Ally Invest Review – Commission-Free Online Stock Trades

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Ally Invest Review
Ally Invest is an award-winning online discount brokerage firm featuring commission-free ($0.00) online stock trades and options,. You can invest with IRAs, dividend investing, & more.

Ally Invest Review

Product Name: Ally Invest

Product Description: Ally Invest is a popular online stock broker that lets you trade stocks, ETFs, and options without paying a dime in commissions. You'll also find low prices on mutual fund trades, as well as a Robo Portfolio if you don't want to DIY.

  • Commissions & Fees
  • Account Options
  • Investment Options
  • Tools & Resources
  • Website/App/Ease of Use
  • Customer Service
4.7

Summary

When it comes to Commissions & Fees, Ally Invest is hard to beat. You’ll pay zero commissions on U.S. exchange-listed stocks, options, and ETFs. Options contracts cost a low 50 cents, and mutual funds transactions are only $9.95. Plus, the Robo Portfolio option is free of advisory fees. There are plenty of Account Options to be found at Ally Invest — from taxable accounts to IRAs, to trusts and Coverdell accounts. You can also open a checking or savings account at Ally Bank. However, there are no options for solo 401(k)s or 529s. As for Investment Options, you’ll find the usual offerings: stocks, penny stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, etc. However, unlike some other brokers, Ally Invest doesn’t offer a selection of fee-free mutual funds. There are plenty of Tools & Resources to use, from probability calculators to tax-planning guides. Ally Invest also scores high for its Website/App/Ease of Use, with an intuitive website and easy-to-use mobile apps. We also appreciate Ally Invest’s Customer Service via phone or live chat. See below for hours.


With zero commissions on most trades, no required account minimums, and an optional managed investment portfolio called Robo Portfolios, it’s no wonder Ally Invest is one of the most popular online stock brokers.

Whether you’re new to investing or have some experience placing trades, Ally Invest might be a good fit for you. In this Ally Invest review, we’ll take an in-depth look at this service to help you decide if it’s the right stock broker for you.

Ally Invest Features

Ally InvestFeatures
Commissions & Fees$0
Options Trades$0 + $0.50
Mutual Fund Trades$9.95
Types of InvestmentsStocks, Penny Stocks, Options, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, FOREX, Futures
Types of AccountsTaxable, Joint, Custodial, Trusts, Limited Partnerships, Partnerships, Non-Profit,
Retirement Accounts (Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, 401(k), Solo 401(k), Annuities)
College (529, Coverdell)
Managed Portfolio OptionAlly Invest Robo Portfolios
Banking ServicesChecking, Savings, CDs, Money Market
Account Minimums$0
App AvailabilityiOS, Android, mobile optimized website.
Customer Service24/7 phone, live chat, and email until March 25, 2020. Hours will change to 7 am – 10 pm ET until further notice, due to coronavirus outbreak.
Margin AvailabilityAvailable
FINRA CRD#CRD#: 136131
SEC Registration NumberSEC#: 8-66982
Current PromotionsAlly Invest Promotion - Up to $3,000 Cash Bonus

Open a Brokerage Account with Ally Invest

Additional Features

  • Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio. For investors who don’t want to DIY, Ally Invest offers a Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio that is essentially a robo-advisor. (See more details, below.)
  • Dividend Reinvestments. Ally Invest offers free automatic dividend reinvestments (DRIPs) with the ability to purchase fractional shares. Investors can apply automatic DRIPs to all — or select — stocks in their portfolios.
  • Cash Sweep. Ally Invest gives its account holders the option of placing their uninvested money into an FDIC-insured sweep account where they can earn interest.
  • Free Tools. Ally Invest offers several useful free tools for helping you make the most of your investments. You’ll find a probability calculator that can help you determine whether you’ll hit your goals, as well as the Maxit Tax Manager, which will come in handy when dealing with the tax implications of investing.
  • Account Records. Ally Invest maintains records for account holders, including trade confirmation reports, monthly or quarterly account statements, and tax documents such as 1099 forms. Account records are stored online and can be downloaded into a .pdf format, Quicken, or Excel.
  • Ally Invest and CoolTrade Partnership. Ally Invest recently partnered with CoolTrade™ to offer Ally Invest customers access to automated stock trading. This capability is available in the Ally Invest trading platform and gives Ally Invest clients the ability to make fully automated stock trades. There’s a monthly subscription for this service, which is aimed at professional level traders.

What Is Ally Invest?

Ally Invest is an online stock broker owned by Ally Financial. The service was created in 2016 when Ally Financial purchased a popular investing platform called TradeKing and rebranded it as Ally Invest. Over the years, Ally has improved and expanded on TradeKing’s award-winning features.

Ally Invest’s “sibling” company is Ally Bank, an online-only bank that offers great interest-paying accounts. Because Ally doesn’t operate any brick-and-mortar banking offices, the company can afford to pay higher APYs than its more-traditional counterparts. At Ally Bank, you’ll find savings and money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and even interest-paying checking accounts. Thanks to Ally Financial’s banking wing, you can pair your Ally Bank account with your Ally Invest account for a one-stop-shop for your financial needs.

You can find out more information in our Ally Bank review.

How to Get Started with Ally Invest

It’s easy to get started with Ally Invest. Opening an Ally Invest account takes about 15 minutes.

Like all brokerages and other financial institutions, Ally Invest requires new account holders to enter the standard personal information such as name, address, SSN, employer information, trading experience, financial information, etc.

Funding Your Ally Invest Account. You can transfer money into your Ally Invest account when you open your account. If you have an Ally Bank account, you can fund your Ally Invest account instantly.

Transferring Money. Ally Invest allows investors to link a bank account to their Ally Invest account to transfer money via ACH transactions. It’s important to note that ACH deposits are subject to a trading hold of five business days and cannot be withdrawn for 10 business days.

This hold policy might make you miss out on a hot idea if you aren’t prepared. You can link only one bank account to your Ally Invest account, so it’s recommended to do some planning before you open your account.

How Does Ally Invest Work?

The Ally Invest platform is both intuitive and robust. Ally Invest’s trading interface allows investors to perform multiple transactions from the same page, meaning you can set up covered calls, puts, spreads, straddles, and other trading options from the same screen. That’s likely more advanced than the needs of the average investor, but technical traders will find these features useful.

The Ally Invest platform features online equity, options, and fixed-income trading tools including real-time portfolio information, advanced order entry, customized charting and alerts, free research and integrated news, stock, option and mutual fund screeners, volatility charts, a pricing probability calculator, enhanced option chains, and interactive educational information.

Ally Invest also has an extensive selection of tutorials and videos to help you if you ever get stuck. Ally Invest’s Learning Center offers tutorials on a number of investing topics. The Learning Center utilizes a variety of different media, including articles, blogs, free live webcasts and webinars, podcasts, video tutorials, calculators, tools, e-books, newsletters, and links to external resources.

Just about any kind of information an investor could need can be found inside the Learning Center or through one of its external sources. The learning center is accessible to everyone, regardless of whether or not you have an Ally Invest brokerage account.

Investment Options

Ally Invest offers a variety of investment options to meet most individual investor’s needs, including:

  • stocks
  • bonds
  • mutual funds
  • options
  • exchange-traded funds (EFTs)
  • U.S. Treasury and Agency Issues
  • CDs
  • FOREX (foreign currencies)
  • Ally Invest also features a no-fee IRA

Ally Invest Robo Portfolios

If you’d rather not DIY when it comes to your investment portfolio, the Robo Portfolios option might be a good option for you. Essentially, this Ally Invest product is a robo-advisor, which uses computer algorithms to create and maintain a portfolio ideal for your risk tolerance and goals.

With this option, the bulk of your portfolio will consist of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). However, Ally Invest will always set 30% of your assets aside as a cash buffer. The intention is to protect the whole of your portfolio from downturns in the stock market. But in addition, you’ll be earning interest, too.

Best of all, there are no advisory fees associated with a Robo Portfolios account, and the minimum investment is only $100.

Pricing

Ally Invest has always been low cost (as was TradeKing). However, in October 2019, the company announced that it was eliminating commissions for U.S. exchanged-based stock, options, and ETF trades. In addition, Ally Invest decreased the per-contract price for options to 50 cents.

Although Ally Invest doesn’t offer any fee-free mutual funds, its pricing is among the cheapest in the industry. The commission on more than 8,000 funds is $9.95 per transaction.

Ally Invest doesn’t require any minimums for opening or maintaining an account.

Ally Invest iPhone, iPad, and Android Apps

Ally Invest currently offers smartphone apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android. These apps allow you to check your account activity, trade stocks and options, perform research, track stock news, and more. Ally Invest also features a mobile-optimized site if you prefer using a standard web interface. You can check out the Ally Invest iPhone and Blackberry apps here.

The Ally Invest Community

The Ally Invest community is well organized and well run. It features a blog and forum section where members can trade notes and ideas and learn from each other.

Members can track recent trade activity and trade notes from those who are willing to share some insight as to why they made a trade. They can also join Ally Invest community groups, which are organized and run by Ally Invest members.

There are quite a few groups, including those for beginning investors, options traders, and those who prefer to specialize in different types of investments including value stocks, penny stocks, ETFs, hedge funds, dividend stocks, and various segments of the market such as automotive, biotech, or individual companies.

Ally Invest Pros & Cons

Ally Invest Pros

  • Commission-Free Trading. You’ll pay zero commissions when you invest in U.S. exchange-listed stocks, options, and ETFs.
  • Robo Portfolios. If you don’t want to DIY, you can use the Robo Portfolio robo-advisor service, which requires a minimum deposit of only $100 and is free of advisory fees.
  • Excellent Customer Service. Ally Invest normally offers 24/7 Customer Service. However, they have changed the hours due to the coronavirus outbreak. Starting March 25, 2020, the Customer Service hours will be changing from 24/7 to 7 am – 10 pm ET.
  • Easy-to-Use Platform. The Ally Invest trading platform is easy to learn and use.
  • Plenty of Tools and Resources. Whether you’re a brand-new investor or an experienced trader, there are plenty of tools and resources to help you improve.
  • Ally Bank. You can open an Ally Bank account and create a one-stop-shop for all of your financial needs.

Ally Invest Cons

  • No Fee-Free Mutual Funds. At some other brokerages, you’ll find a large assortment of fee-free mutual funds. That’s not the case at Ally Invest, but for the mutual funds you can trade, the transaction fee is only a low $9.95.
  • No Brick-and-Mortar Branches. Sometimes, you just want to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with the person who’s managing your money. As with other online-only discount brokers, there are no offices to visit with Ally Invest. However, Ally Invest offers excellent customer service via phone and online chat.

Ally Invest Promo Codes

Ally Invest is currently offering a promotion that gives new customers up to $3,000 in bonus cash when they open a new self-directed account. How much you earn depends on how much you deposit.

Here’s a table showing how big of a bonus you could get with a new Ally Invest account:

Ally Invest BonusDeposit or Transfer
$3,000$2MM+
$2,000$1MM - $1.99MM
$1,200$500k - $999.9k
$600$250k - $499.9k
$300$100k - $249.9k
$250$25k - $99.9k
$100$10k - $24.9k

Ally Invest Review – Conclusion

Overall, I think Ally Invest offers great value and capability in a low-cost, easy-to-use package. Based on my personal experiences and its award-winning ways, I don’t hesitate to recommend Ally Invest if you’re searching for a new brokerage firm.

Who is Ally Invest best for? Ally Invest is a great option for both beginning and experienced investors, as well as those who want a Robo Portfolio, rather than going the DIY route.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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    These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Dividend Growth Investor says

    I trade at Zecco – you simply can’t beat 10 free trades/month.
    But I have heard a lot of people say nice things about tradeking..

  2. Ryan says

    DGI, I haven’t tried Zecco yet. I have a ShareBuilder account, but don’t trade there often. Their trades are $4 each, if you set them up to trade automatically. Otherwise thay can be higher. TradeKing’s pricing structure is a little nicer.

  3. Nobrokeryet says

    Great review! I’ve been shopping around for a broker and none of the reviews mention taxes. Don’t people care about doing their taxes?! It’s a big deal to me. One review said something about dividend reinvestment. I read a bunch of magazine reviews but prefer blogs and comments by actual people. Magazine’s want advertising revenue and charge for their awards that companies advertise. Just like JD Power. I selected Scottrade then read that they don’t allow dividend reinvestment. Focused on Firsttrade because they allow DR. FT has Gainskeeper software but only for accounts with $75,000 minimum. This morning I was doing a quick search about brokers and found your article. I linked to TradeKing and will check out. Right now TK looks to be my selection unless they have a high minimum to use their tax software or I read reviews sayings it isn’t any good….

    Thanks a lot!

    • Ryan says

      Nobrokeryet: Taxes are a huge deal, especially for people who trade often. TradeKing offers GainsKeeper free to all account holders regardless of minimum. I also love their research and education tools (free to everyone), and their trading prices are among the best you will find. When you take into account all the features they offer, TradeKing is my favorite online brokerage.

      TradeKing was better than the other two brokerages in terms of free services and research, and was not much more expensive than Zecco. It was much cheaper than ShareBuilder.

      Accounts are free to open, so I encourage you to take a look and try it out!

    • Ryan says

      Tee, There is no minimum to open an account, and no inactivity fees. There is, however, a federal regulation that requires a minimum of $2,000 to open a margin account.

  4. Michelle says

    Hi Ryan,

    I’ve been digging around for a while to put together both a Roth IRA and HSA account, and have been reading a lot of your articles.

    So: I’m torn between TradeKing and E*TRADE. I like the looks of TradeKing for the lower fees and myriad free tools. But I think E*TRADE looks good, too, for their longevity in the industry and the fact that they offer foreign investments, too, that TK doesn’t appear to offer.

    Thoughts? Is it better, overall, to open a Roth that includes foreign stocks for better diversification, or is it better to go the cheaper route and then rollover or open a second account later?

    Thanks!
    -Michelle

    • Ryan Guina says

      Michelle, The most important thing to consider is how you will use the account. If you aren’t a frequent trader, then the cost difference per trade may not be substantial. On the other hand, of you are a frequent trader, you may wish to go with the less expensive option.

      You also mentioned overseas investments. Most brokerages allow you to buy mutual funds or ETFs which include foreign investments. So you may be able to get the foreign exposure you desire through a brokerage such as TradeKing if you are OK with investing in mutual funds and ETFs instead of buying individual stocks.

      There are two schools of thought for opening one account now and another later. The first is that it is easier to maintain everything in one account. This is true, but in your case, you may find it better to have an account for more frequent trading and lower costs, and another for overseas investments. In the latter case, you will want to make sure you monitor your investments to make sure you understand your asset allocation. A great (Free!) tool for this is Personal Capital, which aggregates all your investments and shows you how they work together (asset allocation, performance, fund fees, and more). It’s like Mint.com for investments. You can read our Personal Capital review for more information.

      Personally, I think both of these brokerages are great – just take a little time to review your needs and go with the brokerage(s) that best meets your needs. Hope this helps!

  5. Wade M says

    I am a current tradeking customer. Be careful because tradeking online trading platform is unstable. There are days you cannot even access your account. I’ve canceled orders before and they have still gone through later in the day. Just be careful.

  6. TLK says

    Used TradeKing for many years and never had a problem that was not addressed with professionalism. Now since Ally took over I have very long wait times and poor customer service. Bad move.

  7. Charlotte says

    I have Ally, and I recently took most of my money out. The number one reason is that Ally cannot separate DRIPs. You either have all your account do DRIPs or none of your account. Since I had a mix of stocks and mutual funds, I had a lot of trouble trying to fix the problem to only realize the Ally platform can’t distinguish between the two. I think Ally is user-friendly for the brand new investor, but once you’re ready to move on, there are better brokers available.

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