Online banks offer some of the best interest rates in the industry. They also tend to raise a few eyebrows. That’s because in most cases, they’re just like any other bank only without physical branch locations. Entirely online, Ally Bank fits this description, with competitive rates and around-the-clock virtual support. Still, many wonder if Ally Bank, or other online financial institutions, are safe.
If you’re looking to save and invest beyond banking, a financial advisor can help you create a financial plan.
Why Ally Bank Is Safe
Ally Bank may not have branches like a traditional bank, but it does follow the same rules and regulations as big names like Chase or Citibank. For one, the The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures Ally Bank and its deposits up to the maximum, federally designated limit of $250,000. This insurance keeps your money safe even when the economy or Ally isn’t doing well. It offers not only security but also some peace of mind.
Ally also employs several privacy protection measures to combat the risks that come with the internet. The website and your information is protected by firewalls, SSL data encryption and multi-factor authentication. Settings like suspicious activity text and email alerts, session timeouts and fraud monitoring also keep your information secure. Do you suspect fraud? You can call the Ally Fraud Hotline directly, instead of working through a phone tree. Ally Bank also offers free Webroot® SecureAnywhere™ anti-virus and anti-malware software.
How Ally Bank Works
As we mentioned, Ally Bank operates completely online at ally.com. This means you never have to wait in line at a branch, file paper statements or wait to access your funds. You can bank right from your couch in your pajamas. You can link up to 20 external accounts to your Ally account. Plus, Ally offers dedicated banking and credit card customer service teams available 24/7 should you need. You can reach a representative by phone, over email or through the onsite chat platform. If you prefer the phone, check the website for an estimated hold time. The FAQ page also offers a host of helpful information.
You can open an Ally account online, over the phone or with a mail-in application. The easiest method may be finding the type of account you want to open on the website and clicking “Open Account.” Once you enter your information, including your Social Security number, email address, mailing address and date of birth, you’ll be able to fund the account. You can either link a non-Ally account and transfer money electronically, mail a check, use its patented eCheck Deposit™ system for a mobile deposit or set up a wire transfer. You can also enroll in direct deposit with a new savings account or checking account. Want to open multiple accounts at once? You can do that, too.
Accessing your money with Ally Bank is as simple as setting up your account. Once you have an account, you can log into your online account with your login and password. Then you can manage deposits, withdrawals and transfers with Zelle® for any account. You can also download Ally’s mobile app to manage your accounts from your mobile device. If you need to withdraw cash, you’ll have access to over 55,000 ATMs in the Allpoint ATM network. In the event you can’t access one of those ATMs, Ally will reimburse up to $10 per billing cycle for out-of-network ATM fees.
What Happens If Ally Bank Is Hacked?
Online banks know they’re a hacking target and work hard to keep their – and your – assets safe. Ally uses multiple forms of encryption on its accounts and monitors them regularly. If your accounts were to be hacked, though, you won’t be liable for those fraudulent charges and activity.
As an FDIC-insured bank, Ally will make good on your deposits with the help of the federal government. Most likely, the FDIC will sell the bank’s assets to another bank, so your account would simply be housed elsewhere. If Ally’s assets can’t be sold for any reason, the FDIC will send you a check or deposit directly for your current balances within a few days of a hack or closure.
Should You Open an Account With Ally?
If you’re unsure of the security that Ally Bank can offer, you don’t need to worry. Ally employs the best safety measures to keep you and your finances safe. While safety is certainly an important consideration when choosing a bank, it isn’t the only one.
To determine whether Ally is right for you, check out what services it offers and compare them with your own banking needs. Ally does have one of the best checking accounts on the market since it’s free and earns interest. In fact, none of Ally’s accounts charge service fees and they all earn at great rates, especially the Ally CDs. The easy-to-use mobile app and innovative customer service offerings don’t hurt either.
Of course, Ally won’t be the right bank for everyone. For one, being an entirely online bank without branches and the ability for cash deposits may be more of an inconvenience for many customers. If you really value face-to-face time with a banker and physical paperwork, it may not be for you.
As with any bank, be sure to shop around for one that truly offers the best security, services and accounts before handing over your money. Once you set up your accounts, don’t forget to enforce other safety measures like setting secure passwords, using two-step authentication and surfing the web responsibly. Ally Bank offers thorough security measures, but your account safety is your responsibility, too.
Tips for Banking
- If you’re looking to switch banks, you’ll certainly want to find one that keeps your money safe and secure. But if you’re careless with your information, your bank can only do so much. Be careful when making online purchases by ensuring that a website is legitimate before you hand over your bank info. You should also avoid providing any personal or banking information over email or live chat, even in bank correspondence.
- In addition to avoiding unnecessary fees, you’ll want to make sure your money is growing as best as it can, too. You can easily open a new, or additional, savings account that earns at much better rates than perhaps your current one does. You can even find fee-free, interest-earning checking accounts to further boost your funds without even trying.
- For long-term financial goals, a financial advisor can help you create a financial plan. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
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