Based on reader feedback, this post has been substantially revised from its original form.

What makes a bank good? Some people want great deals. Some want great service. Some want convenience. Many finance bloggers recommend online banks like ING Direct and Emigrant Direct because they offer excellent interest rates.

A GRS reader (who asked to remain anonymous) warns that the deals at these places may not be worth the trouble. When he needed to withdraw his money, he felt that ING Direct made him leap through unnecessary hoops — they required a lot of information that he did not have immediately accessible, including the amounts of two small test deposits. He’s concerned that ING Direct’s policies go beyond security, that they may be actual barriers to withdrawing money.

I use a good credit union where I live. I can always go there in person, proving that I’m me, and having lost my home, my phone, my whatever, can still access my money and obtain full services. My experience with ING has taught me what I get in return for the lower rate of savings on my credit union account: customer service, immediate access to all my accounts, and personal assistance when needed.

Do you do business with ING Direct or another online bank? What sort of experiences have you had? What headaches have you encountered? Or is your impression entirely positive? Convince me that I should (or shouldn’t) put my money at ING Direct.

This article is about Choices, Real-Life