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Ally Invest review

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Online trading with commission-free stocks, options and ETFs.

finder.com’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0

★★★★★

Put your investments to work without paying fees or high commissions. Ally Invest gives you access to a wide range of investments, including stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, forex currency pairs and futures contracts, plus helpful market research and analytic tools for your own use. But its support is limited to telephone and email inquiries during business hours.

  • Consider Ally if you’re an active investor seeking an individual brokerage account or passive investor seeking hands-off portfolio management.
  • Look elsewhere if you’re new to investing or want a robo-advisor platform.

$0

Stock trade fee

0%

Annual fee

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Intro or bonus offerOpen 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.
Stock trade fee$0
Annual fee0%
Option trade fee$0 + $0.50/contract
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Forex
Account typesBrokerage, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE
Government bond trade fee$1
Corporate bond trade fee$1
Mutual fund trade fee$9.95
Minimum deposit to open$0
Account transfer fee$50

Overview

Fees

★★★★★ 4.25/5

Ally charges for penny stocks and options but has no advisory fees for managed portfolios.
Available securities

★★★★★ 5/5

It’s got all the standards you’d expect, plus forex trading.
Customer support

★★★★★ 5/5

Support can quickly be reached in three ways.
Mobile app

★★★★★ 4.8/5

The app gets high marks in the Apple App Store but isn’t as highly reviewed by Google users.
Research and tools

★★★★★ 4/5

Platform tools are sufficient for active and passive investors.
Reliability

★★★★★ 4/5

No major outages have been reported but traders complain of occasional refresh rate delays.

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.

How does Ally Invest work?

Ally Invest offers two ways to invest: a self-directed individual brokerage account and a managed portfolio.

Self-directed trading

Active investors can open an individual brokerage account or margin account for self-directed trades. There are no account minimums and no commissions on stocks, ETFs and options. Research tools include streaming charts, watchlists, profit and loss graphs, probability calculators and more.

Managed portfolio

If you prefer a guided investment strategy, Ally Invest offers hands-off investments through managed IRA portfolios. Ally’s financial advisers monitor and select your investments. Open an individual, joint, rollover, traditional, Roth, rollover or custodial account with only $100. Choose from four portfolio styles based on your investment goals.

Managed portfolios have no advisory fees and cash-enhanced portfolios feature a 30% interest-earning cushion that earns at a rate of 1.5%.

What investments does Ally Invest offer?

With an Ally investment account, you can trade the following securities:

  • Stocks and ETFs. Available with Over-the-counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) and Pink Sheet stocks starting at a minimum of $100 per order.
  • Bonds. Start at $1 per bond with a $10 minimum.
  • Options. No commission fees, but expect to pay a $0.50 per contract fee.
  • Mutual funds. Over 12,000 no-load mutuals funds are available at $9.95 per trade.
  • Forex. Ally Invest offers 24/5 real-time access to over 50 currency pairs, including gold and silver.

What type of portfolios does Ally Invest offer?

Interested in having Ally’s financial advisors manage your investments? You have four portfolios to choose from:

  • Socially responsible. Invest in businesses that support sustainability and clean energy through eco-friendly initiatives.
  • Tax-optimized. Diversify your portfolio with a mix of tax-advantaged, low-cost ETFs.
  • Core. Select your preferred level of risk and Ally’s team will spread your investments across domestic, international and fixed-income assets.
  • Income. Tap into high-yield dividends through a conservative risk profile that focuses on yield and income.

Who is Ally Invest best for?

With self-directed brokerage accounts, managed portfolios and forex trading, Ally Invest is well-suited to the following investors:

  • Active investors. Commission-free stocks, ETFs and options trading makes Ally a viable choice for experienced investors.
  • Hands-off investors. For those who prefer passive investing, Ally offers portfolio management with no advisory fees.
  • Forex traders. Not many platforms offer access to the forex market — Ally Invest does. Active accounts come with no commission costs and investors can start trading with as little as $250.

Ally Invest’s variety of investment products coupled with its research tools makes it a platform suitable for both passive and active investors.

Portfolio management comes in four distinct flavors with investment trajectories guided by short- and long-term goals. Investments are hand-picked by Ally’s team of financial advisors and dedicated support is available by phone and email.

Individual brokerage accounts can trade stocks, bonds, ETFs and options with access to Ally’s comprehensive research tools, complete with an ETF screener, option chains, market stats and detailed company metrics.

How easy is it to use?

The Ally Invest platform can be accessed by desktop or mobile device. Investors report that the platform is easy to use and isn’t so resource-heavy that beginners feel overwhelmed. That said, a few investors warned that navigating to your holdings can be a click-heavy process. Others warn that flipping between Ally banking and investment products can be a slow and frustrating process.

What research does it provide?

Self-directed traders can access the following research tools:

  • Streaming charts. Access eight chart types with 117 chart studies and 36 drawing tools to analyze stock, ETF and index performance.
  • Watchlists. Create your own watchlists to stay on top of groups of securities.
  • Profit and loss graphs. Break down potential profits and losses before you place an order.
  • Probability calculator. Use implied volatility to calculate the probability of hitting your targets.
  • Research and market data. Compare company quotes, charts, dividend dates, market states and more.
  • ETF screener. Compare performance and price data for thousands of ETFs.
  • Option chains. Review what options are available and place trades.

Pricing and fees

Like many of its competitors, including Robinhood, SoFi and YouInvest, Ally doesn’t charge annual account fees or commissions on stocks, ETFs and options. It’s option trading fee at $0.50 per contract is fairly standard in the industry, but if you’re exclusively interested in options, specialty platforms like Gatsby waive the per-contract fee altogether.

A standout pricing perk is Ally’s lack of advisory fees for managed portfolios. Most platforms that offer portfolio management charge an annual or advisory fee — typically 0.25% to 0.35% of the account balance.

Self-directed trading fees

Minimum deposit to open $0
Annual fee $0
Stocks priced $2 and above $0
Stocks priced less than $2 $4.95 + $0.01 per share
OTCBB and Pink Sheet stocks Minimum investment of $100 per trade
ETF trade fee $0
Bond trade fee $1 per bond, $10 minimum
No-load mutual funds trade fee $9.95 per trade
Option trade fee $0 commission + $0.50 per contract
Account transfer fee $50

Managed portfolio fees

Minimum deposit to open $100
Advisory fees $0
Account transfer fee $50

Is Ally Invest safe?

Ally Invest is a subsidiary of Ally Bank, a member of the FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. Ally Invest serves over 373,000 brokerage accounts with over $7.5 billion in assets. Its securities products and services are offered through Ally Invest Securities, a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Its advisory products are offered through Ally Invest Advisors, a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered investment advisor.

How does Ally Invest keep my money safe?

Through Ally Invest Securities, investments on Ally Invest are protected up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash balances. Ally Invest uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology to secure transactions conducted on its investments platform.

Ally Invest reviews and complaints

Feedback on Ally Invest is mixed. Feedback specific to its investing platform is difficult to separate from reviews of the provider as a whole.

As of October 2020, The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives Ally Bank an A+ rating and a 1.1 out of 5 stars based on 253 reviews. But a majority of these negative reviews relate to loans and car leases — very few specifically reference investing.

For feedback focused on Ally Invest, we turn to Reddit, Google Play and the Apple App Store. Redditors say they like keeping bank and brokerage accounts under the same roof and praise Ally Invest’s well-rounded research tools. Reviews on Google Play and the App Store report that the app is sleek and easy to use but complain of refresh rate delays and inaccurate account values.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • No commissions. Like many of its closest competitors, Ally Invest has significantly lowered its commissions on stocks, ETFs and options trades. You’ll pay $0.50 per options contract.
  • Variety of products. Choose from accounts based on how you invest. Self-directed accounts require no minimums, transfer your existing IRA, open a managed account or a margin account.
  • No advisory fees. For a Managed Portfolio, pay no annual fee or percentage of your managed assets.
  • Live market data. Stay current with the market during NASDAQ trading hours.
  • 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.

Cons

  • Limited support. Ally is an online-only investment service. With no physical locations, support is limited to online or over the phone.
  • Options trading fees. While there are no commissions on option trades, you’ll pay $0.50 per contract.

Case study: Ryan’s experience

profile pic

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.

How do I sign up?

To sign up for an Ally Invest account, you must be a 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 full name and email to register for an account.
  5. Provide basic information that includes your date of birth, residential address and Social Security number.
  6. Review and sign the required legal documents.

Once your account is reviewed and approved, you can fund your account by ACH transfer, wire transfer, paper check or by transferring funds from a different brokerage account.

How do I contact Ally Invest support?

Get in touch with Ally Invest by:

  • Phone. Call 855-880-2559 weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET.
  • Email. Send an email to support@invest.ally.com for a response from the team.
  • Live chat. Log in to your Ally account to chat with an Ally rep.

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Bottom line

Ally Invest offers a number of commission-free trading options and a wide range of products to choose from. But its support is limited to online and telephone inquiries and you may still encounter trading fees, depending on the investment product and vehicle you choose.

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.

Frequently asked questions

How we rate trading platforms

★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent

★★★★★ 4/5 — Good

★★★★★ 3/5 — Average

★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar

★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor

We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.

For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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