Ally Bank Review: Convenient, Low-Fee Accounts

Ally Bank Review: Convenient, Low-Fee Accounts

Ally's one checking and two savings accounts are best for people looking to maximize interest rates while avoiding fees and high balance requirements.

Good for

  • Users comfortable banking online and by smartphone
  • People who want to avoid account fees
  • People seeking to maximize deposit interest rates

Bad for

  • Customers who prefer banking face-to-face
  • People with higher balances seeking premium features
  • People who need an all-in-one bank offering mortgages or investment accounts

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

With a small but competitive set of deposit accounts, Ally Bank is a good choice for people who are interested in simple accounts that they can manage entirely on their own, with strong customer support options available when things get complicated. Like many online-only banks, Ally also offers higher interest rates and charges fewer and lower account fees compared to many brick-and-mortar banks.

Review: Is Ally Bank Worth Considering?

Ally's one checking and two savings accounts are best for people looking to maximize interest rates while avoiding fees and high balance requirements. Ally mostly operates as an online bank, which allows it to reduce or eliminate account fees often charged by traditional banks. With Ally, you won't pay any monthly maintenance, overdraft transfer fees or incoming wire transfer fees. Other fees, such as the $25.00 overdraft fee, are more lenient than comparable fees at traditional banks.

Besides its favorable fee policies, Ally Bank also offers higher interest rates. Its checking account earns up to 0.60% APY on balances over $15,000.00, while the savings accounts yield up to 1.80%. These rates are far above and beyond the national average of 0.04% APY for interest checking accounts and 0.06% for savings.

However, Ally Bank's limited selection of online-only accounts may not meet your needs if you're seeking an all-in-one financial experience. While Ally does offer certificates of deposit (CDs) and works through Ally Auto Finance to provide auto loans, it lacks the comprehensive, integrated product list that you'll find at a major bank like Chase or Wells Fargo. For instance, Ally does not provide investment account services, nor does it serve mortgages.

Ally's limited selection of accounts is further reflected in its customer service options. The online chat and 24/7 support line may be sufficient for users who do not need detailed service, but people shopping for more complex financial products may miss the ability to meet face-to-face with a banker, who can provide the personalized and continuous service that most people prefer when making complicated financial decisions.

Ally Checking Account Features

Currently, the Ally Interest Checking Account is the only checking account option available at Ally Bank. It costs nothing in monthly fees and requires no minimum deposit to open the account.

This account is a strong choice for people who use ATMs on a regular basis. Not only does Ally Bank charge $0.00 on non-network ATM usage, it also reimburses up to $10 each month for any fees charged by other ATM operators. At most brick-and-mortar banks, such reimbursements are only available with premium checking accounts. In addition, the daily ATM withdrawal limit on Ally Interest Checking is $1,000—double the limit on standard checking accounts at most other banks.

If your first concern is to find the strongest interest rate on your checking balance, there are several other online-only options with higher APY. Ally Bank also requires a daily minimum balance of $0.00 to earn the top rate of 0.60%. However, even the base rate of 0.10% compares well to the majority of standard checking accounts, which usually earn very low or no interest on deposits.

Ally Savings Account Features

Ally's two savings options include one savings account, which offers the higher rate, and one money market account, which comes with a debit card and checkbook.

Monthly FeeAPYBalance for APY
Ally Online Savings$0.001.80%$0.00
Ally Money Market$0.001.00%$0.00

The 1.80% APY on the Ally Online Savings account is competitive with other online-only savings accounts in the market. Overall, this account is much better in rates and fees than a brick-and-mortar savings account, but similar to other online-only competitors.

The Ally Money Market Account is a strong choice for people who want to avoid minimum balance requirements for opening and earning interest on money market accounts. Although its maximum APY falls behind those of other online-only money market accounts, Ally's account earns more interest on lower balances, and comes with a debit card and checkbook, making it more accessible than most other money market accounts.

How Does Ally Compare to Other Banks?

When you weigh Ally against other institutions, its accounts easily outperform brick-and-mortar offerings, but compare closely to other online banks.

Ally vs. Bank of America

As one of the largest national banks, Bank of America maintains thousands of physical locations and a full range of retail banking products that make it a better option than Ally for people who need many different financial services. If you're only looking for savings or checking accounts and have no problem with doing all of your banking on your own, Ally's lower fees and better interest rates may still win out.

map of Bank of America branches in the US, by county

Ally vs. Chase Bank

Chase's strengths and weaknesses relative to Ally are very similar to those of Bank of America. Chase offers more in the way of investments and mortgages, so if you're looking for a place to manage all your finances at one bank, it's a better choice than Ally. Chase's best account features are reserved for customers with higher balances, so if you don't meet the requirements for Chase's premium accounts, Ally is a much more cost-effective alternative.

map of Chase branches in the US, by county

Ally vs. Capital One

Capital One is a major brick-and-mortar bank, but its line of 360 Checking, Savings and Money Market accounts are based online, which means their rates are similar to Ally accounts. Both banks also place very few fees on their accounts, although Capital One has a superior overdraft policy. The escalating interest tiers on Capital One's 360 Checking account mean that balances under $15,000 and over $50,000 will earn higher APY than with Ally Interest Checking.

map of TD Bank branches in the US, by county

Ally vs. Simple

Simple is an even more streamlined online banking service than Ally. It delivers a host of mobile features not found at Ally, like two-factor debit card authentication, integrated budget tracking and dedicated support for third-party payment programs like Venmo. However, there is only one account offered at Simple: a checking account that earns just 0.01% APY and has significant limits on how much you can deposit. Simple users will also need an Apple or Android device to open an account.

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