Are you ready to move your banking online?
If so, Ally Bank is there for you. Ally is an online-only bank with one of the highest-yield savings accounts on the market.
Read on to learn about online banking in this full Ally bank review. Plus, you’ll find instructions on how to set up an Ally savings or checking account, step by step.
Ally Bank review: just the essentials
Ally Bank offers many of the same products as a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, but without physical bank branches. You can open an account and make unlimited deposits via eCheck. You can also take out cash fee-free at any of the 43,000 Allpoint ATMs across the country.
Because Ally doesn’t have as many overhead and administrative expenses as a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, it can offer high annual percentage yields (APY) on its savings accounts. Whatever your balance, you’ll get a 1.00% APY in an Ally savings account. If you had $5,000 in savings, you’d make about $50 in interest after a year. Compared to Bank of America’s 0.01% APY, Ally allows your savings to grow at a much higher rate.
Apart from cash withdrawal at an ATM, you’ll conduct every transaction online or over the phone. Ally has innovative and easy-to-use banking platforms on the web, a tablet, or via mobile app on your iPhone or Android.
Checking your balance is as simple as opening up the app on your phone. If you run into any issues, you can call customer service any time of the day or night. While most banks stick to traditional business hours, Ally offers support on a 24/7 basis.
Ally Bank products
Ally Bank offers a number of financial products, but its offerings aren’t as extensive as major banks such as Bank of America or Chase. For instance, it doesn’t have 401(ks) or college savings plans. However, Ally does offer common products such as bank accounts, CDs, and auto loans, among others.
Ally’s checking accounts have no minimum balance or monthly maintenance fees. You’ll receive a debit card and standard checks. You can take out cash from an Allpoint ATM for no fee and there are no limits to how many withdrawals you make. Need to use an out-of-network ATM? Ally will also reimburse any ATM fees for up to $10 per statement cycle.
You’ll deposit checks by uploading a photo of your check on the mobile app or website. You can also send money to someone using PopMoney, Ally’s user-friendly money transfer service.
If your daily balance is lower than $15,000, you’ll get a 0.10% APY. With a balance of $15,000 or greater, you’ll earn a 0.60% APY.
As mentioned above, Ally savings accounts have a competitive APY of 1.00% at any balance tier.
Your FDIC-protected savings account has no monthly maintenance fee. You can make unlimited deposits, but there’s a limit of six additional transactions per statement cycle.
Unlike an Ally checking account, an Ally savings account doesn’t come with checks or a debit card.
Money Market accounts
Money market accounts are Ally’s third option for a bank account.
In a money market account, you’ll earn an APY of 0.85%, regardless of your account balance. You’ll also get checks and a debit card. However, you won’t get the free online bill pay service that comes with a checking account.
Money market accounts are most useful to customers with a daily balance lower than $15,000. They give you the high interest rate of a savings account but the check and debit card options of a checking account.
Certificates of deposit (CD)
A CD is a timed deposit with a fixed yield. The longer you agree to leave your deposit in the account, the higher your yield will be. If you try to withdraw your deposit early, you’ll have to pay a penalty.
With Ally Bank, you can purchase a CD for a term as short as three months or as long as five years. Your APY will vary depending on the term you select.
As of this writing, an 18-month term CD would get you 1.20% APY on $5,000. If your balance is greater than $5,000, your APY increases to 1.25%. If your balance exceeds $25,000, you’ll earn a 1.35% APY.
You can also open an independent retirement account (IRA) CD. These FDIC-insured IRA CDs are available for Roth, Traditional, or SEP IRAs.
If you’re interested in saving for retirement, open an IRA Online Savings Account with Ally. Ally IRAs are available for Roth, Traditional, or SEP accounts. They all have an APY of 1.00%, which is on the low end compared to other banks.
Ally CashBack Credit Card
Ally offers a cash back credit card with no annual fee. You’ll get two percent cash back at gas stations and grocery stores and one percent cash back on all other purchases. If you spend $500 in the first few months, you’ll earn a $100 bonus. Since it’s a Visa, you can use the Ally card pretty much anywhere.
By no means are you obligated to open an Ally card as the bank’s customer. You may qualify for other cash back credits card with even more lucrative rewards programs.
Vehicle financing and protection
Ally was originally an auto financing company, and it continues to offer car loans and protection plans today. Whether you want to buy or lease a vehicle, you can browse flexible financing offers or find a protection product that includes basic or full vehicle coverage.
Home loans and refinancing
Finally, you can take out or refinance a home mortgage through Ally Bank. The bank offers a number of terms; Ally’s 30-year plans, for instance, have interest rates between 4.25% and 4.326%. Already have a mortgage? You can refinance an existing mortgage to lower your monthly payments and pay the loan off faster.
Using the Ally online platform
Because Ally is an online-only bank, all of your banking transactions will primarily happen online. Head to the Ally Bank website to create an account. With some basic information, you can create your account in 10 minutes.
First, indicate whether or not you’re a new customer.
Select the Ally banking product you want to open.
Then, indicate whether you’re applying for an individual or joint account.
And finally, enter basic information such as your name, phone number, address, and Social Security number.
Once you’ve created an account, you can start to make deposits. You’ll receive a debit card and checks within 10 days of account opening, if applicable.
Using the Ally mobile app
To access mobile banking, download the free Ally app on your phone. With the app, you can make deposits, initiate transfers, or simply check the balance in your accounts.
To deposit a check, you just need to snap a picture. To send money to someone else, enter their email or phone number to get started with Ally’s PopMoney.
The Ally app also has an optional splurge alert that tracks where you spend the most. If you’re nearing a high-spend store, the app will warn you to watch your budget and help you keep your spending impulse in check.
Eligibility requirements and fees
There are no monthly maintenance fees or deposit minimums with Ally Bank. In fact, you can open an account before depositing any money into it. There are also no fees for transfers or incoming wires, and you can make unlimited deposits.
However, there is a $20 fee for outgoing wires and a $25 fee for overdraft items. Ally is transparent about its various fee structures on each of its banking products, however, so it’s easy to avoid charges if you’re careful.
Pros and cons of banking with Ally
So what are the advantages and drawbacks of Ally banking?
- Relatively high yields for checking, savings, and money market accounts
- $0 account minimum and no monthly maintenance fees
- Easy-to-use website and mobile app
- Transparent fee structure
- Over 43,000 fee-free ATMs and $10 reimbursement for other ATM fees
- Simple and fee transfers to external accounts
- 24/7 customer support
- No in-person banking
- Limited number of financial products
- Can’t deposit cash into your accounts
- Not much financial advising for complex situations
History of Ally
Today, Ally Bank is a leader in the innovative online and mobile banking space, but the company actually started 100 years ago to provide financing to car dealers. Ally was previously GMAC and a division of GM.
During World War II, GMAC moved beyond cars to work with railroad companies, household appliance dealers, and customers. At the time, their slogan was “Enjoy financing where you buy.”
In the 1970s, GMAC expanded into the auto insurance domain. In the 80s and 90s, it purchased the Bank of New York’s lending unit, marking its move into lending for equity sponsors and middle-market companies.
It wasn’t until 2009 that GMAC Bank turned into Ally Bank. Ally focuses on using online banking to create better value for customers. Plus, it’s dedicated to extraordinary, around-the-clock customer support.
Ally Bank contact information
Beyond this Ally Bank review, find more information online or through Ally customer service. You can contact Ally Bank by phone, email, chat, or mail.
Email: Log into your account to send a secure message.
Chat: Head to the Ally Bank website to chat.
If you don’t want to use eCheck deposit, you can send deposits and endorsed checks (but not cash) to the following address:
P.O. Box 13625
Philadelphia, PA 19101
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|