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Ally Bank Review – Best in Class Savings and Checking

by Ryan Guina

Not too long ago, the banking division of GMAC Financial rebranded under the name Ally Bank. With GM going into bankruptcy, they decided to put some distance between themselves and the name GM. That doesn’t mean they are in trouble, though. The company is no longer owned by GM – they sold a majority share of GMAC financial several years ago. But with GM the auto company surrounded by bad press, they decided to rebrand under a positive note. Thankfully, Ally Bank is well financed and its accounts are fully backed by the FDIC, which means you can rest assured knowing your money is safe.

Ally Bank ®So what has changed at Ally Bank? Besides changing their logo, Ally Bank has been busy seeking out new customers by increasing their interest rates to offer one of the best high yield savings accounts in the nation, offering new services, and enhancing their customer service.

Ally Bank financial products

Ally Bank offers four main products: Online Savings Account, Money Market Account, Classic CD,  and No Penalty CD.

  • Online Savings Account. Interest rates are currently among the highest in the nation (see additional savings account rates). There are no minimum balances, no account opening minimums, and no maintenance fees.
  • Money Market Account. Ally Bank Money Market Account holders have access to a check card with free ATM transactions, but there is a limit of 6 withdrawals per month (the Federal Reserve limits the number of transfers and withdrawals from a savings accounts to 6 per month).
  • Classic CDs. Ally offers Certificates of Deposit (CDs) of varying lengths and interest rates. I recommend visiting the Ally Bank CD page for more information about current rates.
  • No penalty CDs. One of the features that sets Ally Bank CDs apart from CDs at other banks is the no penalty CD. The no penalty CD allows you to lock in the interest rate while still having the option to withdraw your funds without any penalties. The downside is that the no penalty CD rates are slightly lower than the traditional CD rates. But they are also higher than the standard interest rates, so you have a chance to earn more interest than a savings account. This gives people flexibility in the event of an emergency or if they decide to withdraw their funds because rates rise and they can lock in a better rate.

Opening an account at Ally Bank

Opening an account at Ally Bank is a quick and relatively painless process (as painless as opening any financial account nowadays). Be prepared to have your personal information ready, and be aware that you will have to submit to a credit check when you apply. Unlike some banks, Ally Bank approves applications based on credit risk, so your credit worthiness may affect your ability to open an account. When you open your account you also have the option of simultaneously opening CDs or a Money market account, which is a nice feature.

Ally Bank customer service

I haven’t had to use Ally’s customer service yet, but their support availability is greater than most banks. Ally Bank offers online and 24 hour telephone customer service options:

  • Ally Bank Telephone Number: 1-877-247-ALLY (2559) for 24/7 assistance
  • Ally Bank Address: Ally Bank, P.O.Box 13625, Philadelphia, PA 19101
  • Ally Bank E-mail: customercare@ally.com

Other features at Ally Bank

Ally Bank offers an easy to use user interface,

  • Each Ally Bank account is FDIC insured to $250,000.
  • Ally Bank supports Quicken, Mint.com, Personal Capital, and a host of other online money management tools.
  • Ability to choose paper or electronic statements.
  • Ability to create sub-accounts with different names and account numbers (great for targeted savings, or setting up a child’s account).
  • High level of online security – if you try logging on from a computer that isn’t registered with Ally Bank they will send you an e-mail with a password good for one use (unless you wish to register the computer).

Conclusion

Ally Bank offers some of the highest interest rates in the nation and all accounts are FDIC insured. Add the no penalty CDs, money market account, lack of fees or minimums, high security ratings, and solid customer service, and you have the recipe for a good bank. If you are looking for a new bank or higher interest rates, Ally Bank is a worthy option.

Ally Bank ® Online Savings Account


Published or updated March 15, 2013.
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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kirk Kinder

Be careful here. This is still GMAC bank with a new name. While there is FDIC insurance, it could take a while to get your money if the bank is taken over by the FDIC. The surest sign in today’s market of a troubled bank is its interest rate. High rates means the bank needs capital to survive.

While Ryan’s review is extremely helpful, folks just need to be aware that this is a high risk bank even with FDIC backing, which currently only has $100 billion in reserves. This may sound like a lot, but it would cover 7 or 8 Indy Mac sized failures before the taxpayers would have to come to the rescue of FDIC.

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2 Ryan

Kirk, according to the latest Safe and Sound ratings at Bank Rate, Ally Bank shows 3 stars out of 5 (Performing), for a middle of the pack showing. Note: You need to look it up under GMAC, which was Ally Bank’s name when the ratings were last done.

I’ve never been a member of a bank that collapsed, but Ally Bank doesn’t concern me very much. In many instances of bank failures the failed banks are purchased by another bank which assumes operations before most customers even know their bank failed. Here is a good video that explains the process: How the FDIC Takes Over Banks.

I can’t say every instance occurs exactly as the video showed, but that impressed me. Word usually gets out within the industry if a major bank is troubled, and that often leads to talk about mergers and acquisitions, which we saw a lot of last summer and fall. So that could be another possibility if Ally bank were in danger.

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3 Blogging Banks

I believe that as long as you are within the $250K FDIC limits on deposits you should be fine even if a bank fails.

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4 No Tarp for Me

If you want a bank that is completely funded by taxpayer bail out money, then by all means put your money with Ally.

Mine will be at my local community bank that offers fair rates and did not take one red penny of TARP money.

Remember: you pay for what you get and a bank that is offering rates that are much higher than the national average is cutting costs in other areas (like customer service.) Either that or they’ll be back at Barack’s door asking for another handout soon.

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5 GMACAllyCustomer

I have been with Ally (GMAC) for 3 years. I had no problem with GMAC before.

Recently I spend 2 months in Ally and still can not open a new account, this experience is very frustrated. The customer representatives have inconsistent answers. One day they call you with one answer, and please don’t feel surprised for the call from them in the following days with another answer; I fax the documents to them, and they can not find/locate the fax. I am tired with several rounds of this kind of inconsistence.

My question is:
If representatives can NOT provide standard guidance/answer, what’s the meaning of customer service of the bank?

Although they have 7-24 call service, it won’t help if they can NOT solve your problem. (In fact, it wastes your time!)

I am searching for another bank with relative high rates. Enough is enough.

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6 cpotts88

Don’t do business with these criminals!!! My wife and I tried to open a CD account with them. After several back and forth phone calls and requests to establish our residence and mailing addresses (in addition to our original paperwork and copies of our drivers licenses they wanted utility bills and a copy of our PO Box receipt), we told them to return our money. Their customer service said they would send our original check back. They didn’t. We never had an account with them but they cashed our check. Our bank statement showed the check was paid.

When I called to ask why my check was cashed, no one could explain. They told me that they would send my complaint to an escalation team for immediate resolution and they would call me back with the results 2 days later. No one ever did. When I called them to find out the status of my check, I was told that my account was pending and that in 5 days or so, they would review the matter. After yelling at the CSR, I was put on hold and eventually told by the rep that she made a mistake, my check was already mailed. I would have it in 7-10 working days.

A few days later, Ally called me again. This time, I was told that I would have to prove that the check had been cashed in order to receive a refund. So basically, they never opened an account for me, they cashed my check, lied to me that they had already refunded my money, then called me and told me that I had to prove my check had been cashed to get a refund. This is after they acknowledged receiving the check and accidentally cashing it. They knew the check number and the amount but still no refund. Unbelievable.

In all, they’ve held my money hostage for a month. Someone either lost or stole my check and they won’t give my money back yet. Don’t give this company your business.

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7 Llditty12

Thanks for review CPOTTS! I hope you get your money back. Think I’ll ty something a little safer, like ING. No money from me ALLY!!

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8 Peh

Peh, ING did this to me. It happens, and is usually the result of one person being retarded and requiring a team to clean it up.

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9 Gregg

@ cpotts88

Thanx a lot for your post. I was contempalting whether to deposit the money to their CDs but after reading your comment I am sure that I won’t.

thank you for saving me a lot of headache.

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10 Roy

I closed my account after two months. Interest rate kept dropping. Website didn’t accurately show account info. They kept insisting on snail mail for some things

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11 ken

I have several accounts with them and have had no problems. I would recommend them since they have great interest rates and very few restrictions unlike other banks, with no minimums or even how many external accounts you can link. I liked the fact that they had 24×7 customer service and noticed they now have online chat help 24×7 as well!

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12 Jay C

@cpotts88 Sorry about your situation and thank you for sharing…..not a penny from me Ally!

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13 Sam

I was frustrated with Bank of America and decided to find an alternative for my savings account and after much research tried ING and Ally. I have to say that Ally has been a much better experience and I have happily transferred my savings to Ally where they are earning a much better rate compared to Bank of America or even ING for that matter.

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14 winninghand

I am really happy with Ally. It was really easy to open an account and the money transfer is really simple. Good rates and good customer service……when was the last time you found those two come together in one bank?

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15 Dennis

I was a GMAC bank customer (had my Mortgage with GMAC too). Shortly after I paid off my Mortgage with GMAC (Oh it’s awsome to live mortgage free!!!), GMAC Bank changed to Ally Bank and my existing account was moved over. I keep 80% of my savings in Ally bank and never had a problem yet. Their responses were fast when I had questions after the name change. Their website is fast and easy and I really have no need to call. I receive my snail mail statements consisitently on time and they are accurate as would be expected. I may switch to paperless statements, but I wanted to make sure I was comfortable with how things would go. Now I am, so I’ll keep my accounts with Ally for now. It beats the risky stock market, as well as Wachovia’s .005% apr (or whatever it was or is now) savings rate…

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16 Harry

Thanks for all your comments. I’m still questioning whether opening an account or not – but with a mixed set of reviews, I’m not leaning towards not to open an account. That being said, I notice the last 3 comments were positive, so things may be moving in the right direction.

Now it’s a question (to me) of greed vs. peace of mind. High Interest is very tempting, but what cpotts went through is very frustrating. What’s the lesser evil here?

I think I’ll hold on for awhile until I hear more reviews and then make a decision.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences.

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17 Harry

sorry just read my post…I meant to say: I’m leaning towards not opening an account instead of ‘I’m not leaning towards not to open an account’ <– that just makes no sense

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18 CW

Do not deal with Ally/GMAC , they got money bail out from the Government but will not apporve me a simple 30k cash out refinace loan without giving me hell and foolish stall tactics,, even though my mortgage been with them 15 years and never been late with a payment. My credit rating is 728, income over 100k per year, been on my job 36 years and 200k of equity in my home and been living here for 21 years. My positon was too strong for them to legally reject the loan outright. Therefore, they insulted me till I could not work with them anymore and withdrew my loan. Dec,26,2009

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19 John

I absolutely love Ally Bank. I have opened several accounts with them which was a breeze and they continue to wow me with their customer friendly approach. Need to talk to someone, just press 0 and you get a nice cheerful service rep that is based in the US! They even have chat help 24×7. Great customer service and awesome interest rates. What more could I want?

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20 David

Actually, I called them recently and the rep was based in Canada.

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21 Bill

Interesting stuff indeed. Do they have actual branches with real people to talk to ?????

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22 Ryan

Bill, So far as I know they are an online only institution. Most of the banks that offer the highest interest rates are online only, with a central call center. It helps them cut costs and pass the savings (or in this case, interest) on to the customers.

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23 LadyZarrku

I have been with Ally for six months. I have a savings account and a money market account. I also recently opened a checking account. The setup was so easy. I filled out all the applications online, called the customer service rep. per instructions, and each of the accounts was opened the next day (same day for two of them). The customer service people have been so pleasant and I love the instant chat feature. Every time I use the chat, I am typing with someone in under 30 seconds! The website is friendly to use and pleasing to the eye. I like that I can link other bank accounts to my Ally accounts and initiate transfers both ways with no fee. No problems whatsoever here. The high interest rates are a bonus. I really wish Ally had been available all my life. Did I mention I am in love with Ally?

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24 M

I’m in the process of closing my account with Ally. I opened a savings account because they have higher interest rates. On January 14, Ally was supposed to send some items to me. It is now March 15 and I have not received them. When I contacted the online customer service, they wrote, “We’re behind in responding to our email.” A bank that cannot respond to customer requests is frightening. I immediately transferred all funds out of Ally to my old Savings Account. If this were an isolated incident and wasn’t two months old, I’d be more flexible but they have not responded to my follow up messages and their customer service never has an answer to anything. Now that anyone can open an account with USAA, I’d recommend going that route instead. I’ll be opening a new savings account with them ASAP.

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25 Ryan

M, I also use USAA and I recommend them to anyone that is eligible. But I thought USAA was still limited to those with military experience, or family members of USAA members. Did that change?

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26 M

Ryan, it did indeed change! At least temporarily, banking services are open to all. Insurance and some other services are still restricted to families of service members.

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27 Ryan

Wow, I didn’t know that. Good news for a lot of people then! :-)

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28 Steve

The rates are good and competitive. I have multiple accounts and CD’s. There customer service experience is exasperating and painful. Even after calling the corporate office, they do not care. The constant shuffle off until you give up. Don’t bother. In the future I will take the lower rate of my local bank and deal with folks who actually care about my business. Weigh the increased $$ by the cost of time and agreviation before you decide to do business with Ally Bank.

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29 SCV

DON NOT USE ALLY BANK!!!!! My husband and myself chose Ally because we wanted a higher rate with an online bank and refund of our ATM fees. After a 4 week nightmare, I’m willing to pay max ATM fees. Despite opening a joint account, my personal information was pulled for a car loan over 7 years old from GMAC. I have tried unsuccessfully for 4 weeks to change that information. While my husbands info is fine, mine is not and it is the SAME account. Because of this my ATM card was sent to an address which I don’t live at any more. It came back and we had a security hold put on our account it took 6+ calls to remove it and another 3 calls to get my new address in place. Then I received the card and could not activate, problems again with the old data in the system. Then I finall activated it and could not change the default pin. Their sales reps were NOT helpful. They kept tellimg me someone would call me back in 2-3 business days. Discovered upon using their site that I cannot do bill pay, but my husband can and anything he enters into the system (i.e. linked external accounts) does not show up in mine and has to be redone, this has caused huge problems. Evidently their backend systems are broken. I no longer think my money is secure with them and am moving it now. I beg you. DO NOT USE THEM!!!!!

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30 SteveT

Alright already! I’m unhappy with my current bank (Citibank) and am considering moving money to Ally. So, I’ve been reading several web-sites with Ally reviews/comments and I’ve seen this exact copy-paste comment on about 10 different sites so far. Sounds like you have had a bad experience with Ally and are now on a personal vendetta to smear this company on every web-site you can find. If you’re that unhappy, move your money somewhere else and be done with it (just don’t move to Citibank cause they suck too).

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31 Ryan

Steve, check out Discover Bank, they also offer some of the highest rates in the US right now. Here is more info: Discover Bank Savings Account and CD Review.

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32 Pete

I have multiple accounts with Ally and have had a great experience. Fast transfers, good interest rates and great customer service. I have closed my accounts with ING and E-Trade and moved all my money to Ally.

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33 B.Magallon

This May, I recently have been hit with one of Ally’s computer gliches. I had opened an initial account about one month ago and because it was going well, I decided to open another account with them.
Then the huge problem arose!
Ally bank has a feature that if you verify an account with the same test deposit numbers than it automatically initiates a transfer from an external bank into your other account.
For example,
1. Account # 1- You open your account with $1000.00 and you have verified your test deposits.
2. Account # 2- You decide to open another account and use the same test deposits but this time only want to open your new account with $100.00,
Then
3. A transfer of 1000.00 will initiate to account # 1.
Leaving you with no solution and alot of overdraft fees from the external bank account.

Ally bank made it clear that they don’t have a gliche in their system, and I informed them that if I wanted to transfer $1000.00 from my external account into my Ally bank account then I would have specifically did just that. But this was not the case. Instead you use the same test deposits of $0.45 and $0.22 and this is what happens.

Has anyone else incurred this type of problem because I do not believe that I am the only one.
For professional purposes, Ally bank should have at least tried to care about this gliche or the customer but that was surely not the case. They were dumbfounded!
What else can I say, I’ve been duped by this bank, hmmm no surprise there I guess.

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34 Kathy

I had my mortgage with GMAC for many, many years – no missed or late payments, great credit rating. I asked them to refi my mortgage at a lower rate since the rates were lower. I thought because I had a good track record, they would be willing to comply and this would possibly be the cheaper way to go, that it would be simple and I would be given a break on closing costs. No such luck. All they could offer me was the same rate I already had but extended back for the full 30 years, the same paperwork as though I were a complete stranger, with a heap of closing costs. So I chose another lender, an online lender, and lowered my mortgage by 1.38 points, a $564 per month reduction in my house payment. I thought as rates went lower that they might try to contact me, knowing I intended to refi and would probably go to another lender, but no, they didn’t. So they could have continued with this great customer, but they chose to lose the business. Maybe this is how you deal with people nowadays, but I don’t see how a bank can ever be successful when they let opportunity slip through their fingers.

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35 Joe Ally

My question would be “Do I feel Ally is a moral and ethical bank who are good for the USA?” My answer would be “Absolutely not!”

The US Government gave 14 Trillion dollars to GMAC Mortgage in bailout money when the Fed declared them a bank to qualify them, even though they were not a bank. GMAC Mortgage never repaid those bailout loans and are now 56% owned by the US Treasury.

After the Government bailed them out, GMAC Mortgage foreclosed on more homes than any other mortgage company, resulting in plenty of wrongful foreclosure lawsuits against them. No one bailed out the US Citizens, and Ally Financial proved to be an “Ally” to no one when they robbed the nation from the top and bottom.

During the Mortgage Crisis which they were partially responsible for, GMAC Mortgage were unable to properly answer their phones and rushed to hire a completely untrained staff who remain poorly trained to this day. Customers waited months for customer service. Most either got none, or got service so poor that it may have been illegal.

Suddenly they have decided to rename themselves and to take advantage of their “bank” status with online bank accounts.

Your money will be FDIC insured, but will your conscience allow you to lend your money to the people who are more responsible for the collapse of our economy than anyone else?

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36 Herman

considering a refi with ally, under what circumstances would they call the mortgage? If I have electronically deducted payments will I have any problems with lost records? Has anyone experienced any balloon payments? Is 5.375 a good 30yr rate? As long as I make on time payments am I safe…..Thanks HR in Texas.

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37 Ryan

Herman, so long as you make your payments on time, I’m not sure they are allowed to call the mortgage. If you have concerns about the legalities of banks calling mortgages, then I recommend sitting down with a third party who is familiar with the laws and has no vested interest in your deal (for example, a lawyer, not a broker trying to sell you a mortgage).

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38 Anna

Stay away from Ally Bank, I tried to open up an online checking account and filled out all of the information and then waited for over 15 minutes to see if the account was opened. Then I received a message that states that you can not open accounts online anymore, that you have to call. Why do they still have the application online if you can’t open the account online, does not make any sense. An online bank where you can’t open an online account. Never again will I go to this site or use this bank. Now I probably have a credit inquiry on my credit report because of this, if there is one I will be filing a complaint against this bank .

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39 Blue Spyder

Opened my account on Thanksgiving, so far no complaints. Customer service seems friendlier than Navy Federal was to me.

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40 Lynn

I’ve been a customer of Ally Bank for 2 years now. I have never once had an issue. I’m very surprised to hear some of these negative comments. I’ve had to call customer service a few times with questions regarding a possible auto loan and the costumer service reps were very nice and helpful. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a perfect bank or business. I’ve had a wonderful experience with Ally, so had to post.

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41 Alex

I recently opened an Ally Online Money Market account. Basically I wanted to just stash some money away and forget about it until I needed it. The application process was easy at first, but at the end of the application I received a message to call Ally. They wanted me to fax more info to them, including my Drivers License and Social Security card. No problem. It took a few days after that, and the account was created.

Now, due to a few issues with my other bank account, I was not able to fund my Ally account fast enough, apparently. Two days ago, I finally was able to initiate a transfer into Ally. They said it would take 2 days to complete the transfer, which was fine with me. Two days later, I received a message stating that my account had been closed, AFTER they had already taken the money from my other bank account! WHAT?!?
I immediately called Ally and asked what happened. Apparently I did not fund my account fast enough (within 30 days) and it was automatically closed. I had done the transfer before the 30-day cutoff date for empty accounts, but since transfers take a few days, my money was in the middle of the transfer when the cut-off date was reached. It was just really bad timing. After about 15 minutes on the phone though, they were able to reopen the account and bring my money back into the account. Had I just ignored the issue, what would they have done with my money? Kept it? Tried to return it? Who knows.

All I can say is that aside from this issue I had, Ally seems to be a great place to just stash some money away like I’m doing, and let it gain some interest while it sits. Just be sure that after opening the account, deposit money ASAP (within the first week or two, to be safe) or your account could be closed WITHOUT WARNING like mine was. I’m looking forward to having this account and I’m sure that if I have any more problems with them, they can help me because every time I’ve called Ally, I get an ACTUAL U.S. English-speaking, no accent, honest-to-goodness REAL PERSON on the line quickly. Now that part is pretty cool :)

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