Ally has been putting the interests of its customers first for over 100 years. Starting out as a provider of auto finance, Ally Bank has grown over the past century into one of the best online banks (opens in new tab) overall, with 8.5 million people trusting in its service and enjoying the benefits of a focus on "Doing it right".
The commitment to auto finance remains to this day, with Ally being recognized by ourselves as a company that offers some of the best auto loans (opens in new tab). However, now much more is available too, including personal loans and home loans, and other motor related services such as extended car warranties (opens in new tab).
- Note that rates were correct as at September 2020, but may have changed since.
Ally Bank review: Account options
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.
Basic checking: 0.10%
Premium checking: 0.25%
Money market: 0.50%
Short term CD: 0.75%
Long term CD: 1.00%
Fund availability: 1-2 business days
ATMs in network: 43,000
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 - which is currently 0.25% - 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 of 0.80% is far higher than is available at iGObanking (opens in new tab), for instance. Similar to its checking account, Ally Bank's savings account has great terms too. 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 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 attractive too, and 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.
Ally Bank review: Features
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.
Ally Bank review: Service
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 $300 available the next business day and up to $24,700 available on the second business day. Remaining amounts over $25,000 may take up to five business days to clear.
It's also ridiculously easy to contact Ally Bank. Customer care associates are available via telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather helpfully for those short on time, its website also provides an estimate of 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 review: Security
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.
In terms of protection from wrongdoing, Ally Bank secures your accounts using two-factor authentication, which means that if someone attempts 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. Assuming it is you, you'll then enter the security code to access your accounts. Ally also provides free antivirus software (opens in new tab) for extra peace of mind.
The bank will email or text 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.
Should you choose Ally Bank?
Ally Bank rightfully stakes a claim to be among the very 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.