Barefoot Investor Scott Pape has made a rare dig at ING, a bank he has often praised and recommended to followers throughout his career.
Responding to a reader’s question of his column Called Angela, Mr Pape said the bank, which revitalized Australian consumer finance when it launched in 1999, had gone stale.
“Let me count the ways ING is worthless,” Angela wrote.
Their customer service is absolutely worthless. Their security sucks; a four-digit access code, really?’ she said.
“And now they’re dropping their international ATM discount, which totally sucks because I’m going abroad soon.”
“Are you still in the ‘orange army’ or do you, like me, think it sucks?”
Barefoot Investor Scott Pape recommended having “a few” ING accounts in his bestseller and is a customer himself, but says the bank’s offering is outdated
Mr. Pape, in one of his bestselling books, recommended setting up “a few” ING accounts because they pay “no account fees, no ATM fees and relatively high interest.”
In one of his most popular recent columns, he also revealed that he still uses an ING Orange Everyday account and clarified that he is not paid to promote it.
“Don’t worry, I’m not an ING cheerleader – I’m just a fellow customer,” he said.
But it seems his fondness for the bright orange lion – an Australian branch wholly owned by the Dutch ING Group – has waned lately.
‘I had my own bad experience with ING a while back,’ he wrote in response to Angela’s question.
“They called my wife about suspicious transactions on our account. It turned out that it was actually payments we had received. Strange, isn’t it?’
He explained that the ING representative pushed his wife to answer what the payments were about, which she “honestly had no idea about”.
“I remembered selling some sheep troughs on eBay, and that was the transaction in question. It was all very… sheepish,” he said.
He then explained that he now thinks there are better accounts on offer than ING and compared them to a popular Irish rock band.
‘ING is a lot like U2. The Joshua Tree was a great album, edgy and original… but now they’re just kind of the same, the same, lame.
ING Australia has 1.7 million customers and regularly scores high in customer satisfaction surveys
ING will no longer offer free international cash withdrawals from August this year, a feature that Mr Pape previously wrote positively about.
‘We only give discounts to eligible domestic ATM operators’, says ING’s recently updated overview of Orange Everyday benefits.
“Some ATM operators will charge fees for transactions and surveys conducted at their ATMs,” the schedule reads.
“These charges apply to your account in addition to the charges for ATM withdrawals from ING International, even if ING charges no charges for that transaction or application.”
Once an ING Orange Everyday customer has claimed five qualifying ATM fees, international ATMs will be charged a $5 fee, plus an international operator fee.
An ING spokesperson said that the bank is sticking to its formula because it works well.
“We are proud to be Australia’s most recommended bank and, for three years in a row, Canstar’s Bank of the Year,” the spokesperson said.
“We are committed to simple, effective banking products to help our customers get on with the things that matter to them.
“We offer a wide range of award-winning products, including our Savings Maximiser account which offers one of the best current savings rates of 5.25 percent for eligible customers.
In addition, ING is the only bank in Australia to offer a 1% cashback on eligible water, gas and electricity bills. There are also no international transaction fees for eligible Orange Everyday customers.
‘We continuously listen to feedback from our customers and use it to further improve our products.’