Ally Invest Review 2021 – Is it a Good Trading Platform?

Ally Invest offers a wide range of self-directed and managed investment products with its web-based streaming.
Author: Siraj Sarwar

Last Updated: March 7, 2021

It’s true that these days investors can easily buy and sell stocks and other trading instruments with just a click of a button along with avoiding big commissions that money managers charge. However, Image result for ally invest logo: Ally Invest Online Brokerage Reviewchoosing the right brokerage firm is the biggest challenge whether you are a beginner, advance trader or looking for automated trading.

To help you in selecting the right broker, we have reviewed Ally Invest – which is one of the biggest names in the online brokerage industry.

Ally Invest is popular for offering low-cost services along with multiple trading instruments for self-direct trading. Its automated trading service makes it a good place for investors who believe in algorithm techniques.

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    What is Ally Invest?

    Ally Invest is the investment service offered by Ally Bank. The investment platform was formerly known as TradeKing before Ally Bank acquired it. Like other trusted stock brokers such as TD Ameritrade and Firstrade, Ally Invest offers a wide range of self-directed and managed investment products with its web-based streaming HTML 5 platform. The competitive pricing structure along with perks and special discounts makes it an attractive place for traders who give significant importance to pricing structure when picking a brokerage firm.

    Ally Invest self-directed and Managed Portfolio Account Types

    Ally invest offers two types of accounts: Ally Invest Managed Portfolio and Self-Directed account. The platform permits investors to manage their accounts, track their portfolios and use this platform seamlessly across multiple devices.

    What are Ally Invest Pros and Cons?


    • Both self-directed and automated investing experience
    • Strong tools for executing and finding options trades
    •  The streaming quotes and the customizable InvestLIVE platform
    • The low and fixed fee structure
    • No account minimum
    • Educational resources
    • 24/7 customer support


    • No Cryptocurrency trading
    •  Portfolio performance reports cannot be customized 

    How does the Ally Invest work?

    Like Charles Schwab, Ally Invest has demonstrated to be fulfilling all the requirements of both beginners and advanced traders; the trader can manage their own account or put their investments in the hands of its robo-advisor.  They have built a user-friendly HTML5-based platform that is available both on web and mobile App. The broker offers multiple trading instruments at low costs. It’s trading instrument includes stocks, options, ETFs and 8000 mutual funds.

    If you decide to manage your portfolio and investments, the platform offers you two venues: The Classic (formerly known as TradeKing) and Ally Invest Live.

    Although the broker directs new customers to the Ally Invest Live platform, traders can also use its classic platform according to their trading requirements. The Classic is an old version of Ally Invest trading platform that offers basic analysis and charting tools. Its classic platform is also known as a static platform; traders are not allowed to customize it or make changes based on their preferences. The classic platform is limited regarding the screening tools.

    Ally Invest Review: How Ally Invest works

    Anyone can use Ally Invest Live platform. They haven’t set any account minimum or other restrictions for using Live platform. This platform offers more tools and features compared to the classic platform. Traders can customize it according to their requirements. The live platform comes with better charting tools, indicators, along with news feed and trade alerts. You can view live quotes on this platform; the trader doesn’t need to refresh the page to get the latest quotes and news feed.

    Ally Invest also offers automated trading service. The traders can start using their automated trading services by depositing a minimum amount of $2500. Ally offers diversified, automated portfolios with oversight by professional investment managers. Low advisory fee, 24/7 support, and intelligent tools are among the best feature of its managed portfolio.

    What Investment Choices Ally Invest Offers?

    • Stocks: The brokerage offers thousands of stocks to trade on this platform. Investors like to invest in stocks because they offer better growth potential than other assets.
    • ETFs: A group of assets including bonds, stocks, foreign currency or commodities are known as ETF’s. The Ally Invest permits investors to trade ETF’s with a flat price of $4.95 per trade. The price on each trade decreases to $3.95 if you make 30 trades per quarter or you have $100,000 in equity balance.
    • Commission-free ETFs: The platform offers a selected list of commission-free ETFs from market leaders. This allows traders to trade confidently and expand traders access to more portfolio-building opportunities.
    • Options: These are contracts that give the owner the right to buy or sell an asset at a fixed price, called the strike price, for a specific period of time.
    They don’t charge a fee for closing options positions that are 5¢ or below.
    • Bonds: Bonds are considered as one of the safest investment because the investors are unlikely to lose money due to market uncertainties. Bond is essentially a loan to a corporation or government.
    • Mutual Funds: Traders can trade more than 8000 mutual funds with Ally Invest. In addition, some of the mutual funds are free of charge.
    • Margin Account: A margin account permit trader to borrow funds. Ally Invest lend traders the money they need. The platform uses the securities in the traders account as collateral; the platform also takes interest principal amount.

    What Countries Ally Invest Support?

    Due to the regulatory restrictions, Ally Invest only offers its services to U.S. clients. Foreign citizens legally residing in the United States with a valid Social Security number are eligible to open an Ally Invest account. They don’t allow citizens from certain restricted countries such as Iran to open an account even if they legally residing in the United States.

    With an exception for active military personnel stationed abroad, all customers including United States citizens should live in the United States to create an account on Ally Invest.

    What are Fee and Commission at Ally Invest?

    Ally Invest is famous for offering the lowest commissions on stocks and mutual funds compared to many other online discount brokers. In addition, the broker offers significantly lower commissions to active investors who keep an equity balance of $100,000 or place more than 30 trades per quarter. Traders with large account balance and frequent trading requirements can get better rates than other traders.

    Ally Invest Review: Ally Invest trading commissions and fees

    Their pricing structure is different for each trading instrument. They charge $4.95 commission on stock, options and ETF’s trading. The price on each trade decreases to $3.95 if you make 30 trades per quarter or you have 100000 in equity balance.

    They charge an additional fee on stocks that are priced less than $2.00.

    You are liable to pay a short-term fee even on a commission-free ETFs ( Ally recently added more than  100 commission-free exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from WisdomTree and BlackRock) if you don’t hold the shares for at least 30 calendar days.

    While the broker permits to trade more than 8,000 mutual funds, these funds come with either a load to buy them (a fee as a percentage of what you invest) or carry a transaction fee of $9.95 to invest in them.

    The fee on investment in bonds stands around $1 (+$0.65 per contract).

    They charge interest on margin accounts. Below is the list of their interest rate structure for margin accounts.

    Margin Balance ALLY INVEST
    $1,000,000+ 5.50%
    $500,000 – $999,999 6.25%
    $250,000 – $499,999 6.75%
    $100,000 – $249,999 7.75%
    $50,000 – $99,999 9.00%
    $25,000 – $49,999 9.75%
    $10,000 – $24,999 10.00%
    $.01 – $9,999 10.00%

    What other fees you should expect at Ally Invest?

    Many brokers charge hidden fee and commissions. In the case of Ally Invest, they do not charge a hidden fee. Their fee structure is transparent.  In addition to the trading fee, below are the few charges that investors should know:

    • Debit card fees – If you link a debit card with your ally invest account, The Apex Select Annual Debit Card fee is $35 along with $1 per ATM withdrawal.
    • Paper statements – They charge $4 paper statement fee.

    Ally Invest Account Creation and Dashboard

    Its simple to create an account on Ally Invest. While Ally Invest doesn’t offer a separate website from the main Ally Bank website, the traders need to move to the investments section of the website to reach the platform. Once you are in the investment section of the website, you need to go straight to the Ally Invest registration page and click on start trading.

    Ally Invest Review: Ally Invest account registration form

    You need to provide basic information such as email address, name, and account types to fill the registration form. The platform will also ask you to confirm your social security number. After successfully verifying the social security number, the platform requires you to verify your phone number and set up a security question. After providing all the basic information, you can submit your Ally Invest application. If Ally Invest were able to validate your personal information via external sources, then your account should be opened with immediate effect.

    Ally Invest Review - How to Buy and Sell on Ally Invest Trading Page

    The trading platform is simple and user-friendly. Its platform works well both on small and large screens due to HTML 5. Traders can download its App on mobile phones which works similar to its web platform.

    The real-time streaming quotes and a customizable dashboard are among the best features of this platform.  Ally Invest offers a variety of investing tools. For instance, its options trading tools are very strong as they include an options pricing calculator along with a strategy scanner that helps in identifying and executing options strategies.

    Ally Invest Review - Ally Invest Trading page

    Technical traders can also take advantage of charting features and more than 40 indicators. Its other tools include a probability calculator, a profit-and-loss calculator, and the Maxit Tax Manager.

    What are the Minimum and Maximum Deposit Requirement?

    Ally Invest does not impose any minimum deposit requirement. This platform is perfect for new investors who want to test trading strategies. It’s also best for traders who don’t have big capital. The platform, however, requires investors to deposit a minimum balance of $2,500 to start investing in an Ally Invest Managed Portfolio. The broker also permits traders to request an account transfer. In this case, the platform will reimburse account transfer fees up to $150.

    The trader can deposit up to $50,000 in a single day; the trader can deposit up to more than $250,000 every 30 days. Ally Invest accept deposits through the following methods:

    1. Debit Card
    2. eCheck
    3. Wire Transfer
    4. Cheque Deposit.

    Which Withdrawal Methods Ally Invest Accept?

    They do not impose any restriction on withdrawals. However, the charges are different for each type of withdrawal methods. They charge $5 for a cheque request mailed to the address. The electric transfer fee is zero if you have linked a bank account to your Ally Invest account for electronic transfers. The charges for wire transfer are $30 fee. Below are the methods that traders can use to deposit funds:

    1. Wire Transfer
    2. Cheque
    3. Automated Clearing House (ACH)
    4. Wire transfer
    5. Transferring funds to other brokers

    Is Ally Invest Safe?

    Investing and trading through Ally Invest is completely safe. This is because of its strict compliance with the regulator’s policies. Ally Invest is licensed and regulated brokerage. Ally Financials Inc., the parent company of the Ally Investment platform, is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  The platform holds traders funds in a separate account and it uses the services of Apex Clearing Corporation.

    It is the member of SIPC and FINRA. SIPC protects against traders from the loss of securities and cash (such as stocks and bonds) in the case that Ally Invest fails.  SIPC covers traders claims up to $500,000.

    Is Ally Invest Customer Support Good?

    Unlike other platforms that only offer access to customer support via email only on business days, Ally Invest has a strong customer support team that is available to answer traders queries 24/7 through an online chat service. They also respond to traders questions through email and phone call. The broker claims to respond to all emails within the 24 hours.

    They have also set up a frequently asked question segment, which offers basic information related to the platform, its tools, and other features.


    Ally invest is one of the best trading platforms for all kind of investors. Its simple and user-friendly platform permits traders to trade thousands of stocks, option, more than 800 ETF’s and 8000 mutual funds. The availability of margin trading is a plus as traders can easily get new funds from the Ally Invest by using their assets as collateral. The competitive fee structure and a lower fee for active traders are among the best feature of this platform. On top, the platform is reliable as it is licensed and regulated by government authorities.

    Glossary of Trading Platform Terms

    Depiction of percentage growth rate of funds depicting Fed Rate percentage changes | Learnbonds
    Platform Fee

    The trading platform fee refers to the amount a trader pays to use the platform and access its integrated platform features and tools. It can be a one –time fee paid for the acquisition of the trading platform, a subscription fee paid monthly or annually. Others will charge on a per-trade basis with a specific fee per trade.

    chart and graph depiction of market performance illustrating capital gains | Learnbonds
    Cost per trade

    Cost per trade is also referred to as the base trade fee and refers to the fee that a broker or trading platform charges you every time you place a trade. Some brokers offer volume discounts and charge a lower cost per trade for voluminous trades.

    A illustration of justice scale showing authosity a Custodian holds to custodial Account | Learnbonds

    Margin is the money needed in your account to maintain a trade with leverage.

    Illustration of an interlink depicting P2P lending | Learnbonds
    Social trading

    Social trading is a form of trading that allows for the interaction and exchange of trade ideas, signals and trade settings between the different classes of traders.

    Equity Release image with a house atop stacks of coins
    Copy Trading

    Copy trading, also known as mirror trading is a form of online trading that lets traders copy trade settings from one another. In most cases, it is the newbies and part-time traders that copy the positions of pro traders. The copiers -in most cases - are then required to surrender a share of the profits made from copied trades – averaging 20% - with the pro traders.

    A pink bond not with green dollar sign
    Financial instruments

    A Financial instrument ideally refers to the proof of ownership of financial commodities of monetary contracts between two parties. In the money markets, financial instruments refer to such elements as shares, stocks, bonds, Forex and crypto CFDs and other contractual obligations between different parties.

    Depiction of ETF performance |ETFs Learnbonds

    An index is an indicator that tracks and measures the performance of a security such as a stock or bond.

    Dollar sack and potted plant depicting how assets grow in a Fund | Learnbonds

    Commodities refer to raw materials used in the production and manufacturing of other products or agricultural products. Some of the most popular commodities traded on the exchange markets include energy and gases like oil, agricultural products like corn and coffee, and precious metals like gold and silver.

    Depiction of grrowing stacks of coins illustrating fixed income rates | Learnbonds
    Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

    An ETF is a fund that can be traded on an exchange. The fund is a basket containing multiple securities such as stocks, bonds or even commodities. ETFs allow you to trade the basket without having to buy each security individually.

    Depiction of an uptrending index fund | Learnbonds
    Contract for difference (CFD)

    CFDs are a form of contractual trading that involves speculating on the performance of a particular trade in the market. CFD’s will basically allow you to speculate on the future value of securities such as stocks, currencies and commodities without owning the underlying securities.

    Dollar sack and potted plant depicting how assets grow in a Fund | Learnbonds
    Minimum investment

    The minimum investment simply refers to the lowest amount of capital injection you can deposit into a brokerage or a trading platform. Different brokers demand varied minimum investment amounts from their clients either when registering or opening trade positions.

    Depiction of coins and growth curve illustrating mutual funds | Learnbonds
    Daily trading limit

    A daily trading limit is the lowest and highest amount that a security is allowed to fluctuate, in one trading session, at the exchange where it’s traded. Once a limit is reached, trading for that particular security is suspended until the next trading session. Daily trading limits are imposed by exchanges to protect investors from extreme price volatilities.

    Depictio of man thinking of money and risks illustrating a Registered Investment Advisor | Learnbonds
    Day traders

    A day trader is a term used to describe a trader who is constantly opening trades and closing them within a day. It is a common term used to refer to forex traders who open trade and only hold onto it for a few minutes or hours before disposing and having to leave no open trades at the time the trading day closes.

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    What kinds of securities Ally Invest offers?

    Ally Invest allows investors to access multiple assets through their platform. The trader can access the following assets after funding their account: • Stocks • ETFs • Options (equity and index) • Binary Return Derivatives • Mutual Funds • Bonds • Forex trading information is available through Ally Invest Forex.

    How does a trader can transfer an account from another broker?

    It is easy to transfer a trading account to Ally from another broker. You can request another broker to transfer your account. Once the request is accepted, it generally takes 5 - 7 business days for Ally management to process the request. Ally Invest offers reimbursement of transfer fees up to $150 if the transferred account has more than $2500.

    Where Ally Invest held traders money?

    Ally Invest hold traders funds in a separate account according to SEC policies. Funds managed by Ally Invest Managed Portfolios are offered through its Ally Invest Securities, LLC – which clears and settles all the trades via Apex Clearing, Inc. Ally Invest Securities is the members of SIPC and FINRA.

    What is the minimum account balance requirement at Ally Invest?

    The firm does not impose a minimum account balance requirement. The account remains active even if you don’t have funds in an account. However, the trader must have $2500 for Ally Invest Managed Portfolio.

    What type of account is best?

    The broker offers two types of accounts: Self-Directed account and Ally Invest Managed Portfolio. The Self-Directed Account is perfect for traders who believe in their trading skills. The broker has further categorized Self-Directed trading account into several types: individual, joint and custodial taxable accounts, as well as traditional, rollover and Roth IRAs. Ally Invest Managed Portfolio is perfect for traders who believe in algorithm techniques and money managers. When traders set up his Managed Portfolios account, our questionnaire will guide the traders in selecting the best investments for the managed portfolio. Managed Portfolios accounts are also offered in different forms including individual and joint taxable accounts, as well as Traditional, Roth, Rollover, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs.

    Does Ally Invest offer a demo/paper trading account?

    Unfortunately, Ally Invest does not offer a demo account. However, it permits investors to test the platform without depositing any money, with the exception of placing trades.

    How soon can a trader start trading after depositing funds?

    The traders can start trading on this platform as soon as the funds are clear. All this depends on the deposit method you choose. Bank Fed Wires: You can start trading on the same day Ally Invest receive it. Bank and Cashier’s Checks: You can start trading as soon as Ally invest verify the cheque number and amount with the Bank it's drawn from. Personal Checks: It takes 3 business days to begin trading from when the cheque is deposited.

    Does Ally Invest Allow the extended hours trading?

    Fortunately, extended hours trading is available. The broker permits investors to enter pre-market orders between 8:00 am – 9:30 am along with the post-market orders between 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET.

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    Users should remember that all trading carries risks and users should only invest in regulated firms. Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.

    Based in Saudi Arabia, Siraj has a strong understanding of and passion for accounting and finance. He has worked for international clients for many years on several projects related to the stock market, equity research and other business, accounting and finance related projects. Siraj is a published financial analyst on the world's leading websites including SeekingAlpha, TheStreet, MSN, and others.

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