ING vs CIMB: Battle of Digital Banks in the Philippines


ING vs CIMB: Two fully digital banks in the Philippines that offer 10x higher interest rates compared to local banks. Which one is better for your needs?

Admit it.

You hate waiting in line… for a while. Sometimes for hours!

Who has time for that?

Banks close usually around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. As a person hustling to make money, you’d rather not waste a huge chunk of your precious time to wait! Time is gold, baby.

Thank God for online banking! Now we don’t have to do all that!

With just a push of a button, our banking activities can now be done at the comforts of our home or anywhere we are with WiFi.

Major banks in the Philippines have been upgrading their services, offering their apps and websites to run a good business and make banking more accessible to the public.

However, only 14% of Filipinos with bank accounts use their bank’s online capabilities. The majority of bank customers in the country still pay their bills over the counter when they can just easily use their bank’s apps/websites, as well as other financial apps like Gcash or Paymaya to pay their bills.

Our country has lagged behind other countries in terms of taking advantage of digital banking. The traditional banks that are offering online banking services also have their limitations. We’ve simply lacked the initiative to offer a fully digital banking experience.

Enter the new players in the Philippine banking arena: ING vs CIMB. Two mobile-first and fully digital banks that offer huge interest rates on personal savings accounts!

So what is a fully digital bank?

Difference between a digital bank and online bank

Digital banking
Designed by jcomp / Freepik

A full digital bank is a financial institution that allows you to do all your banking transactions on your smartphone. The entire banking process is all on one app. You no longer have to visit a physical branch of a bank and fall in line to open an account. Just download the bank’s app, open an account, deposit money, and manage your account without going out of the house.

Online banking is quite different from digital banking. Online banking has been in the country for many years, but it has its own set of limitations. For one, online banking only works when you’ve already opened a bank account to a specific bank. For that to happen, you still have to go to a bank’s physical branch and have the account opening processed there, which could take a lot of time.

Advantages of Fully Digital Banking

  • Digital Processing – no documents or forms to sign
  • Paperless Transactions – no receipts, invoices, paper products
  • 24/7 Customer Service – no banking hours, call anytime
  • High-Interest Savings – save more money when banking online
  • Mobile Deposit – just take a picture of your check
  • Easy Banking – no hidden fees, just do your thing
  • Secure Banking – prevent hackers from snooping around
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Get to know your contenders:

ING vs CIMB:Before we battle these two out, let’s get to know where these foreign-sounding financial institutions come from.

Who is CIMB?

women leaving a bank

CIMB (Commerce International Merchant Bankers) Group is a leading ASEAN universal bank headquartered in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. It’s one of the largest investment banks in Asia, the fifth largest banking group by assets in ASEAN, and one of the largest Islamic banks in the world. It won as Malaysia’s Best Digital Bank and Best Retail Bank in 2018, with a total asset of RM 568.8 billion (PHP 6,908,462,539,416.00) as of September 30, 2019. In the Philippines, it won the Best Consumer Digital Bank Award for 2019.

Who is ING?

ING Bank building

ING (Internationale Nederlanden Groep) is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation with a strong European base. Its headquarters is located in Amsterdam and is serving around 38.4 million customers, corporate clients, and financial institutions in over 40 countries. Its products include savings, payments, investments, loans, and mortgages in most retail markets. They also provide wholesale banking. The corporation has a total asset of US $1.1 trillion and is one of the biggest banks of the world.

ING vs CIMB Comparison

Photo Credit: Designed by / Freepik

ING vs CIMB: Let’s compare the two fully digital banks to find out which bank offers the best services and rates in the Philippines.

Mobile App

iOS and Android iOS and Android

As they are fully digital banks, you can download ING and CIMB apps from both iOS and Android devices. They are available on the App Store and Google Play for free. Search for “ING Philippines” in the Google Playstore (for Android Users) or Apple AppStore (for iOS Users).

Both digital bank apps have a user-friendly interface. However, based on app reviews, there might be some room for improvements especially in the account opening and verification process. If you’re patient enough or you’re updating your apps regularly, you can fully reap the benefits of digital banking.

Customer Support

24/7 24/7

Since these digital banks are branchless, you can rely on 24/7 customer support. ING and CIMB offer 24/7 live chat support through their PH apps.

You can also go to ING Bank Facebook Messenger if you need help on your account. For longer messages, you can send them through an in-app message. For inquiries and concerns that need to be further looked into, their customer care agents will provide an initial assessment as soon as the evaluation is available. They’re asking to allow them to do this within the next two (2) days of your message.

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Aside from CIMB’s 24/7 live chat support via the CIMB Bank PH app, you can directly speak to a real customer service agent 24/7 by dialing #CIMB (#2462) on your phone. Local calls are toll-free for Globe, Smart, and PLDT subscribers nationwide. Their landline number is +632-8-924-2462.

Deposit / Cash-in

Via PESONet & InstaPay. Electronic funds transfer through other banks or e-wallets. Also accepts checks. 7-eleven, payment centers, banks, fund transfer. Does not accept check deposits.

ING partners with PESONet and InstaPay to allow its customers to cash-in or deposit money to the ING mobile app. PESONet is an electronic fund transfer service that enables customers of partner banks and mobile money operators to transfer funds to another customer of other partner banks and mobile money operators. The full value of the funds is made available to payees/beneficiaries on the same day (subject​ to payer’s financial institution’s cut-off). No deductions to payees!

Currently, InstaPay’s partnership with ING is only limited to receiving funds from other InstaPay participants that are included in the ING system.

Most Philippine banks charge a Php 100 transfer fee to cash-in to your ING account. (Transfer fee rebate promo when you transfer funds from November 19, 2019 to January 31, 2020).

Meanwhile, CIMB customers have more cash-in options to choose from. Cashing in via 7-Eleven is free. However, the rest of the cash-in options will be handled by Dragonpay. Dragonpay offers innovative payment solutions to help merchants accept or disburse payment online. It focuses on alternative payment channels such as banks, mobile payments, ATM’s, and brick-and-mortar payment centers.

Interest Rate

2.5% (4% interest rate p.a. promo until January 31, 2020) 2.5% (4% interest rate p.a. promo until March 2020 with a maintaining balance of Php 25,000)

Most savings accounts from major banks in the Philippines grow your money at a rate of just 0.10% to 0.25% per annum. If you need your hard-earned money to grow faster especially when building your emergency fund, it might be best to jump ship to a digital bank like ING or CIMB that offers as high as 4% interest rates on your savings account. There’s no minimum balance for your funds to grow.

However, the standard interest rate of ING and CIMB is only 2.5%.

You can avail of ING’s 4% interest rate when you sign up before January 31, 2020. The 4% interest rate per annum is open to all existing and new clients who have funded and will fund their ING Savings Account during the aforementioned duration. Interest rates will revert to the following standard interest rate of 2.5% after the end of the aforementioned duration. Full promo mechanics here:

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CIMB’s 4% gross interest rate can be availed when you open an Upsave account before the end of March 2020 with a maintaining balance of at least Php 25,000. Full promo mechanics here:

CIMB’s Fast account only offers a 0.5% interest rate per annum, while you can enjoy an interest rate of 0.75% per annum when you upgrade to a Fast Plus account.

Related Post: Emergency Fund: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money for it Now!

Maintaining Balance

zero zero

Unlike traditional banks, you don’t need any maintaining balance to keep your account open. This obviously means you can get away without paying fees for not reaching a particular maintaining balance. This also means there’s no required initial deposit amount for you to open an account!

Please note: for those who want to open a CIMB account, there is a Php 30 fee for every month your account is dormant starting on the 61st month of inactivity.

Plastic Card

none Only for Fast or Fast Plus Account

As of this writing, ING doesn’t offer a plastic card for you to withdraw your money or use it in online transactions. You can only withdraw the amount in your ING bank account by transferring it to your other bank accounts.

On the other hand, CIMB offers plastic card only for their Fast and Fast Plus account holders. The VISA PayWave ATM debit card is also free and will be delivered to your address once you’ve accumulated a deposit of Php 1,000. If you lose your CIMB debit card, you can request for a replacement subject to a Php 150 fee.

Cash Withdrawal

Transfer to other bank accounts. Limited options. Can withdraw to other banks, payment centers or ATM

As mentioned above, ING is partnering with PESONet to allow cash-ins on the app. It’s also the same with cash withdrawals. ING uses PESONet’s capabilities to enable transfers to any other Philippine banks in the ING system. To know the list of participating banks, click here:

CIMB presents more options for cash withdrawal through its app and most fees are waived. You can withdraw over-the-counter via Dragonpay (SM Malls, Robinsons Malls, LBC, M.Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier, and other local banks) or through ATMs (Bank ATMs, BancNet network, CIMB Bank ATM overseas, VISA network).

Please note: there may be an additional processing fee charged by Dragonpay’s over-the-counter merchants.

Final Thoughts

Philippine local banks are also slowly rolling similar apps to make banking easier for their customers. Unionbank recently launched a similar feature where you can open your account via the bank’s mobile app. While the process is easier, the interest rate is only 0.10%.

ING vs CIMB. It’s still difficult to decide the winner in this battle. While ING is a bigger financial institution than the other, it still has its own limitations compared to CIMB like the availability of an ATM debit card or cash withdrawal options. However, both ING and CIMB UpSave accounts offer high-interest rates of 2.50%.

We are, indeed, moving towards an all-mobile future. And if you’re not on this revolution yet, you will surely be left behind. Banks in the country should now fully embrace digitization and automation as the generation of today loves everything fast-paced and efficient.

If you are a work-at-home person like me or even someone who is always on-the-go, a fully digital bank where you can open and access your money on the fly is perfect for you.

And as for someone who wants to save more and wants your funds to grow at a rapid rate, these digital banks’ interest rates might just pull you in.

What do you think of our ING vs CIMB comparison? Have you tried opening an account to either of these digital banks? How was your experience?

Comment below to share it!

Page Thrifty
Nikkah of Get Financed Lab is a caffeine-fueled work-at-home ninja, hustling her way to financial independence before she turns 40. Like most millennial, she dabs on blogging, starting side-hustles, freelancing, and slaying the mommy life. This blog is her personal finance journey peppered with her words of wisdom, which should always be taken with a grain of salt.