Friday, January 16, 2009

Switching from ING Direct to Capital One Online Savings: Followup

Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I made the move to Capital One Online Savings from ING Direct, Capital One began steadily lowering their rates. For Costco members depositing over $10,000, their rate was 3.66% the day I opened it and immediately began dropping the next day. Now, it's down to 2.75%. Well, at least it's still above ING Direct's rate, which is now 2.50%.

So far, other than the rate drop, I've been happy with the Capital One Online Savings account. It was easy to setup and transfer money. Also, I gained Direct Connect integration with Quicken, which allows me to download directly into Quicken without having to log into the bank's website separately.

On a related note, I'm really getting tired of Quicken's strategy of obsoleting their products every few years to force you to upgrade. I'm using Quicken 2006 and I just noticed a message yesterday saying that I wouldn't be able to download information from financial institutions after April, unless I upgraded to a newer version of Quicken.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Check out the Carnival

If you haven't had a chance already, be sure to check out the 180th Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted by Living Almost Large.

My favorite post from the carnival is on giving the gift of personal finance education from Tough Money Love. He has some suggestions for books, magazines, and websites that can help give your loved ones a leg up on personal finance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Switching from ING Direct to Capital One Online Savings: Part 3

Last week, on the 18th, I began the process of opening a new Capital One Online Savings account. Today, it looks like all of the opening steps have been completed, without any hitches. Also, one of my main criteria, the ability to download using the Direct Connect feature of Quicken, was easy to setup and works well.

To summarize the timeline:
November 18th: Opened the account online, clicking through the link from to get the member rate of 3.66% (at the time, though it dropped to 3.55% the next day).
November 19th: The two verification deposits were made to the ING Direct account that I wanted to link to the Capital One account. I verified them on the Capital One site that day. I later received an email that said that the account was linked and the initial deposit would take up to 3 business days.
November 20th: The initial deposit was taken out of the ING Direct account.
November 24th: The initial deposit showed up in the Capital One account (2 business days after coming out of ING Direct).

A couple of notes:
For the first 30 days, if I want to withdraw from Capital One, it will take 10 business days (2 weeks!). After 30 days, you have to wait five business days to withdraw newly deposited funds.
The last remaining issue is to see when the $20 bonus for Costco members is deposited to the account. I believe it's supposed to be done in 4-6 weeks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Switching from ING Direct to Capital One Online Savings: Part 2

Yesterday, I began the process of opening up a new Capital One Online Savings account to replace my old ING Direct account. So far, the process is still progressing smoothly.

When I opened up my account yesterday, I linked it to my ING Direct account to make my initial deposit. To verify that it's really my account, Capital One makes two trial deposits and asks me to verify the amounts. The trial deposits took one day to show up in my ING Direct account and I verified them with Capital One today. Capital One says now that the verification is done, my initial deposit will be transferred within three days. So far so good.

One notable change since yesterday: they lowered the rates! It figures that the day after I open an account there, they'd lower the rates. It used to be 3.66% for Costco members depositing over $10,000. Now it's 3.50%. That's still pretty good, and I know that rates change frequently. If they had lowered the rates before I decided to open an account there, I think I still would have chosen Capital One. This is partly because their rate history, as shown in the spreadsheet in my previous post, is still pretty good. I try to balance chasing the highest rate with the trouble and risks involved with opening new accounts all the time. I'm still happy with the decision I made for now.

The next steps are to see how long it takes for the initial deposit to show up and whether the Capital One account works via Direct Connect with Quicken as expected. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Switching from ING Direct to Capital One Online Savings Account: Part 1

Yesterday, I finally decided to leave ING Direct after six years and was trying to decide where to open up a replacement account. I was looking for a replacement with consistently high rates that also allowed me to use Direct Connect with Quicken so that I could update Quicken with one-click, instead of having to log in to a bank's website and downloading a file manually.

I was leaning towards Capital One's Online Savings Account, which is currently yielding 3.66% if you are a Costco member and deposit more than $10,000 with them. However, I couldn't determine whether they supported Direct Connect. A call to their customer service department didn't help--they were very courteous and seemed to know what I was asking, but they said they didn't know the answer and would transfer me to their tech support department. I gave up after waiting on hold for more than 10 minutes.

Fortunately, I found a post on one of my favorite blogs, Consumerism Commentary, that listed recent rates for some popular high yield accounts, along with some notes on what Quicken formats some banks supported. I found that Capital One Online Savings is supposed to support the Direct Connect feature that I was looking for. I've linked the the spreadsheet at the bottom of this post.

I began the process of opening a new Capital One Online Savings account today. Part of the process involves answering some questions based on data that they've apparently pulled from a credit report, such as the name of your mortgage lender or a previous street address. Next, since I wanted to fund the account with the money that was in my ING Direct account, I had to put in ING Direct's routing number and my account number. Capital One will put a couple of test deposits into the ING Direct account. Once I verify the amounts, Capital One will link to the ING Direct account and pull the requested amount into my new account. At least that's what's supposed to happen. I'll keep you posted on the progress and let you know if it goes through as smoothly as described. For some reason, I expect there to be some snags, but so far so good.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Leaving ING Direct Behind

I've been using ING Direct for years now, but I've finally decided to move to a higher yielding online savings/money market account. ING Direct recently lowered their yield to 2.75%.

On top of that, two other restrictions dissuade me from sticking with them:
1. They don't allow me to link to my Fidelity accounts, even through the associated United Missouri Bank checking accounts. They used to allow this and I do have a link setup to one of my Fidelity accounts, but when I went to add a link to my main Fidelity account, they said it wasn't possible. I went ahead and tried anyway, treating it like a United Missouri Bank account (this is the bank that Fidelity uses for checks associated with the Fidelity brokerage accounts), but they rejected it. I thought perhaps that they would treat this UMB account just like any other checking account, but for some reason it is treated differently.
2. I can't update Quicken as easily as I can my other bank and brokerage accounts. ING Direct is the only bank account that I have that requires me to login through their website and download the data (using Quicken's Web Connect feature). My other banks let me just setup their accounts as part of a one-step account update procedure that automatically downloads the account data (Quicken calls this their Direct Connect feature).

I'm having difficulty determining which online savings accounts allow me to download data directly into Quicken, but I'm leaning towards opening a new account at either Capital One Online Savings (through Costco) for 3.66% rate or perhaps trying out DollarSavingsDirect. I'll post a followup here once I've opened a new account.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Followup to Tips for Saving $500 on Gas

A few weeks ago, I posted about some Tips for Saving $500 on Gas and said that I would report back the results, primarily from following the tip on driving less aggressively.

In my admittedly totally unscientific test, I did get noticeably better gas mileage, though not quite 30% better. My 2001 Camry used to get between 21-22 mpg. Now, after a couple of tanks of gas with a lighter foot on the pedal, I've been getting around 26-27 mpg. I'm shocked it made that much of a difference. I feel kind of stupid for wasting all that gas and money over the years. I figure the savings to be around $350/year for 12,000 miles.

Now I need to make sure that I'm really saving that $350 a year instead of reallocating those savings to more spending on something else.