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

Feb. 6, 2020
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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

4.5 NerdWallet rating
simple_logo
4.5 NerdWallet rating
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

  • Interest rate: 1.00%

  • No monthly fee

Simple Protected Goals (High-Yield Checking)

  • Interest rate: 1.00%

  • No monthly fee

Certificates of deposit
Ally High-Yield CD

  • 1 year: 1.00%

  • 5 years: 1.15%

  • Minimum deposit: None.

Simple no-penalty CD

  • 1 year: 1.00%

  • Minimum deposit: $250.
Overdrafts and customer service


  • Overdraft fee: $25, maximum of once per day

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0

  • Branches: 0

  • Customer service via phone: available 24/7




  • Overdraft fee: N/A

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: N/A

  • Branches: 0

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


Simple

at Simple,

Deposits are FDIC Insured

Choose Ally if:

Choose Ally 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:

Choose Simple if:

        • You don’t want to pay overdraft fees.
        • You’d like a tool to help manage your spending.

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.

  • 0.50% APY on $15,000 and above.

0.01% APY
ATM network
  • Free access to 40,000+ Allpoint ATMs.
  • 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.
» 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. But Ally’s $10 monthly fee reimbursement for out-of-network ATMs gives it an edge.

 

Savings account

 Ally Online Savings AccountSimple Protected Goals (High-Yield Checking)
Monthly fees$0$0
Minimum opening deposit$0$0.01
Interest on balances1.00% APY1.00% APY
Automatic transfer from linked checkingYesYes
» For more great options, check out NerdWallet’s best savings accounts
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.

 

CDs

 Ally High-Yield CDSimple
Minimum opening deposit$0$250
APY on one-year term1.00%1.00% (no-penalty CD)
APY on three-year term1.05%N/A
APY on five-year term1.15%N/A
» To compare, see our best CD rates
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.

 

Bank experience

 AllySimple
Branches00
Banking apps (ratings from app store users)4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS, and 4.5 out of 5 for Android3.3 out of 5 stars for iOS, and 4.0 out of 5 for Android
Customer serviceAvailable by phone, chat, email and social mediaAvailable by phone and in-app messaging and social media
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

 AllySimple
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 average of $35 according to a recent NerdWallet study, and it caps these charges at one per day. Many other banks charge multiple times a 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 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.

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