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 2020?



Fidelity versus Ally Invest Comparison (2109)


With very similar zero-dollar commission schedules, Fidelity and Ally Invest may appear to be comparable brokerage firms. But just how interchangeable are these two? Here’s research that will provide the answer:


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

As you see, Ally Invest is much better priced broker for mutual funds investors and options traders.


Services


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


Promotion Links


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

Fidelity: Get 500 free trades with $100,000+ deposit.



What Investments Can Be Traded?


Before opening a securities account, make sure you know what investment vehicles the broker offers. Otherwise, you may find out that the very security you want to trade isn’t available.

At Ally Invest, traders can buy and sell bonds, forex, stocks, option contracts, mutual funds, ETF’s, closed-end funds, penny stocks, and over-the-counter securities.

Fidelity offers all of these products except forex. In its place, the brokerage house provides trading in precious metals. Fidelity also delivers access to equity IPO’s, a service that Ally Invest doesn’t offer.

This category is a tie.


And What About Cash Management?


Ally Invest customers must have $100,000 in assets before they can add a debit card to a brokerage account. On top of this rather crummy policy, the broker charges a $35 yearly fee for the card. Checkwriting is another $20 per year. Every check written is a $5 fee.

It is possible to link an Ally Bank account to an investment account. The banking division has better policies, including no account fees or minimum balance requirements.

Fidelity offers the Cash Management Account, which is a hybrid securities-deposit account. It offers five times the normal FDIC guarantee. There is no minimum balance requirement, and there are no fees. Even better, Fidelity reimburses ATM fees.

The second category is awarded to Fidelity.


Does Either Company Offer Foreign Stocks?


Ally Invest customers can buy and sell ADR’s (American Depository Receipts). There are no surcharges to trade these instruments. Also available is the OTC marketplace, which contains some foreign securities.

Fidelity has both ADR’s and OTC stocks. It also offers a global stock account, which can be opened separately from a regular brokerage account. Trades in the foreign equity account can be submitted to 25 foreign exchanges. Some examples include Euronext Lisbon, SIX Swiss Exchange, and Mexican Bolsa. Zero-dollar commissions do not apply to this account.

Another defeat for Ally Invest.


Who Is Better for Security Research?


Stock profiles on the Ally Invest website provide earnings histories, financial statements, and trading details of top executives. The broker offers free stock reports from one analyst: CFRA. News articles are displayed for individual stocks and the market as a whole. There is only one source: MT Newswires.

During our testing, we found the company’s screeners fairly easy to use. Many search criteria can be used, including technical events, performance history, and exchange.

As far as general investing education, Ally Invest offers some short articles on basic topics. Examples we found include seasonal volatility, the differences between options and stocks, and how to construct an ETF portfolio.

Fidelity has articles on a much wider range of topics. We found materials on charitable giving, college planning, how to use technical indicators, how to place a collar trade, and the basics of investing in commodities. The broker also hosts in-person learning events.

Equity profiles on the Fidelity website have enormous amounts of information on them. News articles come from multiple sources (e.g., Dow Jones, Reuters, and MT Newswires). An Equity Summary Score is presented along with Environmental, Social, & Governance data.

Screeners on Fidelity’s website are able to scan the securities markets based on many criteria; dividend yield, sector, average 90-day volume, and quick ratio are just a few examples. One feature missing on Fidelity’s mutual fund screener is the ability to search based on load status, something that is available at Ally Invest.

On the whole, Fidelity does a better job in this category.


Which Broker Is Better for Website Trading?


Ally Invest’s site has a trade bar. That’s the first thing we like about it. It provides real-time data on any symbol entered. Clicking on a trade button generates a pop-up order form. There are 5 order types and 2 duration choices. Options can be traded in addition to stocks and ETF’s.


Ally or Fidelity Investments


The second tool we like on Ally’s site is a browser platform called LIVE. It is launched from the website and delivers a user-friendly trading experience. Charting is available in full-screen mode with tools; and bond and option traders will appreciate the many resources the platform delivers.

What we don’t like about Ally Invest in this category is the rest of the broker’s website. It has a simple interface, which can be hard to navigate at times.

Fidelity’s website provides more information but yet is easier to use. There is no trade bar or browser platform, however. The broker uses a pop-up trade ticket for order submission. It has 8 order types and 5 duration choices. Charting on Fidelity’s website can be performed in horizontal mode and has several useful graph tools.


Fidelity vs Ally


All things considered, we’ll call it a draw here.


Who Has the Better Desktop Program?


Ally Invest has three desktop programs. One is MetaTrader 4, which is a third-party forex platform. It can be used in 17 different languages. Another is Ally Invest Forex, the broker’s own currency platform. And finally, there is Quotestream, a platform for trading securities. This final program has trading requirements.

Fidelity has one platform, Active Trader Pro. It has no account minimums or trading requirements, so anyone (including guests) can use it. Like Quotestream, it has Level II quotes, advanced charting, and real-time option data.

Another dead heat.


And Mobile Apps?


Ally Invest clients get to use Ally Bank’s mobile app. Brokerage accounts are integrated. The platform includes mobile check deposit and Zelle transfers. Unfortunately, we didn’t find video news or mutual fund trading. Options and ETF’s can be traded; although there are no multi-leg plays. Charting on Ally Invest’s mobile platform offers several good tools and a horizontal screen.


Ally vs Fidelity


Moving to Fidelity, we lose Zelle transfers but pick up PayPal transfers. Mobile check deposit is available along with live streaming of Bloomberg news. Charting is on a similar level as Ally’s. An advantage that Fidelity offers over Ally in this category is the integration of multi-leg option strategies.


Fidelity or Ally Invest


Fidelity is our pick here.


And What About Other Services?


Dividend Reinvestment Program: Both brokerage firms provide free DRIP service.

IRA’s: Ally Invest clients must pay $25 to close an IRA. Fidelity has no such fee. Moreover, Fidelity offers a solo 401(k), which Ally Invest does not have.

Automatic mutual fund investing: Only Fidelity offers this service.

Another defeat for Ally Invest.


Our Recommendations


Mutual Fund Traders: Although it does offer slightly more funds overall than Fidelity, Ally Invest does not offer any no-load, no-transaction-fee funds. On the other hand, all funds, including most popular ones, are priced 2.5 times lower than Fidelity. Therefore, we can recommend either broker.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Fidelity has better resources for this type of investing.

Beginners: Fidelity’s educational materials are much better than Ally’s. Moreover, only Fidelity has a network of branch locations and a robo chat service on its website.

Stock and ETF Trading: Pretty even here.


Promotions


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

Fidelity: Get 500 free trades with $100,000+ deposit.



Fidelity vs Ally Invest: Verdict


Ally Invest won the most important Pricing category and offers better account opening promotion. Fidelity has better trading and research tools. With this information you should be able to pick the best broker for you.