Ally Invest

Ally Invest Cash Management Account Review


Ally Invest banking review for 2017. Ally Invest cash management account review, CMA interest rate, free check-writing, debit/credit card.



Ally Invest CMA Overview


Ally Invest is a recent entrant into the brokerage world. Besides trading in securities, futures, and forex, the broker also provides its customers with cash management features. This article will analyze the firm’s banking products and see how they compare to the cash management tools of other broker-dealers.


Cash Management Tools for Brokerage Customers


Ally Invest traders can add checks or a debit card or both to an existing brokerage account. The debit card carries a $35 annual fee, while checkwriting comes with a $20 yearly charge. On top of these costs, the broker also imposes a $5 charge for every check withdrawal and $1 for each ATM withdrawal. There are no refunds for any extra charges that a cash machine may assess.

On top these rather disappointing policies, Ally Invest also requires $100,000 in cash just to apply for the company’s cash management tools. If you’re lucky enough to have a hundred grand in cash sitting in your account, your funds would be protected by SIPC and they would earn no interest. A maximum of $250,000 in cash is protected by SIPC.


Ally Invest CMA Review


Ally Invest does offer an FDIC-sweep program, although this service requires $200,000 in cash. The broker does not offer a money market mutual fund as a core position, although money market funds are available for purchase with the broker.

The FDIC sweep program moves cash balances to a participating bank, where the funds earn just 0.01% while insured by the government. A form must be completed and submitted to the broker to enroll in the program.

The fees for cash management activities are competitive with other brokers. The first 50 checks with Ally Invest are free, and subsequent orders cost $15 for 50 checks. Stop payments are $35.


Ally Bank Options


Ally Invest’s cash management policies overall look pretty atrocious. An easy way to circumvent them and still have banking features with an Ally brokerage account is to open a deposit account with Ally Invest’s affiliate Ally Bank, and then link it to the brokerage account. The linking is easy to accomplish, as Ally does it automatically.

Neither Ally Bank’s savings account nor its money market deposit account has an annual fee or a low-balance fee. There is no fee to open or close an account, and there are no maintenance fees, either.

The money market account currently pays 0.85% APY, much higher than the 1 basis point that Ally Invest offers on its FDIC-sweep program. And the account comes with a MasterCard debit card. Under federal guidelines, the account is limited to 6 withdrawals per month, although the number of ATM transactions is unlimited. Check writing on the account is free, and includes free checks.

A savings account pays a slightly higher interest rate—1.05%—but it doesn’t come with a debit card or checks. Like the money market account, it is also limited to 6 withdrawals per month.

If you need unlimited withdrawals every month, the bank provides a checking account. It pays a much lower interest rate, however. Balances less than $15,000 earn just 10 basis points, while assets above that level earn 0.60%.

Like the money market account, the checking account charges nothing for ATM withdrawals, a big plus over the brokerage ATM’s policies. Moreover, ATM surcharges are actually reimbursed. In the past, Ally imposed no cap to this policy; but the bank currently has a $10 monthly limit. Withdrawals at Allpoint cash machines are free, and there are more than 43,000 of them throughout the U.S.

Transfers are straightforward between an Ally Invest account and an Ally Bank account. However, the deposit account must first be added to the Ally Invest account before transfers are possible. For some reason, the company does not permit transfers to be initiated on the banking side.

Checks can be mailed into the company with postage-paid envelopes, or deposited using the Ally mobile app, available on both Android and Apple devices.


Ally Invest cash management


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Comparison


Many of Ally’s brokerage competitors offer cash management tools. Merrill Edge is one broker that, like Ally, provides cash management features that can be attached to a securities account or that can be established as a linked bank account. In Merrill’s case, it is with the broker’s parent company, Bank of America.

Unlike Ally Invest, Merrill Edge offers checks and a debit card free of charge. There is also no charge for a check withdrawal. Merrill does not impose any fee on ATM withdrawals. A stop payment costs $25, $10 less than Ally’s fee.

A linked Bank of America account underperforms compared to Ally Bank’s products. A savings account with Merrill’s parent company costs nothing per month (with a $300 balance), but only pays 0.01%. Unlike Ally, Bank of America has a minimum opening deposit for its savings account. It’s $25. Merrill Edge and Bank of America accounts are displayed after logging into either site, just like Ally.

Schwab doesn’t offer cash management features attached to a securities account. Instead, the company operates its own FDIC-insured bank, which offers checking and savings accounts. Either type can easily be linked to a Schwab brokerage account. Neither account has any on-going fees. The savings account currently yields 0.30%, and a debit card can be attached to it. The checking account of course has unlimited withdrawals, but only earns 13 basis points in interest right now (much lower than Ally). Schwab offers checks and a Visa debit card free of charge, and the company even offers unlimited ATM rebates worldwide.

Ally Invest Cash Management Account Recap


The brokerage department of Ally has some pretty appalling cash management policies. But it’s easy to link an Ally Bank account to a securities account, and transferring funds between the two is easy. And Ally Bank’s ATM refund policy should work for most customers.


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Ally Invest Cash Management reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on . Rating: 4.5



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