal because I was cashing into one of my CDs early (can you say “emergency”?), and then after offering to Wire Txfr for a fee, they called me back and said, ‘Can’t do that either. We’ll mail you a check.’ Here I am today, 12 days after requesting, 10 days after they mailed… and I still don’t have the check.
    Upon calling with a need to address this… O.M.G.!!! You would think that they needed me to take a polygraph… Then they could not address it AT ALL because I did not have the woman’s name who called me back to say “can’t do” (because as it turns out, they COULD have!)… and since they don’t know who to reprimand, they have to escalate it up THREE freakin’ levels of bureaucracy (WTF?) BEFORE they could THEN ’see what they could do’…and THAT of course won’t happen before NEXT Friday… when I am sure (pray to God) to finally have my check anyway.

    THIS is customer service???? Holy crap!! Great rates COST YOU!!!

    ING… I’m comin’ home!!

  • airelon

    Too bad ING group is still having massive problems from it's troubled, toxic assets that it STILL continues to hold, and is searching out new funding from governments.

    I'm moving all of my money out of both ING, and Sharebuilder. I'm sick to death of these companies continuing to hold toxic assets, and then searching out the closest debt-ridden government when things go south. I wouldn't even consider Ally, as the FDIC is functionally broke at the moment.

    This is why I've invested in an off-site, dual safe anchored into the structure of the office / building it's located at. It's safer than what these jokers consistently do with everyones money.

  • disspleased

    As a Long time ING customer, I liked what they did before but now, they are bad, They pay a lower rate of interest and can't beat the credit unions on rates nor loan rates. They would not subordinate my new mortgage unless I had there first and they do not offer 15 or 30 yr rates. 50%LTV too, excellent credit. 7 yr customer and I going with the credit union now as they offer more plus they will let you talk to a supervisor as ING will not for problems. BYe to ING!!!

  • disspleased

    try getting a loan from them. Pure hell

    • Ta

      I totally agree, Ally has many a same products ING has, but are better in rates.
      It took them over 3 weeks to get me a replacement card with a chip (they are the ones going all FRAUD FRAUD OMG FRAUD, we GOT YOU COVERED!!!). Ally has not moved their rates to the consumer’s disadvantage since their beginning in Canada, but ING direct dribbles with their rates every few weeks. Seems like all they wana do is to do as little as possible while getting your business and then … well skrew you overah

  • Disappointed in Ally

    Can't trust Ally's account list balances. They froze my account without notifying me because of what someone thought in error was a fraud threat. Available balance and current balance remained the same for the whole two week period on the website. Customer service refused to tell me what was going on until I could talk to security the next day. They never notified me the account was frozen, as they admit they were supposed to do. I used the accout to pay bills–checks bounced. They say they'll cover return fees, but the damage is done. –Disappointed in Ally

  • ingout

    Been w/ ING for a decade…Multiple products from savings accts to home mortgages. Needed to sell the home for relocation. ING, admittedly says they have the discretion to waive the 3% early payoff fee, just not for someone who's been with them for a decade. Now, i don't expect the full amount waived, but i do expect a gesture, i even offered to pay the remining interest for the final 5 months and there is simply no collaboration to work with us. No loyalty to the customer = this customer's business going elsewhere. Ally here we come.

  • No experience with ING, but after getting sick of the “Big Branch Banks” i said screw it and took the dive into Direct Banking. Ally was the first intriguing one i found, and after i did my homework i decided i'd go with them over ING – at least for the time being. I absolutely LOVE the fact that i can now have a decent return on my money without having to worry about minimum balances, etc. I hardly ever went to the branch offices anyway. I've been with Ally for about 4 months now and i'm loving it.

  • D.R.

    I have had an account with ING for years. I only use their online site, and I have never had any problems. But I wasn't happy with their shrinking interested rates. I was tempted by Ally's good CD rates, and I just opened a five-figure account with them. I filled out all the paperwork and sent back my signature card, and I went on to the site and confirmed the external account with them that I will be transferring money from, and now I can't transfer the money online because my Ally account does not show up in the drop down menu in the transfer section. I called customer service, and he said he could see it and couldn't explain why I couldn't, and he said that he could do the transfer for me. I declined, and now I think I am going to shut down this account. What's the point of online banking if you can't bank online? And it makes me wary to think I literally just got this account up and running, and already there is a big problem that can't be explained or fixed by the bank. That's crazy. Has anyone else had this problem?

  • Annie

    Been with ING for a while but discouraged by their declining interest rate. Just opened an account with Ally. In the middle of the application process I was instructed to call customer service. While they answered the phone promptly it took 30 minutes to finally get my account straightened away and opened. When I opened my ING account it too less than 5 minutes online.
    I'm keeping them both for the time being but am putting most of my money in my Ally account for now because of the stronger return.

  • Annie

    Been with ING for a while but discouraged by their declining interest rate. Just opened an account with Ally. In the middle of the application process I was instructed to call customer service. While they answered the phone promptly it took 30 minutes to finally get my account straightened away and opened. When I opened my ING account it too less than 5 minutes online.
    I'm keeping them both for the time being but am putting most of my money in my Ally account for now because of the stronger return.

  • Both will work

    I've not had any issues with ING, and only one issue with Ally. We did have 2 accounts with Ally (emergency fund account and a sinking funds account.) My wife and I each needed debit cards for both accounts, but Ally simply could not grasp what we wanted. They constantly were tying the wrong cards to the wrong accounts. After 6 months of battling with them, I finally closed the sinking funds account and transferred it to ING. No issues since. Based on our experience, if you have one account with them, then you're good. As soon as you add that second account, you're toast. Outside of this one issue with Ally, we have been happy with them. ING has been awesome.

  • Anonymous Researcher

    I do not have an account with either ING or Ally, but I am in the process of researching both for the purposes of an additional savings account. This comparison and all the comments are very helpful. Based on what I have read here and some other research I have done, I think I will be going with ING as they seem to have overall better customer service and an easier account opening process which makes up for the lower return than what you would receive with ING.

  • Avidin-38780

    Opened a CD acocunt at Ally – started the process, saved the account info and amount, and waited for the test transfer, which went OK. Then went back to the Ally website and my transfer was gone! So I re-entered the information and amount, and lo and behold if after a couple days BOTH transfer requests were processed, resulting in an overdraft from my local bank! I called and they offered to pay any fees and charges, and they couldn’t explain why my original transfer request didn’t go thru or get processed.

    After a week, I decided to open a second CD account and got thru about step 4 when I get a message saying that the bank couldn’t process my request. Tried again, and again, and got the same message – no reason, just that they couldn’t open a new CD for me. Not a lot of banks out there who turn down 5-figure gifts!

    I’m going to look at ING, and also perhpas Capital One (if only becasue they keep pestering me on my credit card statements! lol!)

    I don;t know what Ally’s problem is, but in this day an age it’s not rocket science to host a workable, easy-to-use banking site. Seriously.

    • ta

      lol… ing would love your deposit. they are having massive troubles with getting enough deposits to keep their other areas going… no deposit = no competitive rates = no promotions
      its kinda like stagflation… there is nothing they can do with their swelling book of mutual funds (index funds…)

  • INGcustomer

    ING all the way. Proven track record and isn’t run by any silly bankers from the US!

  • Ric

    What a shill.  How much did Ally pay you for this “glowing” report.  I started with Ally with a Jeep loan that was suppose to have a due date of the 20th and was told I could wait a month for processing before making my first payment.  The first bill came in about 18 days due the 10th.  Then came the phone calls every two weeks that I was late, despite my automatic online payment going out around the 20th of the month, every month.  I finally relented and paid an additional amount so they would set my due date to the 15th.  I did, they didn’t.  The only blessing is their phone system has a delay of about 3 seconds and when no one talks right away I tell them to, “call again,” and hang up.  A year after they mishandled my additional payment to move my due date to the originally agreed upon date they are still chasing their incompetent tail.

  • jmrr

    My interactions with customer service at Ally Bank couldn’t have been much worse.  All I needed was a simple confirmation of my account –it took 3 telephone calls and many weeks to get it.  I was lied to twice.  My opinion is: their customer service is terrible, and I certainly won’t be a repeat customer.

  • JHurlbut

    I have been with Ally for a few years but lately they are showing signs of being a “big bank” with little concern for us smaller customers. I won’t bore you with my latest problem, which is totally their fault, but will be exiting them and probably going to ING. Ally is no longer the ice cream cone and horses bank they touted a few years ago… their genes are in GMAC which is not good. Good luck if you choose them.

  • JHurlbut

    I have been an Ally customer for years, probably one of their first, and for a couple years, things went well and when I had a question or issue I could call them and get smart advice or a reasonable answer. However over the past year, their customer service has plunged— unless you enjoy talking to “high-schoolers” who know zip about banking other how to put you on hold. They have also been making mistakes with my deposits, and very slow to put them to work. On the other hand, when it comes to making a debit, they are lightening fast… even if it is incorrect. Bottom line, they are GMAC which makes them just another big bank with online services. I will definitely be switching to another online bank, either ING or Fidelity.