Ally Invest rating

Ally Invest Review


Ally Invest Pricing and Minimum Deposit


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $0
Options $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Bonds $1 per bond with $10 minimum, $250 maximum
Treasuries commission-free
Certificates of Deposit (CDs) $24.95

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, forex, treasuries, ETFs
Ally Invest minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesAlly Invest fees
Promotion link Ally Invest promotions


Review of Ally Invest


Ally Invest is one of the lesser known discount brokerage firms in the United States. Does this mean it has less to offer? This article is going to find out.


Bulls Notice...


Very low commissions on all products. Starting with $0 commission on stocks and ETF's and all the way to tight spreads in forex trading.

A user-friendly browser platform. This is something many big firms don’t have.

Free robo advisor. Ally Invest didn’t stop at self-directed accounts when it decided to reduce fees and commissions to zero.


Bears Notice...


No desktop platform. Here, Ally Invest underperforms the big hitters in the industry.

Cash management tools need improvement. Despite its affiliation with Ally Bank.

Security research is underdeveloped. Ally Invest customers will have to go elsewhere to find some materials.


Investment Vehicles


Ally Investment Rating

In the realm of securities, Ally Invest offers index and equity option contracts, mutual funds, closed-end funds, ETF’s, equities, and fixed-income assets. It is a rare bird in the industry for offering forex as well. Stocks, closed-end funds, and ETF’s can be traded during extended hours; and the broker offers both penny and over-the-counter stocks.

There are some products missing here. There are no futures, no warrants, no contracts for difference, no cryptocurrencies, and no foreign investments.


Portfolio Management


Ally Portfolio Rating

The assets mentioned above only apply to self-directed accounts. For its managed account service, Ally Invest offers a selection of low-cost ETF’s. Notice that we said “selection.” Unlike the self-directed service, all listed ETF’s are not available.

The fund families include Vanguard and iShares. We did not find any other providers during our research.

There are four themes Ally Invest offers in the portfolio management category: core, income, tax optimized, and socially responsible. The first is the regular plain vanilla option. The second invests in funds that pay dividends. The third is designed for investors in high tax brackets. And the final category invests in companies that meet certain ESG criteria.

Ally Invest’s robo advisor is free for accounts that accept a 30% cash position. To delete this holding, clients must pay a 0.30% annual fee. For either choice, there is a $100 opening balance requirement.


Self-Directed Pricing


Ally Invest Pricing Rating

And what do self-directed accounts pay? As it turns out, not a whole lot. Stock, ETF, and option trades now cost $0. Option trades do have a 50¢ per-contract fee. Bonds cost $1 per trade with a $10 minimum.

Ally Invest does have this annoying penny-stock charge. It’s $4.95 plus 1¢ per share. The broker defines a penny stock as an equity under $2.00.

Mutual funds with a load cost nothing to buy or sell. No-load funds cost $9.95 per transaction.


Promotion


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

Open Ally Invest Account



Customer Support


Ally Invest Customer Rating

An Ally Invest associate can be reached over the phone 7 am - 10 pm ET, 7 days a week. There is an online (human) chat service. Other methods to contact the firm include an e-mail address and a phone number for clients travelling outside the U.S. There is no internal messaging system on the company’s website, which we consider a weakness.

One feature on Ally Invest’s site that we really like is a document upload tool. Other self-service features include a tool to update contact information and a hub to download lots of forms. Overall though, the self-help section of the website is underdeveloped.

Ally Invest does not have any branch locations.


Account Types


Ally Invest Account Rating

Both self-directed and managed accounts at Ally Invest can be set up either as regular taxable accounts or as retirement accounts. The broker-dealer offers Roth, traditional, SIMPLE, SEP, and Inherited IRA’s. For education, there is a Coverdell option.

On the taxable side, there are account options for investment clubs, trusts, and businesses. Missing at Ally is a self-employed 401(k) plan.

There are no minimum balance requirements, and no initial deposit requirements, either. There are virtually no account fees at Ally Invest. The one we found was for closing an Individual Retirement Account. It’s $25.

Ally Invest has an ongoing ACAT fee rebate program. It will reimburse up to $150 in transfer fees charged by another broker for new customers who transfer at least $2,500 in assets.


ETF's


Ally Invest ETF Rating

In addition to commission-free trading, Ally Invest also offers some decent resources for ETF investors. First up is the broker’s fund screener, which is able to scan by many variables. These include sector exposure, Lipper rating, and standard deviation. During our testing of the software, we found it easy enough to use. Trade buttons appear in search results for quick order entry.


Ally Invest ETFs


Fund profiles provide a moderate amount of data points. Management information is shown along with top holdings, put/call open interest ratio, dividend frequency, and more. Option chains are available for funds that have them.

Although Lipper ratings are nice, we didn’t find any analyst reports on ETF’s. The ETF hub on the Ally site is also undeveloped.


Mutual Funds


Ally Invest Mutual Fund Rating

Moving on to mutual funds, we find a similar situation. The mutual fund center on Ally Invest’s site has minimal information. For example, there is no mutual fund commentary, which can easily be found on other brokers’ websites.


Ally Invest Mutual Funds


The mutual fund screener at Ally Invest has the same user-friendly interface that the ETF tool has. On the day we conducted our investigation, there were 11,223 funds available for purchase, a large number by industry standards. More than 1,900 are no-load funds, which mean they cost $9.95 to trade. The others have loads but cost nothing to buy and sell.

Mutual fund profiles offer important data points like the Sharpe ratio, portfolio turnover, and beta. Lipper ratings are shown along with information on minimums and expenses.


Forex


Ally Forex Rating

Forex trading is available at Ally Invest, and precious metals are included as well. There are more than 80 currency pairs that can be traded. Some spreads are as low as 1-2 pips. A discrete account does need to be opened to take advantage of this service. The broker offers a practice account to test drive its forex trading platform.


Website


Ally Trading Rating

For trading securities, the brokerage firm offers a user-friendly website. There is a respectable trade bar at the bottom of the screen. It can be used to trade stocks, option contracts, ETF’s, and closed-end funds. Bonds and mutual funds have to be traded elsewhere.


Ally Invest Review


LIVE


Ally Research Rating

One such place is LIVE, the company’s browser platform. Bonds have to be traded on it, although mutual funds are for the website proper.

LIVE comes with several useful tools, not least of which is the user-friendly trade ticket. Order choices include limit, market, stop, market-on-close, and trailing. Day and GTC are the only duration choices. There is a link to a video for users who need a little guidance filling it out.


Ally Invest Live


Charting on LIVE comes with technical studies, multiple graph styles, comparisons, and drawing tools. Company events aren’t available, however; and there’s no right-click trading, or a trade button at all when a chart is displayed full screen.


Mobile App


Ally Invest App Rating

The Ally Invest mobile app is the same platform that the company’s banking customers use. Because of this, there is a mobile check deposit tool, bill pay, and a Zelle transfer tool, too.


Ally Invest App Review


On the investment side, ETF’s, option contracts, and equities can be bought and sold. Mutual funds can only be traded on the broker’s website, and this will subtract half a star in this category.

The trade ticket offers stop, stop limit, market, limit, and trailing stop orders (in dollar and percent terms). Extended-hours trading is possible, and we definitely like the ability to trade derivatives. However, there aren’t any pre-installed strategies. It is possible to create multi-leg orders.

Features we wanted to see on the app but didn’t find include streaming financial news and simulated trading. Forex can be traded on a separate app.


Desktop Platforms


Ally Trader Rating

Besides the mobile app, forex can also be traded on the broker’s dedicated currency platform. It offers dealing boxes, account history, charting with tools, position information, and more. Forex customers can choose to use MetaTrader if they wish.

Quotestream is available for securities customers. Unlike the forex platform, Ally requires a minimum level of trade volume to gain access to it. The software incorporates real-time streaming data, an economic calendar, advanced charting, heat maps, and Level II quotes.


Banking Tools


Ally Cash Management Rating

Although Ally Invest is part of Ally Financial, the broker surprisingly doesn’t offer any good cash management tools. There are steep fees and requirements to add checks and a debit card to a securities account. The easy workaround is to link an Ally Bank checking, savings, or money market account to an Ally Invest account; which is probably what the company wants you to do. Ally recently made transfers between bank and brokerage accounts instantaneous.


Security Research and Financial Education


Ally Investing Rating

Our broker under investigation does have a decent, although not thorough, educational section on its website. We located materials through the “Education” tab, which appears on the top menu. Examples include buying Treasury bonds, the differences between stocks and options, and mutual fund investment types.


Ally Invest Education Review


Because of Ally Invest’s affiliation with Ally Bank, there are personal financial resources covering topics like home loans, bad money habits, and auto leasing.

Security profiles on the Ally Invest site lag behind some of the broker’s rivals in the amount of information available. One analyst is used for stocks (CFRA); although there is a bar chart showing a collection of analyst trade recommendations. For Starbucks, there were 30 trade recommendations.


Ally Invest Probability Calculator


Other Services


Ally Invest Services Rating

Ally Invest customers can sign up for a DRIP service to change cash payments into additional shares of the securities that paid them. There is no automated mutual fund investing service, however.


Comparison


Ally Invest has strengths and weaknesses when compared to some of its major competitors. Its primary strength lies in its browser platform LIVE. Neither Merrill Edge nor Firstrade currently has one.

Another area where Ally Invest shines is in its forex and precious metals service. Fidelity has precious metals but not forex, while TD Ameritrade is the opposite.


Recommendations


Mutual Fund Investors: TD Ameritrade has almost as many mutual funds as Ally Invest with over 3,700 no-load, no-transaction-fee funds. Plus, it has better mutual fund resources on its site.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Ally Invest’s outdated $25 IRA closeout fee can be avoided by going to Firstrade.

Beginners: TD Ameritrade has more learning materials than Ally Invest with a simulated trading mode for its desktop platform. TD Ameritrade also has branch locations.

Active Stock and ETF Trading: We can recommend Ally Invest for traders with enough monthly volume to qualify for Quotestream.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: With no fees to worry about and plenty of investment products, Ally Invest is a good choice.

Small Accounts: With low pricing and minimums, Ally Invest would be a great pick.


Awards





Ally Invest Review Summary


Ally Invest is trying to compete with some very big investment firms. It hasn’t done a perfect job thus far; but it does offer a hard to beat value with its new commission schedule. And it will be convenient for Ally Bank customers.


Ally Invest Promotion


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

Open Ally Invest Account






Ally Invest Questions and Answers


What investments can customers make through Ally Invest?


Ally Invest clients can trade the following: stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, forex, treasuries, and ETFs.


What are Ally Invest's fees?


List of all the fees Ally Invest is charging is under this link.


What interest does Ally Invest pay on cash?


Ally Invest interest rates on uninvested cash are in Ally Invest cash sweep article.


Current Ally Invest margin interest rates could be found here.


What is Ally Invest's account minimum?


Ally Invest does not have account minimum requirements.


What minimum deposit is required to open Ally Invest account?


There is no minimum deposit requirement to open an Ally Invest account.


Who is Ally Invest's clearing firm?


Ally Invest's clearing house is Apex Clearing.


How to terminate Ally Invest account?


Information on how to cancel or transfer your Ally Invest account is under this link.







Ally Invest Margin Rates


Debit Balance Margin Interest Rates
$0.01 - $4,999 8.75%
$5,000 - $9,999 8.75%
$10,000 - $24,999 8.75%
$25,000 - $49,999 8.50%
$50,000 - $99,999 7.75%
$100,000 - $249,999 6.50%
$250,000 - $499,999 5.50%
$500,000 - $999,999 5.00%
$1,000,000 + 4.25%



Ally Invest IRA Fees


IRA setup fee $0
IRA annual fee $0
IRA conversion fee (regular to roth or vice versa) $50
IRA transfer out fee $50
IRA termination fee $25 (for distributions and full outgoing account transfers)



Open Ally Invest Account

Open Ally Invest Account