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Ally Invest review: Trade with commissions that won’t break the bank
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.
Open a new self-directed trading account and receive 90 days of commission-free trades, up to $500 in value. Fund your new account within 60 days of opening to take advantage of a $50 to $3,500 bonus based on your deposit amount.
Rhys Subitch is a writer and editor at finder.com who tackles topics across the site. With half a decade of experience researching, editing and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university and several independent publications, Rhys brings readers the most up-to-date and curated info on all things finance.
Who is Ally Invest for?
Moderately experienced traders. Easy-to-use tools can supplement your knowledge to strengthen your strategy.
Frequent traders. As of October 2019, Ally Invest charges $0 commissions on trades.
Options traders. Standard pricing is only $0.50 per contract with a $0 base. Previously, this contract pricing was available only to investors with balances of at least $100,000 or who made at least 30 trades per quarter.
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.
No commissions on stocks, ETFs and options. Like many of its closest competitors, Ally Invest has significantly lowered its commissions on trades. You’ll pay $0.50 per options contract.
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.
No advisory fees. For a Managed Portfolio, pay no annual fee or percentage of your managed assets.
Live market data. Stay on top of the market during NASDAQ trading hours.
Socially responsible investing. Ally offers an SRI portfolio option within its Managed Portfolio.
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.
Prior to October 2019, you’d receive volume/balance pricing by maintaining a certain average daily balance or making a certain number of trades quarterly. Now, you’ll pay $0 commissions on stock, ETF and options trades. There’s been no change to bond pricing.
Stocks and ETFs
$0.50 per contract and $0 base cost
$1 per bond with a minimum of $10
In addition to normal commission prices, a local settlement fee of about $50 is added to any over-the-counter foreign stock. While there’s no annual fee for an Ally Invest IRA account, expect a $25 fee for terminating your account and a $50 transfer fee if you wish to move your Ally Invest IRA account to another broker.
Withdrawing funds in the form of a check costs another $5, with an overnighted check costing $50. 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 $0 commissions.
Wide product spread offered.
Online only, with an app that garners only 2.8 out of 5 stars in the iPhone App Store.
While resources are plentiful, they’re not always comprehensive.
Case study: Ryan’s experience
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
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.
Redditors say they 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 around 2.5 out of 5 stars. Note that the majority of negative reviews on the BBB site for Ally Bank relate to loans and car leases, and very few 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.
Go to Ally’s website and click Invest in the main navigation toolbar.
Click either Self-Directed Trading or Managed Portfolios.
Click Start Trading or Create My Plan based on which option you chose.
Enter your name and email to register for an account.
Provide basic information that includes your address and Social Security number.
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 five to seven business days after you submit completed paperwork.
What kind of support can I expect?
Ally Invest 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.
Ally Invest offers $0 commissions and a wide range of products to choose from. While past customers have said its ETFs come up short, Ally now offers hundreds of commission-free ETFs.
No. Investment products aren’t backed by a bank guarantee and can lose value.
Yes. To deposit your stock certificate by mail, you must submit a completed stock power form provided on Ally’s website. Include a check to cover the $300 processing charge per certificate.
No. Ally accepts checks that match the name of the person registered on the Ally Invest account only.
The DTC number for Ally Invest is 0158.
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