Ally Invest® review 2023
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Ally Invest: Best for
- Low trading commissions
- Ally Bank customers
- Sign-on promotions
Ally Invest covers all the bases and then some, and will likely be an especially excellent fit for existing Ally customers who are looking for a capable broker. Of course, Ally offers the industry-standard stock and ETF commission of $0, but it also has the best-undiscounted commission for options, excepting only the commission-free brokers.
Phone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week can help you get your questions answered quickly, and the user-friendly mobile app helps you make your trades as well as conduct all your other Ally business.
Ally Invest: In the details
Pros: Where Ally Invest stands out
Low trading costs
Options traders will be especially pleased with Ally’s offering. Its normal commission structure is $0.50 per contract, among the best-undiscounted prices for trades in the industry, where the standard is usually $0.65 per contract. If you want cheap options trades without having to trade in volume to achieve a discount, Ally is a great choice. Today, cheaper places include Robinhood and Webull, which offer a no-commission structure for all products.
Ally charges $0 for stock and ETF trades, putting it in line with other major online brokers. Meanwhile, commissions on bond trades are $1 per bond, with a $10 minimum per trade.
Integration with Ally
Ally Invest’s integration is a bonus for current Ally customers, allowing them to consolidate their financial accounts within one institution, as you can see in the mobile app. That can be great for transfers between accounts, reducing delays on cash moves between a bank and broker, for example. It can be convenient to simply have your accounts in one place when tax time arrives. Often, Ally Invest ends up feeling like just another tab on the dashboard of the entire Ally website.
Ally Invest Robo Portfolios is another option for those looking to take an automated approach to investing. For just a $100 minimum investment, Robo Portfolios will invest based on your goals and automatically rebalance your portfolio daily.
Unlike many brokers, Ally Invest doesn’t have a dedicated app for its brokerage activities. Instead, the Ally Mobile app provides functionality for all of the company’s accounts and activities. For example, you can see all your accounts in one spot – checking, savings, CDs, credit cards and brokerage accounts. That’s a great feature for customers who already have an Ally account and want to keep their financial life consolidated within there.
This all-in-one app fits that bill well and is simple to navigate and use. You’ll be able to deposit checks, transfer money between accounts, pay bills, check tax forms, access savings tools, find ATMs and perform a number of other banking activities.
On the app’s investing side, you’ll be able to do even more. You can check your portfolio with streaming quotes and trade stocks as well as multi-leg options. Customers can perform technical analysis with charting tools and access the latest market news. While it doesn’t have all the features of Ally’s trading platform, it performs well when you can’t be at your desk.
If you want to trade currency, Ally also provides a dedicated app for that called Ally Forex. This app allows you to enter multiple order types, access streaming headlines from Reuters and weekly reports, chart market trends, get alerts and generally manage your account.
No-transaction-fee mutual funds
Ally finally got in the game on no-transaction-fee mutual funds in early 2023 – and did so with a big splash. For years the broker charged a $9.95 transaction fee for mutual funds when the rest of the industry – key players such as Charles Schwab, Interactive Brokers and Fidelity – offered thousands of funds without a fee. Now Ally not only closed the distance on rivals by eliminating this fee, but it also offers some 17,000 funds without it, putting Ally near the top of the pack with Interactive Brokers.
Of course, a bigger buffet of choices isn’t always better if the smaller buffet has what you want. But a wider selection means you’re more likely to find what you want.
Ally really steps up in this category. The broker offers 24/7 phone support and an online chat function to quickly route you to a representative. There are also more conventional means, such as email, though customers don’t have the option of going to a physical branch for assistance. But this latter point probably shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for most investors.
Cons: Where Ally Invest could improve
The account fees are somewhat surprising here since they’re atypical at most brokers today. Ally still charges a $25 fee for terminating an IRA. If you transfer the account, that’s an additional $50, while a partial account transfer will also run you $50.
On any standard account, you’ll also be charged a $50 fee for a full or partial transfer.
No fractional shares on purchases
Ally does a lot of things well from a customer-management standpoint, so it’s too bad that it doesn’t offer clients the ability to trade fractional shares. You won’t be able to buy them directly, but you will be able to reinvest your dividends into fractional shares.
If fractional shares are critical to you, Robinhood and Fidelity Investments allow you to purchase and reinvest in fractional shares in many thousands of stocks.
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