Review: Capital One 360™ Checking Account
|Based In:||St. Cloud, MN (Capital One N.A.)|
|Minimum Deposit to Open:||$1|
|Customer Service:||1-888-464-0727 (8am - 8pm, 7 days/week)|
|Minimum Balance |
to Avoid Fees:
|Website:||Capital One 360|
Was I upset when ING Direct was purchased by Capital One in early 2012? Yes. And that's putting it mildly. (I'd been with ING Direct since 2003.)
In fact, as I wrote a short blog post (see "Will I Stay with ING Capital Direct One?"), I went so far as to question whether or not I'd even keep my ING Direct accounts open.
Well, over five years have have passed since then, and the name-change is oh-so-official now. All of my Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) accounts are still in use by my household. About the only thing that's changed is the color scheme. And, of course, the web URLs.
Changes like that, I can live with.
Because I really like my
Electric Orange Checking 360 Checking account.
(You can still read my Electric Orange Checking review, if you like, if only for comparison's sake.)
360 Checking Features
Here's my quick rundown of 360 Checking features. If I've forgotten a detail or two, well, feel free to call me bad names or throw stale waffles at the screen, or something.
Again, everything here matches the features which were offered by ING Direct's Electric Checking:
- FDIC insured? Yup. Who'd use it otherwise?
- Checking Balance Earns Interest. As of this writing, 360 Checking accounts pay a smidge of interest on balances up to $50k. Balances above that earn more. Check Capital One's 360 website for current rates and balance tiers.
- No Fees. Where other banks charge hefty overdraft fees, 360 Checking charges interest on the amount you borrow. How much do they charge? I don't know, because I don't overdraft.
- Simple, Clean Interface. I never much cared for orange, and orange was ING Direct's color. It was the one thing I held against them. Now, though, my 360 accounts are all red and blue. This is better.
- Refer Friends; Earn Money. You can refer up to 50 friends and family to Capital One 360 accounts, earning $10 for each referral who opens an account with at least $250.
- MasterCard Debit Card. I don't use this debit card much, but if you need one, it's available with 360 Checking. And it's free.
- Deposit Checks Electronically. Paper checks can be scanned or photographed and deposited into 360 Checking electronically. Accessible by mobile app or computer.
- Access cash at more than 38,000 ATMs on the Allpoint™ Network. Capital One's ATM Locator tells me there are 18 free ATMs within a 20-mile radius of my home in Oklahoma. Odds are good there's a few near you, too.
- Free Online Bill Pay & Direct Deposit. Which you can get darn near everywhere these days.
- Free Electronic Checks. If you have to send a paper check somewhere, Capital One will (like ING Direct) send it for you. And they'll pay the postage.
- Paper Checks Available. So you want to write paper checks out of your 360 Checking? Well, it can be done. The catch? The checks must be ordered from Capital One, where they currently cost $5 for 50 checks. Ordered checks arrive in 10 to 14 days. Capital One (like ING Direct before them) will not accept checks printed by any other source.
- 360 Security Guarantee. Capital One covers losses from unauthorized activity in your 360 accounts as long as you notify them within 60 days of receiving the statement which shows unauthorized activity.
- eStatements. View, download, and print your monthly statements, whenever you want, in PDF format.
- Email Notifications. You can choose to have Capital One send you email notifications when various things happen: a paper check clears, a transaction over some preset (by you) amount posts, and so on. Pretty handy, actually.
- Download Transactions into Quicken, etc.. Personally, I input all my transactions by hand, but I also know lots of folks who prefer to let Quicken (or other financial software) download transactions.
Capital One 360: Like ING Direct, But With Red and Blue.
Since buying ING Direct, Capital One has gone out of its way to convince ING Direct fans (like me!) that they're still out to earn savers' business. "New look, same awesome — with the same team focused on Savers!" their webpages tell me.
I'll note that Capital One's acquisition of ING Direct wasn't a hostile takeover or anything. ING Direct was going to be sold no matter what, due to a European-Commission-ordered financial restructuring. (ING Direct's parent company, ING Group, was Dutch.) Capital One is the 6th largest bank in the United States, and while it's known primarily for its credit-card offerings, it has extensive deposit- and online-based experience.
Capital One retained ING Direct's customer-service division — which was stellar — so I get the feeling that not much will change on that front ... for a while, at least. When banks go through acquisitions like this, it's quite possible that effects aren't seen until years down the road.
Linking to External Accounts
Like ING Direct before it, Capital One 360 accounts allow up to three linked external accounts. "Linked external accounts" are those non-Capital-One-360 checking accounts to which your 360 Checking is linked so that you can perform transfers back and forth between them.
I'd love to see Capital One allow a few more linked accounts, but it's purely a convenience thing. I've never run into difficulty by having only three. (You can always delete a linked account, and re-add a new one in its place if you need. But confirming the new linked account will take at least a day or so. As a workaround, you can use "Person2Person" payments to send money to any of your other bank accounts in 2-3 business days.)
If you own other Capital One 360 accounts (like 360 Savings), those accounts are automatically "linked" to your 360 Checking, and are immediately available for transfers. They don't count against your external-link limit.
Direct Deposit & 360 Checking
Want to set up Direct Deposit with your employer, so that all or part of your paychecks gets automatically deposited into 360 Checking on payday? Even if you don't have paper checks from your 360 Checking account, it's easy.
Just fill out a quick Direct Deposit form (accessible from a sidebar link when you log in), print it, and give it to your employer. Capital One's RTN and your account number will be preprinted on it ... and your boss will thank you for not making her sign your paper paychecks any longer.
Checkmate: Deposit Checks From Anywhere
Capital One utilizes the Checkmate℠ service to allow users to deposit paper checks via PC or mobile app (iPhone or Android). Doing so is dead simple; you merely scan or photograph both sides of the check(s), and upload the images to Capital One.
As of February, 2013, I've deposited way more than 30 paper checks successfully. The only issue arose when the check-signer's signature happened to partially overwrite the preprinted RTN and account info at the bottom of his check; this made the check unreadable to the Checkmate software. Other than that little oopsie — which wasn't the fault of anyone but the check signer — I'm a huge fan of this service.
I've deposited checks via my Android tablet and the Capital One mobile app (photographing the checks), as well as by PC (scan the checks and upload via web). Both were simple and fast.
If you're interested, I had a few more thoughts in my "ING Adds Remote Check Deposit" blog post. (This service became available when it was still ING Direct "Electric Orange" checking.)
360 Checking: Payment Options
Because 360 Checking was designed to be as paperless as possible, Capital One offers a handful of ways for 360 Checking owners to pay outside people and businesses:
The payment options are:
- Bill Pay: More on this below. It's pretty standard.
- Person2Person: More below.
- Mail a Check: As noted in the "Features" section above, you can have Capital One mail a check to someone. You just provide the usual info. Capital One pays the postage.
- Checkbook: Order a checkbook through Capital One, and you can write your own paper checks. As of this writing, a 50-check checkbook costs five bucks.
- Overnight a Cashier's Check: I've never used this, as I've never had the need to overnight a check somewhere. Plus it costs $20, and I'm a cheap bastard.
Payment Option: Bill Pay
The "Bill Pay" setup in 360 Checking is very much like that of other financial institutions. I imagine it's the most-used payment option they offer, as well.
There's nothing tough about using the Bill Pay feature. Capital One walks you through the bill-adding process, and once you've paid an entity, whether it's a person or business, the info is saved so you won't have to enter it again the next time.
Payment Option: Person2Person
Need to pay your sister back for dinner last week? Use "Person2Person" and it's easy.
You'll just need to know three things:
- Your sister's full name;
- Her valid email address;
- The last four digits of the bank account to which she wants the money credited.
When you send her the Person2Person payment via 360 Checking, she'll immediately get an email from Capital One. It tells her how much you're paying her, and requests (1) her bank's routing transit number (RTN), and (2) the full account number of the deposit account.
Once she provides this, she'll get the money in her account in roughly two business days.
Nifty Feature: Once you've added someone to your Person2Person "Address List," their info is saved (much as it is for businesses in the Bill Pay section) so that you can simply select it from a drop-down box later. You won't have to re-enter it in the future.
Workaround: Remember how I mentioned above that Capital One allows just three linked external accounts? Well, I've used Person2Person payments to myself to send money to non-linked accounts a time or two. No adverse effects ensued, and no black helicopters showed up above my house because of it. (They were there well before I started using Person2Person like this.)
Payment Option: Sending Paper Checks
Enter the necessary info, and Capital One will snail-mail a paper check to whomever you request. (Postage is on them.)
Just for funsies, back when it was still ING Direct, I decided to have ING mail a small paper check to my wife. The timeline went like this:
- Sunday, Jan. 6 @ Noon: Logged into Electric Orange and issued a standard paper check to my wife.
- Monday, Jan. 7 @ 9am: Received an email from ING telling me that the check had been mailed.
- Thursday, Jan. 10: The check reached our mailbox.
And a few images:
The check arrived in a standard, large-window envelope. The name and address of the payee (input when you create the check in your 360 Checking account) serve as the viewable mailing address for the envelope.
360 Checking: Some Screenshot Goodness
As noted before, since Capital One took charge, the only significant change in my 360 Checking account has been the website color scheme. What was orange is now red and blue. (Check my Electric Orange review if you want to see how it looked before.)
Here's the account summary page, which is what you see upon log-in:
From there, one click takes you to the 360 Checking register:
If you have any pending transactions, those appear in a separate section above your register of posted transactions. (Which is what I show above.)
Rating the 360 Checking Interface
All in all, I rate the 360 Checking website (and operation thereof) as the best of any I've used on the 'net. It's clean, simple, and easy to get to whatever features you need.
But remember: This is primarily because Capital One inherited it from ING Direct, and were smart enough (so far) to not change anything. (Well, besides logos and color scheme.)
Summary: Still the Best Online Checking Out There
Normally I'm not a "hope" kind of guy, but in this case, I think it's appropriate: I really hope Capital One doesn't screw this up.
Even after the ownership change, Capital One's 360 Checking (formerly ING Direct Electric Orange) is still, far and away, the best internet-based checking account I've ever used.
Right now, I've seen nothing that suggests to me that Capital One has plans to start revamping features and services in 360 Checking, or to start adding fees and roadblocks. Everything I've read from Cap-One says they won't do that, that they value savers, and that they want to continue the great thing that ING Direct had going.
Lord, I hope so.
Really, I love our 360 Checking. I use it (and our 360 Savings accounts) as a hub between various other accounts which are more local to us. The features Capital One provides with 360 Checking are vital to me. I don't want to see them go away. I don't want to see them slapping fees on every little thing, either.
Over the years, as a Saver, I learned to trust ING Direct implicitly. I knew they respected my money, and would strive to keep my business. I sincerely hope Capital One is deserving of that same trust. Only time will tell.
So I guess it boils down to this: If you're looking for an online checking account for your household, then right now, you cannot do better than opening a Capital One 360 Checking account.
In the future, though ... who knows?Michael Updated May, 2017
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