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

Oct. 26, 2018
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

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

Though both banks shine, they do so in different ways. Whereas Simple’s Safe-to-Spend tool can help you get a firm grasp on your budget, Ally’s high-yield savings account makes it easy to bolster your emergency fund.

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

Snapshot comparison

Checking accounts
Ally Interest Checking

  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum deposit

  • Simple Fee-Free Checking

  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum deposit
  • Savings accounts

    Ally Savings

  • Interest rate: 2.00%
  • No monthly fee

  • Simple does not have a savings account
    Certificates of deposit

    Ally CD interest rates

  • 1 year: Up to 2.65%
  • 5 years: Up to 3.10%
  • No minimum deposit
  • Simple does not offer CDs
    Overdrafts and customer service
    • Overdraft fee: $25, maximum of once per day

    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0

    • Branches: 0

    • Customer service: available 24/7 by phone

    • Overdraft fee: $0

    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: Not offered

    • Branches: 0

    • Customer service: available by phone

    Choose Ally if:

    Choose Ally if:

        • You want a full suite of banking products
        • Earning interest is important to you
        • You value having several ways to reach customer service, including online chat

    Choose Simple if:

    Choose Simple if:


    at Simple,

    Member, FDIC

          • You don’t want to pay overdraft fees
          • You’d like a tool to help manage your spending
          • You have $2,000 to qualify for competitive APY

    Ally’s savings and CDs come with strong rates and very few fees. Unlike Ally, Simple doesn’t offer savings accounts or CDs. It also doesn’t charge overdraft fees; it simply denies a transaction if there isn’t enough money in a customer’s account.

    Here’s a closer look at how they compare.

    Checking account

     Ally Interest CheckingSimple
    Monthly fees$0$0
    Minimum opening deposit$0$0
    Interest on balances
    • 0.10% APY on deposits of less than $15,000
    • A higher rate on larger balances
    0.01% APY; if you have a protected goal account and fund it with at least $2,000, that money will earn 2.02% APY.
    ATM network
    • Access to tens of thousands of Allpoint ATMs
    • Reimburses up to $10 per month for out-of-network ATM fees
    • Access to tens of thousands of Allpoint ATMs
    • No charge for using out-of-network ATMs (ATM owner may charge a fee); no ATM fee reimbursements
    » Want to see how other banks stack up? Read NerdWallet’s best checking accounts
    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.


    Savings account

     Ally Online SavingsSimple
    Monthly fees$0N/A
    Minimum opening deposit$0N/A
    Interest on balances2.00% APYN/A
    Automatic transfer from linked checkingYesN/A
    » For more great options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
    Ally offers one of the best savings accounts on the market
    The average rate on a savings account now stands at 0.09%, paltry compared with Ally’s APY. There’s no initial deposit requirement on the account, and it’s easy to move money between savings and checking accounts.



     Ally High-Yield CDSimple
    Minimum opening deposit$0N/A
    APY on one-year termUp to 2.65%N/A
    APY on three-year termUp to 2.75%N/A
    APY on five-year termUp to 3.10%N/A
    » To compare, see our latest top CD rates
    Ally offers some of the best CDs on the market
    Certain banks ask for minimum deposits of up to $1,000, but at Ally, customers can open a CD with as little cash as they’d like. Term lengths are varied, and rates are strong across the board.


    Bank experience

    Banking apps (ratings from app store users)4.7 out of 5 stars for iOS, and 3.4 out of 5 for Android3.9 out of 5 stars for iOS, and 4.4 out of 5 for Android
    Customer serviceAvailable by phone, chat, email and social mediaAvailable by phone and in-app messaging
    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.


    Overdraft fees

    Overdraft fee$25N/A
    Overdraft protection transfer fee$0N/A
    Extended overdraft fee$0N/A
    Both banks keep fees low
    At $25, Ally’s overdraft fee is well below the national median of $34, and it caps these charges at one per day. It doesn’t charge extended overdraft fees, and it 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 banks, 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 separate checking and savings accounts, Ally’s strong suite of savings products will serve you well.

    Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @tonystrongarm.

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