WILMINGTON, Del., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- ING DIRECT USA, the nation's largest direct bank, today launched a first-of-its kind online calculator to raise consumer awareness about the high cost of overdraft fees. The new overdraft calculator is another added benefit of ING DIRECT's no fee internet checking account, Electric Orange(SM), and it comes one month before new federal rules on overdraft fees take effect. The overdraft calculator is available at: www.ingdirect.com/avoidoverdraftfees.
Beginning July 1, 2010, consumers must agree or "opt-in" to authorize their banks to cover any debit card or ATM purchases that may overdraft their bank checking account. If consumers do not opt-in, their overdrawn purchases or money requests will not be approved. Currently, most banks charge a flat fee each time an account is overdrawn, and the national average overdraft fee is $30.
"Money emergencies do happen, and that's why your checking account should work for you, not against you. An overdraft line of credit is a fair, affordable alternative to being charged a large fee every time your checking account goes into the red. Our overdraft calculator reaffirms how critical it is to find a bank that won't fee you to death," said Jim Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of ING DIRECT USA.
ING DIRECT USA's Electric Orange Checking is an interest bearing checking account that has never and still does not charge an overdraft fee. Instead, customers who use the online checking account are given the choice to opt-in to an overdraft line of credit.
For customers who opt-in, the line of credit allows them to borrow a few dollars and pay a competitive interest rate in exchange for access to that line of credit. For example, at the current rate, overdrafting $100 from Electric Orange Checking for 10 days costs the consumer a total of $0.20. At a traditional bank, if that same customer overdrafted their checking account by $100, they would be charged a $30 fee. That is equivalent to paying more than a 1,000 percent interest rate to access that $100.
ING DIRECT's online calculator allows consumers to compare what they would pay in overdraft fees at a traditional bank compared to interest charged by Electric Orange Checking's line of credit. By selecting the amount of money overdrawn and the number of days that money was overdrafted, consumers can calculate how much ING DIRECT's line of credit would charge, compared to the average $30 overdraft fee charged by most banks.
"As consumer concerns about overdraft fees have grown in the past few months, we've seen a significant surge in new Electric Orange Checking account customers," said Kelly. "From February through April 2010, there was a 92 percent increase in new Electric Orange Checking accounts compared to the previous three months."
For 10 years, ING DIRECT USA has been a leading advocate for banks to increase transparency about fees and the products they offer to consumers. In addition to educating consumers about the importance of saving their money and spending responsibly, ING DIRECT strives to provide Americans with the tips and tools needed to manage their daily funds without having to worry about being charged hidden fees.
About ING DIRECT USA
ING DIRECT USA, the nation's largest direct bank and largest thrift, is dedicated to inspiring Americans to become a nation of savers. Since its inception in 2000, more than 7.6 million Americans have entrusted their savings with ING DIRECT, building the bank to $90.3 billion in assets. ING DIRECT has developed a comprehensive social media Savers Community, including Twitter, Facebook and its We, The Savers blog. For more information about ING DIRECT call 1-800-ING-DIRECT, and for information about its commitment to financial education visit Planet Orange.
SOURCE ING DIRECT USA