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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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!