A look at Ally Bank’s internet banking services.
Once upon a time, there were only a couple of online banks to choose from. Now competition is getting stronger with more online banks offering CDs, checking accounts, high yield savings accounts and money market accounts. Online banks such as Ally Bank might make brick-and-mortar banking a thing of the past with offerings such as interest bearing checking and no minimum deposit CDs.
How Do You Open An Ally Bank Account?
To open an Ally Bank account, you apply online, call toll-free or print the application and mail it. Visit the website to keep track of the status of your application so you know what’s happening. For a bit of background, Ally dates back to 1919 and was formerly known as GMAC Bank. Accounts offered by Ally Bank include interest checking, high interest savings, money market and various certificates of deposit. Your deposits are covered by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor. There are a variety of accounts to choose from at Ally. Let’s look at each more carefully:
- Ally lets you open a money market account with $0, no minimum balance and no monthly fees. An ATM check card and your first 50 checks are free. You earn daily compound interest and are allowed six transactions per statement with no fees. Here’s where to go for more information.
- Interest checking at Ally also takes $0 to open the account with no minimum balance. You get a free Debit MasterCard, checks, unlimited check writing, online banking and Bill Pay with no ATM fees. Accounts with a balance of $15,000 or more earn a higher interest rate. Here’s where to go for more information.
- A high yield savings account at Ally can be opened with $0 with no minimum balance or monthly fees. You get six transactions per statement cycle with no fees. Here’s where to go for more information.
- There are three different types of CDs to choose from. While you open with nothing and fund later, you can only make subsequent deposits when the term of the CD rolls over. The three Ally CDs are a no penalty CD, raise your rate CD and high yield CD.
Ally Bank Review: Online Savings, Checking Accounts, CDs
With little money to save, I need to make the most of what I have. Ally Bank offers an unprecedented opportunity for me to finally save money in a top online savings account, even if it is just $5 a week. Besides being an online bank rather than a bank with a physical location, what makes Ally different?
- No minimum deposits or balances are required. You can open a CD with nothing then make a deposit when you have the money. Even if it is just $10, you can start saving money while earning the highest possible interest for your deposit.
- Ally Bank offers pretty competitive interest rates. Also, interest is compounded daily rather than monthly or quarterly. That means you earn more for letting Ally Bank hold your money since many other banks pay interest on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- Ally Bank’s “Ten Day Best Rate on CD” policy means that you get the best possible rate within ten days of opening your account. If rates shoot up a percentage point five days after you open your CD, you can request the higher rate as long as you fund during that time.
- Ally Bank has a No Penalty CD. You can open a CD that won’t incur any penalties on any actions you take, plus it offers a great fixed rate. You can withdraw the entire balance within six days of funding with no penalties or fees.
- Check card convenience includes no fees at ATMs and interest paid on the balance in your account. It certainly beats my current ATM account that charges a fee for foreign ATMs and debit transactions!
- There is no small print or financial jargon to translate. You don’t have to be a financial genius to make the most of your money. The Ally Bank website is simple and straightforward. Questions are easily answered with a help option, online chat and a 24-hour toll-free number connecting you to a real person.
- Transactions are performed online. Funding your Ally Bank account is done through online bank transfers. These funds are usually available within three to five business days.
- “Sleeping Money alerts” from Ally Bank let you know when it is more profitable to move your money into another type of account. No matter how small your balance, you will still get Sleeping Money alerts from Ally. I appreciate this feature because I often don’t have time to research the best offerings every month. This helps you keep on top of your savings and allows you to grow your money over time.
Comparing Ally Bank to Traditional Banks
Ally Bank accounts offer the typical features you look for in any traditional bank including:
- ATM card
- Online bank transfers
- Bill Pay
- Interest paid on your balance
Any of the everyday transactions that you handle with your regular account, you can do with an Ally Bank account. Don’t forget too, that Ally Bank also offers accounts in Canada.
The Bottom Line About Ally
While I will still maintain a regular bank account for checks I receive, for business purposes, I plan to open a money market and eventually a CD account at Ally Bank because they offer flexible terms, decent interest and the ability to save a little at a time. I can’t move mountains right now but I can start building hills. With no minimum balance requirement or fees, I don’t feel hassled. Plus, if I need the money, I can get it without paying exorbitant fees. All this makes Ally Bank a solid choice for online banking.
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