Ally Invest versus TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade vs Ally Invest


Compare TD Ameritrade versus Ally Invest — which is better in 2020 for IRA/Roth accounts, online stock investing fees, and broker mutual fund selection.



Ally Invest vs. TD Ameritrade Comparison (2020)


With $0 stock and ETF commission schedules, Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade may appear at face value to be fairly similar. But we did some research and found that there are important differences between them. Have a look here:


Pricing


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Ally Invest $0 $9.95 $0.50 per contract $0 $0
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 $0.65 per contract $0 $0

As you see, Ally Invest is better priced broker for mutual funds investors and options traders. Stocks and ETF investors have the same commissions at both brokers.


Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Ally Invest
TD Ameritrade


Promotions


Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commission stock and ETF trades.


Category #1: Investment Vehicles


If you know what assets you want to trade, then you should verify that the broker you’re interested in offers them. Not all brokerage firms offer all investments.

Ally Invest provides trading in equities, fixed-income assets, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, spot gold and silver, options, and forex. Equities include both penny stocks and OTC stocks.

TD Ameritrade clients get everything that Ally Invest offers plus futures contracts, and this include bitcoin trading plus precious metals trading.

TD Ameritrade is the better choice here.


Ally Invest vs Ameritrade


Category #2: Research & Education


Ally Invest customers have access to a learning center on the firm’s website that offers articles and videos on some financial topics. These include not just investing but also personal financial issues. This second group comes from Ally Bank. We found articles on the basics of checking accounts and how to place an options trade.

Stock profiles on the Ally Invest site include information on earnings, financial statements, option chains, news articles, and one pdf report from CFRA.

Ally Invest’s security screeners are easy to use and offer many search criteria. During our inspection, we were able to scan by sector, price performance, market cap, EBIT margin, and many more variables.

At TD Ameritrade, we found pdf reports from no less than 8 analysts. Examples include Vickers and New Constructs. Equity profiles have more information than we saw on Ally’s profiles. For example, there are social signals shown for a stock. These are recent tweets.

TD Ameritrade also operates its own video channel. Live streaming and on-demand segments are available to both guests and account holders.

The broker’s stock screener is on a level comparable to Ally’s. As for general education, we found webcasts and self-guided courses on TDA’s website, materials that aren’t available on Ally’s platform.

We’ll take TD Ameritrade here.


Category #3: Mobile Apps


The Ally Invest mobile app is the same that Ally Bank customers use. Brokerage accounts are shown side-by-side with deposit accounts. The advantage of this system is that mobile check deposit and Zelle transfers are available. But Ally doesn’t provide any financial video news.

Stocks, options, and exchange-traded funds can be bought and sold on the Ally Invest app, but not mutual funds. For option trades, only calls and puts are available. We did like the software’s charting program. There are tools and horizontal viewing.

TD Ameritrade manages and supports 3 apps. One of them has very advanced charting with 400 technical indicators, an unheard of number for a mobile app. The trade ticket is also very advanced with many order types and direct-access routing.


TD Ameritrade or Ally Invest


On another TD Ameritrade app, we found Level 2 quotes and CNBC free of charge. While TD Ameritrade does offer mobile check deposit, there are no Zelle transfers.

Overall, we have to go with TD Ameritrade here.


Category #4: Website Trading


On the Ally Invest website we found a trade bar. Up-to-the-second information is shown for any ticker symbol entered. An order ticket can be displayed above the bar to submit orders to the exchanges. There are multiple duration options and order types. Stocks, ETF’s, and option contracts can be traded on it.


Ally Invest or Ameritrade


Besides the trade bar, LIVE is a browser platform that traders can use. It offers a user-friendly order ticket plus good charting with tools. Option and fixed-income traders will find several important features on the platform.

TD Ameritrade’s site has a trade bar called SnapTicket. One advantage over Ally’s trade bar is rapid-fire trading. In this mode, users can simply type in a string of characters like s200msft29.45 to quickly sell 200 shares of Microsoft at a limit order of $29.45. Another advantage that TD Ameritrade’s trade bar has over Ally’s is that it can display a small chart.

Although TD Ameritrade doesn’t offer a browser platform, it does have a website that’s easier to use than Ally’s with more features.

All things considered, pretty close in this category.


Category #5: Desktop Trading


Ally Invest customers who place at least 30 trades per quarter can use Quotestream, a desktop platform with lots of advanced features. These include tick-by-tick charting, Level 2 quotes, advanced option strategies, Greek values, a stock screener, and more.


Ally vs Ameritrade


TD Ameritrade offers a desktop platform with no trading requirements. It offers all the features mentioned for Quotestream plus Minesweeper (yes, the computer game) and CNBC video news.

TD Ameritrade takes another victory.


Category #6: Forex


Both companies in this rivalry offer forex trading. At Ally Invest, a dedicated mobile app can be used to trade currencies. Alternatively, the broker offers two desktop platforms: MetaTrader 4 and its own forex program. There are over 80 currency pairs with spreads as low as 1-2 pips.

TD Ameritrade offers forex trading on two of its mobile apps plus its desktop platform. Two pricing schedules are available: one with small spreads (with a trading fee) and one with larger spreads (with no commission). There are 75 currency pairs.


TD Ameritrade vs Ally Invest


Ally Invest has more currency pairs.


Category #7: Other Services


Dividend Reinvestment Program: Both broker-dealers in this study will automatically reinvest cash dividends for their customers as additional shares.

IRA’s: Although both companies offer Individual Retirement Accounts, only Ally Invest charges a $25 IRA close-out fee. TDA also has a self-employed 401(k), a great service that Ally Invest fails to offer.

Automatic mutual fund investing: Ally Invest doesn’t offer periodic deposits into mutual funds, but TD Ameritrade does.

TD Ameritrade wins the last category.


Our Recommendations


Beginners: Either broker will work well.

Mutual Fund Traders: Ally Invest offers five times lower commission on most mutual funds you'll want to have in your portfolio.

Retirement Savers: We don’t like Ally Invest’s $25 IRA fee. But the broker has $0 fee hands-free robo-advisory service called Ally Invest Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolio. TDA charges for a similar service 0.30% annually of the entire amount invested.

ETF and Stock Trading: Definitely go with TD Ameritrade. The broker’s free desktop platform and great research materials puts it above Ally Invest.


Promotions


Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commission stock and ETF trades.


Ally Invest vs TD Ameritrade Results


For readers that are still wondering in which company to open an account, TD Ameritrade will be our recommendation for active stock and options traders, ETF investors, and IRA accounts. Ally Invest would work great for all other customers, especially for beginners, hands-free investing, and "buy and hold", long-term investors.

The two online investment companies provide a lot of unique and valuable features. Our suggestion is to open accounts at both firms with $0 down (it will take only about 20 minutes), and take advantage of everything these top online brokers have to offer free of charge. Investors can decide later into which brokerage account they want to deposit most of their money.