Ally Bank vs. Simple: Which Is Best for You?

Tony ArmstrongFeb 6, 2020
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Editor's note, Jan. 7, 2021: Simple, a subsidiary of BBVA USA, is being shut down. Accounts will eventually be transitioned to and serviced exclusively by BBVA USA. For other strong online options, take a look at NerdWallet's list of the best online checking accounts.

Ally Bank and Simple are two leading online-only banking services. Customers can count on them for low fees and good online banking platforms.

Though both shine, they do so in different ways. Simple’s Safe-to-Spend tool can help you get a firm grasp on your budget. Simple also has a high-yield account that links to its existing checking account. Ally’s high-yield savings account and CDs, on the other hand, give you multiple ways to bolster your savings.

We compared Ally and Simple across several categories to help you determine the best fit.

Snapshot comparison

Ally Bank

Simple

Checking accounts

Ally Interest Checking

  • No monthly fee.

  • No minimum deposit.

Simple Checking

  • No monthly fee.

  • No minimum deposit.

Savings accounts

Ally Online Savings Account

  • APY: 0.50% APY on all balances.

  • No monthly fee.

Simple Protected Goals (High-Yield Checking)

  • APY: 0.50% APY.

  • No monthly fee.

Certificates of deposit

Ally High-Yield CD

  • 1 year: 0.60% APY.

  • 5 years: 0.80% APY.

  • Minimum deposit: None.

Simple no-penalty CD

  • 1 year: 0.40% APY.

  • 5 years: None

  • Minimum deposit: $250.

Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $0.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0.

  • Branches: 0.

  • Customer service: Available by phone 24/7.

  • Overdraft fee: N/A

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: N/A

  • Branches: 0.

  • Customer service: Available by phone 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET on weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on Saturdays.

Ally Bank Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
Read review
Simple Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Choose Ally Bank if:

  • You want a full suite of banking products.

  • You value having several ways to reach customer service, including online chat.

  • You occasionally use out-of-network ATMs. (Ally offers fee reimbursements up to $10 monthly.)

Choose Simple if:

  • You'd like a tool to help manage your spending.

Ally Bank vs. Simple: Basic checking accounts

Ally Interest Checking

Simple

Monthly fees

$0.

$0.

Minimum opening deposit

$0.

$0.

APY

  • 0.10% APY on deposits of less than $15,000.

  • 0.25% APY on $15,000 and above.

  • None.

ATM fees and network

  • Free access to 40,000+ Allpoint ATMs.

  • No charge for using out-of-network ATMs (ATM owner may charge a fee); reimburses up to $10 per month for out-of-network ATM fees.

  • Free access to 40,000+ Allpoint ATMs.

  • No charge for using out-of-network ATMs (ATM owner may charge a fee); no ATM fee reimbursements.

Sign-up bonus

N/A

N/A

Low-cost options with excellent ATM access You’ll earn more in interest with Ally, but the difference won’t be noticeable unless you have a large balance. Both accounts offer access to the same large ATM network, so finding a free cash machine nearby should be easy. But Ally’s $10 monthly fee reimbursement for out-of-network ATMs gives it an edge.

» See more options on our list of best checking accounts

Ally Bank vs. Simple: Basic savings accounts

Ally Online Savings Account

Simple Protected Goals (High-Yield Checking)

APY

0.50% APY on all balances.

0.50% APY on all balances.

Monthly fee

$0.

$0.

Minimum deposit to open

$0.

$0.01.

Sign-up bonus

N/A

N/A

Both options have strong savings rates, though Simple’s Protected Goals account is technically a high-yield checking account. To get the high rate at Simple, you have to open a linked checking account. Ally does not have such a requirement for its high-yield savings.

The average rate on a savings account now stands at 0.06%, paltry compared with Ally and Simple’s APYs.

» Looking for higher rates? Explore NerdWallet's list of top online savings accounts

Ally Bank vs. Simple: Certificates of deposit

Ally High-Yield CD

Simple

Minimum opening deposit

$0.

$250.

APY on one-year term

0.60%.

0.40% (no-penalty CD)

APY on three-year term

0.65%.

N/A

APY on five-year term

0.80%.

N/A

Ally offers a variety of high rates; Simple has a no-penalty CD. Ally's CD rates range from three months to five years, including a 11-month no-penalty CD, and have no minimum deposit. Simple has a more limited offering: only a one-year no-penalty CD for a low minimum. To compare more no-penalty CDs, see our list of the best options.

» To compare, see our list of the best CD rates

Ally Bank vs. Simple: Banking experience

Ally

Simple

Branches

0.

0.

Banking apps (ratings from app store users)

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.5 out of 5 for Android.

  • 3.3 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.0 out of 5 for Android.

Customer service

  • Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Live chat support available.

  • Email support available.

  • Social media support available.

  • Phone reps are on call 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET on weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on Saturdays.

  • In-app messaging support available.

  • Social media support available.

Simple's Safe-to-Spend tool separates it from the pack. Both Ally and Simple have excellent websites, but Simple takes it a step further by offering the Safe-to-Spend tool. By calculating your bills and savings goals, the service highlights how much you can afford to spend on nonessential purchases.

However, Simple doesn’t give customers quite as many ways to reach it as Ally does. Ally’s online chat service is reliable and even lists estimated wait times so folks can get on with their day if the virtual line is too long.

Ally Bank vs. Simple: Overdraft fees

Ally

Simple

Overdraft fee

$0; you have six business days to bring your balance back to positive to avoid your account being limited.

N/A

Overdraft protection transfer fee

$0.

N/A

Extended overdraft fee

None.

N/A

Neither financial institution charges for overdrafts. Ally removed its overdraft fee; compare that with the national average of $35 according to a NerdWallet study, and the fact that many financial institutions charge the fee multiple times a day. It also offers free overdraft protection.

At Simple, transactions that would result in an overdraft are typically denied or returned.

Two excellent options with distinct strengths

Ally and Simple are both top-notch online banking services, and their services will come as a welcome change of pace for folks accustomed to high fees.

If you want help getting a better overview of your daily finances, go with Simple and take advantage of its Safe-to-Spend tool. But if you want a bank with well-rated mobile apps and strong customer service options, Ally’s suite of savings products will serve you well. You can see other options on our list of best banks and credit unions.