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Ally Bank Checking Account Review


2019 Ally Bank personal checking account review: fees, opening minimum, benefits/cons, free checks, ATMs, and debit card rewards. Is it safe?



Ally Bank Checking Account Overview


Founded in 1919 as a division of GM, the predecessor of Ally Bank initially helped auto dealers to finance inventory. After decades of successful business financing in the auto industry under the name GMAC, Ally Bank was created in 2009. Ally Bank is a 100% online bank, available at www.ally.com.


Opening Ally Bank Checking Account


Signing up for a bank checking account at Ally is straightforward and intuitive. Customers have the choice of either funding a new account with a check, or electronically sending money from an existing online bank account to Ally. Similar to traditional banks, Ally offers FDIC insurance for all customer accounts up to a total of $250k per depositor. In addition to checking and savings accounts, Ally also offers home loans, car loans, corporate financing, and investment management, all online.


Benefits of using Ally Bank Checking


Ally Bank provides most of the services offered at traditional banks, with the added benefit of being able to conduct the entire transaction online. Rather than being subject to normal banking hours, customers can open accounts, transfer funds, and conduct financial business online at any time of the day or night.

Customers at Ally Bank receive free ATM transactions at all AllPoint ATMs in the United States. In addition, fees at all other ATMs are refunded up to a total of $10 per month per account.

One of Ally Bank checking account's main strengths is the high-interest rate offered to customers. As of this writing, Ally Bank will pay a 0.1% APY on checking accounts with less than a $15k minimum daily balance. Checking accounts that hold over $15k will be paid 0.6% APY. Ally's savings accounts offer interest rates currently close to 2%. While many banks offer interest on savings accounts, not all banks provide interest-bearing checking accounts. At Ally Bank, customers can keep funds completely liquid while also earning interest monthly on both checking and savings accounts.

By choosing Ally Bank, customers receive free checks and a free personal debit card linked to the checking account. Ally Bank also provides free online bill pay through a service called Zelle. Customers can enter an address on Ally’s website, and Ally will mail a physical check to that address from a specific checking or savings account. Online check deposit functionality is offered through both ally.com and the Ally app. Customers can easily upload the front and back images of the check, enter the check amount and process the transaction according to Ally Bank’s timelines. Most checks are approved and made available for withdrawal within one business day. By thoughtful use of current smartphone capabilities, Ally Bank has eliminated the need for any customer to drive to a physical bank location.

Direct deposit is also available to either a checking or a savings account.


Ally Bank Checking Account Review


Traditional banks incur large expenses due to physical space upkeep, rent bills, and employee comforts. These banks frequently subject customers to a wide variety of fees, such as low balance fees, monthly maintenance fees, or usage charges, in order to manage overhead expenses. At Ally, these expenses do not exist, so customers at Ally Bank enjoy zero monthly or annual bank maintenance fees.

With Ally Bank, there is no minimum amount required to open an interest-bearing checking account. In addition, customers are not forced to make a certain number of transactions per month or per quarter in order to avoid fees.

Using an online bank such as Ally eliminates the need to change banks when moving since Ally is available anywhere in the country. As people relocate more frequently than in years past, due to shifting job prospects or family priorities, this convenient feature could be a huge deciding factor in choosing a bank.

Ally Bank offers 24/7 customer service for all customers through online chat, phone discussion, or email communication. In addition, Ally communicates frequently to its customers through email newsletters and relevant messaging on the Ally website. Interest rate increases are announced often, and all customers are eligible for the new rates as long as the account is in good standing. Ally has some of the highest interest rates for checking accounts among all banks, online or otherwise.


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Drawbacks to using Ally Bank


Ally Bank’s main flaw is the inability to deposit cash. While eliminating brick and mortar banks keeps overhead low, and fees non-existent, this means that Ally is at a disadvantage compared to other banks’ deposit capabilities. Certainly, sending cash through the mail is not a safe or reasonable solution, especially on such a large scale. Without physical bank locations or a way to mail cash safely, Ally customers are forced to keep cash out of checking or savings accounts. That cash is then ineligible for interest, and not insured by the FDIC. Even though society has become much less reliant on cash, there will always be situations where cash transfers hands. For example, gifts are often given in cash for weddings or other special events, and a variety of jobs rely on cash gratuities to supplement income. Ally Bank’s lack of a cash deposit system is frustrating but understandable and does not overshadow the many benefits of online banking.


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Is Ally Bank Checking Account Safe?


Customers often wonder about the security of online banks. Ally Bank uses 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for all online communication. They also use a strong security measure called two-factor authentication. This extra layer of protection helps to prevent and discourage hackers. No technology method is completely foolproof, however, so some customers may prefer the traditional security measures of a brick and mortar bank.


Ally Bank Checking Recommendations


Ally Bank checking accounts are easy to open and offer multiple benefits. Ally Bank customers receive the convenience of online banking, the commitment to excellent customer service and Ally’s competitive interest rates on both checking and savings accounts. These benefits are rare among most banks. Thanks to a history of service and excellence, Ally Bank creates a win for customers.


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Ally Checking Account reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com. Rating: 4.5