Ally Invest Review 2021

Free Trades and Plenty of Features

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Ally InvestWith zero commissions and no required minimum — as well as a robust selection of trading features, sterling customer service, and online banking — Ally Invest stands out as a great stock broker for both new and experienced traders. In this Ally Invest review, we'll check out just what makes this broker so appealing.

Ally Invest is a relative newcomer to the market. Its parent company, Ally Financial, created the platform from its purchase of TradeKing. We'll talk about that in more detail in just a minute. But first, let's check out some of the features that make Ally Invest unique.

Commissions & Fees - 10
Customer Service - 9
Ease of Use - 8.5
Tools & Resources - 8.5
Investment Options - 9
Account Options - 9

9.5

Ally Invest is the online brokerage firm of Ally Bank, and its great pricing (no fees on most trades!) and customer service make it hard to beat. Whether you're a new investor or an experienced trader, this broker could be the right one for you.

Get up to $3,000 Cash From Ally Invest

What Is Ally Invest?

As we mentioned above, the Ally Invest name is relatively new in the stockbroker space. However, the brokerage has its roots in a highly rated service called TradeKing.

Publicly traded firm Ally Financial Inc. purchased TradeKing in 2016 and rebranded it as Ally Invest. TradeKing was well known as one of the very lowest-cost investment platforms. It focused on self-directed investing and options trading. Since taking over the highly successful investment platform, Ally has added its own features and benefits and nixed commissions on most trades. This has turned it into one of the very top investment services available.

Ally Invest's sister company, Ally Bank, is one of the leading banks on the web. It offers some of the best interest and loan rates anywhere. The bank is online only, with no local brick-and-mortar branches. All told, Ally has more than 7,000 employees and more than $70 billion in customer deposits. In 2019, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine listed Ally Bank as the Best Internet Bank. If you combine an Ally Bank account with an Ally Invest account, you could have a one-stop-shop for all of your money needs.

Ally Invest now serves more than 250,000 customer accounts. It holds more than $4.7 billion in assets.

Ally Invest Features

Minimum Investment$0
Stock Trades$0
Options Trades$0.50/contract
Mutual Funds$9.95
Investment TypesStocks, OTC/Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Futures
Accounts Types
  • Taxable
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Trusts
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Partnerships
  • Coverdell
  • 529
  • Custodial
  • Non-Profit
  • Annuities
  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • CDs
AccessWeb Based, iPhone App, Apple Watch, Android App, BlackBerry App
Broker Assisted Trade$20
Virtual Trades
No Fee ETFs115
Customer Service7am-10pm ET, 7 days a week
  • Commission-Free Trading — Like many online brokers, Ally Invest eliminated commissions on most U.S. exchange-listed stock, options, and ETF trades in October 2019.
  • No Account Minimums — Ally Invest requires no account minimum to begin trading.
  • Account Protection — Accounts are SIPC protected for up to $500,000, with $250,000 for cash claims. Further coverage is available for up to $37.5 million, with up to $900,000 in cash with an aggregate cap of $150 million (Forex & Futures accounts are not covered).
  • Clearing Agency — Ally Invest Securities LLC services brokerage accounts, and advisory client account assets are kept in custody with Apex Clearing Corp.
  • Robo Portfolio Options — If you'd rather have some assistance in building and maintaining your portfolio, Ally Invest also offers a fee-free robo portfolio akin to a robo-advisory service. It's called the Cash-Enhanced Robo Portfolio, and you can find our review of it here.
  • Trading Tools — Ally Invest offers a full suite of trading tools to help you become a more successful investor, including:
    • Streaming Charts — Six charts with more than 90 chart studies and drawing tools to analyze the performance of securities, fully customizable.
    • Market & Company Snapshots — Insights on individual companies, including Market statistics, news, detailed metrics, and more.
    • Watchlists — A customizable list to track and view market data on groups of securities.
    • Profit/Loss Calculator — Enables you to understand the profit and loss potential of an options trade before you make it. You can also see how outcomes change based on fluctuations in volatility and time.
    • Probability Calculator — You can use implied volatility to help you determine the probability of hitting your targets before placing trades.
    • Market Data — Provides quotes, charts, high/low prices, dividend dates, overall options summary, news, historical quotes, and peer performance comparisons.
    • Options Chains — Enables you to place options trades, and even complex multi-leg spreads with ease.

    How Does Ally Invest Work?

    Signing up for a new Ally Invest account is easy. All you need to do is navigate to the Ally Invest page and click “Open Account.” Ally Invest will then walk you through the steps needed to open an account.

    Part of the signup process involves deciding what type of account to open with Ally Invest. Unlike some of the more bare-bones free online brokers such as Robinhood, Ally Invest offers 13 types of accounts, from individual taxable accounts to tax-advantaged IRAs, to custodial accounts.

    How to Fund Your Ally Invest Account

    The easiest way to fund your account is with a debit card. That's because the funds will post to your Ally Invest account immediately. Wire transfers take one to two business days. These can be done with U.S. dollars, euros, Canadian dollars, Japanese yen, Swiss francs, Australian dollars, or British pounds.

    Other funding methods take more time. If you fund your account using an ACH from your checking account, the transfer process will take two to five business days. That means up to one week. If you pay by check, it's even slower. It will take five to 10 business days to process. The check must be drawn on a U.S. bank.

    Signup Bonus

    Right now, Ally Invest is offering a signup bonus for new customers who invest at least $10,000. To qualify, you must fund your new account within 60 days of opening, and the $10,000 minimum must remain in your account (minus any trading losses) for at least 90 days.

    Good news: This promotion applies to IRAs as well as to taxable accounts.

    Here's a breakdown of what you can get:

    Opening Balance Cash Bonus
    $2M+ $3,000
    $1,000,000 – $1.99M $2,000
    $500,000 – $999,999 $1,200
    $250,000 – $499,999 $600
    $100,000 – $249,999 $300
    $25,000 – $99,999 $250
    $10,000 – $24,999 $100

    Ally Invest Investment Options

    Ally Invest offers a huge range of trading opportunities. You can trade stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and fixed-income securities. That can include corporate, agency and municipal bonds. You can trade Treasurys, strips and zeros, certificates of deposit (CDs) and new issues. You can also trade from more than 12,000 load and no-load mutual funds. Ally Invest also has a robust options suite. It includes equity, index and ETF options, as well as Binary Return Derivatives.

    As well as allowing investors to trade securities, Ally Invest offers its Forex & Futures platform. This features a broad range of tools and resources. It also boasts some of the lowest fees available for forex trading.

    Ally Invest Fees

    In October 2019, Ally Invest announced that it would eliminate commissions on most U.S. exchange-listed stocks, options, and ETF trades. The broker was one of several that decided to offer fee-free trades after an escalating pricing war. (You can read more about the fee-free trend here.)

    However, there are still some fees associated with Ally Invest trades.

    Although there are no commissions charged on options, you'll still need to pay 50 cents per contract. This charge is among the lowest in the industry (65 cents per contract is the norm). However, if you're an options trader looking for totally free options trades, be advised that Robinhood doesn't charge a contract fee.

    One of the few downsides to Ally Invest is its lack of fee-free mutual funds. The platform does offer more than 8,000 mutual funds. But you'll have to pay a commission of $9.95 on no-load funds. Now, keep in mind that this commission is very low compared to the rest of the brokerage firms. However, some of the other big online brokers (including E*TRADE offer thousands of funds with no fees.

    You'll also have to pay commissions on “Low Priced Securities” (stocks trading for less than $2 per share). This commission is $4.95 per trade, plus 1 cent per share. There's also a $1 fee per bond, with a minimum of $10.

    And as usual, you'll find fees for wire transfers, phone-assisted orders, paper copies, etc.

    Ally Invest Screenshots

      Ally Invest Robo Portfolios

      We don't all want self-directed investing, so Ally Invest offers the Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio. This service provides professionally designed and personalized portfolios made to fit your goals. It boasts automatic rebalancing to keep the target portfolio allocation. That means you never need to worry about maintaining your portfolio. And perhaps the best part — the Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio requires only a $100 deposit to get started.

      Each Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio is made based on the client's risk tolerance, financial goals, and investment horizon for each of those goals. Low-cost index funds (ETFs) are used to make up the portfolio. This will maximize your return. You can even adjust your risk tolerance and, therefore, your portfolio allocations.

      Ally's Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio is unique among robo advisors in that is has a permanent built-in 30% cash buffer. That means, without fail, 30% of your portfolio will remain in cash rather than stocks, bonds, funds, etc. This is designed to keep your portfolio somewhat insulated against downturns in the stock market.

      The Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio can be made for individual and joint taxable accounts; traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs; and custodial accounts. And as with Ally Invest in general, customer service is available 7 days a week from 7 am-10 pm (Eastern Time) with your Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio.

      The Ally Invest Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio is now free of advisory fees.

      Ally Invest Forex & Futures

      Ally Invest offers Forex & Futures trading for more skilled investors. You can trade more than 50 currency pairs. These include gold and silver. All trades can be done in real-time. The service comes with strong research and analysis tools. There is also a wide range of educational materials. You will also enjoy market access 24 hours a day, Sunday through Friday (beginning Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and ending Fridays at 5:00 p.m., all times Eastern).

      The Forex & Futures service offers a customizable trading platform that includes:

      • Metals, agricultural, indices, and bonds from various exchanges
      • Tiered commission plans that offer reduced fees for high-volume trading
      • Charting capabilities based on more than 100 technical indicators
      • Indicators, real-time alerts, and a tradable Market Depth Ladder — all customizable

      When you apply for an account, you can open either a ForexTrader or a MetalTrader account. You can open a Forex & Futures account with as little as $250. $2,500 is recommended so that you will be able to take full advantage of the account. This will allow for more flexibility and diversification.

      Ally Invest Forex & Futures offers some of the tightest trading spreads in the industry. This is done to reduce your trading costs and increase your profit potential. Ally Invest even publishes its live spreads.

      As noted above, Ally Invest is compensated based on the buy/sell spread. It does not charge commission fees on forex trades.

      ForexTrader Web. This feature is designed to run on both Windows and Mac and with many web browsers. It has a real-time position and accounts information, a fully integrated charting tool, and a variety of single and contingent order types, including If/Then, If/Then OCO and Trailing Stops.

      Forex Premium Charting. This offers professional-grade tools to identify and decode forex patterns and trends.

      The tool allows you to:

      • Overlay multiple indicators for advanced technical analysis
      • View an auto-trendline indicator continuation on charts
      • Easily save, export, print or email charts
      • Customize charts to your personal preferences
      Forex & Futures Mobile App. The app is available on iPhone and Android. It has strong trading capabilities, charting tools, price alerts, real-time news and commentary, and the ability to manage your account on the go.

      Educational Resources. Ally Invest offers premium education, from the basics of forex and futures trading to technical and fundamental analysis. There is also a helpful glossary if you just need to look up a term quickly.

      Forex & Futures Practice Account. Ally Invest offers a free $50,000 practice account that gives you full access to the trading platforms and tools for up to 30 days. This lets you hone your skills before putting your own real money to work. This is a big plus for anyone who either is new to forex and futures trading or wants to improve their skills before going live.

      It's important to understand that forex accounts are not protected by SIPC or FDIC insurance. Ally Invest does not guarantee them.

      HighlightsFidelity Investments ReviewAlly InvestTD Ameritrade
      Rating9/109.5/109/10
      Min. Investment$0$0$0
      Stock Trades$0/trade$0/trade$0/trade
      Options Trades$0.65/contract$0.50/contract$0.65/contract
      Mutual Funds
      Virtual Trading

      Ally Banking & Lending

      When you invest your money with Ally Invest, you will also have an option to bank through Ally Bank. This is one of the most innovative online banks out there, offering some of the best interest rates available on any banking platform.

      Ally Bank offers online savings, money market accounts, high-yield certificates of deposit, and interest checking.

      Ally Bank also offers mortgage loans and a cash-back credit card. The real strength on the lending side is auto financing and leasing. Ally Bank is the successor of GMAC, the former auto financing arm of General Motors. GMAC works directly with more than 17,000 car dealers across the country, and It provides loans and leases for millions of drivers. It offers the Ally SmartLease program that enables you to lease new and even pre-owned cars.

      The banking and lending side of Ally Financial can make investing with Ally Invest a true one-stop-shop for all your financial needs.

      Ally Invest Pros & Cons

      Pros



      No Commission Fees
      —Ally Invest no longer charges commission fees on exchange-listed stock, ETF and options trades.

      Comprehensive Platform
      —This platform can accommodate virtually any type of investor, from self-directed active trader to the passive investor.

      Banking Options
      —When you invest with Ally Invest, you also have access to Ally Bank, which has some of the best interest rates available on various savings vehicles, and among the most competitive auto loans and leasing arrangements on the market. You can bank where you invest.

      Managed Portfolio Option
      —Ally Invest has an option for those who are not interested in DIY investing and for those who want to have some or most of their money professionally managed while doing self-directed investing through the same broker.

      Customer Service
      —Ally Invest representatives are available everyday







      Cons



      Fund Transfers Can Be Slow
      —It can take up to five business days (one week) to transfer funds into your account by ACH. Funding your account by check can take up to 10 business days (two weeks).

      No Local Branches
      —Some of the larger investment brokerages, such as Fidelity and Charles Schwab, have local branches available. If you prefer that kind of face-to-face contact with your investing activities, then Ally Invest probably won’t work for you.










      Summary

      Ally Invest offers a complete investment platform. You can do self-directed investing or rely on Ally Invest Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolios to do it for you.

      Customer service is available 7 days a week from 7 am-10 pm (Eastern Time) which is perfect for those who do their best investment thinking at night or on weekends.

      Meanwhile, you also have access to Ally Bank with its very attractive offerings of high-interest rate checking, savings, and CDs. The bank also offers some of the best auto loans for both new and used cars.

      Its strong services and zero fees make Ally Invest one of the very best trading and investment platforms to use. You really can't lose with this one.

    Kevin Mercadante

    Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.

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    16 Comments

    1. Ally Invest is horrible. Over 4 MONTHS ago, I contacted their customer service about a missing cost basis on a stock position I had transferred to them. They claimed they were unable to get the cost basis from the transferring firm. I got account statements from the transferring firm for them within a couple of days. A few weeks go by and … nothing. I contact them again and they say they need it in excel format to systemically import it (why am I only hearing about this now???). I supply an excel spreadsheet format to them within hours. Great … they assure me they will be following up daily with they cleaning house and keep me updated. It has been another three weeks since and … nothing (including not a single update).

      I’m done. I’m leaving.

    2. Do not move to Ally!
      None of my stocks I own are showing up and I’ve called 5 times in the past 3 days holding over 3 hours each time and never able to reach anyone.

      They are a disaster. Moving all my assets to Fidelity ASAP

    3. Trying to execute a trade on Ally site and I get this message “We can’t show these accounts right now.
      We’re working to have things back up as soon as possible. Try again later. ” Currently watching IRM stock drop from $37.50, where I wanted to sell to $36.34 now and still no access to site. EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING AND POOR SERVICE !!!

    4. Horrible investment tool. Very poor customer service. The reps are great and helpful as much as they can but they are limited. Their trading rules are very limiting and can affect your trading.

    5. Not a good trading platform if you are day trading. Lost an opportunity to make an easy few grand because Ally mobile app was unable to complete a trade twice in a row, by the time it started working again the stock gained almost 8%. Customer support is a joke. Random holds on money transferred in from savings.

      This is probably an OK platform for a buy and hold investor, especially if you have a savings account with them, and don’t rely on your trades getting executed in any specific time frame.

    6. Binary option firms are scam among many recovery law firms. I lost in total $120,000 to 365Trading and Birman Law and I was left with nothing. I was lucky to have met this recovery expert hacktools at tutanota dot com .. and i can’t be grateful enough for having them help me recover my investments in Binary Options. `

    7. Good incentives to open an account. BAD trading platform. Need several clicks to make a trade or do adequate research. Don’t bother with watchlist, some quotes are NOT current. I do my legwork elsewhere and come to Ally only to submit an order. Won’t be adding any new funds.

    8. Ally Invest will not cover any loss that is a result of unauthorized use of their services, while there has been much disscussion of the role regulators can play in face of events like this- I stress the need for companies and customers especially to take the lead in educating themselves, visit info(at)finance-recovery,ch for more support and guidance.

    9. If you’re an active trader focused on costs, then Ally Invest could be a great fit, even if you’re not.. furnished with competitive commissions, helpful trading tools, and an easy-to-use trading platform. Accounts are quite secured and returns guaranteed, but they will not cover any loss that is a result of unauthorized use of their services, while there has been much disscussion of the role regulators can play in face of events like this- I stress the need for companies and customers especially to take the lead in educating themselves, visit info @finance-recovery,ch for adequate support and guidance.

    10. I’m glad I was able to recover my funds, I would have had to file for bankruptcy, thanks to Geminihacks -.- com. I was able to get a hold of these scam brokers and take back my money. I would gladly refer anyone.

      1. Thank you so much Beth for this comment was able to get Geminihacks in helping with recovering my funds from a fake broker, they were very efficient and fast and in there procedures and I got all of my money back. So happy someone could fight for me because the government were adamant in doing anything.

    11. Honestly, I’m incredibly disappointed by my experience with Ally. They won’t allow the purchase of penny stocks, they don’t allow “fill or kill” trades, they hold your money for 6 – 10 business days when it is withdrawn directly from your account and the customer service has proven to be horrible. I am constantly being put on hold and told that there is nothing that I will just have to wait it out. Very disappointed and I will never use or recommend this site to anyone.

    12. So far a very poor experience. It took an act of god to open my trust account. Poor follow up and lack of communications. I filled their transfer form online only to find out 2 weeks later that I needed to use a different form, only after several calls. I had previously opened a joint account that was never used and closed it. It still remains visible and my trades default to it even though it’s closed. I also don’t like that the account balance doesn’t reflect pending transactions so you don’t know what is available to trade. Sorry I made the change and will be going back to tda and etrade even though their fees are higher.

    13. Horrible company … avoid at all costs. If money is wired in to fund an account they place a 60 day (!) hold on any ability to withdraw it. They don’t support any third part applications and seem to be proud of that (eg. Collective2 autotrading, any charting apps, etc.), and have the most rude customer service people you will ever encounter. But the rule they have to hold any incoming wires or ACH deposits for 60 days before it can be withdrawn is unbelievable. Far better options for stock/options trading than Ally.

    14. Can I fund an Ally Invest account by transferring funds from an Ally savings account? If so, will the funds be posted to the Ally invest account immediately?

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