- Review of: Ally Invest
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Ally Invest is the online brokerage firm of Ally Bank with great pricing, and customer service, making it hard to beat. Unfortunately, the funding process can be tricky, taking up to seven days, and Ally Invest isn't worth it if you have less than $2,500 to invest per year.
Ally Invest (formerly TradeKing) is an online discount brokerage firm that was started in 2005. The reasons why I choose Ally Invest were simple. As much as I like and use Fidelity for most of my trades, I felt it was a great way to get experience with another discount stock broker.
The signup process for Ally Invest was easy, but, unfortunately, funding can take up to seven days. I do wish their funding process was easier. Once funded though, the rest of their service was great. I’ve been a TradeKing (now Ally Invest) customer for over four years, and this is an update to my original review. Overall, I still enjoy using their service, and my opinion of their service remains the same.
Ally Invest Features
|Stock Trades||$4.95 ($3.95 – 30/trades per quarter or $100k+ balance)|
|Options Trades||$4.95 + $0.65/contract ($3.95 + $0.50/contract)|
|Accounts Available||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, Custodial, Coverdell, Trust, Individual, and Joint|
|Mobile App||Yes — Apple iOS and Google Android|
|Customer Service||Phone, Live Chat and Email — 24/7|
Their login process via a web browser is somewhat security conscious by tagging your computer and also security image to ensure you are on the legit website of Ally Invest.
SmartMoney rated TradeKing #1 in customer service in 2010 to 2012 and gave them a 5 out of 5 rating. They are available 24/7 unlike with TradeKing it was only during the week and during business hours. Every time I’ve contacted Ally Invest’s customer service, they were quick to respond and able to resolve my issue quickly. Compared to other discount brokers, Ally Invest has been one of the most helpful customer service experiences. If you are looking for helpful assistance, Ally Invest is definitely the broker for you.
Ally Invest has a wide range of tools available to long term investors and active traders. It has:
- Options Pricing Calculator
- Probability Calculator
- Profit + Loss Calculator
- Options and Strategy Scanners
- Stock, ETF + Mutual Fund Screeners
- Maxit Tax Manager
- Technical Analysis
- Ally Invest LIVE
Ally Invest recently announced an API. This in my opinion is the future of online brokers. Interfacing with third -party research tools, trading systems, and other ways to automate trading is the future growth of this industry. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.
Unlike others, Ally Invest does not offer research reports or access to Morningstar analysis. Though the rates are so cheap you can easily afford a membership to Morningstar Premium Membership.
Ally Invest is an options trader’s dream, and one of their primary advantages. From 2008 to 2013 Barron’s has rated TradeKing best for options traders. Ally Invest has some of the lowest options pricing available, and the savings compared to other brokers can be significant. Ally Invest supports from the basic to the advanced options strategy. Such as:
- Basic (Put/Call)
- Covered Call
- Protective Put
- Double Diagonal
- 4 Legs Free Form
Ally Invest’s education center is very comprehensive. It covers all of the investments they offer: stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. They have an especially great options section called “The Options Playbook”. It’s not uncommon they have 3 to 4 live webinars every month on various investments subjects. This is a much different experience I’ve had with some of the other brokers. In a way it’s smart of them to do this, so you are using their trading platform more often. They also have a great YouTube channel educating customers about various options strategies.
Social Network Investing – Trader Network
Another aspect that makes them unique is their social network named “Trader Network”. This is what makes them different than other discount brokers. Ally Invest has over 200,000 members in their network. It’s where investors can connect with one another, share experiences, ideas and strategies; see what others are trading and how they are performing. You can see what other investments are popular, and what other insights other investors can offer. For those interested, you can see my trades on Ally Invest’s network.
Ally Invest has two smartphone apps: Android and iPhone. I previously discussed the iPhone app, and unfortunately no longer own an Android smartphone to do an adequate review.
If you don’t have any of these mobile devices, they do offer a simpler mobile edition of their website. The mobile features are somewhat limited, but you have enough features to do basic trading.
Ally Invest has great pricing, great customer service, helpful online training, and adequate mobile integration. For a trader who needs low cost and no hidden fees – Ally Invest is hard to beat.