Ally Invest Review: Is It the Right Investment Platform for You?
Breadth of Products
Although Ally Invest reviews are mostly positive, the investment platform may not be the best fit for everyone. Here’s a look at its pros and cons.
- No account minimums
- No trading commissions for stocks, exchange-traded funds and options
- Self-directed and managed portfolios available
- Robust research tools and online investment tutorials
- Reimburses transfer fees up to $150 when you transfer $2,500 or more from another brokerage
- DRIP (dividend reinvestment) enabled
- Fractional shares allowed
- Online only
- Futures trading not available
- $9.95 commission for mutual fund purchases
About Ally Invest
Ally Invest’s platform is robust enough to service new investors or experienced traders. New investors can try their hand using the self-directed trading platform or by signing up for a no-fee, automated managed portfolio from one of the best robo-advisors around.
Experienced traders will have plenty of free research and trading tools at their disposal, such as:
- Forex trading
- Streaming charts
- Probability calculators
- Option chains
- ETF screeners
Best of all, trades are commission-free with no account minimums, with the exception of no-load mutual funds, which can be bought and sold for $9.95 per trade.
Ally Invest at a Glance
Ally Invest’s services are fairly comprehensive, making the platform ideal for new and experienced traders.
|Opening minimums||None for self-directed trading; $100 for managed portfolios|
|Trading commissions for stocks, ETFs and options||None|
|Mutual fund commissions||$9.95|
|Low-priced stocks (under $2.00)||$4.95 per trade and $0.01 per share|
|Options trades||$0.50 per contract|
|Automatic investment available||Yes (managed portfolios)|
|Managed portfolio types||
Ally Invest Features
Ally Invest works in different ways, depending on your needs. The trading platform allows for hands-on trades through the self-directed option or passive investing when you select the managed portfolio option. More confident investors also have access to forex trading. Here’s a closer look at each option.
Beginners may choose to go with a managed portfolio. You’ll need $100 to fund one but won’t have to pay any advisory fees. One of the steps when you apply for an account is an online questionnaire that helps the robo-advisor determine your goals and comfort with risk. You’ll receive portfolio recommendations based on your answers.
All of the four portfolio types invest in ETFs. They are:
- Core: The most diversified, designed for conservative to aggressive investors
- Income: More conservative with higher dividend yields and focused on income over growth
- Socially responsible: Only invests in companies that are environmentally friendly, sustainable or socially responsible
- Tax optimized: An individual retirement account; investments are tax-advantaged for retirement planning
In addition, 30% of a managed portfolio is allocated as cash in an interest-earning account to provide your portfolio some stability from a volatile market.
The self-directed investment platform has all the features a newbie or experienced day trader could use. Some of the tools and resources available with your free and low-cost trades are:
- Eight types of streaming charts, including candlestick
- ETF screener you can use to research available ETFs and find the best one
- The probability calculator looks into the future to show you your future net worth and investment needs.
- Option chains allow you to see everything available in one place.
- Profit and loss graphs
- Watchlists available to view and compare market data
Ally Invest is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corp., which protects each investor with up to $500,000 in securities coverage. In addition, mobile app usage is protected by two-step authentication.
Ally Invest Fees
Ally Invest is a low- or no-cost platform that offers several commission-free investment choices. However, there are a variety of small fees that can add up if you’re not vigilant. They include:
- Transfer out fee: $50
- Outgoing domestic wire transfers: $30
- Paper statements: $4 per account statement
- Phone orders: $20 in addition to the regular commission
- Index fund trades: $0.35 per contract
What Ally Invest Is Best For
Ally aims to make investing accessible for all. While the managed portfolio option is great, its features are not unique enough to set it apart from the competition. Based on Ally Invest reviews and GOBankingRates research, Ally Invest may be best for armchair or day traders in search of a full-featured, low-cost trading platform.
Investing requires due diligence to ensure you’re making a wise financial choice. Many traders spend more time doing research than they would trading the equity. Ally Invest’s learning resources are broad. Streaming charts and live ticker news are just a couple of research tools. They’re provided for free by Morningstar, Zacks Investment Research and more.
Ally Invest Mobile App
Advanced traders can manage their equities using the mobile app. It can display your holdings, account activity and orders. You can set up a watchlist to notify you of price changes. In addition, you’ll also have access to an ETF screener.
Variety of Tradable Securities
Investors can trade a variety of securities. They include stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, forex, penny stocks and options.
Where Ally Invest Falls Short
Brokerages and financial service companies that try to spread themselves thin by going after all investors typically miss in some areas. Ally Invest is pretty solid, but there are a couple of areas that could use improvement.
Mutual Fund Trading Fees
Buying or selling a mutual fund costs $9.95 per trade. The cost is relatively steep, especially if you plan on holding the fund short term.
Penny Stock Fees
Securities that cost less than $2 per share are subject to a $4.95 trade fee and $0.01 per share. Depending on how many shares you buy, the fees could end up costing you a significant portion of your investment.
Ally Invest vs. Competitors
The market for robo-advisors and low-cost online brokerages is fairly competitive. There are several quality alternatives.
Ally Invest vs. Robinhood
Ally Invest and Robinhood both provide full-featured trading platforms. Ally Invest beats Robinhood in tradable securities by providing ETFs and mutual funds — things that Robinhood does not provide. In Robinhood’s defense, the online broker’s fees are lower than Ally’s. In addition, Robinhood may not have as many securities available, but you can buy and sell cryptocurrency.
Ally Invest vs. Wealthfront
Ally Invest’s managed account is similar to Wealthfront’s robo-advisor. However, Wealthfront allows you to manage all your external bank accounts in one place. Once you link them with Wealthfront, you can also get investment recommendations based on your financial picture.
Ally Invest’s fees are lower than Wealthfront’s. Wealthfront charges 0.25% of your annual balance. Ally Invest notes that there are no advisory fees for managed portfolios, so investing is a free experience.
Who Should Use Ally Invest?
Everyone could use Ally Invest. The platform is full featured, making it possible to expand your options as you gain more investing knowledge and experience.
You can get started with a managed portfolio that is automatically maintained and rebalanced. While your portfolio grows, take advantage of the large database of research and tools to learn more about investing. Once you feel you have a good grasp of the basics, you could open a self-directed account to take a more hands-on approach with your investments.
Ally Invest FAQHere are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Ally Invest.
- What are Ally Invest reviews like?
- Ally Invest account holders appreciate the low to no fees, variety of investment options and free research tools. You can access many of the web tools as well, so you can trade securities anytime you find it convenient.
- Who owns Ally Invest?
- Ally Invest is brought to you by Ally Financial. The company also offers Ally Bank, one of the best online banks featuring high-yield savings rates and low fees.
This content is not provided by Ally Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Ally Bank.