Ally vs Fidelity

Ally Invest vs Fidelity


Compare Fidelity Investments versus Ally Invest - which is better for IRA/Roth accounts, fees, online investing, and stock broker mutual fund rates in 2022?


Ally Invest vs. Fidelity


If you plan to open a brokerage account in the near future, Fidelity and Ally Invest should be at the top of your list. Before picking one of them, be sure to look over the following comparison:


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
Fidelity $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0


Services


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


Promotion Links


Ally Invest: Up to $3,000 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.

Fidelity: Get $0 stock commissions.



What Assets Can Be Traded?


Both brokerage firms offer self-directed and managed accounts. For the latter service, Ally Invest has a robo program that costs either 0.30% or nothing with a large cash position. There is no traditional management package, the one downside.

Fidelity offers both automated and old-school portfolio management. The company’s robo service is free for the first $10,000 in account equity, and then transitions to 0.35% per year. Traditional human management trades more than ETFs, although there are steep minimums in some cases. Annual fees, though, start at just 30 basis points annually.

For self-directed trading, Fidelity offers these asset classes:

  • Options
  • Stocks (including some on foreign exchanges)
  • Bonds
  • Funds (mutual, exchange-traded, and closed-end)
  • Annuities
  • Insurance

Ally Invest doesn’t have annuities or life insurance, although it does have the other investment products listed (minus the foreign offerings).

Winner: Fidelity


Is Margin Available?


Both investment firms offer margin trading. Fidelity charges anywhere from 5.825% to 9.825%, depending on the amount of the margin debit.

Ally Invest customers pay 9.25% on the high end and 4.75% on the low end (above $1 million).

Winner: Ally Invest


Who Has the Better Website?


The Ally Invest website is very basic. It was borrowed from TradeKing and hasn’t been updated in quite some time. There is a trade bar at the bottom of the site that is able to send orders to the exchanges. There are 5 order types in total, including market-on-close.


Ally vs Fidelity


For a more advanced trading experience, users can launch LIVE from the website. This is Ally’s browser platform. The software has the same order types that the trade bar has. Nevertheless, there are some really nice features on the platform, including full-screen charting and advanced option tools.

Fidelity’s website doesn’t have a browser platform or a trade bar. Nevertheless, the site has many of the same features already mentioned for Ally (full-screen charting and advanced derivative tools). In fact, the Fidelity site has more order types and duration choices.


Fidelity or Ally


Winner: Overall, pretty even


Does Either Firm Have a Desktop Program?


Ally Invest clients who don’t find what they’re looking for can upgrade to Quotestream (review). This is a desktop platform that offers many advanced features, including:


Ally or Fidelity


  • Time & sales data
  • Heatpmaps
  • Waterfall ticker
  • Earnings calendar
  • The downside of Quotestream is that Ally Invest imposes a trading requirement to gain access to it (it is 30 trades per quarter).

Fidelity imposes no minimums to use its desktop software. Called Active Trader Pro, the platform really lives up to its name. During our testing of it, we found it to be user-friendly with many advanced tools. We especially liked these highlights:


Fidelity or Ally


  • Streaming Bloomberg business news
  • Direct-access routing
  • Level II quotes

Winner: Fidelity


And What About Mobile Apps?


Fidelity continues delivering high-quality software with its mobile app. During our probing of it, we found many useful tools, including an artificial intelligence capable of answering some, but not all, questions. There are many learning tools on the app, including podcasts and on-demand videos. Charting is available in horizontal mode with tools, and the trade ticket has advanced orders.


Fidelity versus Ally


Ally Invest customers use the same app that Ally Bank clients use. There is a discrete section for brokerage accounts. Here, we found a watchlist, horizontal charting with tools, a trade ticket with a few order types, news articles from Newswires, and data on global indexes.


Ally vs Fidelity Investments


The Ally Invest app also has option chains for calls and puts. There are no spreads. By contrast, Fidelity’s app has chains for several multi-leg plays, including iron condors, butterflies, and diagonals.

Although Fidelity’s app does have some good cash management features, such as mobile check deposit, Ally’s app has even more due to its relationship with Ally Bank.

Winner: Fidelity


Are There Any Additional Brokerage Services?


Cash Management Tools: Both firms have checkwriting and debit cards (for Ally Invest, these are through a linked Ally Bank account). Fidelity has a better ATM fee rebate program and a higher level of FDIC insurance thanks to a sweep program.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Although both brokerage houses in this contest have IRAs, Fidelity has many more types.

DRIP Availability: Dividend reinvesting is on tap at both companies.

Fractional Shares: Ally Invest has not yet rolled out partial-share trading, but Fidelity has.

Extended Hours: Late-night and early-morning trading are available at both brokers in addition to the regular day session. Fidelity has longer hours.

Access to IPOs: Fidelity customers, but not Ally Invest clients, can buy shares of companies before they begin trading on the secondary market.

Periodic Mutual Fund Investing: Only available at Fidelity.

Winner: Fidelity


Recommendations


Mutual Fund Trading: Fidelity has hundreds of no-load, no-transaction-fee funds. Ally Invest has zero. But most of the funds you actually want to buy cost $50 at Fidelity versus $10 at Ally. We would choose Ally.

ETF & Stock Trading: With Active Trader Pro and fractional-share trading, Fidelity is a no brainer.

Beginners: Either company’s robo service would be a decent choice.

Small Accounts: Ally Invest’s robo service has a $100 minimum. Fidelity’s robo service has no minimum to open and a $10 minimum to start investing. Neither broker has any minimums for self-directed accounts, although Ally Invest has a $25 IRA closeout fee.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Fidelity’s website has a much larger library of retirement tools and resources, including a Roth conversion calculator, a Social Security benefit calculator, a guaranteed income estimator, and much more. Plus, every Fidelity target-date mutual fund has no load and no transaction fee. Easy choice.


Promotions


Ally Invest: Up to $3,000 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.

Fidelity: Get $0 stock commissions.



Fidelity vs Ally Invest: Verdict


Ally Invest has good margin rates, and that’s no surprise given its relationship with Ally Bank. But its brokerage services are behind those at Fidelity.


About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.