Conto Arancio: bank account coming?

Another unofficial rumor from ING Direct. Several client seems to have been contacted from the bank, to evaluate their interest to a “Conto Arancio” bank account (by now, as you may know, there is only a saving account).

From little information that leaks out, it seems that ING is considering offering a zero interest rate bank account, no costs (except taxes), that would allow immediate deposit and withdrawals to and from the saving account. This is hardly revolutionary, since this is exactly how IWBank and IWPower work. Anyway, in my opinion it would be an interesting move, not only because customer would benefit from an higher competition between banks, but also because ING Direct usually gives a big advertising and communication boost to what it does. Therefore, it could give a strong contribution to spread the whole online banking world.

I think that a “Conto Arancio” bank account would not impact that much on already-existent online banks (IWBank, Fineco, etc.), since their customers may be more interested in stock trading, mutual funds or ETF, while ING is likely to set for who doesn’t already have an online bank account. In my opinion, this could be advantageous for everybody: in fact, maybe if ING didn’t start a few years ago to offer an online saving account, maybe today we wouldn’t even have Santander Consumer Bank, or Webank, or Websella offers.

The real launch of an online bank account from ING surely depends from the result of this market research, but is worth noticing that ING already has a similar product in other countries, like Spain.

There are some rumors also on a possible promotion for this “Conto Arancio” bank account: 2% of domiciled bill or 1% of credit card payments would be credited as “bonus interests”. Also this promotion is already running in Spain.

In the end, it will probabily take some time to see this online bank account on the market: by now ING seems to be in a preleminary market study step, and it’s very difficult that it will be offered before 2008. Anyway when (and if) “Conto Corrente Arancio” will be on the market, there will probably be a naming problem, since it will be important for the new product name to avoid confusion with the saving account.

Italian translation of this post: Arriva Conto Corrente Arancio?

Banche e Risparmio []