Ally Invest at a glance
Top feature you’ll love
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 also access the latest market news. While it doesn’t have all of 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.
Pros: Where Ally Invest stands out
Low trading costs
Ally’s strongest suit is probably its low trading commissions, which are even with other top online brokers. Ally charges $0 for stock or ETF trades, putting it in line with major rivals such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, TD Ameritrade and E-Trade.
Options traders will find Ally even more competitive. 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, the only place cheaper is Robinhood and its no-commission structure for all products.
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, and allows them to consolidate their financial accounts within one institution, as you can see with 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 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’s 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 investors.
Ally’s promotion for opening and funding an account is a nice incentive. The broker often offers some of the highest promotional bonuses when you bring money to a new account. Once you’ve received the bonus, you’ll have to hold it and the qualifying deposit (minus any trading losses) in the account for at least 300 days.
Ally also offers another less obvious bonus, too. The broker will pay for your transfer out of another brokerage account up to $150, as long as you bring at least $2,500 to your Ally Invest account. That’s real cash that doesn’t come out of your pocket if you decide to move to Ally.
Ally is a solid choice for your next broker, especially if you already have an account with its parent bank or are looking into moving all your business to the same institution.
- The integration with Ally Bank makes it easy to move money from one account to the other, particularly useful when you need to make a trade quickly or pay a bill.
- Commissions are particularly attractive on most products, including stocks, ETFs, options and bonds.
- However, Ally could be more investor-friendly on some account fees, the number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds and the ability to buy fractional shares.
If you’re looking to consolidate financial accounts or already have an account with Bank of America, you may want to check out Merrill Edge, which may get you extra credit card rewards, too. If you’re looking for mutual funds without a transaction fee, you can turn to Interactive Brokers, Fidelity and Vanguard for excellent options.
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