Ally Invest 2024: Commission-Free – A Feature Trade-Off?

Ally Invest 2024: Commission-Free – A Feature Trade-Off? title=

This Trading Platform is available in Ukraine

1.2/5

Ally Invest emerges as a standout choice for both novice and seasoned traders seeking an accessible yet robust trading platform. With competitive pricing, including zero commissions on U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options trades, it's an attractive option for those looking to maximize their investment returns without hefty fees. The user-friendly interface simplifies the investing process, making it easier to dive into the markets.

Additionally, Ally Invest offers a wealth of educational resources that cater to investors at all levels, empowering them with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Their 24/7 customer support is frequently praised, ensuring users have assistance whenever they need it. With these unique features, Ally Invest positions itself as a compelling broker that could be the perfect partner in your financial journey.

Min. deposit
$0
Website address
Demo account
No
Currency
USD
Supported languages
Eng
Active
Yes
Payment Methods
Bank WireCredit/Debit cards
Pros
  • $0 commissions on U.S. listed stocks and ETFs
  • Robo Advisor available
  • Managed portfolios
  • User-friendly platform
Cons
  • Limited research tools
  • No forex or futures trading
  • No international trading
Awards
None specified
Bonus
Occasional promotional offers
Instruments
BondsETFsMutual FundsOptionsStocks
Min. trade price
$0 for stocks and ETFs
Regulated By
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)SEC
MetaTrader 4
No
MetaTrader 5
No
cTrader
No
OmniTrader
No
AlgoTrader
No
TradingView
No
Trading Central
No
Autochartist
No
eSignal
No
STP Account
No
ECN Account
No
DMA Account
No
MAM Account
No
PAMM Account
No
LAMM Account
No
Demat Account
No
Mobile Apps
Yes, for iOS and Android
Margin Trading
Yes
Volatility Index
No
Spot Trading
No
Perpetual Swaps
No
ELWs
No
REITs
Yes
AI / Machine Learning
No
Robo Advisor
Yes
P2P Trading
No
Negative Balance Protection
No
VPS Hosting
No
Tournaments
No
Demo Competitions
No
Managed Accounts
Yes
Market Maker
No
Auto Trading
No
Social Trading
No
Copy Trading
No
Trade Signals
No
Islamic Account
No
Inactivity Fee
No
Guaranteed Stop Loss
No
Stock Exchanges
Major U.S. stock exchanges
Commodities
No
Forex Trading
No
Forex GBPUSD Spread
Not applicable
Forex EURUSD Spread
Not applicable
Forex EURGBP Spread
Not applicable
Forex Assets
Not applicable
Crypto Spread
Not applicable
Crypto Lending
No
Crypto Staking
No
Crypto Mining
No
Crypto Auto Market Maker
No
Crypto Coins
No
Binary Options
No
Payout Percent
Not applicable
Expiry Times
Not applicable
Ladder Options
No
Boundary Options
No
Show all >>

* The amount that will be credited to the account in the case of a successful deal

* General Risk Warning: Your capital might be at risk

Trustpilot Real Time Reviews

Star

The Trustpilot rating is 1.2,
according to 545 reviews

4.5 Stars
Joshua Rhoads
Joshua Rhoads
stars
us
I'm not sure why others are giving such poor reviews for this bank. I haven't had any major issues with them and recommend this bank to others when given the chance. Their website seems less up-to-date and will usually give me an error no matter which browser I choose, but their app works fine besides for the occasional error saying it can't display my accounts. If that happens a quick refresh and login to the app usually fixes the issue. I did check to see their customer support wait times and their secure messaging in the app said an hour or more, but I was able to quickly get on the phone with a representative in a minute or two.

View all

Justin
Justin
stars
us
I get that people get stressed about their money but my gut tells me many of the negative reviews are from people who just weren't doing what they were supposed to. Ally overall has been great to me. The only reason for 4 stars is that the fraud locks happen too often, and get annoying. Especially when it happens with a vendor I already have said wasn't fraud.

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COSMO
COSMO
stars
us
Given the high interest rates, I originally wanted to open a high yield savings account, but after learning Ally offers checking, IRAs, and CD accounts, etc. I decided to switch from Chase to Ally. I now have both a checking AND savings account. 4.25% interest on my savings account. Really paying off! Ally offers a lot of financial accounts in one bank. Convenient. Simple. Intuitive. What more can I ask from a digital bank like Ally? I never did my banking in-person and I never use cash, so online banks are perfect for me!

View all

Tre
Tre
stars
us
they've been good to me as a checking / savings acct. customer service chat is good.

View all

Gustan Cho
Gustan Cho
stars
us
Susan EMPLOYEE ID SH5 of Ally Credit Card has gone above and beyond to help me answer all my questions about my credit card account and my automatic monthly payments. Thank you Susan

View all

Amy God Bless
Amy God Bless
stars
us
I had a car loan since end 2018, with Ally. They didn't make me pay my loan during COVID-19 lock downs. They have been perfect, never ANY stress or Any issue regarding ANYTHING. Stress free experience. Highly recommend. I'll miss y'all. If only other companies were as simple.

View all

Content

Ally has caught customers’ attention as a multi-service bank and online broker that also offers commission-free trading in select assets. Ally offers forex trading, stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds, customized investment portfolios, and wealth management.

Traditional banking services include checking and savings accounts, loans, and mortgages. The focus of this review is on the investment division of Ally, and the fees and features offered.

Pros

Cons

Very low-cost trading

High forex trading costs (via a spread)

Highly regulated and investments are insured in the event Ally has financial troubles

Crypto investing is limited to buying/selling ETFs or crypto-company stocks

Allowed to short-sell stocks

Can’t place conditional orders, such as one-cancels-other which allow you to place both a stop loss and profit target at the same time as the trade.

Is Ally Invest Safe to Trade With?

Ally Invest is safe to trade with. It is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) under the name Ally Invest Securities LLC. Ally Investment Securities is a division of Ally Financial Inc. which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ALLY.

Exchanges require companies to meet certain financial and reporting standards in order to stay listed. Therefore, investing and trading with a publicly traded company offers an additional element of credibility.

is-ally-invest-safe-to-trade-with

Ally Invest Advisors is another division of Ally Financial and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an investment advisor. It is this division that provides customized investment portfolios (called “Robo Portfolios”).

Trading and investment accounts are covered under the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to $500,000 in the event Ally Securities fails. They have also acquired additional insurance providing protection up to $37.5 million per customer.

Such insurance doesn’t cover losses from trading or investing, but rather covers accounts in the event Ally Invest goes bankrupt and you are unable to access your investments or funds.

investments-or-funds

SIPC coverage (and the additional insurance) does not extend to forex products; this is because Ally uses another broker, called Gain Capital, to execute your trades. Ally Forex is just the middleman. That said, Ally Forex is regulated under the National Futures Association and Gain Capital is also a regulated broker (operating under the name Forex.com).

ally-forex-is-regulated-under-the-national-futures-association

Overall, Ally Financial and its various divisions, including Ally Invest, are highly regulated and thus investments are likely secure from fraud or malicious practices.

That said, many customers seem unsatisfied with Ally (not necessarily Ally Invest) as it has a 1.2 out 5 star rating on Trustpilot. Most of the complaints relate to the banking side, however, not the investing side.

most-of-the-complaints-relate-to-the-banking-side

Further reading

Ally Invest Commission Fees and Trading Products

For stocks and ETFs, commissions are pretty straightforward. You don’t pay commissions, but there are a few exceptions. If you trade stocks priced below $2, there is a commission of $4.95 plus $0.01 per share.

If you trade stocks on the Over The Counter market or Pink Sheets (these are stocks listed on a major exchange), then the minimum opening trade amount is $100. That means you can’t open a trade for less than $100 in these select types of stocks.

ally-invest-commission-fees-and-trading-products

Options trading is also commission-free, but there is a $0.50 fee per contract for buying and selling. There is a $1 commission for buying and selling bonds. Note the $10 minimum — if you buy or sell less than 10 bonds, you will still pay the $10 minimum for the trade.

Mutual funds are also commission-free. You can choose from a selection of more than 17,000 funds. SimpleFX is another example of a commission-free trading platform.

Further reading

Ally Invest Forex Trading

Forex trading with Ally is on the expensive side. Spreads are 1.2 pips or higher on the EUR/USD. The spread is the difference between the bid and ask price, and it is inflated by the broker. Spreads with low-cost forex brokers are typically 0.1 to 0.2 pips, although these brokers may charge a commission on each trade.

ally-invest-forex-trading

Ally Forex is an introducing broker for Gain Capital. This means if you trade forex through Ally, you are actually using Gain Capital and their pricing model.

You can utilize up to 50:1 leverage (same as 2% margin) on some currency pairs. However, note that with some pairs you may only get 4:1 leverage, and in some cases zero leverage. The complete margin requirements are listed here.

The minimum investment into a forex trading account is $250.

Ally Cryptocurrency Trading

Ally doesn’t offer much by way of crypto trading. An exchange like Binance would be preferable if you are looking to trade heavily in crypto.

If you want to open an Ally account and still gain exposure to cryptocurrencies, you can do so by buying (or shorting) cryptocurrency ETFs or companies (stocks) that are involved in the cryptocurrency or NFT market.

ally-cryptocurrency-trading

You cannot buy Bitcoin directly, for example, within an Ally Invest account.

Further reading

Ally Invest Deposit and Withdrawal Methods

There are four ways to fund an Ally Invest account.

  • ACH bank transfer – link your bank to move funds in and out via an electronic funds transfer. Processing time is approximately three business days.
  • Wire Transfers – send money from your bank to Ally Invest. Funds are typically available to trade within one business day.
  • Transfer from another broker – transfer cash and securities from another broker to Ally. Ally will credit you with up to $75 (if you transfer more than $2,500) to cover fees the other broker may charge. This typically takes five to seven business days.
  • Check – mail a check to Ally Invest. Checks take at least three business days to clear and process.

ally-invest-deposit-and-withdrawal-methods

In terms of withdrawals, you have the same options.

You can transfer funds via electronic ACH transfer, wire funds to another account for a fee of $30, get a check sent to you for a fee of $5, or you can initiate a transfer with another broker to pull cash and stocks from your Ally Invest account (this is an option with any US-regulated broker, although they don’t generally advertise it).

Expect similar processing times for withdrawals as for deposits.

in-terms-of-withdrawals-you-have-the-same-options

Further reading

Ally Invest Account Types

There are four different account types with Ally, each catering to people with different needs. The accounts differ in whether you manage your account or Ally does, as well as which products you want to trade.

  • Self-Directed Trading: This is your typical trading account. There is no minimum deposit and you can trade stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, and mutual funds. Open a normal trading account, IRA, or Roth IRA account.
  • Margin trading: potentially enhances returns (and losses) with a margin trading account. Margin allows you to only put a portion of the cost of the trade. This allows you to take positions that are valued at more than you have (cash) in your account.
  • Cash account: use your own money to make trades. Shorting is not allowed in cash accounts.
  • Robo Portfolios: This is a portfolio that is selected for you based on the parameters you get to choose. The portfolio is managed by Ally and requires a minimum $100 initial investment.Choose between two main portfolio types.
  • Cash enhanced: for this portfolio, 30% of the portfolio stays in cash and the rest is invested. Cash balances earn 4.15% annually (subject to change) with the interest paid monthly. No other fees.
  • Market-Focused: for this portfolio type, 98% of the funds are invested while 2% remains in cash. Cash balances earn 4.15% annually, with interest paid monthly. There is a 0.3% annual fee.

ally-invest-account-types

These accounts are further broken down into four types of portfolios based on different goals. You can read about those in the Robo Portfolios section below.

  • Wealth Management: Personalized guidance on your long-term investment goals and overall financial health (loans, mortgages, 401Ks). Requires that you also bank with Ally. Customized investment portfolios. 0.85% yearly advisory fee. $100,000 minimum initial investment.
  • Forex: For those wishing to trade forex. There are no fees. Ally is compensated via the bid/ask spread which is inflated compared to what is available in the actual marketplace. Ally is an introducing broker for Gain Capital, which means your trades are executed by Gain Capital, not Ally. Gain compensates Ally for trades taken.

Most brokers like Binarycent and Forex Club offer different types of accounts but with unique propositions.

Ally Robo Portfolio Investments

Ally Robo Portfolios are somewhat customized portfolios where Ally invests in various ETFs on your behalf to create an investment portfolio that is centered around your wish list.

ally-robo-portfolio-investments-1

As discussed in the Accounts Types section, there is a cash-enhanced and market-focused option. The former holds more of your account in cash, while the latter invests almost all your capital and incurs a 0.3% yearly fee.

No matter which one you choose, you can then choose from four tailored portfolio types.

  • Core: This portfolio is highly diversified across various asset classes, both domestically and internationally. Calibrate the portfolio based on your desired risk tolerance, from conservative to aggressive.
  • Income: This portfolio focuses on higher dividends. It is more conservative by nature.
  • Tax-Optimized: This is designed to maximize investments using tax-optimized strategies, especially if making investments using after-tax dollars (basically, outside your IRA or similar already tax-advantaged account).
  • Socially Responsible: This is similar to Core, but focused on companies that strive to be good stewards of the planet and people.

ally-robo-portfolio-investments

Most brokers like Binary Cent and Forex Club offer different types of accounts but with unique propositions.

Further reading

Ally Invest Trading Platform and App

Overall, the Ally Invest trading platforms and App are functional and will serve the needs of most people. Especially considering that many tools, including stock screeners, charts, and stock research is available for free from many online sources.  Ally offers these things, though not on every version of the platform.

Ally Invest Online Platform

When you log into your account online, you have two choices. The primary website is the default, and then there is a Live Streaming version available. The primary website has all your tools such as charting, stock screeners, and market research.

The streaming version is more updated including more advanced charting, but it doesn’t have the stock screener tool or an options analyzer which the main platform does.

Despite these subtle differences in platforms, you can use the one with the tools you want; alternatively, you can switch between them to access all the tools. Also, many professional traders use multiple data sources anyway.

They may use charts from one place, research from another, and a stock screener from another source. Ultimately, a broker is there to complete your trades for you — but if it can also be a more versatile tool, that’s a bonus.

A disappointment for active traders is that none of the platforms support advanced order types, such as one-cancels-other. This order type allows you to place a stop loss and target order at the same you place a trade.

Since you can only place one order at a time with Ally, you need to place the order, then place a stop loss, and then as the price approaches your target, cancel the stop loss and place your order to exit the trade with a profit.

Automated trailing stops are also not supported. If you want to move your stop loss, you’ll need to do it manually. Here are some of the features offered in the Ally trading platforms.

Charts: include eight types including candlesticks and bar charts. 117 indicators and chart overlays. There are 36 drawing tools.

ally-invest-online-platform

Watchlists: Create a list of stocks or other assets you are interested in monitoring. Group them all in one place so you can keep track of them.

Research: Market information and research on all the assets you can trade, including dividend dates, current prices, how an asset is performing versus its peers, analyst ratings, and charts.

ETF Screener: Set your criteria and find ETFs that match your desired specifications. Options Chains: Get live pricing data on options so you can create simple or advanced options trades.

Ally Invest App Platform

The Ally Invest app is great for on-the-go trading, offering the ability to place trades and do limited amounts of research (compared to the online platform).

Charting is available, but isn’t as customizable as it is on the online platform. You can pull up stock quotes with technical information about the stock, what it does, analyst ratings, and other research.

Stock screeners are not available on the Ally Invest mobile app, only the online platform. The mobile app limits your trading to stocks, ETFs, and options. Bonds, mutual funds, and forex are not available. You can trade in your self-directed account or monitor your holdings in Robo Portfolios or that are under Wealth Management.

ally-invest-app-platform

Further reading

Ally Invest Support and Trading Education

Support for investments and trading is available 24/7. Customers can contact support via chat or secure email/message from inside the app or once you have logged into your account. You’ll see chart and message buttons along the top of the app.

ally-invest-support-and-trading-education

Within the US, you can also get support via phone: 1-855-880-2559.

Outside the US, you can dial 1-818-459-4591

You can also email Ally at [email protected]

If you need to send physical documents or prefer snail mail, you send documents or queries to:
Ally Invest

P.O. Box 30248

Charlotte, NC 28230

ally-adress

Ally offers an extensive Help section with answers to common issues and questions. Click the help button along the top of the website to access it.

ally-offers-an-extensive-help-section

Click on the topic you are interested in, such as “Invest”. This will bring up a number of other categories. Browse through them to find information related to your question.

click-on-the-topic-you-are-interested-in-such-as-invest

Ally also offers an Education section on its website. Traders can access articles on making better financial choices, the basics of investing, and more. The site is structured as a map from early life to retirement. Investors will most likely be interested in the Retirement option as this relates to investments and building a nest egg.

ally-invest-faqs

Further reading

Ally Invest FAQs

Can you take short trades with Ally Invest?

Yes, Ally Invest allows you take short trades. This is a definite advantage over other similar no-cost brokers such as Robinhood which doesn’t allow short trades.

Can I day trade on Ally Invest?

Yes, but as with all US trading accounts, if you are day trading you are subject to the pattern day trading rule. If you make four or more day trades in a margin account within a five-day period you need to have a balance of at least $25,000 otherwise you won’t be able to day trade anymore.

You can day trade as much as you want in a cash account (no margin) but you won’t be able to short and will need to wait for funds to settle from sell transactions before you can use those funds to buy stocks again.

How long does it take for Ally Invest to settle funds?

Stock trades settle in two business days from the trade date, whereas options trades settle in one business day. This means if you make a trade in a cash account, and then sell that asset, you won’t be able to use or withdraw those funds until they settle.

Is Ally Invest the same as Ally Bank?

Ally Invest and Ally Bank are two separate departments of Ally Financial Inc. Ally Invest is for trading and investing, while Ally Bank is for traditional banking services such as loans, mortgages, and checking and savings accounts.

Does Ally Invest charge inactivity fees?

Unlike some other brokers, Ally Invest does not impose an inactivity fee, which is helpful because your account will not be charged even if you do not trade for an extended period. The Market Focused robo portfolios incur a yearly fee of 0.3% and wealth management clients incur a fee of 0.85%.

Provide a summary of the account minimums needed for the various Ally investment products?

Opening a self-directed trading account requires no minimum deposit. You can open an account without depositing anything. For robo portfolios, you need to deposit at least $100 for an initial investment. For wealth management services, you need to start with at least $100,000 worth of cash or assets.

Further reading

Final Thoughts on Ally Invest

Ally Invest is a solid choice for beginner investors who are making simple trades and don’t want to pay commissions. It’s also a viable option if you are someone who prefers an advisor to pick their portfolio for you and have little involvement in the trading/investing process.

Advanced investors will likely need more sophisticated tools than Ally offers. In particular, the order types are lacking. There are other brokers that offer more order types and tools that are also commission-free, such as E*TRADE and Charles Schwab.

Having a portfolio constructed for you will typically incur a fee of 0.3% per year, or 0.85% for wealth management services. That’s not bad, but with a little of research, most investors could create their own portfolio of low-cost ETF trades for about 0.1% or less.

Ally Invest is regulated, which means your funds are likely safe from fraud and malicious practices, but customer reviews are 1.2 out of 5 — not encouraging. This low score may indicate that while Ally attempts to be a jack-of-all-trades with its investing and banking services, it has room for improvement in ensuring its services are in line with customers’ needs.

It is one of the best international brokers. Different types of assets, convenient and reliable platform, favorable trading conditions. Want to know more? Click here.

Further reading

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