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Best Brokerage Firm For Beginner

Best Brokerage Company For Beginner Overview

Ally Invest is an interesting player in the online brokerage business, and while not as well known as some, offers a complete menu of trading tools and resources. The beginning investor could feel right at home with Ally Invest, as this broker has a small company feel (even though it's the sixth biggest brokerage in the U.S.) but can compete with largest brokerages in meeting most customer priorities.

Ally Invest Pricing

Ally Invest offers very low commissions to all its customers: just $4.95 per trade on stocks and ETFs, and $9.95 per mutual fund transaction. The firm has few fees (no hidden fees) and no-annual-fee IRA accounts. Minimum to open a cash account is hard-to-beat $0 and only $2,000 for a margin account.

Ally Invest also offers low margin schedule. The broker charges 4.50% for balances of $500,000 and above. Its highest rate is 9.25% for balances of up to $4,999. The firm has an incremental margin schedule with decreasing rates as balances increase from $4,999 to $500,000.

Ally Invest charges an annual inactivity fee of $50, if account balance is below $2,500 AND there were no trades in the last 12 months. This makes the company a poor option for a small account balance and completely inactive investor. If investor can keep account balance above $2,500, then coupled with absence of retirement accounts fees (except for closing an account), it makes Ally Invest an appealing firm for IRAs.

Ally Invest Services

Trader Network is an online community of Ally Invest's customers. It has a forum and a dashboard where all traders could see each others portfolios (if allowed by the user), and write comments on trades. One can also see a scrolling trading activity of what is hot and being traded by Ally Invest traders as well as members' gains or losses. This could be invaluable information for beginner investors as well as for more experienced ones.

Best Online Brokerage For Beginners

The customer service at Ally Invest is at least as good as with the more expensive brokers. The wait times on the phone are generally short, and the support personnel is very knowledgeable. Phone and live chat support is offered from Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Eastern time. Emails are answered within two hours during business hours and within 24 hours during the weekend.

Ally Invest Trading Tools Review

Beyond the traditional website, there is a browser-based platform called Ally Invest LIVE. Clicking on 'Ally Invest LIVE' within the browser produces a new tab with the trading system. Here, users can look over indices, check out market events, review position and account information, and transfer funds. And that's just the home screen. There are various tiles on the home screen that can perform a variety of functions.

Clicking on the chart tile produces another tab for charting. Price history can be shown between 1 day and 13 years. The time interval can be 1 minute, monthly, or anywhere in between. There are several technical indicators available. One or more stocks can also be added to a graph to compare against the original stock. The graph's style can be set to bar, colored bar, candlestick, hollow candle, or mountain. There is a trade button in the upper-left corner. Clicking on the button generates a trade ticket. It is also possible to detach a chart so that it can be displayed full screen. The platform does have a minimum account requirement of 1 trade or more every twelve months, or an account balance of $2,500 or greater.

Best Brokerage For Beginners

Ally Invest also offers Quotestream, another advanced platform. Customers must execute 10 trades or more every month to qualify. The software has multiple watch lists, market news, option chains, and streaming quotes.

Mobile Apps

Ally Invest provides highly rated by users mobile trading applications for Android, iPhone, and other smartphones. These applications offer watchlists, streaming quotes, stocks and ETFs trading, options chains, charts, and alerts.

Best Brokerage Firm For Beginners

Ally Invest Forex

It is necessary to open a separate Forex account in order to access Forex trading, and it must be funded with a $500 minimum. Clients can trade more than 50 currency pairs as well as gold and silver.

Ally Invest Advisors

Ally Invest Advisors is a service that helps investors who don't have enough time or expertise to invest money on their own. With this service a client may choose either a Core portfolio or a Momentum portfolio as a place to invest money. The Core portfolio is passive and focuses on asset allocation using ETFs to provide diversity. The Momentum portfolio is more actively managed and searches the market for more high-risk options that offer potentially higher yields. For Core portfolios with a balance of $5,000 or more, the annual fee is 0.25%. For Core portfolios with a balance up to $4,999, they charge only $1 per month. For Momentum portfolios, any balance, the annual fee is 0.50%.

Mergers And Acquisitions

Ally Invest's mergers with two other discount brokers - Zecco and MB Trading - created one of the largest brokerage houses in the United States. But this did not affect the pricing - the company still offers much lower commissions than all bigger brokerage firms. Last year Ally Invest got acquired by Ally Bank - the leading online bank in the United States for the last 5 years.


Ally Invest is known for great customer service, for which it received multiple awards. Thanks to low pricing, the company is one of the best brokerage firms for options, stocks and ETFs traders. The brokerage provides good investment research tools to clients at no additional cost.

For beginner investors, the Trader Network alone is good enough reason to recommend opening an account with Ally Invest. After the merger with MB Trading and acquisition by Ally Bank, the broker now can match and, in some cases, beat the services and tools offered at much more expensive brokerage houses.

Ally Invest Promotion

Switch to Ally Invest and get up to $150 in transfer fees reimbursed.

Open Ally Invest Account

Updated on 4/14/2017.

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