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Opening our first online savings accounts

We did it! After months of contemplation, talking to others, and research, we opened up our first two ! For us folks who are stuck back into the "Dark Ages" and prefer to deposit our checks manually at a bank where they know us by name, switching to online savings accounts was quite a big deal.

Why did we do it? Well, for a variety of reasons but the main one was that the percentage we could save with an online banking account was substantially higher than anything offered to us at our local bank. While our largest account at our local bank (currently our six-month emergency fund) is earning almost 3% in interest, this is only because it is a larger amount of money. Our small savings accounts are earning hardly anything.

In order to bump up our earnings, we’d need to put them into some type of high-interest-earning savings account (CD, mutual fund, etc.) which might earn more but it wouldn’t be easily-accessible and good for short-term savings. Opening up online savings accounts would allow us to move those smaller accounts into a much higher-earning account, without losing the ability to access them when needed–which is what we wanted for these smaller accounts.

We were considering opening up our accounts through ING; however after some research, we landed upon (FNBO) and discovered that they offer 3.5% interest on all savings accounts of any amount. This is 0.5% higher than anything ING offers and there is no minimum deposit or fees attached. Plus, FNBO has been around for over 150 years with a very proven track record.

Opening up our savings accounts was very simple to do–we didn’t have to drive to a bank or wait in line which was an added bonus! Within a few days, everything was taken care of and we transferred the funds over (you can send in a check, but we chose to transfer our funds electronically).

We chose to open one account with our tax savings in it. Since I’m self-employed, we put 30% off all of my earnings into a savings account for tax purposes. The goal is that I won’t need to pay that whole chunk of money in taxes–I usually get to take a number of deductions–but it’s saved up to give us plenty to work with come tax-paying time!

Once we pay our taxes out of this account, we plan to dump whatever is left–including our 3.5% interest–into our house savings. We’re hopeful it will be a nice little somewhat-unexpected bonus to the house fund!

We opened up our second online savings account specifically for vehicle savings. Both of our vehicles are quite old, have lots of miles on them, and have been limping along recently. We decided to designate a portion of the income we are earning from some extra online endeavors towards our car savings fund. Since these are extra online things we recently started, the income earned from these won’t be eating into our household budget nor will using it to fund our car savings account really cause our current house savings plan to slow down.

I’m anxious to see how much we can accrue in these accounts by the end of the year! For sure, the will be a great boost!

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23 Comments

  • says:

    Good choice! I’ve had a credit card with that bank for almost 13 years and would highly recommend them. I’ve never had a complaint.

  • Angela says:

    We, too, have an account with First National. We discovered their savings accounts because my husband has a credit card with them. We have been very pleased with them.

  • says:

    We’ve had an FNBO account for a while and it has been great. We’ve had no problems with it. Other good ones are HSBC direct, Emigrant direct, and of course ING direct, but that one is the lowest interest rate.

  • says:

    Thank you *so much* for posting this! I got a mailing for ING and didn’t know if it was a gimmick, or what. I was enticed by the higher rate, but still wasn’t sure.

    Thank you for your input! I will probably open an online savings account now!

  • says:

    Congrats on your savings account!

    HSBC pays 3.5% too. We had accts in hsbc and ing for a long while now.

  • Patty says:

    Hi,
    Welcome to the world of online banking! It is true the account you opened does pay a higher interest rate than ING but you might also want to open an ING for another reason – their refer a friend bonuses. Since you have this blog it would be easy for you to successfully refer a friend. For every friend you refer that opens an account with the referral you provide them you get a $10 bonus. Last year I got 50 bonuses You could post your referrals on your blog. I don’t have a blog so made a deal with another blogger where they posted my referrals on their blog and we split the money, but you wouldn’t have to do that since you could post your referrals on your blog and get the whole bonuses. (though the split the money deal mighto work for you down the line – you post others referrals for them and get a cut of their bonus)
    If you decide to open an ING account there are several bloggers that have links on their sites that you could use so that you get the $25 opening bonus..Let me know if you want me to list a few for you, don’t know them right off hand but culd find for you (going out now) Also some local free neighborhood periodicals often have an insert in them that include a code for the free opening bonus. I don’t have any referrals left but maybe one of your readers does and they could send you one.

    I check your blog most every day, thank you so much for all the help you have proveded for finding good deals- I mostly do the CVS

    PASS IT ON

    ING DIRECT is giving you the opportunity to earn even more by referring up to 50 new friends and family! We’ve cleared all previously completed referrals, so everyone has the opportunity to earn up to $500.

    Send your friends an email invitation to open an Orange Savings Account or Electric Orange.

    If your friend opens an account with at least $250, we will also deposit a $25 bonus in their new account and a $10 thank you bonus in your Orange Savings Account or Electric Orange

  • says:

    I’ve been thinking recently about opening an online account for my online business, just because I need a way to keep it separate, and it seems to just make the most sense when everything else that I’m doing and all of my payments from affiliate companies, etc. are online.

    I’m glad to hear that it was so easy to set up. I was also thinking about going with ING, because they are in Canada as well. I’m not really sure how it would work if I wanted to set up an account with an American bank (though it would be helpful, as most of the online companies I deal with are American). Does anyone know?

  • Elizabeth says:

    We’ve recently done this too – but we are curious as to what you didn’t like about ING? If you aren’t comfortable posting full blown could you let me know via email? I am more “old School” too and not being able to walk into a bank does make me a little nervous.

  • Margaret W. says:

    I just opened our ING account today. I never knew these online accounts got such a great rate. We also got a $25 bonus since we got a referral from a friend (and the friend got a $10 bonus).

  • Sarah says:

    Welcome to the online banking world! I have been banking online with First Internet Bank since 2000 (I also used to work for them) and love it! I used to be strictly online, but then started a small business and started receiving checks. You can mail them in, but I’ve had one deposit lost by the post office. Now I have a small local account for deposits and then transfer it online. For the longest time I never had to go to the bank and now I do. Darn the post office!

  • says:

    We opened one about 18 months ago and I am ASTOUNDED at how much interest we make, in comparison to what we made at our brick and mortar bank. It’s really amazing how much of a difference a few percentage points make when you’re saving.

  • Melissa says:

    I opened my FNBO account just over a year ago. (I think) Back then the interest rate was 6%!!!! It’s amazing the difference one year made in the rates.

    Anyway, I’ve never had any problems with them and I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do.

  • ModestforHim says:

    That is wonderful that you found a high yield savings account. What a great blessing it will be when you can purchase your home debt free. What glory and honor will go to God!

    I am so glad you have this website to help God’s people with financial stewardship.

  • says:

    Oh, you’ll LOVE FNBO. I have had my credit card with them for many years and have been nothing but happy with them.

  • says:

    I have a FNBO account too. I am very pleased with them. I could not believe when I called that I go someone stateside and didn’t have to wait long. Impressive.

  • Dollar Saving Dad says:

    We have an account with HSBC and it is 3.5% as well. We have had great service, it takes a couple of days to get money out, but that keeps us from buying stuff we don’t really need.

  • KimN says:

    Hi
    You often mention extra income through online opportunities, yet when I have read your money making ideas and looked into them none of them really yield enough to finance a new car purchase…..are the online opportunities you speak of directly related to having your own blog and the ability to add advertising….?

    *******************
    Money Saving mom here:

    Great question, Kim! I do make a nice stream of income from advertising here but this is only one stream of online income I have. I’m a huge fan of multiple streams of income and have worked the past five years to put many into place.

    I believe I’ve mentioned this multiple times in money-making articles I’ve written, but my husband and I have done really well with affiliate marketing and ebook sales in the last two years. Forging relationships with other businesses and entrepreneurs and putting our heads together for joint ventures has been one of our best sources of online income in the last year.

    Obviously, this takes time to develop, but it definitely pays off in the long run. And it’s truly something that anyone can do. It’s certainly not rocket science–just like couponing!

  • Jodi says:

    My husband and I have set up an online savings for our daughter when we had her. It’s a great account with Capital One and offers a bit more of interest but its just convient. Its an automatic withdrawl and you just act like its a bill and no worries. It just keeps collecting a nice amount of interest!!! Way to go to join the world of online banking!!!

  • Stephanie says:

    We also have an online savings account, but with HSBC. It was started several years ago and we have enjoyed it (and the higher interest) since them.

    There has only been one issue in all that time and that was due to the limited ways we could withdraw our money from the account. When we sold our house we put the equity into the account to earn interest till we found another house. Then when we needed to wire the money to the mortgage company at closing for our new house we were not able to do so. (I didn’t remember to reread the fine print soon enough.) Instead we had to transfer it to another bank and write a check or have them mail us a check. Additionally, transferring online is limited to a daily amount and being that the online account is a savings account only so many transactions per month can take place. We were lucky in that the amount we needed we were able to transfer online but had to delay closing a couple days. It isn’t often that we need such a large amount, and overall have had a great experience with this account. Just keep this in mind for when it comes tax time and you might need to get a large amount out. It also helped us to already have our ‘local’ account set up to be able to transact with our online account. (We liked our local bank’s policy better than HSBC’s which is why we set it up from our local bank’s side.)

    Enjoy the extra interest. I now keep my ears open for info about interest rates because I know that it will directly affect this account. We too had 6% not too long ago. Those were the days. =)

  • says:

    hi there, i’m curious what ‘online endeavors’ you do? i’ve seen so many things that boast lots of money with little experience….etc…but am always leary.. have you found something that actually makes you money? or maybe you’d rather not share..

  • Ashley says:

    HSBCdirect.com also offeres 3.5% interest right now. Their website is very easy to use. The only down side is that it takes 3 days to transfer funds electronically, although this is the same as ING and most other online saving accounts. Something else to look into are Fidelity’s mySmart checking accounts. You can sign up for online bill pay, order checks – basically do everything you can do with your regular checking acount but earn 1.5% interest at the same time.

  • Kristen says:

    I’ve held multiple online savings accounts for almost 2 years, including ING, EmigrantDirect, and currently Countrywide Bank (which merged with Bank of America) offering 3.75%. They are a great alternative to the minimal-interest savings accounts at most banks!

  • says:

    I agree, ING has been really great for my husband and I so far. They’re very easy to use. If anyone wants a referral for the checking or savings accounts to get the sign up bonus, I still have some of both. E-mail me at womaninflight(at)gmail.com and I’d be happy to refer you!

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