PROS / Ally Bank reimburses you up to $10 for ATM fees per statement cycle.
CONS / The only loans offered by this online bank are auto loans, which are only available through select dealers.
VERDICT / With competitive interest rates on checking and savings accounts plus unlimited ATM reimbursements, Ally Bank is one of the best online-only banks you can choose.
Ally Bank is one of the best online-only banks for your banking needs because it offers the convenience of mobile banking and ATM freedom, it doesn't charge maintenance fees, and it discloses its terms and fees in very clear language. It also has some of the best interest rates on its checking, savings, money market and CD accounts. For these reasons, it earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Ally Bank is one of the top online banks largely because it offers some of the best interest rates on its accounts. It has one interest checking account option, and the interest rate varies depending on the amount in your account. It charges no monthly maintenance fees and includes a free debit card and free standard checks.
There's no minimum deposit to open the account, and you aren't required to maintain a minimum balance in order to earn the base interest rate. However, in order to earn the premium interest rate, you need to maintain a daily balance over $15,000. Although these rates are lower than the rewards checking accounts offered by other online-only banks, the benefit of this account is that you're not required to jump through any hoops to get them.
The interest rate for Ally Bank's online savings account is one of the best. Similar to its checking account, Ally Bank's savings account has great terms. There's no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum deposit to open an account and no minimum balance to maintain to earn interest. With this account, you're limited to six withdrawals or transfers per month, which is common for online savings accounts. Additional transactions carry a fee of $10 each.
The money market option is nearly identical to the savings account, including the limit of six transactions per month. The interest rate for this account is slightly lower than the savings rate, but as the service with the third highest money-market rate in our review, it's still highly competitive. The advantage of a money market account is that like the checking account, you can receive a free debit card and free checks.
Its CD interest rates are slightly lower than other banks on our list, but they're still competitive. If interest rates change within the first 10 days of funding your account, Ally Bank gives you the best rate. Like all CDs, there's a penalty if you withdraw your money before the end of the term.
Convenience is a key factor in how satisfied you are with your bank, and Ally Bank delivers with ATM freedom and mobile banking. It also offers online statements, the ability to set up direct deposits, online budgeting tools (like calculators) and a free online Ally Wallet Wise financial basics course, which covers budgeting, banking, investing and credit. Ally is part of the Allpoint ATM network, which offers 43,000 ATMs nationwide. You can also get up to $10 worth of ATM fees reimbursed each statement cycle.
Ally Bank's mobile banking app is available for Apple and Android phones. It's also available for Windows phones, but it doesn't have all the features the other platforms have. You can use the Apple and Android apps to check your account balance, review transactions, find ATMs, set up and manage money transfers between your accounts, deposit checks remotely, pay bills, and use Popmoney to send and receive money from other people using just an email address or phone number.
There's no cost to transfer money between your Ally Bank accounts and outside accounts using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) process. If you move money using wire transfers, there's a $20 fee for outgoing domestic wire transfers; incoming wire transfers are free.
Fund availability is good, with most deposits and transfers available between one and two business days. Like most banks, checks may take longer, with the first $200 available the next business day and up to $4,800 available on the second business day. Checks for more than $5,000 may take up to five business days to clear.
Credit offerings from this institution are very limited as Ally Bank offers auto financing through select dealers.
Security & Support
Your money is safe in Ally Bank as the institution is FDIC insured and all of your deposits are insured up to the maximum amount, which is $250,000 per individual, per account.
Ally Bank secures your accounts using two-factor authentication, which means that when you attempt to log in on a computer or device the bank doesn't recognize, it sends a randomly generated, one-time security code to your phone via text message or to your email account. You then enter the security code to access your accounts. It also provides you with free antimalware software.
It emails or texts you notifications to alert you when there is potentially suspicious activity on your account, such as multiple unsuccessful login attempts, changed ID or passwords, or new accounts opened. You can sign up for notifications about your balance and deposits as well as alerts about overdrafts and overdraft transfers.
It's easy to contact Ally Bank. Customer care associates are available via telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On its website, it tells you how long you can expect to wait on hold before speaking with an associate. You can also use the secure email form on its website or initiate live chat.
Ally bank is one of the best online banks due to its high interest rates, lack of fees, clear account terms and generous ATM reimbursements. Additionally, its mobile banking app makes it easy to check your balances, review your transactions, transfer money and even deposit checks using your phone.