Ally Bank Review

Review of: Ally Bank
Ally Bank

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On December 25, 2012
Last modified:July 16, 2014

Summary:

Ally Bank offers excellent rates, numerous products, and an easy to use website.

I just opened an online savings account at Ally Bank. It took all of about seven minutes to open the account, and Ally offers one of the highest interest rates available on an FDIC-insured account. So it seemed that a detailed review of Ally Bank was in order.

Opening an Account at Ally

As an online bank, Ally has perfected the process of opening an account. As you would expect, you have to select the type of account you want to open (more about that below), enter your personal information, and the information of any joint account holders. In my case, I added my wife to the account. the entire process took about five minutes and was extremely easy to complete.

To fund the account, I linked my Citibank checking account to the Ally savings account. Normally, an online bank has to make two small test transactions with your bank to verify that you’ve linked the correct account. With Ally, you can enter your username and password of your primary bank to verify the account instantly. While you don’t have to take this approach, it’s a nice feature over having to wait several days for the test deposits to occur.

Ally Bank Review

Finally, there are several security steps you have to take to secure your account. In addition to a password, Ally has an image with a caption that you pick. You also answer three security questions of your choice. It’s clear they take security very seriously.

And that’s it. Total time to open the account was less than 10 minutes.

Ally Bank’s Financial Products

We opened an online savings account. But Ally Bank offers several products, several of which are quite innovative.

Currently, Ally offers several financial products: Classic CDs in terms ranging from 3 months to five years, a 11-month no penalty CD, raise your rate CDs (2 or 4-year), an online savings account, a money market account, and a checking account. Here’s a quick rundown of each product.

Classic CDs

Ally Bank’s classic CDs offer some of the best interests rates available. And Ally’s CD rates are extremely competitive regardless of the CD term. As of 07/14/14, Ally’s CD rates range from 0.30% APY (3 months) to 1.60% APY (5 years). These rates can and do change frequently, so check with Ally to get current rates. Interest at Ally compounds daily. Unlike many other banks, Ally does not require a minimum deposit or opening balance for its CD products.

As with other certificates of deposit, Ally’s Classic CD does levy penalty fees if money is withdrawn from the account before the end of the CD term. For certificate of deposit terms of 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, the fee equals 3 months’ interest. For certificate of deposit terms of 18 months or longer, the fee equals 6 months’ interest. These fees are waived if the depositor passes away or is declared legally incompetent.

If you’d like a CD, but want to avoid even the possibility of an early withdrawal penalty, consider Ally’s no penalty CD.

No Penalty CD

If a classic one-year CD is too much of a commitment during these tumultuous economic times, Ally Bank offers a no-penalty CD to cater to the needs of more conservative investors. There are no hoops to jump through if a customer decides to withdraw funds, and there are no penalty fees. A depositor can withdraw the full balance and accrued interest at any time after the first six days of funding the CD. Just like the classic CD, the no-penalty CD requires no minimum deposit, and no annual fees.

Raise Your Rate CDs

If you think interest rates may be on the raise, Ally’s Raise Your Rate CDs protect you from getting locked into a low rate. Unlike a traditional CD where your rate remains the same throughout the CD’s term, with a raise your rate CD, you can elect to step up to a higher rate should interest rates rise. But choose wisely, as you can only exercise this option one time during the term of the CD.

Online Savings Account

For customers looking for a simple savings account solution, Ally Bank delivers an online savings account with several unique features. Like the other products and services from Ally, an online savings account features no minimum deposit, no monthly fees, and no minimum balance. However, one of the drawbacks of Ally’s online savings account is that customers are limited to a maximum of six withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle.

This limit may prove unmanageable for individuals who manage their savings accounts frequently with withdrawals or transfers, but is a common restriction of savings accounts. By restricting the number of monthly transactions to the account, Ally reduces the cost of managing the account. These lower costs in turn enable Ally to offer very competitive interest rates.

Money Market Account

As a complement to their online savings accounts, Ally Bank also features online money market accounts. These accounts allow customers easy access with check cards and paper checks. The unique thing about Ally Bank’s money market accounts is that there are no ATM fees, and if an outside bank charges fees, up to four transaction fees (or $6) will be refunded per month.

Like the savings accounts, however, one of the drawbacks of Ally Bank’s online money market accounts is that customers are limited to a maximum of six withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle. This limit may prove unmanageable for individuals who rely heavily on their money market account to pay for goods and services.

Checking Accounts

Ally offers one of the few checking accounts that actually pays interest. In fact, the interest rates you earn on an Ally checking account rival and even surpass the rates you’ll earn on savings accounts at other banks.

The perks you get with this account are impressive:

  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Free Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Bill Pay, and Popmoney®
  • Free Debit MasterCard®, checks and unlimited check writing
  • No Ally ATM fees at any ATM nationwide. Use Ally’s ATM & Cash Locator
  • Earn money back with Ally Perks® when you shop with your Ally Checking Debit Card
  • Make deposits from home with Ally eCheck DepositSM
  • Balances of $15,000 or more get an even higher rate
  • Free balance alerts

Rates

Ally Bank offers some of the highest interest rates available anywhere. After extensive research, I had no qualms about opening my savings account at Ally. And its rates tend to be among the highest regardless of the type of account you open. Because rates change frequently, you’ll want to check the Ally website for current rates. Alternatively, you can check out our pages that compare rates at online banks, high interest savings accounts, or free checking accounts.

Transferring Money

One of the big challenges with any online bank is making deposits or withdrawing money. Ally Bank offers the traditional methods, ranging from transfers with existing bank accounts to mailing a check. Ally also offers an extensive network of free ATMs where you can make deposits or withdrawals. But the bank also offers two unique options.

First, you can deposit a check from home by simply scanning the check. Called the Ally eCheck Deposit, you can take a picture of a check and make a deposit with a smartphone, or you can scan the check and make a deposit from a computer.

Second, you can use what’s called Popmoney to transfer cash to friends and family. All you need is their email address or telephone number, and you can send or receive cash via your smartphone or computer.

Ally Mobile Banking

Ally Mobile Banking

With Ally’s mobile banking app, you can turn your smartphone into a virtual bank teller. The app allows you to check your balance, deposit checks (see eCheck Deposit above), locate the nearest ATM, pay bills, or even transfer money.

When you open an Ally checking account, you’re automatically enrolled in Ally Perks. With this program, Ally deposits cash directly into your account when you shop at certain retailers. You can see a list of qualifying retailers in your account online, or you can set up push notifications so that Ally notifies you when a new offer is available. When you make qualifying purchases, Ally will deposit money back into your account.

Fees

With any bank account, fees are one of the most important considerations. There will also be some fees, such as a fee for a bounced check. The key is to identify any fees that you can’t avoid, like monthly maintenance fees. Ideally, you want an account that, if used correctly, charges no fees. And that’s exactly what Ally Bank offers. There are no fees to open an account and no monthly maintenance fees.

Top Rates & FDIC Insured

Ally Bank continues to offer some of the highest rates currently available. We track some of the best CD rates in the industry, and Ally Bank is consistently at the top of the list. In addition, deposits with Ally Bank are FDIC-insured (FDIC Certificate #57803) to the fullest extent permitted under federal law.

To check current rates and open an account, visit Ally Bank’s official website.

Published or Updated: July 16, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. reinkefj says:

    Change the name to fool folks? GM spun them out when it was still trying to save itself. Spawned from the now “government motors”, we’re supposed to “forget” who they were. I’ll share one phrase “Rule Of 72″. When they were GMAC, they used this to extract more money from car buyers. Who knows what else they did to car buyers borrowing. But, they have a new name and we’re just supposed to forgive and forget. Their ancestry won’t have anything to do with their offerings. Sorry. I’ll stick to my credit union. This group has “blood” on its hands. Be careful when you make a deal with the devil. Sometimes it doesn’t work out so well.

  2. DR says:

    reinkefj, I try to have a lot of patience with the differing views expressed on this site, but this comment is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. First, General Motors has a long and storied history in our country. Perhaps you’re too young to remember, but it has employed more people and benefited the U.S. in ways most companies never will. It’s current turmoil is the result of a lot of factors, and frankly, it’s sad to watch the auto industry crumble like it has. But a lot of hard working men and women poured their lives into these great companies, which should not be quickly forgotten.

    As for Ally, it is an FDIC-insured bank. Its deposits are as secure as any credit union (actually more secure in some cases), and Ally pays some of the highest rates currently available. Use Ally or don’t use it, but “‘blood’ on its hands” is just ridiculous.

  3. JanSimpson says:

    Nice post -but why are you being paid by the evil ones who want to tax this country so much we go bankrupt and will be fully controlled by the Chinese? Seriously you are messed up –

    GMAC is owned by GE who will getting hand-outs from the Government of taxpayer monies. First we will pay for their research and then we will pay through the nose for the products, plus get taxed 20 times over.

    stop the spreading of liberal bs and get a life in helping others.

    JanSimpson

    • DR says:

      JanSimpson, first, I was not paid by anybody to write this review. Second, Ally Bank, formally GMAC, is not owned by GE. Third, the Chinese own so much of our debt because we Americans (both government and individuals) can’t seem to say no when it comes to buying stuff. Fourth, the hand-outs from the Government make me sick, too. We’ve gone far beyond what the government typically spends in financially tough times. Now the government helps us pay for our homes, cars, and digital TV converters. Government is without doubt out of control, but I’m not sure how that reflects on whether or not Ally Bank offers a good rate on a CD, which it does.

  4. GMACAllyCustomer says:

    I have been with Ally (GMAC) for 3 years. I had no problem with GMAC before.

    Recently I spend 2 months in Ally and still can not open a new account, this experience is very frustrated. The customer representatives have inconsistent answers. One day they call you with one answer, and please don’t feel surprised for the call from them in the following days with another answer; I fax the documents to them, and they can not find/locate the fax. I am tired with several rounds of this kind of inconsistence.

    My question is:
    If representatives can NOT provide standard guidance/answer, what’s the meaning of customer service of the bank?

    Although they have 7-24 call service, it won’t help if they can NOT solve your problem. (In fact, it wastes your time!)

    I am searching for another bank with relative high rates. Enough is enough.

  5. Cynthia says:

    I have spent one week and numerous phone calls and have been unable to open a savings account. The customer no service representatives haven’t a clue as to what they are doing. I’m taking my business elsewhere.

  6. DR says:

    Thanks for the input on Ally. I don’t know if the problems have anything to do with their transition from GMAC to Ally, but I’ll look into and report what I find.

  7. Garlicbulb says:

    Stay away from Ally Bank. Their website does not accurately reflect transactions and they want real paperwork when you sign up

  8. Kel says:

    I’ve had no problems with Ally whatsoever. Didn’t need any physical paperwork and the transfer from my bank went smoothly. At least that was the expierence I had with my CDs. Never even needes to talk to customer service.They do have some of the best rates around. And DR, I agree. I dont see what GM’s bankruptcy has to do with Ally’s CD rates :-P

  9. Tony says:

    I just love this Bank. I have been very pleased with their No Penalty CD and like their 24×7 customer service concept a lot. Their website is really good and I have had no problems moving money between banks whenever I needed to. Good service and good rates…..what more can you ask for?

  10. Kevin Lackner says:

    If the Ally Bank that is advertising high deposit rates is the same as the Ally Bank chartered in Midvale, UT, you should probably be aware that they are on the Watch List for Brokered CD banks based upon their June 30, 2009 call reports. .

    These banks are evaluated based upon their Texas Ratio (Nonperforming Assets + 90 day past-due loans and leases / tangible equity + loan loss reserves). The higher the ratio, the greater the financial and credit risk. The listed banks all have a Texas ratio in excess of 40%. While most depositors need not worry as they are covered by FDIC insurance, it is certainly an issue they should be aware of.

    • Kevin Lackner says:

      Just looked into it. The Ally Bank on the Brokered CD list is not the same.

  11. David says:

    I regret opening accounts at Ally. I opened a savings and the new checking account. 3 weeks later I’m still waiting for my debit card to arrive! They do require a hard copy of a signature card mailed in. They won’t accept a fax. The chat feature for customer service is nice, but I get the feeling that the customer no service people are indifferent to providing really good service. I switched from ING because ING typically has the lower interest rates out of all the online banks, they just have had great marketing success. But ING Direct does have great service.

    • DR says:

      David, thanks for sharing your experience. It raises a good question–should interest rates determine which bank we choose, or is customer service a key factor?

  12. Tony says:

    I have been a customer of theirs for two years and appreciate the high interest rate and actually think their customer service is better than ING having dealt with both banks. I opened a checking account as well and the debit card took a couple of weeks to arrive but I now use it any ATM (unlike ING where I have to look up which ATM I can use it at). I also like the Raise your Rate CD which is where I have put a fair amount of my money given that I expect rates to rise.

    • DR says:

      Tony, thanks for sharing with us your experience with Ally Bank. It sounds like Ally Bank is becoming more and more popular. They even won an award recently as the best online bank from Money Magazine.

  13. Paul S says:

    Folks I would not open an account with these theives under any circumstance. I made that mistake and still paying for it. Seems they could not automatic deposit my first paycheck in to the account. so I overnitghed at cost of $52 the check. Seems there was no one there on Saturday to accept the check so It was not delivered unitl Monday morning. Tuesday my Account showed the check deposited and my available balance was what I was expecting to be, so I started paying my bills. Next morning I now see a negative current balance and multiple 9.00 fees. Called the bank and they informed the check had a 10 day hold on it. So here I sit being payed but not able to access the funds. Next up they start sending out bill pays for bills I expected to have money for. They sent one out the 21st of the month and it has yet to arrives and tomorrow it will be late. Look at my account today and they sent another one to the same place that was not authorized. I have closed the savings account and just waiting for the hold to finally clear and I am gone from this bank. I would not trust ally to take out my trash let alone handle my money.

    • Haha says:

      Lesson learned. Don’t wait till the last minute to pay your bills without knowing if you cleared on a brand new account. Sheesh.

  14. Grant says:

    I’m a huge fan of Ally Bank. Transferred money over from ING because the rates were higher. Their non-penalty CD’s are great, especially when the rates seem ready to take off. I would definitely recommend them to others!

  15. David says:

    My question would be “Do I feel Ally is a moral and ethical bank who are good for the USA?” My answer would be “Absolutely not!”

    The US Government gave 14 Trillion dollars to GMAC Mortgage in bailout money when the Fed declared them a bank to qualify them, even though they were not a bank. GMAC Mortgage never repaid those bailout loans and are now 56% owned by the US Treasury.

    After the Government bailed them out, GMAC Mortgage foreclosed on more homes than any other mortgage company, resulting in plenty of wrongful foreclosure lawsuits against them. No one bailed out the US Citizens, and Ally Financial proved to be an “Ally” to no one when they robbed the nation from the top and bottom.

    During the Mortgage Crisis which they were partially responsible for, GMAC Mortgage were unable to properly answer their phones and rushed to hire a completely untrained staff who remain poorly trained to this day. Customers waited months for customer service. Most either got none, or got service so poor that it may have been illegal.

    Suddenly they have decided to rename themselves and to take advantage of their “bank” status with online bank accounts.

    Your money will be FDIC insured, but will your conscience allow you to lend your money to the people who are more responsible for the collapse of our economy than anyone else?

  16. Susan says:

    DO NOT open an account with this bank. I had to receive large sum of wire transfer from overseas that was on a time constraint and because the customer representatives gave me wrong information, I had to get it wired twice, and because of this, the fund got recalled. Ally bank just closed my account after this happened and when I explained what had happened, why it got recalled because of the fact that the customer reps gave me the wrong information and I had to get the money wired twice, they still blamed it on me. They treated me like a criminal, talked down to me and over me, while shifting the blame on me and never apologizing or trying to rectify the problem. The manager, David Pakosh was the rudest most despicable person I ever dealt with with a bank. He practically told me to shut up while I was trying to explain what had happened and blamed it all on me and NEVER once accepted that Ally’s staff gave me the wrong information to screw up the transaction that should be so simple.
    If they deal with customers this way that put in large sums of money in the bank and handle large sums of money this way, imagine what they will do if it is small? I will never deal with this bank again. That manager needs to be fired because he obviously doesn’t belong in the service industry and I have never been more furious of how I was treated and how my money has been treated.

  17. Grace says:

    Ally has breached security of unknown numbers of its clients. This morning I got a payment confirmation email with someone else’s personal information in it. After being on hold for 45 minutes so far, Ally has confirmed that my information was also sent to another person, and cannot confirm whether or not this OTHER person’s payment (which is double mine) will be taken out of MY bank!

    They are also refusing to provide credit monitoring service, and won’t let me speak to a supervisor.

    Absolutely ridiculous. The switch from GMAC to Ally has been nothing but trouble.

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