Ally Invest Review 2024: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

One of the best low-cost brokers, Ally Invest does it all — and it's especially good for active traders.
Profile photo of Chris Davis
Written by Chris Davis
Assigning Editor
Profile photo of Robert Beaupre
Edited by Robert Beaupre
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Profile photo of Andy Rosen
Co-written by Andy Rosen
Lead Writer/Spokesperson

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

Our Take

4.4

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Ally Invest’s $0 account minimum and $0 trading commissions on eligible U.S. securities make it a strong option for all traders. A low $0.50 options-contract fee will attract options traders.

Ally Invest
Ally Invest
Fees
$0
per trade (on eligible US securities)
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
None
no promotion available at this time

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

  • No account minimum.

  • Strong web-based platform.

  • Integration with Ally Bank, with easy transfers to high-yield savings account.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

  • Limited third-party research providers.

Compare to Similar Brokers

NerdWallet rating 

4.9

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.3

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Fees 

$0

per online equity trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Promotion 

1 Free Stock

after linking your bank account (stock value range $5.00-$200)

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Charles Schwab's website

Learn more

on Robinhood's website

Learn more

on Interactive Brokers' website

Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox

Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

Where Ally Invest shines

Costs: Ally Invest appeals to both the beginning investor and the experienced stock trader with $0 trading costs on eligible U.S. securities, no account minimum and low-cost options trading. In February 2023, Ally Invest eliminated its $9.95 fee for mutual fund trades. Around 5,500 mutual funds on Ally's platform can now be purchased with no transaction fees.

Advanced features: Ally doesn’t merely compete with the major online brokers on costs: It also offers an automated portfolio management option and a suite of free tools for technical investors.

Cash management: Uninvested cash in an Ally Invest brokerage account earns no interest, but Ally invest offers instant money movement between Ally savings and brokerage accounts, letting investors take advantage of interest rates several times higher than the typical default sweep interest rates of most brokerages. This does, however, require opening an Ally savings account separately.

Where Ally Invest falls short

No branches: If you'd like the ability to schedule an in-person meeting, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Ally Invest is best for:

  • Active traders.

  • Beginner investors.

  • Options traders.

Ally Invest at a glance

Account minimum

$0

Stock trading costs

$0 (on eligible U.S. securities)

Options trades

No base commission; $0.50 per contract

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No inactivity or annual fees; $50 full/partial outgoing transfer fee

Interest rate on uninvested cash

4.25% with Ally savings account.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

About 5,500 funds

Tradable securities

  • Stocks.

  • Bonds.

  • Mutual funds.

  • ETFs.

  • Options.

Trading platform

Browser-based platform with free screening tools, customizable charting, research and real-time data.

Mobile app

Access to holdings, trading, order status, research, an ETF screener, watchlist, transfers and activity.

Research and data

Research from Morningstar, CFRA and TipRanks.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

24/7 by phone, email and chat.

More details about Ally Invest's ratings

Account minimum: 5 out of 5 stars

Like many online brokerages these days, Ally Invest has no account minimum, which is a great perk for someone who doesn’t have much to invest in the beginning. Some brokerages have account minimums between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars.

Stock trading costs: 5 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest has commission-free trades for eligible U.S. stocks, options and exchange-traded funds. This is typical of brokers these days — charging a commission for stock and ETF trades is relatively rare.

There are a few instances in which you might pay a fee on a transaction using Ally. For stocks and ETFs priced under $2, Ally charges a $4.95 base commission plus $0.01 per share.

Options trades: 5 out of 5 stars

In addition to not charging a base commission for options trades, Ally Invest's per-contract fee comes in lower than some other brokers at $0.50 per contract.

Account fees: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest charges $50 for a full or partial transfer of your securities out of your account (called an ACAT transfer). Often brokers charge a reduced fee for a partial transfer, but in general, $50 isn’t as high as some other brokerages.

Interest rate on uninvested cash: 4 out of 5 stars

While you won't earn interest by leaving cash in your Ally brokerage account, it's pretty easy to move money into and out of Ally's higher-yield savings accounts.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds: 5 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest now offers about 5,500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds to choose from.

Tradable securities: 4 out of 5 stars

Though there is a strong selection of tradable securities on offer, two fairly common securities are missing from that list: futures and cryptocurrency. Expert traders can still enjoy advanced trading in options and penny stocks, but for futures, they’ll have to turn elsewhere, such as TradeStation or Interactive Brokers.

And for investors wanting to get started with small amounts (or dollar-cost average into investing), Robinhood, Schwab and Fidelity all offer fractional shares.

Ally has a solid selection of bond products, including corporate, municipal, agency, Treasurys and bond ETFs.

Editor's note: Ally Invest was among the few traditional brokers that offered access to forex trading, but the company ended that offering on March 1, 2024. Existing accounts will become direct clients of Gain Capital. (Previously, Ally Invest served as an introducing broker to Gain to offer forex.)

Trading platform: 3 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest’s browser-based platform offers quick trading capabilities, real-time streaming quotes and data, a customizable dashboard, and access to all of the broker's tools. Customers who frequently trade from various computers — home and work, for example — will appreciate this web-based platform, which doesn’t require any downloads. Ally also allows its customers to trade via mobile devices with Ally Mobile.

Ally scores well for its extended trading hours, which run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern. It also offers over-the-counter trading, though you will pay fees for securities priced below $2.

Unlike some competitors, Ally doesn't offer access to IPOs. And when you're trading with Ally, remember that it does accept payment for order flow (PFOF). Regulators have proposed potential reforms around PFOF; it involves market-making firms paying brokers to route customer orders through them

. Although its effects are negligible for most investors, it's possible PFOF brokers could execute orders slightly slower or at slightly worse prices than non-PFOF brokers.

Ally says its execution quality is approximately 95%.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The average execution quality of all brokers we review was 97.4% as of Aug. 31, 2023. That means 97.4% of orders sold for at a price that was at or better than the National Best Bid and Offer. Executing at or above the NBBO means you may receive a price improvement or a better share price than you were originally quoted.

Mobile app: 4 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest’s mobile app is a part of the larger Ally Bank app, and lets users access holdings, the trading platform, research, screeners, a stocks watchlist and more.

Research and data: 3 out of 5 stars

Ally only offers access to three third-party research providers: Morningstar, CFRA and TipRanks. However, it does offer a suite of investing tools that exceed expectations for a deep-discount broker. Its options trading tools are particularly strong and include an options pricing calculator to compare current bid/ask prices to forecast theoretical values, as well as a strategy builder that identifies and executes option strategies based on criteria you choose. (Just getting into options trading? Here's our guide.) Ally Invest has also introduced a new ETF screener that makes it easier for users to find an ETF that meets their investing goals.

Other free tools include a profit-and-loss calculator, a probability calculator (that uses implied volatility to determine your likelihood of hitting your targets) and the Maxit Tax Manager, which identifies tax implications of trading decisions (e.g., short- and long-term gains and losses or wash sales) and generates on-demand 1099 forms.

Customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest has strong customer support, offering access 24/7 via phone, email and chat.

Is Ally Invest right for you?

Ally Invest has competitive pricing, helpful trading tools and an easy-to-use trading platform. With no account minimum it's easy for beginners to get started, while active investors will appreciate Ally's commission-free trades on eligible U.S. securities and low options contract fee. Advanced investors looking to trade futures or cryptocurrency, however, may find a better home at another broker.

How do we review brokers?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars).

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

Disclosure: The author held no positions in the aforementioned securities at the original time of publication.