Ally Invest review May 2019 |

Ally Invest review: Trade with commissions that won’t break the bank

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Ally Invest Self-Directed Trading
  • Trade some of the industry's diverse ETFs commission free
  • Up to $3,500 cash bonus + commission-free trades for new accounts
  • Post-promotion equity trades as low as $3.95
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Online trading with low commissions of $4.95 per trade.

Put your investment money to work without paying fees or high commissions. Ally Invest provides access to a wide range of investments, including stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, forex currency pairs and futures contracts, plus helpful market research and tools for your own analyses.

Here’s a leading brokerage account option offered by Ally Bank.

Intro or bonus offerOpen a new self-directed trading account by 04/30/19 and fund within 60 days of account opening to take advantage of a bonus based on your deposit amount.
Minimum deposit to open$0
Available asset typesStocks
Mutual funds
Stock trade fee$4.95
or $3.95 with a $100,000 average daily balance or 30+ trades over a rolling 3-month period
Option trade fee$4.95 + $0.65/contract
or $3.95 + $0.50/contract with a $100,000 average daily balance or 30+ trades over a rolling 3-month period
Government bond trade fee$1
Corporate bond trade fee$1
Mutual fund trade fee$9.95
Account transfer fee$50
Annual fee0.3% on balances of $2,500+
Minimum deposit to open$0
Available asset typesStocks

Who is Ally Invest for?

  • Moderately experienced traders. Easy-to-use tools can supplement your knowledge to strengthen your strategy.
  • Frequent traders. Low-cost stock and ETF trades as well as volume pricing are appealing.
  • High balance traders. Take advantage of special pricing accounts holding an average daily balance of $100,000 or more.
  • Options traders. Standard pricing is only $0.65 per contract with a $4.95 base, and you’ll pay even less with volume and balance-based pricing.
  • Forex traders. Active accounts come with no commission costs.

Products and features

Ally Invest’s trading platform offers a host of services that help you invest your money how and when you want to.

  • Wide product availability. Ally’s accounts depend on how you want to invest. Self-directed accounts have no minimums, and you can transfer your existing IRA, open a managed account and even open a margin account.
  • Live market data. Stay on top of the market during NASDAQ trading hours.
  • Solid customer service. Access a comprehensive self-help database, live chat or 24/7 phone support.
  • Easy to use. Investing with Ally is simple, more so if you already own an Ally bank account. Trade online or through a mobile app.
  • Convenient online access. Ally is an online-only investment service. With no physical locations, you’ll have to obtain support online or over the phone.

How much does it cost to use Ally Invest?

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when investing with Ally.

  • Administrative fees

Managed portfolios attract an annual advisory fee of 0.3%. Expect a $25 fee for terminating an IRA account with Ally and a $50 transfer fee if you wish to move your Ally Invest IRA account to another broker.

  • Brokerage fees

Self-directed brokerage fees break down into standard pricing and volume/balance pricing. To get volume/balance pricing you must maintain an average daily balance of more than $100,000 or make 30 or more trades quarterly.

Stocks and ETFs Options Bonds
Standard $4.95 $0.65 per contract and a $4.95 base cost $1 per bond with a minimum of $10
Volume/balance $3.95 $0.50 per contract and a $3.95 base cost $1 per bond with a minimum of $10
  • Other fees

In addition to normal commission prices, a local settlement fee of about $50 is added to any over-the-counter foreign stock.

Withdrawing funds in the form of a check costs another $5, with an overnighted check costing $55. While normal ACH transfers don’t incur any fees, wiring funds to a titled bank account costs $30.

Pros and cons of Ally Invest

  • Low fees and commissions overall.
  • Wide product spread offered.
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • Online only, with an app that garners only 1.8 out of 5 stars in the iPhone App Store.
  • While resources are plentiful, they’re not always fully comprehensive.
  • No commission-free ETFs.

Case study: Ryan’s experience

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Ryan Brinks
Assistant Publisher

I’ve had my Ally Invest account for several years now, using it to intentionally invest within an IRA. The fees were the lowest at the time I signed up, but a few competitors now are even lower. For the most part, it’s been easy to trade and track my holdings on the Ally Invest website and mobile app.

Where I get frustrated, though, is when looking to invest internationally. Ally Invest is great for domestic stocks and ETFs, but I’ve been unable to trade smaller Canadian stocks in particular.

Compare with other stock trading platforms

Name Product Available asset types Annual fee Option trade fee Stock trade fee
Mutual funds
$3 + $0.75/contract
$0.01 per share
($3 minimum)
Trade stocks, options and ETFs for as low as $1 per order until 2020 when you open and fund a new account by May 31, 2019.
Mutual funds
100+ commission-free online stock and ETF trades with $0 minimum to start. Just $2.95 per trade thereafter.
Mutual funds
$4.95 + $0.65/contract
or $3.95 + $0.50/contract with a $100,000 average daily balance or 30+ trades over a rolling 3-month period
or $3.95 with a $100,000 average daily balance or 30+ trades over a rolling 3-month period
Some of the industry's lowest fees plus a cash bonus up to $3,500.
1% on balances up to $5,000

0.25% on balances of $5,001+
Stash is more than an investment app. You’ll have access to tools that can help you become a confident investor.
Mutual funds
$4.95 + $0.65/contract
Get easy-to-use tools and the latest professional insights from a team of specialists.

Compare up to 4 providers

What do others say about it?

Ally acquired TradeKing in 2016 to found Ally Invest. Because Ally Invest is part of the overall Ally Bank brand, there’s not a lot of feedback specifically about the trading platform.

Still, Redditors say it’s just OK, given its ETFs that come with a fee and lacking resources. But customers like keeping bank and brokerage accounts under the same brand umbrella.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives Ally Bank a B- rating and a composite score of 2.71 out of 5. Note that the majority of negative reviews on the BBB site for Ally Bank relate to loans and car leases, and none specifically reference investing.

How do I sign up?

To sign up for an Ally Invest account, you must be US citizen or permanent resident who’s at least 18 years old. You must also provide a Social Security number, valid bank account and valid US residential address for approval.

  1. Go to Ally’s website and click Invest in the main navigation toolbar.
  2. Click either Self-Directed Trading or Managed Portfolios.
  3. Click Start Trading or Create My Plan based on which option you chose.
  4. Enter your name and email to register for an account.
  5. Provide basic information that includes your address and Social Security number.
  6. Electronically sign required legal documents.

You should be able to create an account and submit the required information in minutes, and most approval decisions come shortly thereafter. Transferring accounts take longer, typically three to five business days after you submit completed paperwork.

What kind of support can I expect?

Ally customer support is available by phone 24/7. You can also chat with support live online or email from your online account.

Access your online workbench for charts, streaming quotes, interactive calculators, watchlists and balances that can help you invest wisely and track your progress.

What is Ally Invest?

Ally Financial started out as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), a way for General Motors Corporation to provide in-house financing to customers interested in purchasing a vehicle. GMAC expanded into other areas of finance and eventually rebranded as Ally Financial in 2010.

Ally Financial acquired the popular TradeKing in 2016, becoming Ally Invest in 2017.

Bottom line

Ally Invest offers low commission, multiple discounts and a wide range of products to choose from. Where customers say its ETFs come up short might not be an issue for you, depending on the type of trading you prefer.

But there are no guarantees when it comes to trading securities, so research and compare available platforms to find one that meets your needs and budget.

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