Ally Invest® review 2023
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
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.
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 $75, 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.
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.
Firstrade4.0 Bankrate Score
Firstrade is a solid brokerage offering that may particularly appeal to options traders because of its commission-free options trades. You’ll also get access to quality research and its mobile app, but mutual fund investors may be disappointed by the small number of no-transaction fee funds available.
TD Ameritrade4.5 Bankrate Score
TD Ameritrade still offers strong platforms and a range of research for its clients, making it a very solid pick for more advanced traders, even as it is about to merge with Charles Schwab. A wide range of tradable securities and plenty of commission-free mutual funds make this broker interesting for both new and advanced traders, as do the competitive commissions.
WellsTrade2.5 Bankrate Score
WellsTrade handles most of the basics well and could be a good fit for existing Wells Fargo customers looking to consolidate accounts in one place. However, active traders should likely look elsewhere for their brokerage needs due to high options costs and a barebones trading platform.
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing3.0 Bankrate Score
J.P Morgan’s Self-Directed Investing platform is a good fit for existing Chase customers who are looking for a low-cost way to trade stocks, ETFs and mutual funds while getting access to the bank’s easy-to-use mobile app. However, only a few account types are offered and If you’re looking to trade forex, futures or crypto, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Interactive Brokers5.0 Bankrate Score
Interactive Brokers keeps adding new features and improving its offerings year after year, and now has new mobile apps to pair with long-time strengths such as its wide number of tradable securities and access to global markets. Low margin rates, high interest rates on cash balances, and a leading number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds serve to make this broker a top pick.
E*Trade4.5 Bankrate Score
E-Trade is likely to be a suitable broker choice for many investors who will appreciate its low trading costs, high-quality research and education, and 24/7 access to customer service. However, if you’re starting small and looking to trade fractional shares, you’ll need to find a different option.
Merrill Edge4.5 Bankrate Score
Merrill Edge brings strong research and education to the investing space, offering a solid trading platform for stocks, bonds, options and funds. You’ll likely find some extra things to love here if you’re already a customer of parent Bank of America, with 24/7 phone support and in-branch service potentially making that relationship even more meaningful to clients.
Fidelity5.0 Bankrate Score
Fidelity Investments is back again with another blowout performance in Bankrate’s reviews. This broker seems to do it all right, from low costs to plenty of research to mutual funds to prompt and courteous customer service. And with so much under the Fidelity roof – banking, credit cards and more – you could capably run your financial life here.
Charles Schwab5.0 Bankrate Score
Charles Schwab is a great all-around broker, whether you’re just getting started investing or are more advanced, and it can bring the heat on almost anything you’re likely to need. Add on strong customer support, a wide investment selection, no-commission mutual funds, and tons of research, and you have the makings of a five-star broker.
Webull4.0 Bankrate Score
Webull offers a lot that investors will like such as commission-free trading, fractional shares and a slick mobile app that allows you to trade on the go or keep tabs on your favorite stocks. But only a few account types are offered and you won’t find the level of research that is available through other brokers.
Robinhood3.5 Bankrate Score
Robinhood has taken its game up a notch or two, pairing its traditional no-cost trading with new IRA accounts (and a special bonus match for clients) as well as improvements in customer service, including 24/7 chat. The mobile app remains an attractive place for options traders but is a no-go for those looking for mutual funds or a wide range of account types.
Vanguard3.0 Bankrate Score
Vanguard’s brokerage offering can handle the basics well and may be a good fit for long-term fund investors. But more active traders will be disappointed by the basic trading platform and high commissions for options trading.
TradeStation3.5 Bankrate Score
TradeStation’s brokerage offering is likely to suit active traders better than it does new investors or those just looking to save for retirement. Customers will get an advanced trading platform with low commissions, but you won’t find fractional shares and the mutual fund offering is limited.
SoFi Active Investing3.0 Bankrate Score
SoFi Active Investing is a low-cost broker that should meet the needs of new investors looking to only trade stocks and ETFs. More experienced investors may be disappointed by the lack of options or mutual fund trading and a limited research offering.
moomoo3.0 Bankrate Score
Moomoo joins a crowded field of discount brokerages with an appeal to individual traders, offering some atypical features, including access to U.S., Hong Kong and Chinese markets. Competitive pricing on stocks, ETFs and options will prove welcome with traders, though others may find the lack of account types, limited available securities and high transfer fees off-putting.
Zacks Trade3.5 Bankrate Score
Zacks Trade is a broker that should appeal to active traders with its advanced trading platform and ample research offering. New investors may be turned off by the high account minimum and fees for mutual fund trades.
Lightspeed3.0 Bankrate Score
Lightspeed is all about active traders who can deliver volume to the broker, and so everything is optimized around making the experience the best for them. That means discounted prices for high-volume trades and multiple high-power trading platforms, but it also means no concern for eliminating the nickel-and-dime costs that other brokers routinely slash.
tastytrade3.5 Bankrate Score
Tastytrade offers some of the lowest commissions around, whether you’re trading stocks, options or even cryptocurrency – and it actually caps your commissions on the latter two. Traders should find a lot to like here, among the commissions, trading platform and the variety of trading securities on offer, though long-term investors may bemoan the lack of mutual funds.