Pros / Ally Invest offers a low flat-rate trade fee.
Cons / The Classic platform's layout can't be customized.
Verdict / With low trading costs and an easy-to-use platform, Ally Invest provides good value for experienced traders, but it’s not the ideal service for beginners since it lacks a trading simulator and investment training.
Ally Invest is the investment service offered by Ally Bank. It was formerly known as TradeKing until Ally acquired TradeKing. Former TradeKing clients will find that much of the service is unchanged – it still offers a combination of low pricing and useful tools for investors of all skill levels.
Ally offers two different platform options to make trades through. The Classic option is the most popular. It’s a simple platform that includes all the basic charting and analysis tools to help you find securities to invest in. Classic is a static platform; you can’t customize it or adjust it to your liking. It’s also fairly limited in terms of the screening tools.
The Live platform is available to all traders – you don’t need to meet any trading volume or account balance thresholds to use Ally Invest Live. This is a much more versatile platform than the Classic. You can customize the platform to your liking, adding and removing modules from the main page.
The Live platform also has tools unavailable on the Classic. It has stronger charting tools, with more indicators and the ability to add alerts and notes directly into your charts. In Live you also have access to third-party stock screening services, including Recognia, which is useful for investors of all skill levels – it analyzes your portfolio and makes recommendations based on technical factors.
Ally’s online trading app is useful, especially if for placing trades and researching potential investments. You can’t directly fund your account, though if you bank through Ally you can check your balances. You also can’t set up alerts through the app.
This service charges a low flat-rate fee of $4.95 for stock, ETF and options trading. Options contracts are $0.65. If you trade 30 times a quarter or maintain an account balance of $100,000 you are eligible for a $3.95 trade fee along with $0.50 options contracts. Ally Invest also offers more than 100 commission free ETFs.
The education center is full of useful information about investments, investing styles and investing terms. You can choose the information you want to learn about based on your level of trading experience or by topic.
You can learn basics about buying stocks online by reading short, comprehensive guides and blogs written by other traders. A key feature in the beginner’s section is the Featured Rookie Strategy, which gives you thorough breakdowns and explanations of investment strategies. These guides can even be useful to seasoned investors curious about using a new strategy. If you need additional assistance with your trading, you can access customer service agents during normal business hours over the phone, via email and through live chat.
Ally Invest doesn't offer simulated trading as one of its training tools. This can be helpful for testing strategies and getting familiar with the trading platform, and some of the best services offer this useful feature.
Ally Invest's uncomplicated pricing makes it a good value among online brokers. You also get useful research information and analytical tools, and you have access to educational resources and customer service if you need it.