Six Years of Internet Banking

I can’t believe it’s been six years since I opened my first account with an internet-only bank!  There have been so many changes during that time and I think internet-only banks have really come into their own.  I believe they can go toe-to-toe with brick-and-mortar banks and even beat them in many ways.


I opened an account with ING Direct (now Capital One 360) after I graduated from college when I realized that Bank of America didn’t have great termsFor a year I straddled ING and BoA, not confident that I could completely untether myself from the brick-and-mortar banking world.  I had my paycheck deposited into ING and transferred the discretionary portion of my spending to BoA for its easier ATM access.


By the time Kyle and I got married, I had switched to using ING almost exclusively.  He had a few other requirements out of a bank so we chose to open our joint checking account with Ally.  We’ve used Ally as our primary bank since 2010 and have checking, savings, and CDs there.


What banking with ING was like in 2007


  • No minimum balance, no fees.
  • The interest rates were among the best available for low balances.
  • No free paper checks available; could submit info through the website to have ING mail a check.
  • Could link bank accounts for easy money transfer.
  • Used the Allport ATM network; for me, the closest one to my apartment was in a nearby Target, which was not super convenient since I didn’t often go there.
  • Check deposit was by mail.


What banking with Ally is like today


  • No minimum balance, no fees.
  • Very competitive interest rates.
  • Free paper checks provided with the account; can submit info through the website to have Ally mail a check.
  • Can link bank accounts for easy money transfer.
  • Reimburses fees for using any ATM.  Any ATM!
  • Check deposit is through smartphone app, scanning, or mail.


man with smartphoneReflecting on these changes shows me how advanced this type of banking has become!  Back in 2007, it was annoying to have to mail in checks to deposit, which is one reason I kept BoA around because I could deposit checks into their ATMs.  Scanning checks to deposit was a big leap forward and smartphone app deposit is another leap.  I’m also very glad that we switched from ING to Ally because I love not having to think about which in-network ATM is most convenient, especially when we are traveling – we just use whichever one we see first.  And of course all along we’ve enjoyed free bill pay and have never been charged a fee for anything.


I haven’t kept up as well with the functionality that ING/Capital One 360 has added since 2010, though I do know they have smartphone app deposit now.  They are still with the Allpoint ATM network and you have to pay for paper checks.  The transition from ING to Capital One 360 apparently didn’t change anything, even though customers were apprehensive.


The only functionality we’re missing with our internet banks – and it doesn’t bother me but it does bother Kyle – is the ability to deposit cash.  It has never come up for us, though.


I wish Ally had a referral program because I would love to be able to incentive you to open an account there!  We really can’t recommend it highly enough.  If you want to check out how you like Capital One 360, you can use my referral link to get a free $50 into your new checking account or $25 into your new savings account.


What kinds of features has your bank added in the last few years?  Have you re-shopped your accounts recently?  Who were you banking with in 2007 and who are you banking with now?


photo from Free Digital Photos



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28 Responses to "Six Years of Internet Banking"

  1. If I was I’m the market for a new bank for my dent paying account, I’d go with an internet bank. I considered it when I opened the account in 2010, but at the time, I couldn’t find one that had remote deposit. Since a quarter if the funds going into that account are paid to me in a pre-paid debit card that I need to pull find from with a money order, having an easy way to deposit those money orders is really important!
    For my primary account, I can’t imagine ever switching from brick-and-mortar. If I have a question or a problem, us much rather go in and talk to someone face-to-face instead of phone or online chat.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..How to Fix Your Android Phone After Mobile ID Hijacks the Launcher

    1. Emily says:

      That is so different from us! I think it’s a pain to drive to a bank and wait in line and talk with someone who can’t help and then wait more to talk with someone who can and perhaps wait for them to make a phone call. I much prefer chat or calling from home!

  2. While Leslie and I don’t use an exclusively online bank, we have recently switched from a local credit union to one that offers more online options. I switched over to PNC for all the Virtual Wallet options, and the ability to take a picture to deposit checks. Sometimes I just don’t get out of work in time to deposit then and being able to virtually deposit the check is much more convenient.
    Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries recently posted..It’s Not About What You Want, It’s About What You See

    1. Emily says:

      It is really hard for us to make it to a bank that keeps 9-5, 9-1 hours. I don’t want to arrange my schedule around when the bank is open! Remote deposit is clutch.

      1. I love banking desks at supermarkets for this reason. I’m not sure what regular branch hours are, but the desk in the supermarket for the bank I use for my debt payments is open until 6 M-W, 7 on Thursday & Friday, and is also open from 10-2 on the weekend.
        Edward Antrobus recently posted..How to Fix Your Android Phone After Mobile ID Hijacks the Launcher

        1. Emily says:

          That’s something to look out for – thanks for the tip, Edward!

  3. Totally agree with how good technology has become lately. I started using our credit union in 2002, Mr PoP many years earlier and we had to mail in checks. The interface got a but better by 2006 or so when you could enter some of the check info online and get a statement credo until the check reached them in the mail. But now they have an iPad app and its just so easy to move money all around – even to our ally account which has a higher interest rate on savings at the moment.
    Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Our Priceless ($200) Load Of Laundry

    1. Emily says:

      I can’t wait for the next phases where we’re all using our phones (or chips in our bodies) to pay for things and transfer money! We had a scrambling-for-cash-to-repay-someone-for-our-tab situation last weekend and I really wished we could have just transferred money electronically over the dinner table.

  4. Dylan says:

    I’ll echo what has already been said in terms of usefulness of some of the technologies that have been incorporated into online banking. One of my favorite ones is being able to deposit checks simply by taking a photo of them with my phone! No more clock-draining trips to the bank!

    1. Emily says:

      ITA, Dylan! We go to the bank about once per year now.

  5. I’m really old fashioned. I like to walk into a bank and actually talk to someone in order to withdraw money or deposit or cash a check. But I’m not really a heavy banker, so this is only a few times a year. All my financial heavy lifting (depositing my pay check, investing, paying the bills) is done electronically.
    My Financial Independence Journey recently posted..Is Home Buying Right for Me?

    1. Emily says:

      That is old-fashioned. 😉 We don’t have a lot of those types of needs, either. We only receive checks a few times per year and grab cash when we need it as cashback at Costco (really only for the farmer’s market).

  6. SarahN says:

    Sadly in Australia even ‘internet only’ banks need a ‘real bank’ behind them 🙁 Sad but true. Weirdly, cheques are becoming close to unheard of here – only big corps send them occasionally – or grandmas. I deposit them in my ‘real’ bank and wait an eternity for them to clear!! Oh and I used a bank cheque for my housing deposit. I almost never need the teller – I use ATMs and cashback (I think you call it that, we call it cash out) almost 100% of the time!
    SarahN recently posted..What’s in the bag? (Handbag contents inventory)

    1. Emily says:

      The major internet-only banks here – Ally and Capital One – have banks under the same patent company that have physical branches, but they are not integrated from the customer side.

      I think checks are really falling off here too. The main use seems to be gifts, for us! I have our checking account hooked up to both our parents’ accounts for easy transfers, but I don’t think they can easily push money our way.

  7. CashRebel says:

    I guess I just sort of assumed everyone switched to online banking. When I was looking to get serious about banking, online banks already blew brick and mortar banks out of the water. It just makes so much sense to do banking only online. I love my Ally savings account. I still have a US Bank checking account, but only because I was too lazy to switch direct deposit.
    CashRebel recently posted..Being Part Of The In-Crowd Gets Expensive

    1. Emily says:

      Apparently not! I think the added functionality in the last few years has been key. It was more of an experiment back in 2007, at least to me. Switch your direct deposit! 🙂

  8. Eric says:

    I am 99.9% online today. I use Schwab Bank for most day to day banking because it links to my brokerage accounts, has online check deposits, and unlimited free ATM use globally with all fees reimbursed automatically, including other bank ATM fees.

    For cash deposits, I have a local credit union 5 blocks from home. They had my car loan and I’ve kept the savings account there, which is linked to Schwab and Capital One 360 for online transfers, in case I need local bank service.
    Eric recently posted..What is an Overdraft Line of Credit?

    1. Emily says:

      Sounds similar to our arrangement now! I’m glad it’s working for you. Do you ever need to deposit cash?

  9. eemusings says:

    I adore my bank because it has THE best money tracking system and is really innovative. It’s also easy and free to deposit cash/cheques, which I need to do from time to time.
    eemusings recently posted..First impressions of Cambodia

    1. Emily says:

      Hm, I haven’t used any of our banks’ tracking systems except to check transactions because I like using an aggregator over all our accounts. I’m glad you’re so satisfied with your bank!

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