Ally Invest Review – Exclusive Review of Ally Invest Brokerage

By: Jeremy Biberdorf

June 13, 2019

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for this week’s review! In true Modest Money review fashion, we’re bringing it back to investment platforms with an inside look at Ally Invest. I’ve noticed several bloggers around the personal finance blogosphere talking about it, so I figured why not take a look myself? Here’s what I’ve found out!

Click for Ally Invest Pricing and Details.

Ally Invest Short Review

Ally Invest Pros – Ally Invest is incredibly competitive when it comes to pricing of online brokerages. With trades under five bucks, you don’t have to spend half of your investment in fees to get started! There’s no account balance minimum either which is a big positive for new investors. Ally Invest has great customer service as well. One of my favorite things about Ally Invest is that through the use of forums and groups, they have created a community of investors that are really willing to help each other out.

Ally Invest Cons – With the low cost of trades at Ally Invest comes one thing that I really don’t like. They don’t have very intuitive research and analysis tools. Although they do have some tools, they definitely aren’t on top when it comes to the world of technology in finance!

Ally Invest Overall – Ally Invest is a great option for the starting investor that doesn’t have a lot to start with. The low cost, friendly customer service and community they have come up with provides one of the best experiences a beginner would have. However, as you get more advanced, and decide there is need for more intuitive tools, you will want to look to other companies.

Ally Invest Long Review

Alright, now we get into the details. What are the pros and cons when it comes to looking at Ally Invest as an online trading platform.

Pricing

When it comes to Ally Invest pricing, you already know it! $4.95 per trade, bottom line, flat fee pricing. That’s incredibly competitive in a market where you could easily spend double that per trade. There’s also a mutual fund transaction fee of $9.95 per purchase which is one of the lowest around.

Active investors can find the pricing at Ally Invest to be especially beneficial. They can qualify for a discount ($3.95 per equity trade). To get this discount, investors need to make 30 or more trades every quarter or have an account balance of $100,000 or more.

Mutual funds and ETFs

The good news is that Ally Invest offers the option for ETF trades for its customers. Anyone who has an Ally Invest account can access more than 100 commission-free ETFs. The choice includes the WisdomTree ETFs that are so popular right now.

Ally Invest customers also have access to in excess of 8,000 mutual funds. Although, it has to be said that all of these funds require either a load to buy them or have a transaction fee attached to them.

Trading platform

Ally invest is one of the better discount brokers that provide a more affordable option to brokers such as TD Ameritrade. But, how does its trading platform perform in comparison?

The trading platform at Ally Invest may not have as many bells and whistles as those of some online brokers but it does offer quick trading capabilities. This is because you don’t need to download. It’s a web based trading platform that you can access using any device. The mobile app is especially useful if you like to carry out options trading, or other account activity, on the move. Using the trading platform, you get access to:

  • Streaming quotes and data that is real time.
  • A dashboard you can customize.
  • Brokers tools that are easy to use but are not extensive.

Customer service

Now, that we got that out of the way, let’s talk a bit about customer service. Although Ally Invest customer service is not open 24 hours like some online investing companies, where they lack in hours, they make up for in ability. From what I’ve read in reviews written by consumers, Ally Invest customer service reps are not only friendly, but they value your time and try to find the root to the call and provide a solution in as little time as necessary. That way, you don’t find yourself dealing with long hold times and incompetent customer service reps!

One tiny point that may be an issue, for those who are new to investment accounts and brokerage accounts, is that there are no physical branches for Ally Invest. This isn’t unusual in a world where online training trading and robo advisors are the norm. However, it’s still worth mentioning as I know some people prefer to have the option of getting face-to-face advice from a brokerage.

Community

One of the most impressive things that Ally Invest offers though is a community. There aren’t very many investing platforms that build communities around their products, but Ally Invest has. They’ve created very easy to use forums and groups to allow investors to answer questions for other, newer investors. This unique concept gives you a slew of people who have been there and done that at your finger tips! All you need to do is ask the questions you need answered.

Tools

Let’s get into the tools offered by Ally Invest. As I said above in the short review, the tools for research and analysis that they provide are far from top of the line. However, they are very easy to understand, basic instruments that are great for the novice investor.

One of these tools is called Trading Activity & Trade Notes. Using this tool you can trade using virtual money to see how your decisions would react in the real world. This can definitely help you to come up with a plan! Ally Invest also provides simple tax trackers, research tools and technical analysis tools.  These tools include:

  • Streaming charts.
  • Snapshots and insights of industry and company information.
  • Customizable watch lists.
  • Calculators
  • Access to market data.

Don’t get too excited about these because they’re definitely not top of the line. If you’re looking for technology, you may want to look elsewhere!

Bank and brokerage combination

One of the things that I really like about Ally Invest is that it is partnered with Ally Bank to be a pretty good bank and brokerage combination.

The bank is registered as a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and it offers a high yield savings account that is pretty simple to use. The annual yield offered is more than 2%.

People who use Ally Invest and Ally Bank have the benefit of universal account access. This really takes some of the strain out of banking and investing as each account can be managed in the same place.

My Final Thoughts Of Ally Invest

OK, so, for the money, you can’t beat ‘em. Ally Invest has got really got great prices. When it comes to customer service, they’re on top of their game too! However when it comes to tools, they’ve got quite a bit of work to do. That being said, if you’re looking for the most technologically advanced trading platform, this may not be the best platform for you. However, if you’re looking for an inexpensive option that’s great for the novice investor, you’ve found it!

Click for Ally Invest Pricing and Details.

Rating: 4.5 / 5
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About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. After working many years in the website marketing industry, he decided to take on blogging full time and also get his finances headed in the right direction. Also check out his contributions to Equities.com and Benzinga.

12 thoughts on “Ally Invest Review – Exclusive Review of Ally Invest Brokerage”

  1. Avatar
    John S @ Frugal Rules

    Lol, I just finished writing my TradeKing review that’ll be going live next Friday. 🙂 I think they’re great, especially when you look at the $4.95 commission.

    The one thing I don’t like though is they do have an annual fee. There is a fairly simple way around it, but if you can’t then I’d hate to be hit with it.

    One other thing as well, their pricing is not flat. If you trade over 1,000 shares, or the stock is under $2 then they ding you with a $.01 per share fee. In that event, the max they’ll charge is 5% of the trade for your commission. It may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but definitely something to watch out for.

    That said, very good review Josh! I think if you as a client can avoid those two issues then they’re definitely a brokerage to consider.

    1. Avatar

      You’re right – $5 per trade is pretty good.

      Also, the penny stock fees/prices are pretty standard across the industry. I wouldn’t ding them too much for that.

      I guess their major competitor would be Scottrade?

      1. Avatar
        John S @ Frugal Rules

        I would say them and OptionsHouse would be their main competitors, especially based off of price. The penny stock thing, is at some brokers but not the majority. I really don’t ding them too much for it – though I wouldn’t like it if I traded over 1,000 shares of any stock – it’s just that they can’t advertise being truly flat pricing like some brokers can.

  2. Avatar
    hungry hungry artist (@blerghhh)

    How much is their option assignment fee?

    (The fee charged when your options expire in-the-money… Usually charged in addition to a standard trade commission)

  3. Avatar

    Thanks for the review! We’ve got our accounts with TD Ameritrade and have been satisfied with them, but the trade fee is double what TradeKing’s is. We may have to look into that. Thanks for the great info.

  4. Avatar

    I’m currently using TradeKing after reading a review similar to this. I’m a rookie in every sense of the word so it’s been good for me. Maybe when I become a little more advanced I’ll start to notice what TK lacks.

  5. Avatar

    Having used TradeKing for several years for retirement, taxable, and partnership accounts, I have been tremendously pleased with their service. I no longer use them for the partnership account as they change a hefty annual fee for those accounts, but continue to have my personal accounts there. Simple, easy, and cheap. I do most of my stock analysis and research outside of trading platforms so any complaints about the lack of depth of resources is not as critical for me.

  6. Avatar

    I like the idea of forums and groups…. someone like me who is a newbie at this could benefit from the wisdom of those who are old pros at it

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