Ally Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs
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- Certificates of deposit
- Money market
- Banking experience
- Overdraft fees
Overall institution rating
Ally Bank is online-only; the money it saves on overhead, it can pass to customers in the form of high interest rates and minimal fees. For example, the bank doesn’t charge overdraft fees. It also has convenient customer service options and is ideal for people who don't need branch access for their banking.
Best for: Those who want competitive rates, minimal fees, easy access to customer support and don’t need to deposit cash or access in-person services.
- No monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances on checking, savings or CDs.
- Access to over 43,000 free ATMs via checking or money market accounts.
- An above-average interest rate on savings.
- No overdraft fees.
- No way to deposit cash.
- No branches available.
4.5/5 NerdWallet rating
Ally’s savings account offers a rate of 4.00%, much higher than the national average of 0.40%, and interest is compounded daily, which means you’ll make a bit more money on interest compared with accounts that compound monthly. To match federal regulation changes, Ally is temporarily refunding customers who are charged an excessive transaction fee for making more than six withdrawals or transfers per cycle.
» Want to see more savings options? Check out NerdWallet’s best high-yield online savings accounts
4.5/5 NerdWallet rating
Ally offers an interest-bearing checking account with no monthly fees and free access to over 43,000 ATMs nationwide. Ally will also reimburse you up to $10 per statement cycle for any fees you’re charged using an out-of-network ATM in the U.S.
Note that Ally doesn't accept cash deposits. Your options for adding money to your account include mobile check deposit, setting up direct deposit, setting up a wire transfer or sending a check by mail. Ally allows customers to deposit up to $50,000 per day and $250,000 per month via its mobile deposit feature.
5.0/5 NerdWallet rating
Ally offers three types of CDs, including the High-Yield CD options listed above. There’s no minimum deposit requirement for any of these certificates of deposit. You can compare Ally CDs to our list of the best CD rates.
Raise Your Rate CDs let you bump up your APY once or twice, depending on the term length, to the rate currently on offer for new CDs. And there’s also a CD with no early withdrawal penalty for those who may need the money sooner. These two types of CDs did not factor into our star ratings.
4.5/5 NerdWallet rating
Ally’s Money Market Account earns a strong APY on any balance. It also offers customers a debit card and the ability to write checks. (An MMA is a type of savings account, but some MMAs offer debit cards and checks, which is not typical for regular savings accounts.) There is no minimum deposit requirement or monthly fee.
This account was not factored into Ally’s overall institution rating because we think the bank's regular savings account is a stronger offering for most people. However, if you are in the market for an MMA — say, you want a savings account that also has check-writing privileges — it is worth a look. Read more about MMAs in our primer on money market accounts.
Ally is available online only, so you won’t get in-person service. But there are plenty of ways to get your questions answered — by phone, email, snail mail, chat or Twitter — and Ally's thorough help center will likely answer many frequently asked questions. Ally’s app gets mixed ratings - it has a high rating on iOS but fewer than four stars on Android.
Ally doesn’t charge overdraft fees. The bank offers $100 in temporary overdraft coverage for no fee. Generally, customers will qualify for the service 30 days after depositing at least $100 total into their checking account. Overdraft coverage can increase to $250 if the customer receives a direct deposit of at least $250 for two consecutive months. To maintain this amount of coverage, customers need to have at least one direct deposit every 45 days.
Customers can also enroll in a service that allows them to make free overdraft protection transfers from a linked Ally savings or money market account. Customers who are enrolled in this service and also meet the qualifications for the temporary overdraft coverage will have transfers made in $100 increments from their linked account as necessary. If you don’t have enough in your linked accounts to cover a transaction, Ally will activate its temporary overdraft coverage.
Transactions are approved or declined at the bank's discretion, and customers who do overdraft will have 14 days to bring their balance back to positive before their account will be limited. Transactions that are eligible for overdraft coverage include debit card purchases, automatic payments (such as those for subscription services), personal checks and transfers initiated at other banks. Zelle payments, ATM withdrawals and wire transfers are ineligible for overdraft coverage, and transactions that would overdraft the account by more than the $100 or $250 limit will be declined, too.
You won't be able to escape fees entirely at Ally, but at least the bank clearly highlights what you'll owe for certain services and transactions. That kind of transparency isn't always so easy to come by with banks.
» Want to comparison shop? See our list of the best banks for overdrafts
How does Ally Bank compare?
SoFi Checking and Savings
CIT Bank Platinum Savings
Citizens Online Savings Account
With $0 min. balance for APY
With $5,000 min. balance for APY
With $0.01 min. balance for APY
Earn up to $250 with direct deposit. Terms apply.
at CIT Bank
NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, banking experience and overdraft fees. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star. How we rate banks, credit unions and other financial service providers.
Frequently asked questions
Your money is safe with Ally Bank because it is FDIC-insured. This means that your funds in Ally deposit accounts are insured up to $250,000 per person, per ownership category if the bank goes out of business.
Ally Bank is part of Ally Financial Inc. Ally originally launched in 1919 as GMAC, a division of GM, to allow auto dealers to finance their inventory and keep up with demand from consumers. The company rebranded as Ally Financial in 2010.
Ally is one of our top overall institutions. It offers one of the best online checking accounts, and pays a competitive interest rate. While there’s no one bank that’s best for everyone, Ally is also strong in other categories, including savings and customer service.
Ally does not accept cash deposits. You can deposit funds in other ways, including mobile check deposit, online transfers, direct deposit, wire transfers or even mail.