Ally Invest Review 2021
Ally Invest is the investment and trading division of Ally Financial.
With an Ally Invest account, you can make self-directed trades on a self-service trading platform. You can also have your money automatically invested with a managed portfolio.
If you’re wondering whether or not Ally Invest has what it takes to meet your financial needs, you’ve come to the right place.
This post is going to provide a full review of the services available with an Ally Invest account. I’ll also cover the fees that they charge, the pros and cons of being a customer, and more.
What is Ally Invest?
In recent years, Ally Bank has rapidly grown as a leading online bank that offers a great high-yield savings account. (For more info on Ally, check out my Ally Bank review). Ally Invest is the company’s latest foray into the world of online investment services.
In 2018, Ally Financial purchased the TradeKing online trading business for $275 million. Pundits predict Ally made this deal to increase their traction in the online trading world, where millennials play a large role.
It took Ally about one year to fully integrate and rebrand TradeKing into its Ally Bank platform. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into Ally Invest and see what’s under the hood.
Ally Invest Features
There are three primary account options: Self-Directed Trading, Managed Portfolios, and Forex Trading.
Ally Invest’s Self-Directed Trading account allows you to make commission-free trades on stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, and securities. There’s no minimum balance required to open an account, and you can withdraw your funds at any time.
Some of the additional features of a Self-Directed Trading account:
- 24/7 access to your funds online, from your mobile phone or tablet
- The ability to trade thousands of stocks and to lead ETFs without paying commissions
- Commission-free options trades, with contracts costing $0.50 (for comparison, Ally’s competitors, such as Schwab and Fidelity, charge $0.65 for options contracts)
- Next-level trading experience on Ally’s HTML 5-powered platform, which lets you easily manage your accounts and make trades from any device
- Margin accounts for more advanced traders
- Advanced trading tools—including streaming charts, watchlists, and options chains—that could be useful for savvy self-traders
Ally Invest’s Managed Portfolio
Ally Invest’s Managed Portfolio is the company’s equivalent of a robo-advisor account. As such, you’ll get automated rebalancing when needed. Ally’s financial strategists research and select the funds your money goes into.
A unique feature of Ally’s Managed Portfolio is that 30% of your funds will always be allocated in cash. This cash portion will earn around the same APR as it otherwise would in Ally’s high-yield savings account (HYSA), which is more than 15x the national average.
However, you won’t be able to withdraw this cash portion of your Managed Portfolio like you would from an HYSA.
The minimum opening balance for a Managed Portfolio account is only $100—which is substantially less than what I have seen in other platforms. For example, Schwab requires $5,000 to use its robo-advising service, while Wealthfront requires $500.
What’s more, there are four different portfolio types you can choose from depending on your investment goals.
Ally Invest Portfolio Types:
- Income – Ally’s Income portfolio is generally conservative with how and where it invests your money. The main goal of this portfolio is to maximize dividend yields while also protecting your investments from large market shifts.
- Core – Ally’s Core portfolio is diversified across U.S.-based stocks, international assets, and fixed-income investments. You’ll be able to select how aggressive you want your investments to be based on your risk preference.
- Tax Optimized – Ally’s Tax Optimized portfolio seeks to minimize the tax liability of your investments. It might be ideal for those who are investing their taxable income.
- Socially Responsible – Ally’s Socially Responsible portfolio only contains funds and companies that Ally has determined to be ethical. For example, Ally will strive to match your investments with companies that are known for practicing sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
Ally Forex Trading
Advanced traders can use Ally’s Forex Trading Platform. This account is registered and handled separately from the previously mentioned Self-Trading and Managed Portfolio accounts.
With an Ally Forex Trading account, you’ll be able to trade over 50 currencies pairs in real-time. One cool feature is that you can open a practice account to test your skills without having any real skin in the game.
Unfortunately, if you find out you’re a wunderkind, you won’t get to keep your gains.
Ally Invest Pricing
Ally Invest is one of the lowest-fee brokerage firms on the market today. There are no fees to conduct most trades and no advisory fees on either the Self-Directed and Managed Portfolio accounts. But companies have to make money somehow.
Breakdown of the fees that Ally charges:
- Options trades are free, but contracts cost $0.50
- Trading no-load mutual funds cost $9.95 each
- Low-priced stocks (i.e., stocks under $2 per share) cost $4.95 to trade, plus $0.01 per share
- Bonds trades cost $1
It takes just a few minutes to open up an Ally Invest account. Keep in mind that you’ll actually be opening an Ally Invest Securities brokerage account, which is separate from an Ally Bank account.
If you don’t have an existing Ally Bank account, you’ll have to enter some additional personal information.
If you’re already an Ally Bank customer, you’ll be prompted to log in to your account. Ally can then automatically pull your personal information to expedite the application process.
Next, you’ll have to select the account type you want and enter your additional personal details such as your name, address, and Social Security number. You’ll then be able to link an external bank account (if you don’t bank with Ally, you’ll need to do this).
When the dust settles, you should have your account approved within just a few minutes. It’s that easy!
Like all major financial institutions, Ally takes security very seriously. Here are just a few of the security features that Ally uses to protect its customers.
- 2-Step Authentication helps prevent unauthorized access to customer accounts.
- Ally’s Online and Mobile Banking Guarantee ensures that you won’t be held liable for any unauthorized transactions that occur on your mobile device or online account. Just be sure to report the fraudulent activity within 60 days.
- Free Webroot Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software are available to all customers on up to three devices.
Ally Invest offers 24/7 phone support to customers at the following number: 1-855-880-2559.
You can also submit support issues via email to [email protected] or communicate through online chat (when logged into your account).
Pros and Cons
- Some of the lowest fees and commission-free trade options that I have seen
- Access to 24/7 customer support
- Advanced trading tools for self-traders
- Easy-to-use online platform and mobile app
- The mandatory ~30% cash allocation (at ~1.8% APY) offers stability for hands-off investors.
- No brick-and-mortar locations
- No transaction-fee-free mutual funds
Ally Invest FAQs
Still, have questions about Ally Invest? Let’s review some of the most common questions that you might be wondering about.
Is Ally Invest Good for Beginners?
Yes, Ally Invest is a good trading platform for beginners to use. The main reason is that there are no minimum account balance requirements in many cases, and there are very low minimum balance requirements in some.
Ally Invest also charges very low fees, which means more money for you to invest in your portfolio.
Is Ally Invest Legit?
Yes. Ally Invest is legit. It’s backed by Ally Financial, which is ranked as the 19th largest bank in the U.S. with over 8,000 employees.
How do I Buy Stock with Ally?
You can easily buy stock with Ally with a Self-Directed trading account. Simply sign up for an account, link your bank account, deposit funds (or transfer funds if you already have an Ally Bank account), and you’ll be ready to purchase stocks in no time.
Is Ally Good for Day Trading?
Yes. Ally Invest is a solid day-trading platform because most trades are commission-free. Account-holders will also have access to some helpful trading and research tools.
Alternatives to Ally Invest
When it comes to online-only investment institutions, some similar alternatives to Ally Invest include:
Larger firms that offer similar services, as well as offer physical branch locations include:
Is Ally Invest Right for Me?
Ally Invest is a solid low-cost online investment platform. If you’re already an Ally Bank customer and looking to get your feet wet in the investment world, it almost seems like a no-brainer to test the waters with Ally Invest.
Ally Invest also is ideal for frequent traders due to a large amount of commission-free trades available. And if you’re looking to park your funds with a robo advisor, the Managed Portfolio might be a good option.
I hope this post has helped you learn whether or not Ally Invest is right for your unique financial needs. Thanks for reading, and best of luck on your investment journey!