After winning the title of best online bank in the GOBankingRates Best Banks ranking for 2015, 2016, and 2017, Ally bank finds itself on top yet again for 2018. A combination of superior customer service, diverse offerings, low costs, and high interest rates put Ally Bank at the head of the list, year after year.
What Makes Ally Bank the Best Online Bank of 2018
GOBankingRates sifted through the qualifications of 28 online banks to evaluate which was the best bank based on a variety of factors, including:
- Checking account fee
- Savings account APY
- 12-month certificate of deposit APY
Banks were also rated on their financial strength, customer service availability, and mobile banking offerings, including remote check deposit. To see why Ally Bank is the winner of the annual Best Online Bank ranking once again, take a look at the numbers behind the survey.
Top Contenders: Best Online Banks of 2018
Checking and Savings Accounts
Ally Bank offers a free checking account that pays interest, a combination that can be hard to find. Ally’s Interest Checking account pays 0.10% APY, but that rate jumps to 0.60% APY for deposits of $15,000 and up. Ally’s high-yield savings account is just as competitive, with no monthly maintenance fees and a 1.60% APY. The bank has no ATM fees nationwide if you use Allpoint ATMs, and it reimburses up to $10 per month in fees charged at any non-Allpoint ATM.
Ally offers a range of CD products, each with different features and benefits, including some accounts with no fees. The 12-month CD had a rate of 2.10% APY. Ally’s High-Yield CD paid 1.85% APY for deposits of $5,000 or more, but that rate jumps to 2.00% APY for deposits of $25,000 or more, as of April 18, 2018. The innovative Raise Your Rate CD paid a 2.35% APY for either a two-year or a four-year term; if CD rates rise after you buy the product, you’re allowed to raise the rate one time during the two-year term, or twice during the four-year term. The No-Penalty CD allows free withdrawals six days after buying the product; on Jan. 4, 2018, deposits of less than $5,000 earned 1.15% APY, and $25,000 deposits enjoyed a 1.50% APY.
Customer Service Options and Education
Ally Bank is all about customer service, even if they don’t have any physical branches. You can reach the bank 24/7 on the phone with a live customer service representative, a feature not many banks offer. Ally also has a live chat app on its website.
Even though you can’t visit a banker in-person, Ally offers a series of educational courses on its website under the Wallet Wise moniker. You can learn about budgeting, credit, banking, investing and auto finance, all for free. You can even download the courses after taking an online quiz about the material you learned.
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Online and Mobile Banking
As an online-only bank, Ally has gone out of its way to make its online and mobile presence seamless. Via your computer or smartphone, you can open accounts, monitor your transactions and manage your money via user-friendly interfaces. You can make a mobile deposit via the Ally eCheck app, and the bank’s Zelle service allows you to send and receive money using an email address or a mobile phone number. Ally Assist is the bank’s voice-enabled service that is built right into its mobile app. Card Controls allows you to build protections into your debit card, allowing you to establish spending limits, manage notifications, and view transactions when you bank online.
Drawbacks of Ally Bank
As the top online bank in the GOBankingRates ranking, Ally Bank excels in nearly every field. The bank does have some minor shortcomings. While Ally does accept wire transfers, mailed checks, and eCheck deposits, the bank does not accept cash. As an online bank, you can’t make a withdrawal at a branch. Ally’s CD offerings pay rates far above the national average, but its interest rates are not always the highest you can find.
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According to the data points of the GOBankingRates Best Banks of 2018 ranking, Ally Bank is the top dog when it comes to online banks. Innovative products, high rates, live customer service, mobile and online banking apps, and free online education comprise a complete package for this online bank. If you need to deposit cash or prefer banking in person, look elsewhere.
Methodology: To determine its Best Online Banks ranking, GOBankingRates examined 28 online-only banks that offer products nationally according to the GOBankingRates and FDIC databases, excluding online products offered by institutions with a physical, retail banking presence. No asset threshold was consulted for online-only banks.
Criteria for ranking: GOBankingRates scored each online-only bank from most to least favorable on the following factors: (1) checking account fee, (2) savings account annual percentage yield, (3) 12-month certificate of deposit APY and (4) BauerFinancial Star Rating for overall financial strength. Banks were then scored according to whether they offered the following services, all of which contributed to a single weighting: (5) 24/7 customer service available by phone, (6) live chat service via website with a person, (7) mobile app and (8) remote check deposit. Banks were ranked according to their overall score.
Data for the Best Banks of 2018 was compiled from and verified against the individual institutions’ websites between Sept. 12 and Sept. 21, 2017, however, Ally Bank rates are accurate as of today. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. APY was based on the minimum deposit required to open the account. Some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.
GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some banks mentioned in the Best Banks of 2018 are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.