Ally vs Robinhood


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


Robinhood vs. Ally Invest Introduction


If you’re thinking about opening a new brokerage account, Robinhood or Ally Invest may have what you’re looking for. Study this comparison before choosing either one:


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
Robinhood $0 na $0 per contract $0 na


Services


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


Promotions


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

Robinhood: Get one FREE stock when you open an account.



First, Available Investments


With a Robinhood account, you can buy and sell these products:

- Stocks
- Option contracts
- Exchange-traded funds
- Cryptocurrencies

With an Ally Invest account, you’ll be able to trade these asset classes:

- Stocks (including some over-the-counter instruments that aren’t available at Robinhood)
- Fixed-income securities
- Options
- ETFs
- Closed-end funds
- Mutual funds
- Forex

The above investments are available inside of self-directed accounts. Ally Invest also has an investment-advisory service that delivers automated trading in a smaller selection of ETFs for just 0.30%. Customers who elect to have a significant amount held in cash get the service at no cost.

Winner: Ally Invest


Margin Accounts


Ally Invest offers both cash and margin accounts. The former type requires trades to be settled with available cash. The latter type permits customers to use borrowed funds to meet a portion of a trade amount. This obviously is a loan, and like any loan, an interest charge will be incurred. Ally Invest charges reasonable rates on a stepped schedule:

Top tier: 9.25%
Middle tier: 7%
Bottom tier: 4.75%

Robinhood tries to be a different type of brokerage firm. As such, it offers margin in a different way. The company charges $5 per month to have a margin account, and this monthly fee includes access to Morningstar research and Level II quotes. It also includes $1,000 in borrowing power without an interest charge. Loans above $1,000 cost 4.25%.

Winner: Robinhood


Website Tools


The Ally Invest site has some really good features. During our investigation, we found these tools to be especially useful:


Ally vs Robin Hood


Trade bar: Sitting at the bottom of the site, this widget delivers real-time data on any entered ticker symbol. There’s a trade button that produces a pop-up order form. It has multiple trade types.

Advanced charting: Although a graph won’t expand the full width of the screen, there are many tools available, including several display styles and lots of technical indicators.

LIVE: This is Ally Invest’s browser platform. It has some really good options tools and full-screen charting.

Robinhood doesn’t have an independent browser platform. Instead, all trading and research take place within the website proper. It does have some nice attributes. We especially liked these:


Robinhood or Ally


Trade ticket: It has 6 order types (Ally Invest offers 5) and 2 duration choices (Ally Invest uses the same 2). The real disappointment here is that sell short isn’t available. It is on Ally’s software.

Full-screen charts: But they don’t offer the same number of tools as LIVE’s charts.

Option chains: Including profit-loss diagrams.

Winner: Ally Invest


Desktop Trading


Besides its browser platform, Ally Invest also has a desktop program. Called Quotestream (review), it is provided by a third party. It does have some really nice trading tools. They include:

- Heatmap
- Waterfall ticker
- Time & sales data
- Good charting program
- Earnings calendar


Ally or Robin Hood


Robinhood doesn’t have a desktop platform, but it should.

Winner: Ally Invest


Mobile Apps


While Robinhood failed in the desktop category, it does come through with a well-designed and fully functional mobile app. Features worth mentioning include:


Robin Hood vs Ally


- Trade ticket with the same 6 order types the website has. These include trailing, stop, and recurring.

- Vertical charts with no tools. As on the website, there are just 2 display formats: line and candlesticks. The vertical axis has no price label, so it’s difficult to use these graphs.

- Options trading capability, including custom 4-leg strategies.

- Account documents in pdf format.

Missing on Robinhood’s app are several tools we would hope to find, like mobile check deposit and video news. On the flip side, the company does have a smartwatch app, and it delivers a few features like small charts.

Ally Invest doesn’t have a smartwatch app, but it does have a mobile platform that is designed for iPad, something that Robinhood doesn’t offer. Whether in phone or tablet format, Ally Invest’s software delivers these nice features:


Ally versus Robin Hood


- Horizontal charting. Besides this obvious advantage over Robinhood, Ally’s software delivers some decent charting tools like comparisons and technical studies.

- Derivative trading with up to 4 legs per trade.

- Order ticket with 4 order types (including stop and stop limit).

- Ability to sell short (not available on any platform at Robinhood).

- Several banking tools, including mobile check deposit, bill pay, Zelle transfers, and an ATM locator.

Strangely, the Ally Invest mobile app does not provide trading in mutual funds, although limited details on specific funds are available.

Winner: Ally Invest


Security Analysis and Research


On Ally Invest’s website, we found multiple screeners: one for mutual funds, another for ETFs, and a third for stocks. Some of the search criteria include:

- Expense ratio
- Beta vs. S&P 500
- 5-Year Price Performance (%)

Stock profiles have a moderate amount of information, including these highlights:

- Insider trading details
- Free pdf reports from CFRA
- SEC filings

Robinhood has no screeners at all. It does group stocks and funds into categories, but these aren’t nearly as good as actual search widgets.

Robinhood’s asset profiles have minimal details. The broker does not provide any stock reports, although profiles do have trade recommendations. Other data points include:

- Earnings history
- News articles
- Key stats

Winner: Ally Invest


Robinhood versus Ally Invest


Options Trading


Robinhood has a tendency to over-simply trading, and it certainly does this with its options tools. It did recently add profit-loss diagrams to its website, and this addition makes visualizing derivative trades easier. Nevertheless, Robinhood provides no pre-installed spreads in its software, and this makes trading multi-leg strategies somewhat cumbersome.

Ally Invest’s website does have pre-installed strategies. Examples include:

- Collars
- Butterflies
- Strangles
- Combos

LIVE and the website combined have several derivative tools, including:

- Option calculator
- Volatility charts
- Options scanner
- P/L diagrams

Winner: Ally Invest


Additional Services


Individual Retirement Accounts: Robinhood still doesn’t offer IRAs, but Ally Invest does.

Cash Management Features: Any customer at Robinhood can receive a free debit card linked to a cash account that currently pays 0.30% interest. Ally Invest, on the other hand, maintains steep minimums to get any banking features directly attached to a brokerage account. It is possible to link Ally Invest and Ally Bank accounts, though.

DRIP: Robinhood and Ally Invest clients can both sign up for free dividend reinvesting on stocks and ETFs.

Fractional Shares: Ally Invest continues the old-school system of trading only in whole shares (for stocks and ETFs). Robinhood, by contrast, offers trading in whole shares or whole dollars.

Extended Hours: Ally Invest and Robinhood both offer pre-market and after-hours trading sessions. Ally has a longer early session, while Robinhood has a lengthier evening period. In total, both firms provide 2½ hours of additional trading time.

Initial Public Offerings: Only available inside a Robinhood account.

Periodic Mutual Fund Investing: Although Ally Invest does offer mutual funds, it doesn’t have the capability to establish recurring deposits.

Winner: Robinhood


Our Recommendations


ETF & Stock Trading: With its desktop software and browser-based platform, Ally Invest is the better choice for chartists and active traders. For fractional-share trading, Robinhood is the only option.

Beginners: A managed account with Ally Invest is a good place to start.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: With automated investing, target-date mutual funds, and IRAs, Ally Invest is the obvious choice.

Mutual Fund Trading: Once again, it’s Ally.

Small Accounts: Ally Invest has a smaller ACAT-out transfer fee, one of the few differences in the two pricing schedules.


Promotions


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

Robinhood: Get one FREE stock when you open an account.



Ally Invest vs Robinhood Results


Robinhood may be more popular than Ally Invest, but it clearly lags far behind in total trading services.




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.