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Ally Auto Loan review

Ally is great for the auto loan extras you perhaps didn’t know you needed.

Ally Auto Loan review
(Image: © Ally)

Our Verdict

If you’re yet to find your new car, and want a choice of auto finance options, starting your search with an auto dealer that provides Ally auto loans is well advised. Granted, you won’t know much about the APRs until you get there, and will need the dealer to get the process underway. But if you do sign up for an Ally auto loan, the account management options available online and through the mobile app are great, and you’ll likely have a finance deal that suits your priorities and might not be available elsewhere.

For

  • Range of finance options
  • Excellent online and mobile account management

Against

  • Restricted to partner dealers
  • Little upfront rate information

Ally has been at the forefront of auto financing since opening its doors as the then named GMAC in 1919. Across a century of trading since, Ally has consistently provided some of the best auto loans to American motorists and constantly reappraised its auto finance solutions as the motor industry evolved. 

Ally is one of the top five largest auto lenders in the U.S., and also regarded as one of the leading digital financial services companies overall. A commitment to “do right” by its customers complements the drive to innovate perfectly. While always retaining a focus on the auto loans through which it all began, Ally has expanded over the years to also offer online banking, personal loans and home loans, alongside other vehicle related services such as extended car warranties

Ally Auto Loan review: Eligibility

  • Network of authorized dealers
  • No indication of credit requirements

There is little information regarding loan eligibility on the Ally website in respect of required credit ratings, but it is confirmed that any car you buy must be under 10 years old and have fewer than 120,000 miles on the clock. 

To get an Ally auto loan, you will also need to buy your new vehicle from a participating dealer. However, with Ally currently serving over 18,000 auto dealers - and more than four million of their retail customers - this shouldn’t represent too much of a barrier to finding a new car. 

Ally Auto Loan review: Application process

Key Features

Application process:  Direct dealer application 
APR: Negotiable, but will depend on loan amount, terms and credit score
Fees: Fees apply, not disclosed
Loan terms: 12 - 84 months

  • Initiated by auto dealer
  • Find A Dealer application online

As it is the auto dealer that initiates the auto loan application process rather than you approaching Ally directly, there is little detail on the website regarding what you can expect. It also means that those who have an eye on a vehicle and simply need the finance arranging fast will be better approaching someone such as LightStream for their auto loan. 

That said, if you’re still searching for your ideal car, and would prefer an Ally loan, you probably won’t mind the trip to the auto dealer to get things started. In this respect, the Ally website - which is well laid out and easy to use - has a “Find A Dealer” application into which you put your address and vehicle brand you’re hoping for. A map quickly appears with all the closest options, and handy directions to get you to the lot gate in the fastest possible time. 

Ally Auto Loan review: Essential details

  • Negotiate your APR
  • Unique finance options

With the dealer key to the auto loan process, specific details in relation to loan amounts and terms are hard to find. What we do know is that loan terms of between 12 and 84 months are available, and that the late payment policy allows for a grace period of between seven and 15 days, before a late payment fee for at least 5% of the scheduled monthly payment amount could be charged.

Beyond that, there is an explanation as to how your credit score affects your APR, but unfortunately no definite indication as to the rate you might have to pay. This is because you and your dealership will negotiate your APR based on current available rates, although there is an assurance that the rate will not exceed 19% or the state maximum, whichever is lower.

What is explained in greater detail are the more unique finance options that are available. The first of these is the Ally Balloon Advantage program that lets you make lower monthly payments in favor of a large balloon payment at the end of the contract, although it can only be used on certain types of car. The other program is Buyers Choice which blends both buying and leasing options into one package tailored to suit customer budgets. 

Ally Auto Loan review

(Image credit: Ally)

Ally Auto Loan review: Service

  • Online and mobile management
  • Underwhelming customer reviews

Once you’ve been approved for a loan and have your car, your dealings with Ally become more direct and you can really start to see why Ally is considered among the best auto loan companies. 

By enrolling in its online program, you can check your payment status, balance and statements anytime from the online dashboard or the mobile app. You can also update your personal information, manage payments, and potentially arrange to pay off your loan early. In terms of payments, there is an auto pay and a direct pay option that once activated will ensure you always meet your obligations. The platform is easy to navigate and comes with plenty of helpful insight and information, and some useful FAQs. 

Ally enjoys an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, despite customers awarding it an average of one star out of five for service. Its rating of almost two out five on ConsumerAffairs is slightly more encouraging, but not stellar, although it should be remembered that the largest financial companies attract reviews relating to all of their services, and not just auto loans. 

Should you choose an Ally Auto Loan?

If you’re looking for an established auto loan name and happy to approach a dealer to get started, Ally will be a good option for you. While some upfront information regarding eligibility and possible APRs would be welcome, Ally has finance options to suit all types of borrower. 

And once you have the loan, Ally steps up another gear, with an impressive online function and the ability to manage almost everything through the mobile app too.