Ally Invest rating

Ally Invest Review

Ally Invest Pricing and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $4.95 ($3.95 per trade if making 30+ trades per quarter or for $100,000 balances)
Options $4.95 + $0.65 per contract ($0.50 per contract if making 30+ trades per quarter or for $100,000 balances)
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

Overview of Ally Invest

When Ally Financial bought TradeKing in 2014, the new company incorporated the old broker's technology into Ally and made some important changes to its commission schedule. Today, Ally Invest (member of SIPC) offers low-cost trading with minimal fees and some important new features that may surprise you. This 2019 Ally Invest review will show you where the new broker-dealer succeeds and where it fails.

Ally Invest New Account Setup

Most users open an account using company's current promotion offer: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + 90 days of commission free trades for new accounts. On a screen that opens a button with title "Start Trading" will take an investor to a step-by-step on-line application.

Applicants who already have an Ally Bank account can login and submit a shorter form. There is no minimum deposit required to open an Ally Invest brokerage account. All applicants must reside in the U.S. to submit an application, although the broker makes exceptions for active military personnel stationed abroad.

Customer Service

Ally Customer Rating

Ally Invest provides phone support around the clock. Every time we have called into the broker, we were able to talk to a live rep very quickly. The brokerage firm also offers on-line chat certain hours of the day. During our research on a Sunday afternoon, the service was unavailable. There isn't an AI chatbot on the Ally site.

Because Ally Financial, the parent company of Ally Invest, tries to maintain a low-fee and low-cost structure, the group does not have any branch locations, either bank or investment. There is one international phone number for clients who are temporarily outside the U.S.

There is a small section on the Ally Invest website that offers some self-help features. These include a form upload link and downloadable forms for a variety of activities, such as worthless security removal and a Roth distribution form.

Ally Commissions, Fees, and Account Requirements

Ally Fees Rating

When you buy or sell stocks or ETF's at Ally Invest, the charge is $4.95. Although this is a pretty low charge, the broker-dealer will go even further and offer you a $1 discount if you have $100,000 or more in your account. Alternatively, if you place at least 10 trades per month on average, you'll get the rebate.

If you trade penny stocks, you have to pay an additional one cent per share. Ally defines a penny stock as anything under $2. There is a maximum commission of 5% of trade value. If the stock you want to trade is listed over-the-counter, Ally requires a $100 minimum investment.

Ally has zero account fees. There is no charge to open a trading account, no charge for a low balance, no charge for inactivity, and no charge to close an account, either. If the account is an IRA, there is a $25 closeout fee. If you decide to transfer an account, the charge is $50.

This is a pretty good fee schedule, although we didn't like Ally's $4 charge for paper statements. Furthermore, the broker-dealer doesn't post electronic statements online if they're older than 2 years; if you request one, there's a $4 fee for that.

A loan inside a margin account at Ally Invest currently costs 5.0%鈥攊f you borrow more than a million dollars. More common debits will be under $10,000; and these cost 9.5%.


Mutual Funds

Ally Mutual Funds Rating

There is a decent amount of material devoted to mutual funds on the Ally Invest website. For example, we found return histories of sector and regional mutual funds. We also found nice heat maps showing mutual fund returns by market cap and investment focus.

Ally Invest Mutual Funds

We also liked a graph that compared the performance of various Lipper-rated mutual funds. There was a useful table that showed the return histories of outperforming no-load funds.

Ally's site also has pre-selected funds you can browse. One of the categories is Lipper Leaders. Clicking on this will give you a selection of Lipper-rated funds, and you can sort them from highest-ranking to lowest-ranking. There are also convenient buy and sell links in this list, so you can go straight to a trade if you want.

A fund's profile page also has a fair amount of information, although it's not very extensive. There's information on risk analysis metrics, such as a fund's Sharpe ratio and its portfolio turnover. There is a price chart with technical indicators and a smaller chart that shows the growth of a $10,000 investment.

We found 7,612 funds that were available for purchase. This list did contain 1,688 no-load funds. Unfortunately, Ally Invest doesn't offer any mutual funds that are both no-load and no-transaction-fee. Each no-load fund carries a $9.95 transaction fee, and it's assessed against both sales and purchases. This is the lowest charge in the industry.


Ally ETF Rating

Ally's ETF section is very similar to the mutual fund page. It uses the same layout and has the same information on sector and geographic funds. Pre-defined lists are available, and so are Lipper ratings.

Ally Invest ETFs Review

The ETF screener is robust with many search criteria. These include fund family, net assets, return history, 52-week low, inception date, and dividend yield. Also available is fund classification, which is apparently Morningstar category. We were able to select basic materials, California municipal debt, large-cap growth, and short US Treasury.

The exchange-traded and mutual fund screeners could be better designed. We missed the useful menu on the left-hand side that many brokers incorporate. Nevertheless, we were able to sort through funds and arrive at an ETF's profile page without difficulty.

Here, too, we found the same basic layout that mutual funds have. We were hoping for more information, however. One feature that a mutual fund doesn't have is an options summary that shows open interest and volume for each ETF. It's also possible to trade options straight from an ETF's profile page.

Recently, Ally begun offering 100 ETF's commission-free - investors can buy and sell these funds without paying any broker fees.

Investment Advice

Ally Investment Rating

Ally Invest offers portfolio management services for customers who haven't experienced much trading success on their own. There is a fee for this service. The charge is 0.30% of assets per year. This figure is well below the traditional rate of 1-2%. Ally is able to discount the fee so low because the advisory service is a computer program. So you'll have to trust an AI to make trading decisions in your account. The minimum to start the service is $2,500, another deep discount compared to traditional numbers. In return for these ultra-low numbers, you have to accept low-cost ETF's in your account and nothing else (besides cash).

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios

To get started with Ally's robo-service, you need to answer just a few questions concerning issues such as risk tolerance and investment goals. Then the online form will return a suggested asset allocation, such as 25% foreign stocks, 35% U.S. bonds, and 40% domestic equities.

We were disappointed to learn that Ally Invest does not offer traditional portfolio management. Perhaps this is in line with Ally's low-cost model, but some investors could benefit from it for services like retirement planning.


Ally IRA Rating

Speaking of retirement, Ally Invest does offer a variety of Individual Retirement Accounts. Roth, Traditional, Rollover, SIMPLE, and SEP plans are available. The Coverdell education savings account is also available.

There is no fee to maintain or open an IRA at Ally Invest. However, the brokerage firm does charge $25 to close an IRA. If you transfer an IRA to another firm, the charge will go up to $75 (there is a $50 transfer fee).

If you prefer to keep your retirement assets as safe as possible, Ally Bank offers IRA's, and you can link the account to your Ally Invest account.

We were not able to find a dedicated phone number for retirement specialists at Ally Invest. Perhaps the broker-dealer doesn't have any. Moreover, the website has very limited information on retirement planning.

Trading Tools

Ally Trading Tools Rating

For the actual buying and selling of securities, Ally Invest offers two possibilities on a desktop or laptop. First is the standard website, and it's pretty basic. On a security's profile page, there are buy and sell buttons. Clicking on one of these produces an order form. It's not overly sophisticated. The order page shows the amount in your account for trading along with a current quote for the security. The info can be refreshed and includes such data points as volume, change from previous trading day, and the bid-ask spread. We were disappointed in the number of order types; there were just stop, stop limit, and market on close besides the standard market and limit orders. Only a day order was possible during our investigation.

Ally Invest Live Review

If you're not impressed with the website, and most traders won't be, you can take a tour of Ally Invest LIVE (read review). This is the company's browser-based trading platform. While it's not a sophisticated desktop platform, it does have the feel of a trading environment. We liked LIVE's interface much better than the rather bland website.

Inside of LIVE you'll find many helpful features, such as market indices from around the world, financial news, and a funds transfer tool. Information is arranged in tiles. Clicking on a tile will generate a new page, such as a documents page where you can download statements and other forms.

Besides stocks and ETF's, bonds, mutual funds, and options can also be traded on LIVE. Mutual funds can be traded in dollars or shares, a nice feature.

Ally Invest Stock Research

Charting is available on both LIVE and the website. A chart for IBM on the website went back to 1980, whereas on LIVE it only extended back to 2001. LIVE offers more technical studies, however, and provides the only method to display a graph full screen.

Mobile App

Ally App Rating

Although Ally Invest's performance in the technology category was rather uninspiring, it does have a mobile app that is worth taking a look at. It functions on both Apple and Android devices, and this includes tablets.

The app is the same app that Ally Bank offers, and it has the same interface. On the website, the brokerage side has a different interface. For both the website and mobile app, the login is the same.

Ally Invest App Review

When you tap on your brokerage account inside the app, you'll immediately see the holdings in your portfolio. At the bottom of the screen is a row of icons for a variety of functions. The trade ticket provides the ability to buy and sell stocks, ETF's, and options. Unfortunately, mutual funds aren't on the list here.

Although we could only find day orders on the website, we were able to specify GTC, pre-market, and post-market durations on the app. Trialing stop orders are on the app as well. Calls and puts are available for option traders, but multi-leg strategies are missing.

Also missing on Ally Invest's mobile platform is streaming financial news, although indices are shown. News articles concerning specific stocks are available, and the day's market movers are displayed. There is no market news.

A chart on Ally's mobile app can be rotated horizontally for better viewing. Technical indicators can be shown on top of a graph or below it. There are four chart styles, although we didn't find any method to adjust colors.

Cash Management

Ally Cash Management Rating

Since Ally operates a large bank, you may think that Ally Invest would have great cash management features. If you thought that, you would be very wrong. Actually, Ally Invest's banking features are pretty awful. You can attach a debit card to your brokerage account for $35 per year if you have $100,000 in assets. Adding checks costs $20 annually, and you have to have the same level of assets to apply for this. Moreover, writing a check costs $5. If you use your debit card at an ATM, there is a $1 ding. Ally Invest doesn't reimburse any ATM surcharges.

Although these numbers are pretty atrocious, the broker's parent company, Ally Bank, offers great policies and fees; and a deposit account can be very easily linked to an investment account. Ally's savings account currently pays 2.20% (!) - the highest rate in the industry. With such a significant difference between the two branches, perhaps Ally Invest should just scrap its cash management tools and send its customers to Ally Bank.

Financial Education and Stock Research

Ally Research Rating

The Ally Invest site has brief materials devoted to investment education. These are mostly articles that address investment vehicles such as bonds, options, and mutual funds. There are also articles from Ally Bank on general financial issues, such as estate planning, taxes, and car shopping.

Ally Invest Education

Besides articles, Ally Invest has recently added more videos to its library. These are Ally Invest videos rather than older TradeKing videos. They seem to focus mostly on options trading.

Because Ally Invest offers currency trading, there are also a few resources that cover forex as well. Resources can be sorted by experience level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) or by security type.

Live online events are held occasionally by Ally Invest. You have to register for these, although they are free of charge. We found webinars on stocks, options, and market movements.

Ally Invest Pros

  • Very low commissions
  • No minimums, or maintenance or hidden fees
  • Free real-time quotes
  • Top-rated customer service
  • Fee-free IRAs
  • Free DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans)
  • Low cost professional portfolio management

Ally Invest Cons

  • Additional $0.01 per share on the entire order for stocks priced at less than $2
  • Short after-hours trading: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
  • No NTF funds


Ally Invest Review Summary

Ally has become a major player in the brokerage industry virtually overnight by purchasing TradeKing. The brokerage's trading environment has an easy-to-use look and feel. Ally has made the old broker's pricing schedule even more attractive, and the Ally brand attracts a lot of attention of many banking customers; investors looking for a bargain pricing as well as option, bond, and forex traders.

Ally Invest Promotion

Up to $3,500 cash bonus + 90 days of commission free trades for new accounts.

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.

What are Ally Invest margin interest rates?

Current Ally Invest margin interest rates could be found here.

What is Ally Invest 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 10.00%
$5,000 - $9,999 10.00%
$10,000 - $24,999 10.00%
$25,000 - $49,999 9.75%
$50,000 - $99,999 9.00%
$100,000 - $249,999 7.75%
$250,000 - $499,999 6.75%
$500,000 - $999,999 6.25%
$1,000,000 + 5.50%

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

Ally Invest reviewed by Rating: 4.5