ING Direct is a "virtual bank" without bricks & mortar operations. With the lower operating cost overhead, they are able to offer fees-free banking services and higher interest rate returns for clients. It would appear that they are very aggressive in acquiring new clients, presently offering a signup bonus of $50 to the new client along with a $25 referral bonus to the existing client who is making the referral.
In May/2012, I signed up with ING Direct Canada using the Orange Key of my referrer. I started with their Investment Savings Account (ISA). An amount of at least $100 is required to be deposited in order to open the ING Direct account. I sent my $100 cheque from my bricks & mortar bank to ING Direct. Upon receiving my cheque, ING Direct opened my account and linked my bricks & mortar bank account to my ING ISA account. I received a $50 signup bonus. The person referring me received $25 for the referral bonus. My Orange Key was made available which I can use to refer others.
If you are signing up for your ING account, be sure to use my Orange Key 39478330S1 which you can copy directly as you see it, or you can use the ING Direct widget above to copy the Orange Key.
Since I also want to use Email Money Transfer (EMT), I opened up an ING Direct Thrive chequing account. EMT is not available with the ISA account. EMT is fees-free on the ING side. For EMT between ING Direct clients, it is a completely fees-free transaction. For EMT involving other financial institutions, that is subject to whatever fees are applicable at the other financial institutions. Most bricks & mortar banks charge a debit transaction fee while deposits are typically free.
Their regularly advertised signup bonus is $25 but I received $50 for my signup. It is not known when the special will be over, or if they will offer a higher bonus in the future. Do inquire with ING Direct before signing up to know your signup bonus.
Whether you are considering to switch many of your banking and financial services over to ING Direct, or simply using them for specific service benefits, I encourage you to sign up to gain the signup bonus. Furthermore, you can make additional money by referring others to open an ING Direct account.