Why write up a fancy Capital One 360 review a year after it acquired ING Direct? Here’s why. Newly introduced banks often come on with the glitz and the glamour. They try to lure customers in with exaggerated claims of world-class service and juicy rates. But now the dust has settled. The honeymoon is over. Now that the hoopla is behind us, how are the rates and service today? That’s what we’ll discover in this review.
Why Did Capital One Acquire ING?
Before answering that question let’s first understand why ING was sold in the first place. You see, banks in the United States weren’t the only financial institutions to suffer over the last several years. Case in point, its European parent company was forced to sell ING in order to get a bail-out – European style.
When ING went on the auction block Capital One was there to pick up the pieces for its own reasons. Before the acquisition, Capital One was known only for its spicy credit card offers. They bought ING Direct in the hopes of broadening its menu of financial services and products. They wanted to ultimately provide a full buffet of savings, investments, retirement accounts and mortgages so they bought ING. Let’s see if this transition provides any value-added for the people who matter most – the customers.
Capital One 360 From The Perspective Of An Online Bank
Capital One 360 offers checking and savings accounts of course. The checking accounts pay interest and there are no fees or minimum balances associated with the account. So far so good. As you can see below the interest rates start getting competitive when your average account balance tops $50,000. (I checked with Capital One and the rates shown are still good as of 5-3-13.)
You get a free debit card/credit card which is nice. Of course, there is free bill pay and you can access cash at any one of 40,000 ATM machines for free as well. You can find your nearest ATM by clicking on the link which is found on the checking accounts tab.
They also have a very cool mobile ap which allows you to deposit checks using the CheckMate system. All you have to do is sign in, click on the “deposit checks” tab and snap a picture of the check. Done. And if you don’t have an iPhone or Android, you scan a picture of your check and simply upload it to the Capital One 360 site. Easy.
Another neat service is overdraft protection. Most “Jabba the Hut” banks stick it to you by charging a flat fee when your math goes sideways and you bounce your check. That can be pricey. Capital One 360 does charge you interest but only for the days you remain overdrawn. Currently that rate is 11.5%.
But if you are “overdraft challenged” Capital One 360 can still save you a lot of money. I ran a few scenarios and found that if you are overdrawn by $100 but cover it in 10 days, Capital One will charge you less than $1. The average bank slices you $31 smackers. Aye Caramba!
More Checking Account Swag
If you travel quite a bit, you’re in luck because Capital One 360 doesn’t charge international banking fees for foreign transaction. This is the main reason I got a Capital One credit card several months ago since we travel overseas often. I love this feature and it’s nice to see they carried that benefit over to the banking side. Tres Bien!
I mentioned earlier that bill pay is free. To me, this is a must no matter who you bank with. It saves you time and money. When you use bill pay you never have to worry about forgetting to pay your bills. You can (and probably should) automate your bill payments. It’s simply one less thing to think about or get between you and your “Law and Order” rerun viewing time. Capital One adds a nice feature to this service by allowing you to set up email reminders when bills are due if you’d rather work it that way.
Capital One 360 also offers a teen checking account. They send you and your teen a text every time there is a transaction on the account. Keeps everybody honest…..hopefully.
The savings accounts are simple to understand and use as well. They are linked to your checking which is convenient and the interest is competitive (currently paying .75%). The nice thing is that Capital One has no minimums and charges no fees as I said before. Very decent of them. The rate isn’t the highest I’ve seen but let’s give credit where credit is due. It compares favorably with higher tier institutions. Bravo.
Like any online bank, Capital One 360 offers time deposit CDs. Here’s a snap shot of the current rates:
Yes….Capital One 360 can sell you a mortgage. And to be honest, the rate they offer looks really good right now. In fact, it’s 30 year fixed rate mortgage rate is about the lowest I’ve seen (and I should know since I just refinanced my home and did an exhaustive rate survey). Of course they offer fixed 15 and 30 year loans. And you can also get a 5/1 ARM or a 7/1 ARM. They also offer home equity lines of credit. The rates looked extremely attractive on all these products.
The loan story actually gets better the closer you look. Their closing costs are fully disclosed right on the website and they claim to be 41% below the national average. The application process is easy and simple to track online. JD Power rated Capital One 360 one of the best mortgage experiences in the industry and you can lock your rate for 60 days for free. It seems like they do the mortgage thing really well.
Capital One 360 allows you to invest using their ShareBuilder Inc. subsidiary. If you take them up on their offer, you can integrate your banking and investment business which is convenient. Using their system you can buy stocks, options, mutual funds and ETFs. They offer two pricing programs shown below:
I was a bit put off by this pricing structure because it really only comes in to play if you do more than 3 automatic transactions each month. Nobody I know does more than 1 or 2 of these – tops. The pricing presentation is confusing. People could easily wrongly conclude that they can make trades for $1 apiece. That isn’t the case. Here’s how it really works.’
Using the Advantage program, you pay $12 a month for up to 12 automatic transactions each month. Each transaction thereafter costs $1. But again, that’s only for trades that are done automatically. If your trades are not automatic you will pay $6.95 per trade. That’s a good rate….don’t get me wrong…but it’s not $1 and I just wish they were clearer on this point. Disappointed.
Retirement and Business Accounts
You can open an IRA or Roth IRA or roll your old IRA or 401k over to Capital One 360. You can use banking products or ShareBuilder to do so. The rates are fair.
And while we’re on the business end of things, you can design a 401k for your small business using ShareBuilder. They claim that it’s easy to set up and maintain and inexpensive. I didn’t go through the demo myself. Lazy boy. But it’s cool they offer this service.
If a pilgrim isn’t fair…..what is he? I must say that customer service was pleasant. A did have to push “1” for a sales rep but Ricky the Rep answered right away once I did. He was courteous, knowledgeable and wanted my business. I like that.
Referral & Bonus Programs
If you look hard enough on the site (and you know you are looking for it) you’ll find information about their referral program. Basically, if you refer someone who opens a savings account with $250 or more, they’ll get $25 and you’ll get $20. That’s nice and if you open a checking account you’ll get a free MasterCard. Should you use that card 3 times within 45 days you’ll get $50 credited to your account. Also, nothing to whine about there. Note: ShareBuilder is currently offering a $100 bonus for new account.
Capital One 360 Review / Summary
Capital One 360 is a fine company to do business with. The people who work there are really nice and want to do a good job. They also provide a lot of services under one roof. I really like the mortgage rates and if I was going to refinance again I’d certainly check with these guys.
I like that the savings and checking accounts don’t have minimum balances and don’t charge fees. They are open from 8 am to 8 pm 7 days a week which should be plenty for most people.
Capital One offers 40,000 ATMs. That sounds good.
I like the “no foreign transaction fee” stuff. That’s important to me because we travel. And it gives me a very good reason to use their credit cards so I do.
In short, Capital One 360 is a good fit if you are trying to get lots of service from one provider. They do a good job, have competitive rates and have a long-standing position in the market. That means they are stable and in this day and age, that’s a precious commodity. Give them a try and let me know what you like or dislike. Can’t wait to hear from you.