ING, like most banks, offer a range of savings accounts to consumers. Choosing the right one will depend on your circumstances, spending and saving habits, as well as your saving goals. Here’s what you need to know about ING savings accounts.

Who is ING?

ING has been trading in Australia since 1999, making them a relatively new player in the banking scene. However, their parent company, ING Group, has a much longer history, originating in the Netherlands and tracing back as far as 1845.

Nonetheless, ING offers Australian consumers one alternative to the big four banks. They have only one branch, located in Sydney and advertised as the “ING Lounge”. The majority of their customers’ banking is done online, with the use of both online banking and the ING mobile app.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is an additional bank account that many consumers hold, in addition to their everyday transaction accounts.

The reason for this is that a savings account is a separate account to store and accrue money that you wish to save. We all know that if we leave our savings in our transaction account, they often don’t stay savings for long.

Having a savings account makes it easier to keep track of your savings, and harder to “accidentally” dip in when money gets tight. Many savings account also deliberately come without ATM access, making it even harder to spend your savings (although certainly not impossible.)

What should I look for in a savings account?

The goal of your savings account is – unsurprisingly – to help you maximise the money you save, while minimising your chances of spending your savings.

The main thing to look for in a savings account is a high interest rate. You want the money that you are saving to accrue as much interest as possible, in order to grow your savings. Many banks offer savings account with introductory or “honeymoon” interest rates for the first three months or so. These may seem enticing, but remember to check the base interest rate too, as this is what you’re signing up for in the long term.

You should also check for any additional fees. These might include account-keeping, transaction or even deposit fees. Make sure that you’re not signing up for an account that will drain your savings in fees.

What can I expect from an ING savings account?

ING has won multiple awards for their savings accounts, which is a promising start. Because ING banking is done predominantly online, overall operations costs are lower than a traditional “bricks and mortar” bank. These savings can then be passed onto consumers, with lower account-keeping fees and higher interest rates.

ING offers a range of savings options, including traditional savings accounts and term deposits. Start by comparing savings options and their interest rates, and make sure to take into account both the standard and variable interest rates.

What’s the difference between standard and variable interest rates?

The variable interest rate is another name for a honeymoon or bonus interest rate. As previously mentioned, this higher interest rate could be applied to your savings account for the first few months. This is common practice among many banks, to entice new customers to switch banks.

A variable interest rate could also be applied to your savings account as an incentive for certain activities. For example, your bank might apply the variable interest rate if you deposit a certain amount of money each month, and make no withdrawals. These activities encourage more savings for you, and also mean that the bank is handling more of your money, so they are happy to incentivise them.

The standard interest rate is, to put it simply, the interest rate on your savings account when the variable rate no longer applies. This could be because you’ve reached the end of the honeymoon period, or you haven’t met the required activity to be rewarded with the variable interest rate. Make sure to take the standard interest rate into account when considering a savings account, as it is usually significantly lower than the variable interest rate.

It’s also important to remember that interest rates - both standard and variable - are at the bank’s discretion and can change at any time.

Is an ING savings account right for me?

Whether a particular bank or account is the right option for you will always depend on your personal circumstances, income and spending and saving habits.

If you’re considering an ING savings account, be sure to compare this account with other competitors too, to make sure you’re getting the right account for you.

If you prefer to bank online, ING could be a good option for you. But make sure to consider all of your options before making a decision.