The Bottom Line: Ally Invest offers a wide range of self-directed and managed investment products at among the industry's lowest fees. It is the online brokerage firm of Ally Bank, and its great pricing and customer service make it hard to beat.
If you’re just starting out on active trading, Ally Invest may be a good choice. It’s worth checking out even though it’s relatively new to the market — it has low fees, no account minimums and other free tools.
If you’re ready to step up your game, there are features for Forex traders, automated portfolio management and banking products and services to help keep all your finances in one place.
As one of the lowest priced stock brokers, Ally is also known for its great customer service.
It created their platform after purchasing Trade King and offers more than 100 commission-free exchange traded funds (ETFs) and charges low fees on stock trades and mutual fund transactions.
Ally Invest is the online brokerage firm of Ally Bank, and its great pricing and customer service make it hard to beat.
Unfortunately, the funding process can be tricky, taking up to 10 business days. And if you are looking for a local branch office, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Curious whether Ally Invest is for you? Let’s take a look at an overview of the service, how it works and what you need to consider before opening an account.
Account Minimum: $0
Promotion: Get Up to $3,500 Cash From Ally Invest
What is Ally Invest?
Part of Ally Financial, Ally Invest is part of the rebranded TradeKing which was purchased by Ally Financial back in 2016. TradeKing prided itself as one of the low-cost brokerages and Ally Invest has continued that.
Originally, it was for options trading and self-directed investing but since taking over, Ally Invest has added more features, turning it into one of the best low-cost investment platforms.
It not only offers options trading and self-directed investing, but now investors have access to more ETFs and mutual funds, Forex trading and managed portfolios.
It also offers 24/7 customer service — you can contact customer service representatives via email, live chat or phone.
Ally Invest can be convenient for those looking for assistance at all hours of the day and looking for a centralized platform to manage their finances.
Ally Bank, the sister company is also one of the leading online banks around. You can get some of the lowest fees around for banking products and services, plus some decent loan and interest rates out there.
If you’re looking for a place to do your banking and/or loans on top of your investing, then it’s a good one to consider. There’s a reason Ally Invest holds over $4.7 billion in assets and has over 250,000 customer accounts.
How Does Ally Invest Work?
Ally Invest allows you to trade fixed-income securities, stocks, Options, and ETFs — including agency, corporate and municipal bonds.
Other options include more than 12,000 no-load and load mutual funds, Treasuries, strips and zeros and certificates of deposit (CD).
There’s also a Forex and Futures platform (mentioned below) that gives you a wide range of resources and tools. If you’re not interested in active trading, Ally Invest can manage your portfolio for you.
You can start off by funding your account — either through ACH, wire transfer, check or debit card (this tends to be the quickest option).
Currencies you can use include U.s. Dollars, Euros, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen, Swiss Francs and British pounds.
Once the funds land in your account, you can start making trades. Fees will differ depending on what you do and there may be discounted fees for those who make 30 or more trades a quarter.
There are also no fees for load mutual funds and Forex trades and some ETFs don’t charge a commission fee.
You also don’t need to worry about an inactivity, annual or IRA annual fee.
active traders, Forex and Options traders
$4.95 per stock trade $4.95/trade ($3.95 for those with more than a $100,000 balance or conduct over 30 trades per quarter); $4.95 + $0.65 per contract for Options ($3.95 + $0.65 for high-volume trading), $9.95 per trade for mutual funds (although there are some commission-free ETFs)
$50 outgoing transfer fee; $50 IRA closing fee; $0 inactivity fee
Types of investments
Bonds, ETFs, Forex, Futures, Mutual Funds, Options, Stocks (including penny stocks)
Available 24/7 via email, online chat and phone support. There are no physical branches.
These include market and company snapshots, watchlists, profit/loss calculator, streaming charts, options chains, probability calculator and market data. Mobile app allows you to access to functions such as trading quotes and tracking.
get up to a $3,500 cash bonus plus commission-free trades for 90 days with a qualifying deposit.
Ally Invest Forex and Futures
If you’re a more skilled investor, you may be interested in Ally Invest’s Forex and Futures option — there are more than 50 currency pairs, including gold and silver.
Aside from a whole suite of education, research and analysis tools, you can do your trades in real-time. Traders can also have 24/7 access to the markets, Sunday through Friday, starting at 10 AM Eastern all the way through to 5 PM Eastern.
The customizable platform includes:
You only need a $250 account minimum to get started. Forex accounts aren’t SPIC or FDIC insured and aren’t guaranteed by Ally Invest.
Ally Invest Managed Portfolios
Ally Invest offers managed portfolios where one of their professionals will design and personalize your portfolio to match your goals.
You’ll also get automatic rebalancing so you can maintain your target allocation and it only requires a $100 deposit to open an account.
Your managed portfolio is created based on your financial goals, risk tolerance and investment horizon through a combination of ETFs to maximize your return.
You can use individual or joint Traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs, plus taxable and custodial accounts.
Part of Ally Financial, Ally Bank has some of the best offerings out there for an online-only bank. You get low fees (in most cases no monthly maintenance fees) and high interest rates on their banking products.
You can also take out loans — mortgages and auto loans — as well as a cash back debit card.
So if you decide to go with Ally Invest, you can also bank through Ally Bank which can help make it more convenient for you manage your finances in one place.
Pros & Cons
Low commissions - Ally Invest charges $4.95 per trade for stocks and ETFs (it can be lower if you quality). Truth be told, there aren’t many other online brokers is anywhere this economical, making it one of the better picks for day trading.
Options traders get cost-effective trades to, starting at $4.95 per trade plus $0.65 per contract (discounted rates also available).
Forex traders are charge based on spread markups and you’ll also get access to data for free if you’ve made a trade or more within the last 90 days.
Let’s not forget their mutual funds. Although slight higher than fees for active trades, you’re charged a $9.95 commission fee for no-load mutual funds and no commission fees for ones that do charge a load.
Compared to much higher rates mandated by other brokerages, it’s a pretty good deal. To keep up with competitors, Ally Invest also offers over 100 ETFs that do not charge a commission.
Customer service - Ally offers 24/7 customer service. You can contact them via phone, email or live chat.
Tools and research - Ally invest offers a variety of investing tools that are more than just for beginners. You’ll find options trading tools which features the user flow process all in one page — it includes options chains, a pricing/probability calculator, a profit/loss graph and a strategy scanner.
For more technical traders, Recognia provides a whole host of tools inside Ally Invest which includes a profit and loss calculator and the Matrix Tax Manager, which helps you figure out any tax consequences of your trades. You can even get 1099 forms on demand.
Access to Ally Bank - If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop, you can get access to Ally Bank, so you can invest and bank with the same company.
Low account minimum - How does $0 sound to you? That’s right. Ally Invest doesn’t require a minimum balance for self-directed options.
If you want someone to manage your portfolio, you’ll need a $100 account minimum which is still pretty low.
Trading platform - The browser based platform Ally Invest provides can offer real-time streaming quotes, a customizable dashboard, fast trading capabilities and access to broker’s tools.
This web based platform doesn’t require you to download anything — simply log into your account online. You can also use their app to access the platform to make trades or simply log into your account via your smartphone.
Ability to have someone manage your portfolio - You can choose to have Ally Invest manage your portfolio instead of going the DIY route.
Or if you want to do your own self-directed trading but have part of your portfolio managed professionally, you can do that here too.
Mutual funds charge transaction fees - Although Ally Invest offers some of the lowest commission and transaction fees around, it sadly doesn’t offer mutual funds that don’t charge transaction fees (although, as mentioned before, they’re trying to step up their game by offering a few commission-free ETFs).
With over 8,000 to choose from, you’ll need to watch out for commission fees if you move funds around at $9.95 each time.
If you’re mainly looking for mutual funds, there are other discounted brokers like E-Trade or Merrill Edge that offers many funds that don’t charge transaction fees.
No brick and mortar locations - although not a major deal breaker, beginner investors or those who want a physical branch may feel better knowing there’s someone they could talk to in person.
Yes, Ally Invest offers 24/7 customer service support but if you’re interested in face to face contact, there are larger investment brokerages that have local branches.
Slow transfer times - It may not be the case depending on your bank, but funds to your Ally Invest account can take up to five business days to reach your account via ACH transfer.
If you do so by check, it can take up to 10 business days.
Ally Invest offers a wide range of self-directed and managed investment products at among the industry's lowest fees. It is the online brokerage firm of Ally Bank, and its great pricing and customer service make it hard to beat.
Should You Invest with Ally Invest?
Ally Invest offers a little bit of something for everyone but it appears to be a better fit for active traders.
Even if you’re interested in more passive investing or rely on Ally Invest to manage your portfolio for you, it might be worth considering. In either case, you’re looking at a pretty decent discounted brokerage — with savings for high volume traders.
Since there is no account minimum, even beginners or people who don't have a lot to invest can get started. Plus, their low fees for transactions and trades are pretty attractive.
Although the managed portfolios do have a minimum and has higher fees than some of its competitors, what makes it unique is that you can move all or part of your portfolio to self-directed investing should you choose in the future.
There’s also Ally Bank that offers other financial products and services with their high-interest savings accounts and CDs.
You can also find auto loans and mortgages. Ally also has numerous ways you can contact their service which is available 24/7.
If you want advanced training and tools offered by the more sophisticated brokerages or want to buy ETFs and mutual funds with no transaction fees, then you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Otherwise, their excellent customer service and low fees make it one of the better investment platforms out there.