Ally Bank Review

FT Contributor  | 

Ally Bank is an online bank offering competitive interest rates and fewer bank fees than the traditional brick and mortar financial institution. You can open a checking, savings, certificate of deposit (CD), and individual retirement account (IRA) without having to worry about a minimum balance requirement.

How Does Ally Bank Work?

Since Ally Bank is an online financial institution with no physical locations, you’ll handle most of your transactions through the website or the mobile banking app.

Opening an account is simple:

  • Navigate to the type of account you’d like to open;
  • Click on Open an Account;
  • Enter your personal information including your name and Social Security number;
  • Choose your account terms and how much you’ll fund the account with;
  • Wait for a confirmation email once your account is approved.

If you’re having trouble applying online, you may also sign up over the phone by calling Ally customer service 24/7 at (877) 247-2559 or by downloading and filling out a bank application form and mailing it to the provided address.

Once you’ve received your account supplies such as an ATM card, debit card, or checks, you’re ready to start making free withdrawals at local Allpoint networks. You can transfer money between accounts and make online bill payments through the app or website.

You have several deposit options:

  • Take a photo of a check using eCheck Deposit;
  • Receive incoming wire transfers from other banks for free;
  • Set up direct deposit;
  • Mail Ally Bank your deposits using the provided postage-paid envelopes.

Ally Bank Features

Although Ally Bank is an online-only financial institution, you’ll have access to many of the same services you’re used to from a traditional bank. Here are some of Ally Bank’s best features:

24/7 Availability

Customer care service is available 24/7 by calling (877) 247-2559. You can also login to your account to send a secure email.

ATMs

Ally Bank customers have access to free ATM withdrawals when using the Allpoint ATM network with more than 43,000 locations. Customers are also reimbursed for up to $10 in ATM withdrawal fees per month that may have been charged by other providers.

Fees

Ally checking accounts come with no monthly maintenance fees or ATM withdrawal fees for transactions made through Allpoint ATM networks. You’ll also receive free cashier’s checks and account supplies. The following fees may apply:

  • Domestic wire transfers: $20 each;
  • Incoming wire transfers: free;
  • Stop payment requests: $15;
  • Returned check fee: $7.50 each;
  • Overdraft fees: $25 per day.

Savings accounts don’t have any monthly maintenance fees. In accordance with federal law, you’re limited to six free withdrawals per month. Withdrawal types include:

  • Online transfers;
  • Mobile app transfers;
  • Checks;
  • Debit card withdrawals or purchases (if the savings account comes with a debit card).

Although savings accounts are limited to six withdrawals per month, Ally allows Money Market account holders to make unlimited ATM withdrawals.

Interest Rates

You’ll earn interest on your funds held in Ally’s checking and savings products. Here is a list of the current Ally interest rates by account:

  • Online checking account: 0.10% annual percentage yield (APY) for daily balances under $15,000 and 0.50% APY for balances $15,000 and up;
  • Online savings: 1.60% APY;
  • Money market: 0.75% APY;
  • High-yield certificate of deposit (CD): 0.75% to 2.15% APY, depending on the term lengths, ranging between three months to five years;
  • Raise Your Rate CD: 2.05% APY for two or four-year lengths;
  • No Penalty CD: 11-month term with interest rates of 1.65% APY for balances under $5000, 1.85% for $5000 opening deposits and 1.90% for opening deposits of $25,000 or more;
  • IRA (individual retirement account) high-yield CD: 0.75% to 2.15% APY, depending on the term lengths, ranging between three months to five years;
  • IRA Raise Your Rate CD: 2.05% APY for two or four-year lengths;
  • IRA Online Savings: 1.60% APY.

Mobile App

Ally Bank’s intuitive mobile app is available for most smartphones, tablets, and Alexa. You’ll be able to handle most of your banking from the app, including making deposits, reviewing transactions, and setting up bill payments or transfers. You may download the free app for:

Is Ally Bank Safe?

If you’re concerned about how safe your money is while held in an online bank, you’ll find that Ally offers many of the same guarantees as a traditional bank. Ally Bank is FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured. You can rest assured that your funds (up to $250,000 per depositor) are backed by the U.S. government.

Ally also guarantees that you won’t be responsible for any unauthorized transactions when you report them within 60 days of when your bank statement was released.

Should You Make an Account With Ally Bank?

If you’re having trouble knowing how to choose the right bank, consider the following benefits and drawbacks of opening an account with Ally Bank:

Pros of Ally Bank

You’ll receive a higher interest rate on your money than what traditional banks have to offer. The current Ally bank savings rate is 1.60% APY — one of the highest of all banks. Besides the opportunity to earn interest (even on your checking account funds), you won’t have to worry about monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees.

The online web portal and mobile app are easy to use. You’ll also find lots of valuable information on personal finance through the online knowledge base.

Cons of Ally Bank

If you’re not comfortable with banking through a website or app, Ally may not be ideal. The bank doesn’t have any physical locations, although there are more than 43,000 ATM locations nationwide where you can check your account balances and make free withdrawals. Besides the lack of branches, Ally doesn’t accept cash deposits. This may be a major deal breaker if you need to fund your accounts with cash regularly.


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