Consumers once did all of their banking with the brick and mortar banks close to their home. This meant all of their credit cards, mortgage, brokerage account, and savings and checking account all were at the same bank. With the acquisition of the online discount broker TradeKing, Ally is attempting to wind the clock back to the good ole’ days and dominate the finance world once again.
The world of online discount stock brokers was a much more saturated space years ago. Names like TradeMonster, TradeKing, Zecco, ShareBuilder, OptionsHouse and so on were the go-to spots for cheap stock trading. Today, all of those names are gone. Bigger fish have gobbled them up (namely Ally, E*Trade and Capital One).
Using the innovation driven platforms, banks like Ally have expanded their customer base. Now they offer an online brokerage service.
In this review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Ally Invest.
Ally Invest Online Application Process
Signing up for an account from Ally Invest is fairly straightforward. First I completed a couple of pages about my personal details (including my social security number). Ally then asked about my investing experience and preferences. To complete the application, Ally asked about my employment history and current financial wealth. Other discount brokers want an immediate deposit. Ally simply confirmed my application had been submitted successfully. In the next few days, I should hear back about approval. Then, I can make my first deposit.
Ally Invest Pricing Details
Whether you are an experienced investor or a rookie, taking advantage of a low trade cost is important. Ally Invest happens to offer one oft he lowest trading costs online, charging it’s customers $4.95 per stock trade. If you’re an options trader, the per contract cost is only $0.65. So for example, if you were looking to make an options trade of 10 contracts, you would pay the base trade rate of $4.95 + the options cost of $0.65(10). The total cost of the trade would then be $11.45. As you can see from the comparison chart below, that cost is the lowest cost among popular online discount brokers.
If you are a volume based trader, which is to say you make more than 30 traders per quarter OR keep an average daily balance of $100,000 or more, Ally Invest will give you a discount. Volume base pricing would reduce the rates you see above to $3.95 per stock trade and $0.50 per option contract.
In addition to stock and options trading, Ally Invest also offers trading on the following:
- Bonds – $1 per bond, minimum 10 purchased.
- Mutual Funds – $9.95 per trade (no load)
- ETF’s – $4.95 per trade / $3.95 per trade on volume
- Forex – Price based on buy/sell spread (no commission charged)
- Futures – Determined by supply and demand at the time of the contract
While Ally Invest is a low fee discount broker, they do have a chart that provides clarity. Just about every online discount broker charges similar fees (at similar rates) but ensure that you’re not bleeding away potential investment capital by avoiding unnecessary fees. Keep in mind there is NO minimum deposit required to self trade.
Ally Invest Trading Platform
Ally Invest is a bit different when it comes to their trading platform. Unlike most of the now-defunct discount brokers before them, Ally Invest offers web-based trading on a streaming HTML 5 platform. This means that customers have the ability to manage their investments and make trades right inside your internet browser (chrome, IE, mozilla etc.). Ally Invest also offers mobile and tablet trading apps for iPhone and Android.
One of the cooler features of the Ally Invest platform is their probability calculator. Using this calculator allows you to use implied volatility to help you figure out the chance you hit your listed targets on a particular trade, before the trade is placed. Other noted features are:
- Company Snapshots – A lot of investors get their company information from places like Yahoo! and Google but Ally Invest offers an extensive amount of information in their company snapshots section. Revenue reports, SEC filings, Cash Flow and Income Statements are just a few of the many reports now available to you should you open a trading account.
- Profit / Loss Calculator – Depending on the number of shares you plan to buy or sell, Ally allows you to plot the potential profit or loss using their graphs and calculator. Modify the target date, number of shares and volatility and you’ll see (with colors!) what you stand to gain or lose.
- Option Chains – Options can be a tricky subject, especially for the novice investor. You’re not actually buying stock in the company but the right to buy stock (or sell) if the stock reaches a certain target. Using the Options Tools section to your advantage will help in seeing the potential profit / loss potential of your contracts.
Ally Invest Managed Portfolios
In addition to trading on your own using Ally, you can also use their robo service to re balance your account regularly. The idea of having a robo-adviser manage your money has become increasingly popular and Ally Invest decided to target this group of investors with their Managed Portfolio service. The only caveat in using this service is that there is a $2,500 minimum investment required (to start).
The ongoing fee for this service is 0.30% annually for all balances. For example, if you allow Ally to manage your portfolio of $100,000 in assets, that is an annual cost of $300. Broken down to the month, you will be charged $25 per month. This fee is on top of any other trading fees you incur using Ally Invest.
I own a savings account with Ally and I also own a CD with Ally. Now that they’ve completed the purchase of TradeKing and fully integrated those customers under their umbrella, I decided to also own an account with Ally Invest. You can’t argue the stock or option fees because they’re the lowest around and their web based platform is easy to use and can be accessed from any computer. If there’s one glaring negative to harp on, it’s that Ally Invest does not offer any commission free ETF’s. Many online discount brokers off commission free ETF’s so if you’re looking to make those kinds of trades, look elsewhere. Otherwise, Ally Invest is a great option for your trading needs.
Ally Invest Contact Information
- Email Address – [email protected]
- Phone Number – 1.855.880.2559
- Live Chat Available – YES
- Mailing Address – Ally Invest / PO Box 49050 / Charlotte, NC 28277-3432