You’ve probably heard of Ally, the largest online bank in the US, but did you know that the company offers a full-service brokerage platform called Ally Invest?
Whether you prefer a self-directed approach or an automated robo-advisor, Ally Invest offers plenty of ways to make your money work for you. This post contains a full overview of Ally Invest. We’ll also compare it to popular trading platforms like Robinhood and E*TRADE, so you can decide which provider is better for your situation.
To start, let’s cover what Ally Invest is and how it can help you achieve your investment goals.
What is Ally Invest?
Ally Invest is the brokerage wing of Ally Bank. Like Ally’s consumer banking platform, Ally Invest exists entirely online. There are no brick-and-mortar branches, nor in-person support. There are, however, plenty of resources that come along with this full-service digital investment platform. Educational and strategic tools and a variety of account offerings make Ally Invest very user-friendly.
They offer tailored investment guidance if you need it. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a beginner, you can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, cryptocurrency and more with your Ally Invest account.
To give you a more in-depth idea of what an Ally Invest account can do for you, let’s take a closer look at its main offerings.
Ally Invest Features
Ally Invest is an entirely online broker, so the mobile app plays a major role. With the app, you can access your checking, savings, and investment accounts right from your phone.
The Ally mobile app has an impressive 4.7-star rating (out of 5) in the App Store and a 3.9-star rating (out of 5) among Android users in the Google Play Store.
If you’re new to investing, you’ll be happy to know that Ally offers lots of educational resources for all account types. Instead of entering the market blind, you’ll have expert knowledge and direction for your personal finance repertoire.
Ally’s support team is available 24/7 to offer guidance. You’ll also have direct access to expert analysis and market trends to keep you in the know.
Another great reason to hold both a bank account and a brokerage account with Ally is its quick and easy transfer timeline. You can move up to $250,000 in just a few minutes between your self-directed trading account and your checking or savings account (during regular market hours).
Ally Invest Products
Ally offers a wide variety of financial products and investment options. Let’s take a look at each one.
You don’t need to be a billionaire stock broker to capitalize on Ally Invest’s Self-Directed trading platform. There’s no required account minimum deposit to get started, and you have 24/7 access to Ally’s trading tools, including a probability calculator to help determine the volatility of your portfolio, watchlists, a stock screener, and drawing tools.
You can easily diversify your portfolio with Ally’s different investment options, including stocks, ETFs, options trading, bonds, mutual funds, and fixed-income securities. Ally offers commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs from Vanguard, and options.
In short, whether you’re making an ETF trade or diving into a mutual fund, you can do it easily with an Ally brokerage account, with plenty of real-time data backing you up.
If you prefer a managed portfolio, this is where you want to focus your attention. Ally Invest offers four different robo portfolios: Core, Income, Tax-Optimized, and Socially Conscious. Each account type has a different investment allocation depending on your risk tolerance and funding preferences.
For cash-enhanced portfolios, there are no advisory fees, rebalancing fees, or annual charges. In addition, 30% of your funds are set aside to automatically earn interest.
Monthly account fees of 0.30% apply to market-focused portfolios, with only 2% of cash held aside. You also need at least $100 in your account to get started. But from there, you can put your portfolio on autopilot.
For one-on-one support with your investments, look to Ally Invest’s Wealth Management product. With this service, you’ll have an expert to guide you through all your accounts, including investments, retirement, bank accounts, and loans.
You need at least $100,000 across all your accounts to qualify. If you hit that mark, then enjoy the one-on-one support, plus long-term planning, for a blended advisory fee that ranges from 0.75% to 0.85%.
Ally offers Foreign Exchange (Forex) trading which is technically a separate affiliate platform from Ally Invest.
That said, Ally Forex brings a full basket of tools and resources. You can trade in various currencies from around the world, including silver and gold.
Keep in mind, Forex is for self-directed traders. There’s no robo portfolio available here. Forex trading is also riskier than traditional investing.
Ally offers both traditional and Roth IRAs for those saving toward retirement. Just like its brokerage accounts, Ally’s IRAs are available for self-directed or automated investors.
Ally Invest Pricing and Fees
Ally Invest comes with a fee disclaimer. As with any brokerage, there are some trading fees and transaction fees that come with putting your money to work. But the good news is that Ally is one of the lower-cost platforms around.
Keep reading to find out which fees might apply.
Like most online brokers, Ally Invest has $0 commissions on US-based stock and ETF trades. There is a small commission for trading securities and mutual funds, and options trading comes with a $0.50 per contract fee.
There’s no advisory fee for self-directed accounts, but robo portfolios and wealth management accounts have an annual fee. Market-focused robo portfolios charge an advisory fee of 0.30% a year. For wealth management, there’s a blended fee between 0.75% and 0.85%.
You could see transfer fees with an Ally Invest account depending on the type of transfer you make. Realistically, the most common type of transfers are between a brokerage account and an Ally bank account, and thankfully these are free. It costs $50 to transfer funds from an Ally Invest account to another firm, and $25 to close an IRA.
Signing Up and Getting Started
Signing up for an Ally Invest account is simple and painless. All you need is some basic personal information and an external account to fund your investments. Head to the website, fill out a quick application, and Ally will send you an email once approved.
From there, you’re ready to trade stocks and build toward your financial goals.
Ally Invest Promotions, Bonuses, Coupons
Ally Invest routinely offers investment bonuses for new self-directed trading accounts.
Bonuses are typically tiered based on how much you deposit.
Ally Invest Security
Ally Invest accounts are protected by the SIPC, which provides the same type of insurance for investments as the FDIC does for bank deposits. However, this does not protect against investment losses, but only against the event that Ally Invest fails as a broker.
As for cybersecurity, Ally employs bank-level firewalls and SSL encryption technology. You can rely on the same level of online security with Ally Invest as any other leading online bank.
Ally is known for excellent customer service and has a separate customer support team for each of its products. With Ally Invest, you can get someone on the phone 24/7, or log in to chat and send secure email.
Next, let’s review the main pros and cons that stand out.
Pros and Cons
- Low fees
- Awesome iOS app
- Plenty of investment options
- Solid sign-up bonus
- Excellent customer service
- No fractional trading
- So-so Android app
- No in-person support
- High threshold for the sign-up bonus
Alternatives to Ally Invest
Schwab is one of the biggest brokers out there. Like Ally, it offers deposit accounts and a host of different avenues for investing. Unlike Ally, Schwab still offers brick-and-mortar support, so you can have an in-person consultation. It also recently acquired TD Ameritrade, another excellent brokerage platform.
E*TRADE is the original online broker, and it still remains one of the best. It is now part of the Morgan Stanley family, offering personal, business, and retirement accounts.
Robinhood is an app that seeks to democratize trading. For active traders and those into penny stocks, Robinhood’s approach has opened the investing world up to a new generation. All you need is a dollar to start.
Fidelity is another big name in stock trading. It’s a great option for ETFs, options traders, and retirement accounts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Ally Invest trustworthy?
Yes. Ally Financial, the parent company of both Ally Bank and Ally Invest, is a reputable financial institution. In fact, it’s the biggest online banking platform in the US.
Is Ally Invest good for beginners?
Yes. Ally Invest is a great option whether you’re brand new to trading or you’ve been doing it for decades. There are plenty of tools and support, so new investors shouldn’t feel like they’re in over their heads.
Which is better, E*TRATE or Ally?
It depends. Ally Bank customers have an edge with Ally Invest based on convenience and free funds transfers. E*TRADE is solid as well. It’s all about determining your strategy and goals and finding the broker that’ll serve them best.
Is Robinhood better than Ally?
Again, it depends. Both are great online brokerage options depending on your financial needs. Their big difference is that Robinhood allows you to trade in fractional shares and Ally does not. Whatever you decide, building up your nest egg with savvy investments is sure to put you on the right path to financial success. Here’s to finding the right broker to help you take that next step.