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Ally Bank Review

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Ally Bank

Ally Bank Overview

Ally Bank got its start back in 1919 focusing largely on helping auto dealers and those who needed auto loans. Throughout the years, Ally Bank has changed with the times, constantly working to improve their services.

Today, Ally Bank is an entirely online bank without any physical branches. According to its website, that allows the bank to “offer greater value with consistently competitive rates and convenient around-the-clock support” for customers. Not only does Ally Bank offer checking accounts and various kinds of savings accounts, but they also offer auto loans, investing opportunities, credit cards and home loans. This could come in handy if you’re looking to keep all your financial accounts in one place. 

When it comes to savings accounts, Ally Bank offers a few different options in online savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CD). All of the accounts offer interest rates above the national average. You won’t have to worry about maintenance fees with any account either, making these accounts almost perfect for saving money.

Pros
  • Mobile app with check deposit
  • Wide variety of account choices
Best For
  • Consumers comfortable with online banking and interested in a variety of accounts
Cons
  • No physical locations
  • Interest rates not as competitive as other online banks

Products Offered

Savings Accounts

  • Online savings accounts with 1.15% APY on all balance tiers
  • Interest compounded daily
  • No maintenance fees
  • Easy to deposit, manage and access
  • No minimum balance requirement

Certificates of Deposit

  • Choose between High Yield CD, Raise Your Rate CD and No Penalty CD
  • High Yield terms ranging between three months and five years
  • Raise Your Rate CD terms lasting two or four years
  • No Penalty CD terms last 11 months
  • Best rate guarantee for deposit within 10 days
  • Interest compounded daily
  • No minimum balance requirement

Money Market Accounts

  • 0.85% APY on all balance tiers
  • No maintenance fees
  • Unlimited deposits and ATM withdrawals
  • EMV chip technology
  • No minimum balance requirement

Interest Checking Accounts

  • 0.10% APY on balances less than $15,000
  • 0.60% APY on balances $15,000 and over
  • Free access to any Allpoint? ATM in the U.S.
  • EMV chip technology
  • No minimum balance requirement

IRAs

  • Choose between various term lengths and APYs, with IRA High Yield CDs, IRA Raise Your Rate CDs and IRA Online Savings
  • Interest compounded daily
  • Available as a traditional, Roth and SEP IRA
  • Roth and traditional IRA rollovers available

Ally Bank Account Features

Ally Bank Savings Summary 

Whether you want a traditional savings account, a money market account or a certificate of deposit, Ally Bank has got you covered. It offers all three, all at competitive rates. All three kinds earn interest that’s compounded daily, nor do they require a minimum balance at any time. Some accounts will require a minimum deposit amount, though. You may also open either account as a Trust account.

No matter which account you have, Ally Bank boasts dedicated 24/7 customer service and guaranteed security whether online or mobile banking. Ally Bank is also a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), meaning your money is FDIC-insured. 

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

Minimum deposit: No minimum deposit required to open account and no minimum balance requirement either.

Access to your savings account: Online, mobile, by phone, check requests or wire transfer.

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.

Fees: Ally promises no hidden fees. Fees may be charged for the following: returned deposit items, overdraft item paid or returned, excessive transactions, expedited delivery, outgoing domestic wires and account research.

Current Terms and Rates: 1.15% annual percentage yield (APY) on all balance tiers.

Savings accounts are a great way to save for the future. You can deposit whatever amount of money and watch it grow in time without much maintenance, if any. You can get a savings account from most banks and credit unions, making them pretty accessible. Depending on where you open a CD, you may be required to deposit a minimum amount. Other institutions won’t require a minimum deposit or a minimum balance.

You can make withdrawals from your savings accounts, but only to an extent. There are federal laws in place that limit your withdrawals to six per month. There are often fees that come with too many transactions, whether they are withdrawals or transfers to a different account.

Often, savings accounts come with a pretty low interest rate below 1%. Some even offer a mere 0.01% APY, earning barely anything after a year. Luckily, there are savings accounts from different banks and institutions that offer much higher rates. Ally Bank is one of those banks. Without the costs that come with physical branches around the country, Ally Bank is able to offer their customers higher rates.

Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account offers a 1.15% APY on all balance tiers. This means that no matter how much you deposit or how much is in the account at any given time, the balance will earn 1.15% interest. Interest is compounded daily, meaning your interest will in turn earn interest. Plus, you don’t have to pay any monthly maintenance fees. Ally promises its customers no hidden fees. The only fees that you may be charged are for returned deposit items, overdraft item paid or returned, excessive transactions, expedited delivery, outgoing domestic wires and extensive account research. So not only will your money be earning more money, but you don’t have to spend that on fees to keep the account. 

Ally also makes it easy to deposit, withdraw and manage your savings accounts. You can move money between your savings account and other Ally accounts or to outside bank accounts as well. You can also schedule transfers up to a year in advance. Managing your Ally Bank savings account can be done over the phone, online or on mobile. 

To make a deposit into an Ally Bank savings account, you can deposit a check through Ally eCheck Deposit™, online transfers, direct deposit, wire transfers and sending checks in the mail. Ally Bank does not accept cash deposits, though.

To withdraw funds from an Ally Bank savings account, you can do so online, through a wire transfer, a telephone transfer or make a check request. Just remember that you are limited to six transactions per statement cycle. You will incur a fee of $10 every time you go over that limit. 

Ally Bank Certificates of Deposit

Minimum deposit: No minimum deposit required, but you can get a higher APY with a larger deposit.

Access to your CD: Online, mobile and via phone. Plus, renewal is automatic.

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 

Fees: No maintenance fees, but there will be penalties for withdrawing from your CD before maturity. The amount of the penalty will depend on the length of your CD term.

A certificate of deposit (CD) is an alternative to a traditional savings account. They are usually low-risk and low-earning. They also have an expiration date, which will depend on the institution you open a CD with. You can only withdraw the funds within the CD when it reaches its expiration date. You can try to withdraw before that maturity date, but you will often be met with some hefty penalties. 

Ally Bank offers a number of CD options. The first is its High Yield CD which offers some great rates. You can choose from a number of term lengths, like three, six, nine, 12 and 18 months or three and five years. Only the 12-month and five-year terms offer a flat rate of 1.35% and 2.25%, respectively. All other term lengths have three different APYs that will apply depending on how much you deposit. You can also use a High Yield CD as an IRA.

The second type of CD Ally Bank offers is the Raise Your Rate CD. You can choose between a two-year and a four year-term. Both terms have an APY of 1.50%. You may have the chance to increase your rate once within your two-year term and twice within your four-year term. This increase can happen if Ally’s rates increase for your specific term and balance tier. This CD is also available as an IRA.

The third kind of CD that Ally Bank offers is the No Penalty CD. This is available only as an 11-month term. The APY starts at 1.00% for a deposit less than $5,000, increases to 1.25% with a deposit of at least $5,000, and maxes out at 1.50% with at least a $25,000 deposit. Unlike most CDs, Ally Bank offers some flexibility when it comes to withdrawing before full maturity of the account. You may withdraw everything from your account after six days have passed since you first funded the account. This won’t incur any penalties. 

All Ally Bank CDs include interest compounded daily, availability as a trust, automatic renewal at maturity and FDIC insurance. Ally Bank also offers a 10-day best rate guarantee. This guarantees you the best rate available to your term and balance tier if you make a deposit into the account within the first 10 days. 

Note that you cannot add funds to a CD at any time. You open the CD, put some funds in there and wait until its maturity date. Only then can you add more money into the account. You have a 10-day grace period after the maturity date to transfer or add funds. Luckily, you can schedule a transfer up to one time before that date or during the 10-day grace period. You can transfer your chosen amount to another Ally account, another connected and verified account or through a check from Ally.

Ally Bank Money Market Accounts

Minimum deposit: There is no minimum deposit requirement, nor a minimum balance requirement. 

Access to your money market account: Online, mobile, by phone, wire transfer, through your debit card and checks.

Security: FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law. 

Fees: The only fees you may be charged are for the following transactions: Cross border or currency conversion, returned deposit item, overdraft item paid or returned, excessive transactions, expedited delivery, stop payment item, outgoing domestic wires and excessive account research. 

Current Terms and Rates: 0.85% APY on all balance tiers.

Finally, Ally Bank offers customers the option of opening a Money Market Account. You can open a money market account with most banks. A money market account is like a mix of a checking account and a savings account. For one, the funds you place into a money market account earn interest while they sit in the account, just like a savings account. However, you can have a debit card and check writing capabilities with a money market account as well, like a checking account.

Like a savings account, money market accounts usually carry a cap on outgoing transactions to six per statement cycle. Additionally, deposits of up to $25,000 are FDIC-insured.

Some people stash their emergency funds in money market accounts. That way, they are safe while they accrue interest, but they are also easy to access when a time arises. You could be earning more through stock investing than with a money market account, or even a regular savings account. However, those accounts offer more stability than the stock market. Ally Bank will allow you to open a money market account as a trust.

Ally Bank’s Money Market Account offers a 0.85% APY on all balance tiers, much higher than most other money market accounts. Ally Bank doesn’t require a minimum balance in the account while you hold it. That way, you’ll be earning interest, which is compounded daily, without a penalty for not having enough money in the account.

Ally Bank also won’t charge any maintenance fees for having the account. This means, you get to keep your earnings and not worry about pesky fees. There will be fees for out-of-the-ordinary transactions, though. This includes cross border/currency conversion, returned deposit item, overdraft item paid or returned, expedited delivery, stop payment item, outgoing domestic wires and excessive account research.

Again, you will be limited to six outgoing transactions per statement cycle per federal law. Any transaction that goes over six, will incur an excessive transaction fee. However, you will have access to unlimited ATM withdrawals and check requests through an Ally Bank money market account. Plus, Ally Bank can reimburse up to $10 per statement cycle on fees spent at other ATMs.

To deposit money into your money market account, you will need funds other than only cash. Ally Bank will accept deposits through its Ally eCheck Deposit™, online transfers, direct deposit, wire transfers and checks through the mail.

Once Ally Bank receives your initial deposit, you can expect to receive your debit card and check order in the mail within 10 business days. Your debit card can be used at the ATM and comes with EMV chip technology. As with a checking account, you can re-order checks once you run out. You can also expect those to arrive in the mail within 10 business days. 

Ally Bank Interest Checking Account

Minimum deposit: No minimum deposit or minimum balance required.

Access to your account: 24/7 access online, mobile, by phone, mail, wire transfer, direct deposit or ATM.

Security: EMV chip technology.

Fees: Ally Bank is straightforward about the fees that may be charged. These fees involve the following transactions: cross border/currency conversion, returned deposit item, overdraft item paid or returned, stop payment item, rush delivery of debit cards or other items, overnight bill pay, same-day bill pay, outgoing domestic wires and excessive account research. 

Current Terms and Rates: A balance of $15,000 or higher will earn a 0.60% APY, anything below $15,000 has an APY of 0.10%.

At this point, you’re probably pretty familiar with checking accounts. These are the accounts where you deposit your paychecks and draw money from with your debit card. However, you may not be used to a checking account that also earns interest on the balance. That’s usually limited to savings accounts. However, there are a number of banks and financial institutions that offer interest-earning checking accounts.

Ally Bank is only one of these institutions offering interest checking accounts. Ally Bank’s offering comes with an APY of 0.60% on balances of $15,000 or higher and an APY of 0.10% on balances of anything below $15,000. Other than those amount thresholds, there is no minimum balance requirement. 

To deposit money into your Ally Bank interest checking account, you have a number of options. You can transfer funds from another account, whether with Ally Bank or another institution, deposit a check with Ally eCheck Deposit?, direct deposit, wire transfer or sending a check in the mail. You cannot deposit cash.

Since Ally Bank doesn’t have any physical branches, you can access your checking account funds through any Allpoint® ATM in the U.S. Usage of those ATM machines will be free. Should you need to use another U.S. ATM with fees, Ally Bank will reimburse you for those ATM fees up to $10 per statement cycle. Ally Bank MasterCard® debit cards are also equipped with EMV chip technology for added security. To send money, you can use Popmoney®, a secure online way to send money to any U.S. bank account.

With your interest checking account, you will receive a MasterCard® debit card, standard checks and postage-paid deposit envelopes at no extra charge. You should receive these in the mail within 10 business days after Ally Bank receives your initial deposit. Your debit card will allow you to withdraw money at any Allpoint® ATM in the U.S. for free. Ally Bank can also provide cashier’s checks to you as a customer, which you can request by calling their 24/7 customer service number.

As with any Ally Bank service, you can access and manage your interest checking account online and on Ally’s mobile app. There, you can make payments, deposit money, transfer funds or simply check on your balance. You can also easily access your other Ally Bank accounts online and on mobile, too, if you have any.

Ally Bank IRAs

Minimum deposit: No minimum deposit required, but a higher deposit can get you a higher APY.

Access to your account: Online and mobile banking.

Security: All deposits are FDIC-insured up to amounts regulated by law.

Fees: No maintenance fees. You may incur a penalty fee for withdrawing from your account before its maturity date.

Ally Bank also offers individual retirement accounts, or IRAs. An IRA is a retirement account you can open on your own without the assistance or involvement of an employer. You can open an IRA with a number of financial institutions, including Ally Bank. You contribute money to your IRA with your pre-tax earnings, mindful of IRA limitations. As with a savings account, the money in your IRA will grow according to its interest rate. 

Ally Bank’s IRA options are very similar to its certificates of deposit, just more tailored toward retirement savings. For one, you can open an IRA High Yield CD. Like with the High Yield CD, you can choose a set term ranging from three months to five years. The length of the term you choose will determine the APY your IRA receives. Sometimes the amount of your deposit will also be included in determining your APY, but Ally still promises competitive rates. Plus, if you make your deposit within 90 days, Ally Bank will give you the best rate for the term of your account and your balance tier. Ally also offers a 10-day best rate guarantee, which provides you with the best rate for your term and balance tier. With a regular CD, this would apply if you funded your CD within 10 days of your open date. With an IRA CD, however, it applies only at the renewal of your IRA CD. 

The IRA High Yield CD carries many of the same fees as the regular High Yield CD. Many of the terms and rules of the regular CD also apply here, like making one-time deposits and penalties for early withdrawal.

Ally’s second IRA offering is the IRA Raise Your Rate CD, similar to the regular Raise Your Rate CD. The IRA version also comes as a two- or four-year term, both carrying an APY of 1.50%. If you fund your IRA CD within the first 90 days, Ally Bank will give you the best rate for your term and balance tier. You may also have the opportunity to increase that rate once over your two-year term or twice over your 4-year term, if the rates and your balance increase. 

Interest is compounded daily, which means that without maintenance fees, you get to watch your money grow and keep that money. You will only see fees as a penalty for early withdrawal. This, along with regulations surrounding deposits and withdrawals are the same as the regular Raise Your Rate CD. 

Finally, you can look into Ally Bank’s IRA Online Savings Account. This account option offers a 1.15% APY on all balance tiers. Since it’s not a CD, there are no set time limits for this IRA. However, as a savings account, you will be limited to six outgoing transfers per statement cycle. This is regulated by law, and you can see fees for going over that limit. Luckily, Ally Bank won’t charge any fees for the maintenance of the account. They also promise no hidden fees. The fees that you might see will be triggered by the following transactions: returned deposit item, overdraft item paid or returned, excessive transactions, expedited delivery, outgoing domestic wires and excessive account research. 

To make a withdrawal from your IRA Online Savings Account, you need to request a distribution from Ally Bank. This is done either online, on the mobile app or by calling the bank’s customer service line. You may also find the distribution form online, print it and mail it in. 

All three IRA options offer flexible funding options, including Roth and traditional IRA rollovers. Each type is also available as a Roth, SEP or traditional IRA. Plus, your deposits are FDIC-insured up to the legal amount. This comes in handy since your accounts will be growing at a solid rate with interest compounded daily. 

Geographic Coverage

Where Can I Find Ally Bank?

Ally Bank is an entirely online institution. So you can find them by simply going online to its website www.ally.com. You can easily reach a representative either by phone or through an online chat system. You can even see an estimated wait time on the website. Ally’s bank customer services are available 24/7, as are its credit card services. 

Ally Bank's Online Banking Features

What Can You Do Online With Ally Bank?

You can do everything you need online with Ally Bank. You can find out about its various financial offerings, from checking accounts to auto loans to investing to savings accounts. You can open various accounts online and once you have an account, you can easily access it there. If you have more than one account, that’s easily accessible to you, as well. If you ever have any questions, there is always an FAQ section, a search function and contact information.

Ally Bank also offers a mobile app to its customers. There you can manage all your accounts just as you would online.

How Do I Access My Money?

Ally Bank makes it incredibly easy to access your money, no matter which account you have. You can make deposits, withdrawals and transfers with general ease. You can log into your online account on the bank’s website to manage any and all of your accounts. You can do the same thing on your mobile smartphone with Ally Bank’s app. There, you can even deposit checks with Ally Bank eCheck Deposit™. You can even call customer service to manage your account.

The number of times you can make a deposit into your account will depend on the account type, whether a traditional savings account, a money market account or a CD. All account types will accept any form of payment, though, except cash. Withdrawals and outgoing transfers are another matter, however. Per federal laws, you will be limited to six outgoing transactions per statement cycle.

To make a wire transfer, you will have to make a request online using the online wire transfer form. There will be a $20 fee for sending a domestic wire transfer. You can also print out a domestic wire transfer form from the website and fax it to the number given on the website. 

Luckily, you have easy access to Ally Bank representatives. So if you ever have any questions or are unsure how to best access your account, you can give them a call. 

How Can I Save More Money With an Ally Bank Account?

Ally Bank is one of the few places you can get such high APY numbers. You might expect big banks like Chase and Bank of America to offer the best rates for savings accounts. However, they offer only 0.01% return on their savings accounts, not even coming close to Ally Bank’s offerings.

By switching to an Ally Bank savings account, you can earn more money without really having to do much more. You earn more and pay less, especially in fees. 

Let’s say you deposit $5,000 into an account with a 0.01% APY. After a year, you earn a mere 50 cents. If you were to deposit $5,000 into an Ally Bank savings account with the APY of 1.15%, you earn $52.50 after a year. If you were to consistently put more money into your Ally Bank account, your earnings would be even more than that. 

What’s the Process for Opening an Account With Ally Bank?

Since there are no physical Ally Bank branches, you will need to open an account either online or by calling its customer service phone number. You may also apply by mailing in the necessary forms, but that requires printing out from the website, so you might as well just apply online. 

Online, it’s as simple as finding the account you would like to open and clicking the button that reads “Open Account.” You will need to provide information like your Social Security number, your US mailing address and your age. You need to be at least 18 years old to open an account. 

If you want to open an account as a joint account or as a Trust, you can state that during your application. 

How Ally Bank Stacks Up

What’s the Catch? 

A huge part of Ally Bank is that it is entirely online, without any physical branches. This can be a huge plus to many, but equally a pain for others. Sometimes you just need to talk to a person face-to-face and sign papers in real time. So if you really value those aspects of a bank, banking with Ally Bank might get frustrating for you.

There’s no real further drawbacks unique to Ally Bank that other banks or savings accounts won’t have. For one, it might be a damper that you are limited to six outgoing transactions per statement cycle when talking about various savings accounts. When looking at CDs specifically, it could cramp your style that you can’t withdraw before its maturity date, lest you incur a nice fee. Further, the APY on your savings account could change at any point, perhaps even without prior notice. 

Bottom Line

Ally Bank is overall a very solid option for people looking for a savings account. Not only does it offer traditional savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs, but its offerings carry some of the highest APYs. Compared to the competition, Ally Bank provides a great opportunity for anyone looking to grow their money.

Without physical locations, Ally Bank is able to offer easy access to customer service and your own accounts. Ally Bank is also able to boast some of the highest earning rates and no hidden fees. Its savings accounts don’t charge maintenance fees nor do they require a minimum deposit or balance. It’s a great opportunity to earn more and spend less. 

 

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