Ally Invest Review – Low Prices and Excellent Service
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Ally Invest (formerly known as TradeKing) is a low-cost online broker that provides extensive value to their clients. This Ally Invest review will provide a high-level overview of the services they offer and how they can to help you with your investing needs.
I dealt extensively with Ally Invest during my days as a stock broker and was always impressed by their platform, offerings and service to clients. This Ally Invest review comes from that experience and believe there is a lot of value in the $4.95 commission price they charge – which is the lowest commission price in the industry.
It’s important to keep in mind we all have different needs as investors and thus need to do our own homework before choosing an online broker to manage our investing needs. With that in mind, feel free to check out some of my other online brokerage reviews:
A little background on Ally Invest, they have been in business since 2005 and merged with Zecco in 2012 to broaden their brokerage offerings. They’re well-known for their social media presence and low priced stock trades.
TradeKing was also acquired by Ally in early 2016 (thus the change of branding to Ally Invest), so I’m sure there’s going to be some exciting new features in the near future for clients of both companies. With that in mind, let’s get on to the review of Ally Invest.
ally Invest FEATURES
Trading Platform: The first thing I look at when I consider a brokerage is the trading platform and if it’s user friendly. From what I have experienced with the Ally Invest platform, it is intuitive and relatively simple to master. As mentioned earlier, they offer a $4.95 commission on stock trades and $.65 per contract on options (in addition to the stock commission) which is very hard to beat. This makes Ally Invest the lowest priced online brokerage in the market space, tied with Motif Investing.
Free Streaming Quotes: I’ve mentioned the feature of streaming quotes in previous reviews, and Ally does not disappoint here. After placing one trade, you simply contact them and they enable free streaming quotes on your account. This is nice to have if you like to watch the market and execute trades at a specific price.
Forex Trading: Just as with Etrade, Ally Invest offers forex trading thanks to their merger with Zecco. If you’re new to forex, Ally offers a $50,000 virtual account to help you get your feet wet. Forex is relatively risky, so I love that they offer this as a feature.
Ally Invest Advisors Program: This is a new feature Ally launched in late 2014. What I really like about this feature is that it’s a major step towards being able to handle all of your investment needs in one location. The idea behind Ally Invest Advisors is somewhat similar to a automated retirement program in they manage your investments for you. With Ally Invest Advisors you can start with portfolios as low as $5,000 in low-cost ETFs. These portfolios are suggested and modeled by Ibottson (a subsidiary of Morningstar) and are based on your specific goals, needs and circumstances. The Ally Invest Advisors program is free of charge for the first year when you open a new account.
ADVANTAGES OF ally invest
Low Pricing: Obviously, the biggest draw of Ally Invest is their low commission. If you like to invest in stocks then you’re hard pressed to beat their $4.95 per stock trade and $.65 for options. They also have a solid mutual fund price of $9.95 per trade. Both are on the lower end of the competitive scale, making them hard to beat on both counts. If you trade more than 30 times per quarter, or have a balance of $100,000 the commission lowers to $3.95 per trade and $.50 per option!
Healthy Mutual Fund Offering: If you like to invest in mutual funds, then you’ll be satisfied with Ally Invest as they offer over 8,000 mutual funds from a wide variety of fund families. This positions Ally as better than average in relation to the rest of the brokerage space. Scottrade and TD Ameritrade are the only other online brokers in the space that offer more mutual funds.
Great Customer Service: I’ve said it before, but I will pay more for good customer service. If I am going to trust someone with my money then it’s a no brainer for me. Every time I’ve dealt with Ally Invest I’ve been satisfied with my experience. They’ve also been consistently honored by Smart Money for being one of the top brokers in the industry for customer service.
Free Online Support: One of the things that sets Ally Invest apart is their use of social media and forums on their site. They take to heart offering real-time support to their clients and have thought outside the box to do so. They also provide free classes and webinars to offer help which is nice to see and they have it broken down by experience level which is incredibly helpful.
No Minimum to Open: Ally Invest does not have a minimum opening balance requirement. Many brokerages do not offer this, which can hold some back. This allows clients to open with the amount they can and go from there. This is a huge bonus in my book if you have little money to invest in the stock market.
DISADVANTAGES OF ally invest
Fees: Generally speaking, Ally Invest is very light when it comes to fees which is awesome. However, they do make up for it with an inactivity fee of $50 per year. I hate inactivity fees with a passion, but there are ways around it, so read on.
They hit you with it if you’ve not had a commissionable stock trade in the last 12 months and/or your account value is under $2,500. Assuming you’re over this, then there is absolutely nothing to be worried about and you can go on with your normal investing, but if not you need to be aware of it.
ally invest REVIEW – MY TAKE
For the right person Ally Invest is an excellent fit. I’m not a fan of fees, but if it doesn’t apply to you then it’s of no significance as you won’t be charged. Ally Invest offers excellent service and their price simply can’t be beat. With their solid lineup of offerings, valuable tools and resources to help you as an investor and their accolades I would consider Ally a worthy online brokerage to consider for your investing needs.
With the addition of the Ally Invest Advisors platform I believe they’ve taken a major step towards becoming a brokerage that can help nearly any investor – whether you’re a DIY investor or are someone looking for some help managing your investments.
If you do open an account with Ally Invest, make sure to take advantage of their current promotion of $200 cash back with a $25,000 minimum deposit, or 90 days in free trades (worth $500), with a $10,000 minimum deposit. This is in addition to their standard offer of crediting up to $150 in brokerage transfer fees.