ING Direct coming out with new bill payment features

July 5th, 2009 · No Comments

ING recently sent an e-mail to current Electric Orange (that’s their online checking account product) customers announcing upcoming changes to the bill payment tools.  They also provided a link where anyone can preview the changes online or try out an interactive demo of the changes.  The new changes are currently scheduled to go into effect the weekend of July 25th.

ING is clearly hyping the fact that the changes create an integrated “bill payment center” as they call it.  Besides sending payments, you can receive eBills, schedule reminders, and edit or change scheduled payments.  The demo makes it all look pretty efficient from an interface perspective, but alot of the new functionality is predicated on getting eBills.  If your not into that, which I’m not because I like having the paper records and am still a bit hesitant about automated payments out of my cash accounts, then many of the new features may not be so useful to you.  However, there ARE some very welcome changes.

One of the best, from my point of view, is that you’ll now be able to see “the earliest date a payment can be delivered”.  Which I interpret to mean the date it would arrive if you scheduled it to be paid ASAP.  With the old bill payment tools, you’d have to actually review the payment after it was entered to have any idea of when it would get delivered and even then you’d still be a guessing a bit.  That is, if it was an electronic payment you could be relatively certain the recipient would see it arrive within the next business day, but if it was a mailed check, it could take anywhere from 3 to 5 calendar days before it arrived.  If you didn’t like what it showed, you could then cancel the payment.  Unfortunately, this new feature doesn’t look like it is available on the page where you actually enter a payment instruction, instead you’ll have to visit the “Address Book” or “Payment Calendar”.  The latter doesn’t seem to exist in the current Electric Orange site, and the former is a page where you can add new billers, review your existing billers (nickname, business name and account number, and payment type), or delete a biller.  IMO, it would be best if they showed this where you actually entered payments.

Another welcome addition is that entry of billers will now be simpler because ING Direct will look up the details if you simply provide the phone number of the biller.  Note that the interactive demo shows that you still need to enter the name, not the phone number, so I can’t tell if you’ll have the option to do either or whether they’re switching it all to the phone number?  I suspect the phone number is more accurate for this purpose since there aren’t abbreviations and capitalization issues that come into play when trying to find an entry in their biller database.

ING is also adding a bunch of filtering and searching tools, which should make it much easier to find billers and or payments to biller in the event of a dispute, or simply a need to review past payments.

Tags: Checking

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