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Ally Invest Review

Blain Reinkensmeyer

By Blain Reinkensmeyer / February 18th, 2019
Last Updated: February 18th, 2019

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Ally Invest is the discount online brokerage arm of Ally Financial (publicly traded, “ALLY”). Ally Financial is best-known for its FDIC-insured banking services through Ally Bank, which includes online banking, auto financing, and home loans.

Overall Summary

Rank: 9th (of 16)

Ally Invest offers a clean online trading experience best suited to current Ally Bank customers.

Benefits

  • Seamless universal-account management for Ally Bank and Ally Invest customers.
  • Ally Bank online high-yield savings accounts offer an annual percentage yield above 2%.

Considerations

  • Given a base commission of $4.95 for regular stock trades, Ally Invest trails its closest competitors in most areas of its investment offering, from tools to research to education, making it difficult to recommend as a standalone online brokerage.

Special Offer:

  • Up to $3,500 cash bonus + commission free trades for new accounts Learn More

Commissions & Fees

Rank: 11th (of 16)

At Ally Invest, pricing is in line with its full-service broker competition. Regular stock trades are $4.95, with options trades costing $4.95 plus $.65 per contract. Trade at least 30 times per quarter or maintain a $100,000 balance, and the rate reduces to $3.95 for stocks and $3.95 + $.50 per contract for options.

Benefits

  • $9.95 mutual fund trades are much lower in cost than full-service brokerage competitors.
  • No commission charged for buying back short options valued at 5 cents or less.

Considerations

  • Ally Invest charges a $50.00 per year inactivity fee to any account that has a balance of less than $2,500 or does not place at least one trade for the year.
  • For any stock under $2.00 per share, an additional $.01 per share is charged (max commission 5% of trade value).

Further Reading

Ally Invest

Ally Invest
Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trade Fee (flat)$4.95
Options Base Fee$4.95
Options Per Contract Fee$0.65
Mutual Fund Trade Fee$9.95
Commission-Free ETFs116
View all 23 data points

Platforms & Tools

Rank: 13th (of 16)

Ally Invest offers its website as a web-based platform where all trading is conducted. Using the website, customers can conduct basic stock and options trading. Highlights include ease of use, stock charting, and options analysis. Beyond this, Ally Invest’s trading tools are lackluster.

Benefits

  • The Ally Invest website is easy to use and navigate. Placing trades is a breeze.
  • Viewing stock charts, modifying settings, and performing technical analysis is a pleasant experience. Thirty-six drawing tools are available as well as 117 technical indicators.
  • With options trading, the user flow process is all contained on one page, taking you from the options chains into the strategy workbench, then the probability calculator, and finally into the profit/loss graph. The profit & loss (P&L) charts are clean, customizable, and flow well with the rest of the options research process.

Considerations

  • There is no way to log in directly to Ally Invest. Instead, you have to log in to Ally’s universal account dashboard, and then click on Investments or your Ally Invest account. This can become tedious if you are logging in multiple times per day or week.
  • While the website will satisfy most casual stock and options investors, active traders would be better advised to look at industry leaders TradeStation or TD Ameritrade.

Gallery

Further Reading

Ally Invest

Ally Invest
Web Platform Yes
Desktop Platform (Windows) No
Watch Lists - Total Fields21
Charting - Drawing Tools36
Charting - Indicators / Studies117
Option Chains - Total Columns8
Streaming TV No
Virtual Trading No
View all 59 data points

Research

Rank: 8th (of 16)

Ally Invest offers the bare bones basics to conduct research. Unfortunately, given the cost per trade, Fidelity and Charles Schwab offer significantly more for the same price. That said, Ally Invest keeps the research experience approachable and simple, and continues to strategically add functionality each year.

Benefits

  • Apart from the default Home dashboard, which is outdated and needs to be redesigned, the Ally Invest research area is easy to navigate and use.
  • Thanks to a clean design, insights are quickly uncovered when researching stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds.

Considerations

  • No screeners are available.
  • New customers can contact customer service and request access to the old legacy TradeKing website, which does include more research tools, albeit in a completely outdated website. Ally Invest is in the middle of a multi-year effort to update its research offering.

Gallery

Ally Invest

Ally Invest
Research - Stocks Yes
Stock Research - Reports2
Research - ETFs Yes
Research - Mutual Funds Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB Yes
Research - Fixed Income No
Research - Futures No
Research - Forex No
View all 60 data points

Customer Service

Rank: 7th (of 16)

To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2019 Broker Review, 300 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.

Results

  • Average Connection Time: <1 minute
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 8.3 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 7.5 / 10
  • Overall Score: 8.19 / 10
  • Ranking: 7 th (16 brokers)
  • View Infographic

Mobile Trading

Rank: 11th (of 16)

To access Ally Invest, you use the Ally Mobile app. Universal access is a nice perk if you are a current Ally Bank customer, as jumping between bank and brokerage areas is quick and easy. While lacking in numerous areas of advanced functionality, Ally’s mobile experience is bug-free and includes the core capabilities required to manage an investment portfolio.

Benefits

  • Universal access (bank, brokerage) is a convenient feature if you are an Ally Bank customer.
  • Watch lists sync with the website.

Considerations

  • Watch lists are not streaming real time; instead, they refresh once every five seconds.
  • No stock alerts functionality.
  • Cannot view after-hours charts or place after-hours trades.

Gallery

Further Reading:

Ally Invest

Ally Invest
iPhone App Yes
Android App Yes
Apple Watch App No
Watch List Syncing Yes
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields No
Charting - After Hours No
View all 52 data points

Offering of Investments

Rank: 7th (of 16)

As a full-service brokerage, Ally Invest provides a diverse offering that meets the industry standard.

Benefits

  • Full FDIC-backed online banking services through Ally Bank.
  • 116 commission-free ETFs offered.

Considerations

  • Limited capabilities for active trading. For example, direct market routing is not offered, nor are certain advance order types, such as multi-contingent orders.

Further Reading

Ally Invest

Ally Invest
Stock Trading Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets Yes
Options Trading Yes
Complex Options Max Legs4
Futures Trading No
Forex Trading Yes
Mutual Funds (No Load)7200
Advisor Services Yes
View all 40 data points

Education

Rank: 6th (of 16)

Ally Invest provides a mediocre educational experience for its customers.

Benefits

  • Educational content covers nearly the full investment spectrum, from stock trading to retirement.
  • Ally Invest consistently provides webinars on investing topics for customers (average 17 per month in 2018). Unfortunately, webinars are not archived for viewing on demand.

Considerations

  • All educational content is in article form. No videos are provided.
  • No search is provided to find specific articles of interest.
  • Content organization is limited to topic. Content cannot be filtered by skill level.

Further Reading:

Ally Invest

Ally Invest
Has Education - Stocks Yes
Has Education - ETFs No
Has Education - Options Yes
Has Education - Mutual Funds Yes
Has Education - Fixed Income Yes
Has Education - Retirement Yes
View all 19 data points

Banking

Rank: 3rd (of 16)

Among the bank and brokerage combinations in our annual review, Ally shines and competes with the best in the industry. Ally Bank’s greatest drawback is a lack of physical retail locations and loyalty rewards, which is where Bank of America Merrill Edge reigns supreme.

Benefits

  • Ally Bank is a registered member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures bank deposits up to $250,000.
  • Ally’s high-yield savings account is easy to use and offers competitive annual yields above 2%.
  • Ally does not nickel and dime its customers; it embraces no-fee banking.

Considerations

  • No physical bank locations.
  • No loyalty rewards offered for using multiple products.

Ally Invest

Ally Invest
Member FDIC Yes
Checking Accounts Yes
Savings Accounts Yes
Credit Cards Yes
Mortgage Loans Yes
Retail Locations0
View all 12 data points

Final Thoughts

Rank: 9th (of 16)

The major benefit of being an Ally Invest customer is having universal account access, which makes managing all your accounts under one roof a breeze. Furthermore, the Ally Invest website is user-friendly for casual investors.

Ease of use and Ally Bank synergies aside, if you have no ties to Ally and are looking for a discount broker to open an account with, Ally Invest doesn’t provide enough value to warrant a recommendation.

For our 2019 Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 16 different online brokers over a period of six months. How we test.

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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