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Ally Bank Review – Online Bank With No Minimum Balance Required

By Brian Martucci

ally bank logoOnline banks are powerful personal finance tools that offer convenient access to funds – but, not all are created equal. As one of the first online-only institutions, Ally Bank has developed a reputation for responsive customer service, high interest rates on checking and savings accounts, and reasonable fees. Like many online banks, it has no physical branches, but it is an FDIC member, which means its customers’ deposits are insured up to $250,000.

Since its spinoff from GMAC in 2009, Salt Lake City-based Ally has accumulated nearly a million customers. With $54 billion in total deposits, it’s currently the 29th largest U.S. bank.

Key Features

Ally Bank’s noteworthy features include the following:

  • Interest Checking Accounts. Ally customers can open an interest-bearing checking account that comes with free checks and a MasterCard debit card. It doesn’t require a minimum balance to open, nor does it charge a monthly or annual maintenance fee. However, like all other Ally accounts, you can’t make deposits in physical cash. At the moment, checking accounts pay a competitive interest rate: 0.25% for balances of less than $15,000 and 0.65% for balances above $15,000.
  • High Yield Savings Accounts. Like its interest checking account, Ally’s savings account lacks opening deposit and minimum balance requirements, as well as monthly maintenance fees. Federal regulations allow for up to six outbound transfers per 30-day statement period. Currently, it yields 0.87%, although this figure may fluctuate on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You can make six free outbound transfers per month – Ally charges $10 apiece for any transfers that exceed this limit.
  • Multiple CD Options. Ally offers three CD products: the High Yield CD, Raise Your Rate CD, and No Penalty CD. The first is available in terms of 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 36, or 60 months. Rates currently vary from 0.3% for the 3-month vehicle to 1.6% for the 60-month vehicle. The Raise Your Rate CD lets you bump up to Ally’s highest available rate for your CD’s term. On the two-year Raise Your Rate CD, which currently yields 1.10%, you get one raise per term. On the four-year version, which currently yields 1.30%, you get two. Finally, the No Penalty CD comes with an 11-month term and a yield of 0.87%. You can cash it out at any time without incurring an interest penalty.
  • Money Market Accounts. This product lacks monthly balance requirements, fees, and minimum deposits, and comes with a Visa debit card. Outbound transfers, including point-of-sale purchases with the debit card, are limited to six per statement period. However, there’s no limit on ATM withdrawals. It currently yields 0.85%, far more than competitors such as Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, whose respective accounts pay 0.03% and 0.10%.
  • Retirement Accounts. Ally’s IRA accounts allow you to invest in standard CDs, savings accounts, or Raise Your Rate CDs. These all follow the same rules and are available in the same term lengths as their non-IRA counterparts. You can open a Roth, traditional, or a SEP IRA if you’re a small business owner.
  • Auto Financing Products. With a separate log-in area for auto loan customers, Ally has a whole suite of auto financing products for individuals and fleets that buy or lease. It also offers a Buyer’s Choice option that allows you to sell your vehicle to Ally after making 48 monthly payments.
  • Commercial Financing Options. Through Ally Financial, its parent company, Ally Bank offers commercial financing solutions for businesses with revenues of at least $50 million. These include term loans with fixed principal amounts which must be repaid within a specified timeframe. Ally also offers revolving credit lines, which can be tapped or repaid within pre-set limits at your discretion. These products are designed to finance activities such as leveraged buyouts, mergers, and operational restructuring.
  • Mobile Banking. Ally’s banking services are mobile-friendly. You can access all parts of your account, including balances, transfers, automatic bill-pay, and Ally’s ATM-finding tool, from your smartphone or tablet. You can also use the e-Check Deposit tool by taking a photo of the front and back of your endorsed check.
  • Person-to-Person Transfers via Popmoney. Ally’s Popmoney feature lets you transfer funds between your checking or savings accounts and the U.S.-based bank accounts of your friends, family members, third-party vendors, and business associates. This mobile-friendly platform doesn’t require you to exchange bank account information, just email addresses or phone numbers. You can request payments from other Popmoney participants, as well. It’s free to request a payment and costs $0.95 to send one.
  • Online Security Software. Ally offers free downloads of Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus software for all account holders.
  • CD Laddering Tools. Ally’s CD Ladders are designed to mitigate one of the major drawbacks of long-term CDs: their tendency to tie up holders’ funds for years. Ladders consist of identically sized CDs whose terms range in length from one to five years. Upon maturity, each CD is automatically renewed at your maximum specified term, ensuring you have access to it on the same date every year. If you withdraw funds from a maturing CD, the other CDs in the ladder won’t be affected.
  • Trust Accounts. Ally bank offers revocable and irrevocable living trusts, which can be efficient ways to preserve wealth or set aside gifts for others. Revocable trusts can be altered or canceled by the grantors who set them up, with earnings and assets remaining under their control until death. Irrevocable trusts can only be changed by their beneficiaries. Any Ally account can be opened as a trust, and the company’s employees can walk you through the process online or over the phone.
  • Overdraft Transfer Service. Tie your checking account to an Ally savings or money market account, and opt into the bank’s free Overdraft Checking Service which, in the event of an overdraft, automatically transfers funds to your checking account in increments of $100. Each increment counts as one of six withdrawals that can be made from savings and money market accounts per statement period. Ally charges $10 per outbound transfer over that limit until the period’s end. Ally does reserve the right to decline the Overdraft Transfer Service and levy a $9-per-item fee if you overdraft repeatedly or are otherwise not in good standing with the bank.

ally bank screenshot

Advantages

  1. 24-Hour Customer Service With Short Wait Times. There’s a good reason why Ally touts its 24/7 customer service assets. Its call center is open around the clock, including on holidays, and actual employees answer online chats at all hours as well. The bank’s home page prominently displays call-in wait times, which rarely exceed 10 minutes. Some online banks, such as Capital One 360, only offer phone support from 8am to 8pm. And, while EverBank also has 24-hour live phone support, it doesn’t make its wait times available online.
  2. Fee Reimbursement at Any ATM With No Restrictions. Ally reimburses customers who use their debit cards to make checking or money market account withdrawals from any U.S. ATM. This covers fees charged by third-party machines, such as those found at restaurants or bars, as well as fees charged by bank-owned machines. The company claims that this service applies to more than 400,000 ATMs across the country – few banks offer such a generous program. For instance, Wells Fargo customers can use the bank’s own ATMs for free, but those who don’t maintain a minimum balance of $250,000 must pay a $2.50 fee for each withdrawal. EverBank offers unlimited reimbursements for Yield Pledge Checking Account customers who maintain minimum account balances of $5,000.
  3. Attractive CD, Savings Account, and Money Market Yields. Ally Bank’s CD, savings account, and money market yields compare favorably to those of other online banks. For instance, yields on its savings account and 12-month CD exceed those on comparable Capital One 360 vehicles by 0.12% and 0.59%, respectively. Unlike Capital One 360 and EverBank, Ally also offers a No Penalty CD, which doesn’t penalize you when you terminate your CD early. EverBank takes back 25% of the total projected interest on prematurely terminated CDs, regardless of when you request your funds back. Capital One charges three or six months’ interest, depending on the terminated vehicle’s original term length.
  4. Raise Your Rate CDs. If Ally’s CD rates rise, you can request a rate increase on your Raise Your Rate CD. You’re allowed one bump on a two-year RYR CD and two bumps on the four-year version. Once honored, the new rate is effective for the remainder of the CD’s term or until you request (for the four-year version) another hike. Unlike some rising-rate CDs, Ally’s version can’t be bought back, or “called,” by the bank before maturity. Many online banks, including Capital One 360 and EverBank, still don’t offer comparable CDs.
  5. Comprehensive Auto Financing Services. The scope of Ally’s auto financing offerings is impressive. The bank easily accommodates large fleet customers and offers a flexible Buyer’s Choice option for individuals who aren’t sure how long they want to keep their cars. Other online banks, like Capital One 360 and EverBank, don’t offer auto lending services.
  6. Convenient Payment With Popmoney. Ally partners with Popmoney to facilitate peer-to-peer and point-of-sale transactions between its customers and third parties. Among banks, this isn’t unique: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase all offer mobile-friendly peer-to-peer payments. However, Popmoney’s $0.95 transaction fee is more affordable for larger business transactions than Paypal, which deducts 2.9% plus $0.30 from each transfer.
  7. Free Overdraft Transfers. If you overdraw your checking account, Ally Bank’s Overdraft Transfer Service provides up to $600 in fee-free transfers per month at no charge. To qualify, you must tie your Ally savings or money market account to your checking account. If you don’t have enough money in the tied account, Ally either covers the cost of the transaction and charges you $9 (its per-item overdraft fee) or declines the transaction altogether, possibly incurring a $7.50 returned item fee. Other banks charge per-item overdraft fees of $25, $35, or more. Ally does reserve the right not to cover an overdraft transaction above the $600 limit.
  8. 10-Day Best Rate Guarantee on CDs. Every newly opened Ally CD comes with a 10-day grace period. The CD continues to accrue interest during this time, but its long-term rate isn’t set until the period’s end. At that point, you receive the best rate Ally offered during the period on that type of CD, even if it’s not currently in effect. For instance, if the rate on a 36-month CD began at 1.10% on day 1 of 10, rose to 1.15% on day 4, and fell to 1.12% on day 10, you’d get the 1.15% rate for the CD’s entire term, including the 10-day grace period. Capital One 360′s CDs don’t come with such flexibility.

Disadvantages

  1. No Mortgage Department. There are no mortgage services at Ally Bank. Customers of Capital One 360 and EverBank, as well as many brick-and-mortar banks, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America, have the advantage of consolidating their savings, auto loans, and mortgage loans within a single institution.
  2. No Brokerage. Unlike some online banks, Ally Bank has no brokerage services. You can’t use it to buy or sell stocks, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs, commodities, currencies, or any other security. This may be a particular drawback for IRA customers who only have access to leverage CDs and savings accounts which don’t yield more than 2% per year, barely outpacing the rate of inflation. By contrast, Capital One 360 account holders can open an IRA with Sharebuilder, Capital One’s sister brokerage, and purchase stocks and mutual funds that may provide far better returns.
  3. Few Services Targeted to Small Businesses. With high minimum loan limits, Ally’s commercial financing services definitely cater to medium-sized businesses with substantial capital needs. And unlike Capital One 360, which offers business-only savings accounts and 401k services, Ally has virtually nothing for small business owners. The only exception is its SEP IRA, which is a traditional IRA that can be structured as a retirement plan for companies with multiple employees, as well as self-employed individuals.
  4. No Account Opening Bonuses. To attract new customers, many companies are offering juicy bonuses for new account holders. For instance, Capital One 360 adds $50 to new savings accounts, and EverBank offers a higher interest rate for the first six months in which a savings account is open. Ally doesn’t offer such incentives. That said, many of its accounts come with higher interest rates that may eventually compensate for the lack of an opening bonus.
  5. No Cash Deposits. Ally explicitly forbids customers from making cash deposits into their accounts. If this is your first bank account and you’ve previously dealt mostly in cash, this might be a problem. Some online banks, including Capital One 360, do accept cash deposits.
  6. Overdraft Transfer Isn’t True Overdraft Protection. Though its Overdraft Transfer Service provides limited coverage for overdrafts, Ally doesn’t guarantee that it covers all NSF (non-sufficient funds) transactions. If you’ve already exceeded the Overdraft Transfer Service limit in a given statement period, Ally may decline further such transactions. Banks like Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank offer actual overdraft protection, which provides guaranteed coverage in exchange for a per-item fee (usually $25 or $35). If you’re looking for a bank that offers true overdraft protection, Ally’s not it.

Final Word

Ally Bank has nearly a million individual customers and is among the 30 largest banks in the U.S. by deposit size. It has several advantages over its peers, including generous yields on its savings vehicles, a lax fee and balance structure that favors smaller depositors, a robust auto lending department, and a responsive customer service team that’s always available. Its drawbacks may prevent it from being a one-stop shop for all your saving needs, but if you’re willing to have your mortgage and brokerage accounts elsewhere, Ally is a good option.

Do you have an account with Ally Bank?

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci is a freelance journalist and branding consultant who loves to provide practical personal finance advice for regular people. When he’s not writing about frugal living, long-term investing, or consumer-friendly financial products, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine.

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  • Karmella

    I haven’t put any money there as of yet, but I have friends who have and I have heard that it’s a smooth process.

    Are the “customer service agents” through online chat bots or are they actual humans (just curious, if you could tell)?

    • Mark Riddix

      It appeared to be actual customer service reps because they provided a customized answer. Normally bots give you generic information.

      • http://www.ally.com Ally Customer Care

        Karmella,

        Thanks for the question and for considering Ally for your banking needs. Mark thanks to you for chiming in on our behalf and you are correct! I am happy to let you know that our Customer Care Associates are real folks who are here to answer your questions via phone and chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information on our current products and services or any additional questions you may have, please visit us online 24/7 or via phone as well.

        Ally Customer Care

  • Em D.

    I’ve had accounts with ally for years (previously called GMAC). The high interest rate cd account has done quite well- though the rate is only around a third of what it was when I opened it- but that’s industry wide. Overall, I’ve been very happy with them. I believe you get real people when you call and they are nice and helpful- though I think I’ve only called about forgetting my password.

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    They do sound decent, but don’t offer enough incentives for me to consider switching at this time. The interest rates are better than average. I don’t like the fact that you are only allowed 6 trx/month in the savings acct…then again, I probably wouldn’t need more than that. I just don’t like limits.

    • Mark Riddix

      That’s actualy a law for all savings acounts. You are not allowed more than six transfers or withdrawals in a month.

    • Ben TEN TEN

      You’re right, if they can allow 6 transactions, why not 10, or 20 or unlimited? It’s all a scamm, just to save money on their part so they can have 10,000 times more on the books than they can spend in a thousand lifetimes instead of just a thousand times more. Expect another crash, in the very near future, for no other reason than greed itself, but even sooner if it becomes a Romney/Ryan administration; you’ll then get to witness greed in its highest glory, and the tragic results in its aftermath.

  • Elizabeth I

    I used to have accounts with GMAC and other accounts, then we simplified our banking and are going with one bank. However, I think I really need to revisit Ally, thanks for the detailed post.

    • Mark Riddix

      You’re welcome.

  • Paul S

    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.

    • http://www.ally.com Ally Customer Care

      We are Ally Customer Care and are sorry to hear you did not have a good experience with us. We’d like to look into your situation further to see what can be done to address your concerns. Please send us an email at [email protected] and provide your contact information so that we can contact you directly. We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

      Ally Customer Care

  • clay

    After setting up an acct with ally, I then initiated a fund transfer to ally (using ally’s online system). I called ally beforehand to make sure it would be ok since the 30 day time frame to deposit was approaching. I was ASSURED that as long as I initiated the transfer before 30 days, it was fine. I waited patiently for several days but received nothing from ally.. no e-mail, no phone call. I signed onto my ally acct. and now my balance showed a NEGATIVE dollar amount instead of zero. When I called them, they said my acct had been closed because I didn’t deposit money in time! BUT.. they had taken my money from my other bank! Incredulously though, they said at the same time that since the acct. was closed that they DIDN’T really have my money! My “old” bank confirmed the monies had been sent to ally. MORE calls to ally.. they have NO idea where my money is or how to get it back! I go into my “old” bank and they actually spend a LOT of time helping me figure it out although they had NOTHING to do with the problem. With the information (ACH tracking numbers that ally wouldn’t bother looking for) from my “old” bank, I call ally AGAIN ( I don’t even know how many times I called ally). This time (after mentioning perhaps banking authorities might be notified) they miraculously are able to find the money! I am STILL waiting for the money to be returned to my “old” bank. Funny.. their claim to fame.. being an ultra modern, high-speed, web-based bank.. sure seems like BS when you consider it has been over TWO WEEKS and I STILL don’t have my money back and they weren’t able to find, track, or identify ANYTHING! I had to go into an old-school, brick and mortar bank and have a REAL PERSON help me! So, an online bank may give you a little interest and allow you to use ATMs nationwide, but JUST WAIT until something goes wrong! THEN you will wish you had a REAL PERSON to help you! The winner here is oddly enough.. BANK OF AMERICA (my “old” bank)! haha! Caveat Emptor!

    • http://www.ally.com Ally Customer Care

      Clay, we are Ally Customer Care and are sorry to hear you did not have a good experience with us. We’d like to look into your situation further to see what can be done to address your concerns. Please send us an email at [email protected] and provide your contact information so that we can contact you directly. We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

      Ally Customer Care

      • Gareth Cook

        Clay – All I can say is wow. I’m so sorry to hear that. Hope it all worked out in the end.

    • AvoidAlleyBank

      My money has been held hostage for over a month .. did this get resolved?

  • Mike

    Ally bank will lie straight to your face and smile while doing it. I have had my savings acount for over a year with Ally bank and thought everything was good until they started charging me tons of fees that they specially had told me that didn’t charge. Don’t use this bank unless you want to wake up one day and see your account pounded with fees when you though you had a “free” account with “no fees”. SURPISE there is a reason why the interest rate is so high, they make up for it with fraudulent fees. I am filing a small claims case in the state of Pennsylvania – go check out the court records.

    • Largee

      Can you elaborate what kind of fees you were charges? Every bank charges fees. It’s a fair game so long as the fees are clearly disclosed (in writing), albeit in fine (or micro) prints.

  • http://www.nwtaxpreparation.com/ NW

    Ive been looking for a new bank to use ever since chase started charging a 10$ monthly fee for your checking accnts. and this one looked promising but after all these negative reviews it made me pause, I’ll have to look into this deeper before i decide to switch banks.

  • Angry Client

    TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE—I applied for a mortgage through GMAC (now ALLY) about a month ago. I was told for the past three weeks that everything was going great and the loan would be finalized soon. I received a wonderful credit and interest rate….and then, last Friday got a call from them saying that despite making more than enough money, despite a previous mortgage with GMAC with an excellent payment history, despite credit scores over 720, etc etc etc, that they do not want to give the loan.

    They made the illusion that I had the loan and everything was going to go through fine for a month straight and then said no. They gave me NO explanation or reason why. This was a TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE, now I have to close in less than a month on the house I am buying because they wasted my time for a month straight. I wish that they were allowed to fail as they are failing to provide the services they advertise. It is all a facade, they got the bail out and they are not lending the money out and the customer service is terrible. No wonder they are changing there name to ALLY bank, they need to bury the skeletons they have. It is practices like this that make it obvious why they were in the trouble they were in financially and why THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO FAIL!

    • Ben TEN TEN

      You are so right, and you best believe these banks will be in trouble again, but this time, no-one will be able to help them out, because the country itself will be in just as bad of shape for allowing this and many other unjust business practices to go on far too long and still is.

  • Fornerb

    Do not open an account with these crooks-switched all accounts from a traditional bank to them. Wife called to set up access to joint account which led to them placing holds on all accounts, rejected debit card transactions and declined checks. Have emailed them trough their website and called numerous times to unlock the accounts. Service reps are ridiculous-”someone will call you within 48 hrs”–call them back after 48 hrs and get “someone will call you within 48 hrs”. They will, of course continue to accept direct deposits into account, but nothing they can do to unlock account. A great business plan for Ally-accept money but hold it hostage. Best I could do was a frantic call to company HR to change direct deposit as to not give these crooks any more money. I have filed complaints with FDIC & PA attorney general and continue to wait for that call within 48 hrs. Class action suit cannot be far off.

    • AvoidAlleyBank

      This happened to me as well, so it looks like they are still doing this. Can you share with me how you resolved this and what legal action i can take?

  • http://www.yourPFpro.com/ YourPFpro

    I don’t think you can completely switch to Ally Bank yet, but it is a great supplemental option to your B and M bank. I use Union Bank of CA since I have so many direct deposits linked to them and just in case I need to go in and get a money order. But I primarily use Ally for my day to day transactions like ATM withdrawals and writing checks.

  • Hokie

    Ally offers a superior product, but their customer service and bank processes are lacking. I opened an Online Savings account with $20,000. I received a call the next week from Ally notifying me that they accidentally withdrew the $20,000 twice from my account, and asked me to call my other bank to try to stop the transaction. My other bank told me that Ally was the only entity that could stop the transaction since they were the side that was initiating the withdrawal. I called Ally back and the agent told me that Ally’s system is not able to stop an initiated transaction. The entire time they treated me like it was my fault and I received no apology. I contemplated closing my Ally account in frustration, but decided that it would be counterproductive. My other bank charged me a $25 insufficient funds fee that Ally only refunded once I sent them a scan of my other account statement and after several calls. The credit shows up as a “Goodwill Credit” in my Ally account. It should have said, “Refund due to Ally mistake.” Now I have spent several hours and have a returned check status at my original bank due to an Ally mistake and have yet to get an apology or anything for my trouble from Ally.

  • Lukeduq508

    DO NOT do business with Ally Bank. I had a car loan through Ally. I then “tried” to refinance through a credit union. Apparently, I hadn’t endorsed the check to Ally properly, so after 3 weeks of hearing nothing, I had to do all the detective work to find out what the problem is. They claim to have sent the check back to my credit union, but didn’t. Then, I had to sign an Indemnity Agreement stating that I wouldn’t cash the check. Ally also had to sign this…it took them over 5 weeks to sign 1 piece of paper that literally had 3 pieces of information to input. Finally, another check was issued to Ally and the loan paid off. I was told I’d be refunded all my extra payments that I continued making while my check was “lost” and it’s been 3 weeks…so we’ll see if I ever get this money back.

    • Lukeduq508

      The whole process is approaching 4 months

  • Ralph

    I have several accounts and cd’s with Ally. I’ve been with them for years and never had a problem and was never charged any fees what so ever.

  • Loanpioneer

    Lets just say DO NOT let ALLY BANK finance your car! Wanted to pay off my car to these idiots, called them and they told me oh just pay online …AHH NO you dont cause if you have any else buying your car it can take up to 3 weeks for paper work …So then I called again and a supervisor told me to send Money Gram and cancel my my online payment….So I did and I called to confirm this while MY Bank listen and again this is what they told me so My Bank went ahead and fronted me my money and they will get it back from ALLY….So it has been four days and they still said they have NOT received any MONEYS and MONEY GRAM is instant and money Gram has a receiver code …sure enough money gram says they (ALLY) has received this money on Thursday which was last week! OUT 10,000 Just sayin CROOKS! CALLING FDIC NEXT

  • Monica

    Don’t let a few disgruntled customers change your mind about Ally. Every company/service has people that had a bad experience. I absolutely love Ally bank! In our digital world today, there is no need to go to a bank, so I do not miss the personalized service. I have spoken on the phone two different times to Ally bank representatives and they were so friendly and helpful! And they are available 24/7.
    I never have to worry about ATM fees and this review did not mention Ally Perks! I get cash back for shopping at certain stores (one of them being Target)!

    This review says the website is difficult to use, but I think it is very clear.

    I have been recommending Ally to everyone I know since I opened the account a year ago.

    • BrianMartucci

      Thanks for the perspective, Monica! We’ve recently updated this review to reflect some of the UX changes Ally has made to its website. For instance, it’s now mobile friendly, and deposits clear more quickly than in the past.

  • terrilynnmerritts

    Ally Banks is FANTASTIC! I have had no problems with their site and don’t see anything confusing about it at all. Well, duh, of course this online bank does not have brick and mortar locations so can’t offer safety deposit boxes and guess what, your info can be hacked from a brick and mortar bank or stolen by unscrupulous employees. Who says you have to use your phone to bank anyway. It is in no way difficult to move your funds from an online bank like Ally if you change your mind. Ally will give you a free transfer or else just write a check for what is in the old account and deposit it in the new one.
    Here is what I love about Ally:
    (1) FREE checks
    (2) FREE Mastercard Debit Card
    (3) FREE ATM use (ANY ATM. They refund any fees others charge)
    (4) Free postage paid envelopes to send in deposits
    (5) You can scan deposits
    (6) FREE transfers to another account
    (7) Very friendly and helpful customer service people
    (8) NO monthly fees no matter how low your balance goes
    (9) NO minimum to open an account
    (10) Good interest paid on accounts
    (11) Direct deposit of paychecks, IRS refunds, Social Security or whatever you need
    (12) Interest is compounded daily, not monthlty

    I am very fussy about my banking needs and am delighted with Ally. I think a number of people here are grumbling about problems with GMAC and not Ally.

    • sallypants

      Thank you for this! I’ve been very interested in opening an Ally account as a joint bill pay & savings account for my husband and me. Currently, I only use my bank ATM & online services anyway, so this one sounds more my style & the interest rates are awesome. Glad to hear from someone who is satisfied.

      • terrilynnmerritts

        I even suggested this to my own elderly relatives so they can have direct deposits there and since I have to tend to their affairs, it makes it simple for me to keep up with what is going on in their accounts. I love getting free checks and especially that if you use an ATM that charges you a fee, they refund it to you so you can use any ATM that has the MasterCard logo. They pay interest on the checking too and there are no monthly fees even if the balance is $0. Like you, my husband and I do our banking online anyway. Ally gives you free post paid envelopes to mail in any check deposits or you can scan them. No need to go anywhere but the ATM and of course, you can use the MasterCard Debit card and checks to shop in stores, online, and pay bills.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=578740496 Eric Merz

      I just opened my account and it’s good to hear! I was worried when my initial funding of $25 to my High-Interest Checking account posted, but still showed available balance of $0, making it look like I’d overdrafted my account $1.25 when I used my free debit card to buy a soda (work got cardswipey machines, yay). But my paycheck direct-deposited with no problems, and I love that I got checks for free too! I didn’t know about the free envelopes for deposits! I’ll have to look into this!

  • Mike

    Ally Bank are crooks. They are Gmac theives in sheeps clothing. They did not have enough money on hand to become a bank and receive TARP Money. They were allowed to get this money after bankrupting many hard working dealers. Their parent company is Ceberus, in greek mythology Ceberus is the three headed dog that guards the underworld. Ceberus was a 180 billion dollar company going bankrupt. So, our government bailed the theives out so they could survive and screw more and more. You are complete idiots to do business with these crooks.
    Previous Dealer

  • Jude Lb

    I have opened a savings account and am currently transferring most of my savings account balances from my other banks, not one of which is as high as Ally. For instance, I have a “high yield” money market account at Capital One, which boasts a 0.5% APR. That was better than my other savings accounts, which were between 0.1 and 0.25%. The fact that Ally is almost 1% for a regular savings account puts them head and shoulders above every other bank I deal with, and I currently have money in 4 other banks.

    I highly recommend them, especially after reading this review!

    • BrianMartucci

      Thanks for sharing, Jude! In recent months/years, other banks have begun offering similar rates on savings accounts. We’ve recently posted reviews of some (EverBank, Aurora) on the site – additional options if you ever want to diversify away from Ally.

      • Jude Lb

        I’ll look into it. So far so good with Ally, but I’ll check out the others. :)

  • Kim Barnabe

    ALLY IS THE WORST BANK EVER!!! AFTER 11 DAYS, MY DEBIT CARD STILL DIDN’T SHOW UP AND I CALLED THEM. THEY TOLD ME TO ORDER A NEW CARD AND THAT IF THE OLD ONE SHOWED UP, I COULD STILL USE IT…LIE!!!! I FINALLY GOT THE 1ST CARD AND THEY LIED AND THEY CANCELLED IT!! ALLY HAS HAD MY MONEY FOR 2 WEEKS AND I HAVEN”T BEEN ABLE TO BUY FOOD OR GAS….ERIC HERNANDEZ WAS AWESOME BUT THE REST OF THE CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM ARE LIARS!!! KEEP YOUR MONEY, PICK ANY OTHER BANK….I WILL NEVER USE ALLY (AND I WAS RESEARCHING CAR LOANS…THEIR RATE WAS GREAT BUT NO WAY I’M USING THEM!!!) RUN!!!!

    • AvoidAlleyBank

      Thi9s happened to me as well. Can you tell me if it was resolved?

  • Kim Barnabe

    ALLY IS THE WORST BANK EVER!!! AFTER 11 DAYS, MY DEBIT CARD STILL DIDN’T SHOW UP AND I CALLED THEM. THEY TOLD ME TO ORDER A NEW CARD AND THAT IF THE OLD ONE SHOWED UP, I COULD STILL USE IT…LIE!!!! I FINALLY GOT THE 1ST CARD AND THEY LIED AND THEY CANCELLED IT!! ALLY HAS HAD MY MONEY FOR 2 WEEKS AND I HAVEN”T BEEN ABLE TO BUY FOOD OR GAS….ERIC HERNANDEZ WAS AWESOME BUT THE REST OF THE CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM ARE LIARS!!! KEEP YOUR MONEY, PICK ANY OTHER BANK….I WILL NEVER USE ALLY (AND I WAS RESEARCHING CAR LOANS…THEIR RATE WAS GREAT BUT NO WAY I’M USING THEM!!!) RUN!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/oscar.castillo.798278 Oscar Castillo

    Double Posted PLEASE DELETE!

  • http://www.facebook.com/oscar.castillo.798278 Oscar Castillo

    I’ve been with Ally for about 3 months and I have to say it is very simple & I’d recommend to anyone. Only downside is the time it takes to transfer funds between banks but all banks have that issue.

  • DeepThought42

    My business has carried our main banking account with Wells Fargo for over ten years. Today as I attempted to deposit a $68,000 check into my account the manager at Wells Fargo Bank, 3010 Williams Boulevard Southwest, Cedar Rapids, IA (319) 398-4760 insisted that he had to put a hold on the deposited funds since the check wasn’t drawn on another Wells Fargo account. It was a check from a public school district so the deposit is good as gold. I’ve deposited over $300,000 checks before with no problems at all. Now, I have checks written to my suppliers that may have a problem clearing since they won’t acknowledge that the funds are deposited. Wells Fargo is really starting to suck!

    • BrianMartucci

      Sorry to hear that! Would you consider switching to an online bank, or do you prefer the ability to walk into a physical branch and talk to someone when there’s an issue?

  • NH

    Ally still makes excuses why they don’t have features they promised – just teasers, while not delivering anything. On top of that I just had an experience where their loss prevention/ fraud department gave me a major attitude with the “I don’t care” attitude about them taking my money hostage. They froze my account without any warning. I lost access to my bank account, bills weren’t getting paid, couldn’t access to set up bills, couldn’t get cash out from ATM, etc. all b/c I had called in the general customer service dept raising my concerns about the billpay not working correctly (payee information was being altered without me doing it – such as payee address and acct number – which resulted in some of my bills not getting paid. Was able to find multiple case of similar glitches once I started investigating). The general customer service dept’s hands were tied as they also didn’t know what was going on and couldn’t get access to my account. Turns out that the fraud department started looking into the issues I reported, froze my account without notice, and left for the weekend as their FRAUD department only works 8am~5pm ET. I was left without access to my account all weekend without notice. Again, no bill pay, no access, no ATM use. When I finally got a human being from the fraud department on the phone on Monday, the gal who was handling the case took a tone with me (defensive). So I asked to speak with the supervisor – who all he did was try to get rid of me and totally had the “I don’t really care” attitude while giving me excuses. No sincerity for what they put me through what so ever. The general service department was clearly trained much better to be professional and be polite and apologetic when they couldn’t help. However the fraud department was unprofessional, insincere, and just a 8-to5?er who didn’t care.
    I am leaving Ally not only because they promised features they can’t deliver but because of the billpay issues I’ve experienced, along with the most terrible customer service I received from the fraud department. They took my account hostage without notice and they didn’t even apologize, just saying “that’s our process” – what a cop out to blame the “process”. I’ve spoken to other friends who recently also joined Ally. They told me their nightmare stories and we’re all leaving. I can’t stay with a bank I cannot trust. No way I can trust my money with this bank – I’m just so shocked they get away with this. They spend all their money on advertising and promising features they don’t have. Now I learned that their “process” is messed up and they don’t have respect for their customer and their money. I baffled they can get away with this.

  • Chris Miller

    “Absolutely terrible bank!”
    Spent 2 weeks setting up account, sending in signature cards, etc. After my employer direct deposited my first check ally closed down our account claiming we had “business activity” because of the direct deposit! Then the lady Nicole in the fraud department was absolutely rude to us and treated us terribly. She wouldn’t listen, continued to talk over us, etc. These people are insane! Avoid at ALL costs!

  • Britt28

    I found that Ally had the best rate at the time for a high interest savings account. After submitting an application, I was contacted a week later that they were in need of a copy of my license. I faxed it over and about a week later was contacted that it was illegible and needed to be faxed again. I enlarged the license even more and tried again, and received yet another call that it was illegible. This happened once more, and this time I requested a mailing address as this seemed a bit ridiculous as I had made the license as clear as possible. I attempted to fax it a fourth time and spoke with a representative who stated it did come through clear this time. I waited a week and received another call that I needed to fax over the license of the secondary on the account. I asked why this was never explained two months ago when this all began. They just apologized, but explained that it was necessary.
    I decided that with all the red flags and getting nowhere with my application, I should look elsewhere. A couple days ago I received a letter from Ally stating that since they attempted multiple times to contact me for documentation they would decline my application. Ha!
    This lack of customer service and better business practice has guaranteed that I will not be giving a dime to Ally bank, and I caution others to avoid this headache.

  • Chris M.

    Ally bank shut down our account after an employer made a direct deposit to it and they claimed because of that, our account had “Business activity”. The account has been tied up in the fraud department for 2 weeks now and they have taken $1300 from us and won’t return it! When you call the fraud department – they are rude, will hang up on you and won’t tell you much of anything. I cannot even believe this is a real company!

    2 weeks ago we were told a check was being cut and we still haven’t seen it. This bank is running a scam and CONSUMERS SHOULD BEWARE!!!!!!

  • Corey

    At a glance, it seems like the main complaint people have is with the checking and savings features. Has anyone had any issues with only opening a CD with them?

  • MN_Minneapolis

    I have had Ally for a year, I have given them chance after chance to get it right. They are the worst. When it comes to timely and reliable bank transfer, paying a bill, or any type of electronic transactions, there take forever. I have 3 bank accounts and none have given me these types of problems. It’s bad because it is online, so you can’t go into a location to speak with someone and customer service gives you that “o well, we are sorry” attitude when you call. I would not recommend Ally to anyone and I have closed my account with them. The only good thing about this bank is the refund on ATM fees, but with all the other hassel, it’s not worth it. I would say, this bank is only good for savings accounts, if you want to put your money somewhere and let it sit to accrue interest, then yes. But if you need an account for everyday living use to pay bills and complete transaction with, Ally is not the bank. Two thumbs down

  • KLopez

    It’s ok enough if you only want a savings account. I opened an account about a year ago to save for my wedding. Transfers take forever, but I didn’t need the money right away. I was told that it would be simple to later convert to a checking account if I needed to make more transactions per month (there is a $10 fee for any over 6). I tried to open the account online, was told that they needed to investigate some more, and got denied. I closed my account immediately. I am not going to pay them to get my money. On the plus side, the customer service rep didn’t try to talk me out of it and was very nice

  • ALLY WORST NIGHTMARE

    I’M STARTING A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT.IF ALLY HAS DONE YOU WRONG TOO.FOR EXPLAIN THEY TOO 2 GRAND AND CLOSED MY ACCOUNT .LIKE I WAS NEVER THIERE.PLEASE CONTACT ME [email protected]

  • Leaving Ally

    Worst banking experience ever. I was told to research and ask for a refund in regards to fraudulent charges on my account. Deposits and transfers take weeks to process. Only 1 supervisor working at 9AM EST during primary business hours and would get to me in 24 hours. Wife tried to open an account after we were married and it took 4 months for them to get the account open. Would never have followed through if my accounts were not already open. Shopping for a new bank!

  • Mike Dowlan

    I open an account at Ally so far I am Happy with the Service 100%

  • 4 day Wire Transfer $20 SCAM!

    I tried to do my first wire transfer with ally to another bank. The rep told me that a wire transfer would post sane day, as long as I faxed their wire transfer form to them before 3pm est on a buisness day.. After I faxed my form, I called to make sure they received it…then the rep said it can take up to 2 hours for your fax to come thru and for processing…plus they would have to call me to verify the transaction. The rep put me on hold, and called the wire dept, and confirmed that my form was received, and said he understands that even tho it was faxed to them prior to 3pm, that they still would not have time to process my wire transfer before their 3pm cut off.. This was a Friday over a holiday weekend. They tokd me my funds wohld not post until the following tuesday. So I asked why do you tell your customers as long as you receive the form before 3pm it will post same day, and. Please explain to me why does your wire transfer form state the same thing. If the cut off is 3pm, then shohldnt your deadline or cut off time be set at 10am or noon..to give you guys the 2 hours you need to process and verify my transaction before you shut down at 3pm. This felt like a scam. A regular bank to bank transfer would have made it to my acct by tuesday of the following week for FREE… But the rep talked me out of the transfer and suggested the $20 fee wire transfer. Im dissapointed that they refuse to honor their own wire transfer policies. This could have been avoided if they are honest with their customers and give a true realistic time frame in which it takes them to process a wire. They were absolutely no help. I had no access to my money. They kept saying sorry..the cut off has already past…but I contuously argued the point that you received my form before YOUR CUT OFF TIME. The supervisor said that they have argued with the wire transfer department many times about this issue, and especially the form not being accurate..but told me they refuse to change it after several complaints from customers. Im very dissapointed in Ally bank. Im glad that the supervisor I spoke with offered to refund the $20 wire transfer fee back into my acct. But as for me not being able to get my money same day, and being stuck without it over a holiday weekend. She couldnt help me. This is not a good bank to use if you are ever in an emergency and need your money right away…even a wire transfer will be processed on the same timeline as a regular transfer..except you will be charged the $20 FEE! Please be sure this never happens to you. Take your money elsewhere.

  • Jeff Meyers

    full disclosure: I do currently work for a bank (not Ally), but I am not a “banker”.

    This article is a bit outdated, as some of the offerings have changed (they do offer overdraft protection, mobile app, and their website is pretty easy imo). I opened 3 Ally accounts about 4 months ago and haven’t had any major issues yet. I use them ad my primary checking and savings mainly because of their great rates, but also because of the free services such as no-fee ATMs, mobile deposit, and free external transfers. The only gripes I have is that check deposits seem to take a day or two longer than my previous traditional bank and I can’t electronically deposit money orders/cashier checks. I am very impressed with the mobile app (apparently added since this original article was written). I can transfer funds between accounts, to my other traditional bank accounts (usually takes 3 business days), pay bills, capture and deposit checks, and view transactions.

    • BrianMartucci

      Thanks for your comment, Jeff. Since you posted, we’ve updated this article to reflect some of Ally’s new offerings, including most of what you mention. The overdraft protection still isn’t as solid as at some other banks – you need to use it in the right way – but the fees may be more manageable.

  • amyrwhitaker

    Eva . I can see what your saying… Robert `s comment
    is surprising, last thursday I bought themselves a Infiniti from making $7905
    this – 4 weeks past and-also, ten-k last month . with-out a doubt this is the
    easiest-work Ive ever done . I began this 8-months ago and right away started
    to earn minimum $82 per/hr . official website R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

  • sylviadstrong

    my classmate’s aunt makes $68 every hour on the computer . She has been
    fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was $15495 just working on the
    computer for a few hours. visit the site C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • timverry

    I have been fairly happy with Ally though the interest rates for checking accounts are pitiful now compared to what they were in years past :(

  • jenniferjtai

    like
    Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
    on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • charlesjdion

    my Aunty
    Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

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