This Ally Invest review has been updated for 2024, and covers fees, features, customer service, and more. A few years ago, I moved a Traditional and Roth IRA account from E-Trade to Ally Invest (formerly known as “TradeKing” at the time, prior to being acquired by Ally Financial). I had long been a fan of TradeKing as a great online broker option for a number of reasons, and with the change, I wanted to share my first impressions and give a first-look Ally Invest review after my account migration. Was the acquisition and transition a good move for former TradeKing customers and new investors? Read on to find the answer.
Having held discount broker accounts with E-Trade, Vanguard, Fidelity, Ally Invest, TD Ameritrade, Scottrade, Fidelity, Schwab, and a few others, I have a little more experience in this area than I’d probably like to, so hopefully this Ally Invest review provides some useful discount broker comparisons and commentary.
What is Ally Invest?
Ally Invest is the online discount brokerage arm of Ally Financial (the 23rd largest bank in the U.S., with over $197 billion in assets). Ally Invest was formerly TradeKing, prior to Ally Financial purchasing it (in 2016) and re-launching it (in 2017) as Ally Invest.
In summary, Ally Invest has a low fee trading structure, no maintenance/inactivity fees, and strong customer service with 24/7 support. You can trade stocks, bonds, funds, options and other equities through Ally Invest. I’ll get into what types of accounts you may want to consider opening or moving to Ally Invest in a bit.
Ally Invest Commission Fees:
Let’s cut right to what most of us care about the most when it comes to investing online with a discount broker – the fees. Here are Ally Invest’s commission fees:
- Stocks & ETFs: $0 on U.S. listed stocks and ETFs
- Bonds: $1 per bond ($10 minimum and $250 maximum required per transaction)
- Mutual Funds: Load: subject to mutual fund fee, No-Load: $0 on purchases and sale
- Options: $0 commissions + $0.50 per contract
The $0 on stocks and ETFs is now (thankfully) commonplace, but the other commission fees here stack up great competitively.
Here is a complete list of Ally Invest fees.
Ally Invest excels in this area, much like Ally Financial. Whereas some discount brokers try to nickel and dime you with hidden account maintenance or inactivity fees and IRA custodial fees, Ally Invest does not. There are no monthly or annual maintenance or account fees for both taxable accounts and IRA’s.
Ally Invest has no minimum balance requirement for their self-directed accounts. This is a key factor for someone just getting into investing for the first time, who might not have a lot of money to put into an account right from the get go. You will need at least $100 to start investing in an “Ally Invest Managed Portfolio”.
What About Ally Invest Features?
Ally Invest has many nice features, the breadth and depth has always been great – far exceeding any other brokers I’ve used. They include:
- Robo Advisor (optional): 0.30% annual advisory fee
- Dedicated Advisors (optional): Blended annual portfolio advisory fee of 0.85-0.75%
- ETF, mutual fund, and stock screeners and navigators
- Technical analysis and charts
- iPhone & Android apps for mobile investing
How is Ally Invest’s Customer Service?
Ally Invest offers 24/7 customer support. Most other brokers operate M-F and have skeleton support on the weekends (typically when people actually have time to call in for help), if at all.
Bonus: Ally Banking Services
One nice thing about being an Ally customer is that they offer a full suite of banking services in addition to their new investment platform. This includes home loans, auto loans, debit/credit cards, checking accounts, online savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, and other bank related services. Kiplinger Magazine has rated Ally Financial as the “best bank for millennials” and the “best internet bank” in recent years.
Ally Invest Review Summary:
The 4 biggest changes from the purchase and re-brand of TradeKing to Ally Invest that I have noticed thus far are:
- No more maintenance fee for a low balance or inactivity
- Expanded customer service hours to 24/7 support
- No fee stock and ETF trading
- Added banking features from Ally Bank
All positives. As a former TradeKing and current Ally Invest customer, I’m very pleased with the transition thus far.
Ally Invest is one of the few discount brokers I continue to use at the moment, so obviously, I like them. Great service, account security, low trading fees, and no hidden “gotcha” fees to screw you over. I’d recommend using them for both a regular post-tax investment account and a retirement account for everything but broker-branded (e.g. Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab) ETFs and mutual funds.
Ally Invest Review
Ally Invest Review Summary
Ally Invest (formerly “TradeKing”) has now been around for over a decade and remains one of the cheapest discount brokers out there for equity trading and mutual fund buying/selling. They wouldn’t be my first choice for Vanguard and Schwab branded ETF and mutual fund investing, but are a top choice for non-ETF equities (stocks/bonds) and non-Vanguard and Schwab mutual funds and ETFs.
The prices are low, and there are no hidden fees. Beyond pricing, Ally Invest customer service has always been top-notch, their tools have been solid, and their security features are very good.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ally Invest for beginner investors or experienced amateur investors.