Ally Bank Review

Banking

The banking landscape continues to change, and increasingly, consumers are ditching brick-and-mortar banks for more flexible options. Online banks often come with fewer fees, better customer service, and higher APYs. There is no better example of this than Ally Bank.

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Ally Bank is one of the most popular mobile banking options. The online bank offers competitive interest rates and a variety of helpful features and services. This review will give an overview of the bank, so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.

What is Ally Bank, and how does it work?

Ally Financial was originally founded as GMAC Bank, then rebranded in 2009 as Ally, an online bank. Ally is popular with consumers thanks to its friendly customer service and a wide variety of hassle-free banking options.

This includes the following banking products:

  • Interest checking accounts
  • Online savings accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • IRAs
  • Credit cards
  • Home and auto loans

There is no minimum balance required to open a checking account or savings account with Ally. And the bank charges limited fees.

Of course, there is no perfect banking option. But you’re looking for a convenient, one-stop-shop for all your online banking needs, then Ally is an excellent choice for you to consider.

Ally Bank’s Key Features and Services

Listed below is a more in-depth look at the main banking features Ally offers, as well as some of the pros and cons of each.

Interest Checking

The average national rate for an interest checking account is 0.06%. In comparison, Ally offers an APY of 0.60% on accounts with balances of $15,000 or more.

If your checking account daily balance is less than $15,000, you’ll earn a 0.10% APY, which is still higher than most banks.

Unlike many brick-and-mortar banks, Ally doesn’t charge any monthly maintenance fees. They also don’t charge fees for bank statements, ACH, or wire transfers.

The bank does charge overdraft fees, but they are only $25. And you won’t be hit with more than one overdraft fee per day.

Ally doesn’t have any branches you can visit, so you just snap a photo and deposit checks right from your phone. And if you need to withdraw cash, you can access any Allpoint ATM for free.

Savings

Ally’s online savings comes with an APY of 1.80%, which beats the national average of 0.09%. You’ll earn this rate regardless of how much money you have in your account.

The online savings account does not come with a debit card, but you can easily make transfers from other Ally accounts. You can also utilize mobile deposits, or wire transfer the money, but you cannot deposit cash.

The bank doesn’t charge a monthly fee on its savings account, and the account fees it does charge are limited. You can check out the bank’s website to learn more about the kinds of fees you can expect as an Ally customer.

Money Market Accounts

Ally’s money market account is like a savings and checking account all rolled into one. You earn an APY of 1.00%, but you’re able to spend the money right away. There is no minimum deposit requirement.

When you open a money market account, you’ll receive free checks and a debit card for easy spending. And you’ll receive free access to Allpoint ATMs.

However, due to federal regulations, payments and mobile transfers are limited to six per month. But you can make as many cash withdrawals as you want.

CDs

Here are the three different certificate of deposit accounts Ally offers:

  • Hield Yield CD: This CD comes with a 2.00% APY and is available in a variety of term lengths, ranging from three months up to five years. You will be charged a penalty if you withdraw the money before your term is up.
  • Raise Your Rate CD: This CD has a 2.05% APY and is available for two-year or four-year term lengths. And you have the option to increase your rate once over the two-year term and twice over the four-year term. Early withdrawal penalties will apply to this CD.
  • No Penalty CD: This CD is a good option for consumers who think they may need to withdraw their money early. The term length is 11 months, and the APY varies depending on the size of your deposit.

Does Ally charge any fees?

Yes, but the fees are limited. And all of Ally’s most commonly used financial services don’t come with any fees. For instance, there are no monthly maintenance fees, incoming wire transfer fees, ACH transfers, online statements, or cashier’s checks.

Here is an overview of the fees the bank does charge, per Ally’s website:

  • Returned deposit: $7.50
  • Overdraft fee: $25, limited to once per day
  • Excessive transactions: $10 per transaction
  • Expedited delivery: $15
  • Outgoing wire transfer fees: $20
  • Account research fee: $25 per hour

Pros and Cons of Ally Bank

Pros

  • There are no minimum deposit requirements
  • Competitive APYs
  • There are no monthly fees
  • The fees are pretty low
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Easy-to-use online interface
  • Free ATM access

Cons

  • No local branches
  • The money market pays less than the savings account
  • Savings accounts don’t come with an ATM card
  • There are transaction limits on money market and savings accounts

Who is Ally best for?

If you’re looking for convenient, mobile banking options, Ally is tough to beat. It’s a one-stop-shop for most of your banking needs.

Ally customers will earn a competitive interest rate on savings and CDs. And you never have to worry about maintaining a monthly minimum balance on any Ally Bank account.

A bank account from Ally is a great option for anyone who feels annoyed by monthly fees and is looking for a straightforward, hassle-free approach to banking.

That being said, Ally isn’t going to be the right option for everyone. If you like to have the option to visit a branch location, then Ally will not be the right choice for you.

And the money market rates are lower than what you could get by opening a savings account. If you’re looking for a money market account, you’ll be able to find better rates with Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Discover Bank, or Barclays.

Summary

Depending on your banking needs, Ally Bank could be a good choice for a checking account, online savings account, or CD. You won’t find the best money market rates, so you can probably find better options elsewhere.

But Ally is top-notch in terms of flexibility and customer support. Ally Bank offers 24/7 customer service, so there is always someone available to help and get you the information you need.

Jamie Johnson
Meet the author

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who has been featured in publications like InvestorPlace and GOBankingRates. She writes about a variety of personal finance topics including student loans, credit cards, investing, building credit, and more.