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Ally Invest was formerly known as TradeKing. Ally Financial purchased TradeKing and rebranded the existing brokerage service in early 2017.
Ally Invest is a discount online broker, allowing self-directed investors to buy and sell stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, and forex.
Ally Invest Platform
Ally Invest offers several different ways to trade: a web-based platform, a streaming HTML 5 platform, and a sophisticated downloadable desktop trading platform. This allows you to manage your accounts, access your portfolios, and make trades across multiple devices.
Ally Invest also offers a mobile application for Android and Apple devices. The app is a simplified version of the desktop software which allows you to make trades on the go.
The platform features a number of tools designed for options traders, including an options pricing calculator and an options strategy scanner. Investors interested in technical analysis will find a suite of free tools powered by Recognia.
The biggest downside to the platform is the availability of data. Standard stock quotes are free for all customers, but real-time streaming data is only available to investors who place 10 or more trades per month.
Ally Invest Fees
Ally Invest offers the following fee schedule:
|Action||Standard Pricing||Discount Pricing|
|Trade Stock or ETF||$4.95||$3.95|
|Trade Options||$4.95 base|
|Trade Mutual Fund||$9.95||N/A|
|IRA closure fee||$50||$50|
The discount pricing applies when you make 30 or more trades per quarter and/or maintain an average daily balance of more than $100,000.
There are no minimum balance requirements or inactivity fees.
There are no fees to open or maintain an IRA account, but there is a $50 fee to close or transfer the account.
Ally Invest Customer Service
Several financial publications have praised Ally’s customer service, which includes the following support options:
- Live chat support: 24/7 when logged into your account
- Phone support (1-855-880-2559): 8 AM – 6 PM ET, Monday through Friday
- Email support ([email protected]): Ally attempts to respond to every email within 24 hours
Ally Invest Security
Ally Invest offers the following cyber-security protections:
- SIPC Coverage – Securities in your account are protected up to $500,000 in the case of fraud or mismanagement. Ally Invest has an additional insurance policy to protect members above $500,000.
- Account Security – Ally Invest offers the option to establish two separate passwords: one to access account information, and another to place trades and execute fund transfers.
- Automatic Logoff – Should you access your account and forget to sign out, Ally Invest will automatically log you off after 30 – 180 minutes (you select the time).
- Limit Failed Logins – To protect your account from unauthorized users, Ally Invest blocks access to your account after a set number of unsuccessful login attempts.
- 256-bit SSL Encryption – When you submit sensitive information via the Ally Invest website, your information is fully encrypted.
Ally Invest Drawbacks
ETFs – Ally Invest advertises $4.95 ETF trades, but the platform offers no commission-free ETFs. Self-directed investors should never trade commissioned ETFs with so many no-fee products widely available, so Ally Invest is entirely worthless for ETF traders.
Mutual Funds – Ally Invest charges $9.95 to buy/sell a mutual fund. That’s far too high. You can open a free account at Vanguard and trade mutual funds with absolutely no fees or commissions. Or you can replace mutual funds with ETFs, like most investors in the 21st century.
Is Ally Invest Right for You?
Ally Invest offers a reasonable fee schedule, but there are better alternatives for most of Ally’s offerings.
For stocks and ETFs, Ally Invest charges $4.95 per trade. M1 Finance (see my review) allows you to trade both asset classes entirely free. Furthermore, Ally Invest offers no commission-free ETFs while M1 Finance offers the universe of commission-free ETFs that can be traded without any.
Mutual funds are no better at $9.95/trade. It’s 2017, and no investor should be paying $9.95 to trade a mutual fund.
Options are the one thing worth considering through Ally Invest. The base rate is competitive with other brokerage firms, and the discounted rate is among the lowest offered by any broker.