Looking for a new bank? If you’re sick of excessive overdraft fees, poor customer service, or paying $3 ATM fees in some sketchy ass Chinatown alley at 4am to pay your food tab, then your answer should be yes.
Ally bank is an online bank known for its high interest savings account, ATM reimbursement program, and no hidden fees. Since Ally is an online only bank, there are no physical locations to do in person transactions, such as cash deposits or requesting a loan. In order to open an account with Ally, you’ll need a U.S. address, a social security number, and be at least 18 years old.
A few days after opening an account with Ally, I received my introductory package containing my debit card and a book of checks.
I’ll break down the pros and cons of opening an Ally account below.
- 1.00% APY compounded daily high interest savings account
- $10 monthly reimbursement for ATM fees (used to be unlimited but all good things must come to an end)
- Overdraft fee $25 (only one fee per day as opposed to each transaction)
- Free overdraft protection from savings account
- No account minimum/maintenance fees
- 24/7 live chat customer support
- Free checks
- Mobile support
- FDIC insured for both checking and savings account
- No cash deposits
- Won’t have other features physical banks have (mortgages, credit card, free pens)
- No sign-up bonus offered by some banks
- Only 6 transactions per month from savings/MMA account to checking account
Ally’s interest rates at 1.00% APY are far ahead of the competition. Hypothetically a $5,000 balance in your Ally savings account will earn $51 in interest(1.00% APY) after one year. Compared to Bank of America, that same $5,000 balance will earn $0.50 in interest(.01% APY). Over time this money adds up. Unlike other banks, Ally won’t make you jump through hoops to get this 1.00% interest. Just put money in and leave it. Their checking account offers 0.60% interest for balances of $15,000 or more, but you’re better off just putting that money in your savings, then transferring it over to checking when needed.
Their ATM reimbursement program allows you to withdraw money from any ATM you come across. They implemented a $10 ATM fee limitation, so anything after the initial $10 will come at your expense. Ally bank also uses the Allpoint ATM network for its customers to withdraw money from for free. If you’re someone who needs withdraw money from an ATM frequently and you’re not near an Allpoint ATM, this bank might not be suited for you. International ATM reimbursements are included in the $10 limitation, but has an additional 1% foreign ATM fee.
Deposits and transfers take about 2-3 business days to complete. My check deposits take up to 5 days before being cleared, and transfers to and from my Robinhood brokerage account takes up to 2 weeks (ouch). For check deposits they do offer $200 next business day.
If you’re anti-social like me, you’ll love this bank. You can chat with a representative directly on the website without a long waiting time (usually around 1-3 minutes). There were times at work when I needed to check on the status of a check deposit. I simply logged onto my Ally account, requested help from customer service, and the representative was able to get my information over web chat. Transfers to other accounts, opening new accounts, and bill pay can be done by yourself online.
If you’re someone who needs to withdraw their money internationally, I would suggest opening an Aspiration bank account. They are similar to Ally in that they have 1.00% APY interest, however they have unlimited ATM withdrawals both in and outside of USA. I have not personally used Aspiration, so I cannot say much about its services. I do know that it had a rather large waiting list when they first launched, and have generally had positive reviews.
Pair high interest savings account with cash back rewards card
Combine your Ally account with a cashback rewards credit card such as Discover IT, or Citi Double Cash, for even more cash savings. For you international travelers, get a Capital One Quicksilver card for free foreign transactions.
Overall, Ally bank is my go-to bank. It provides features I do want in a bank, such as high interest, low fees, ATM reimbursement, and mobile banking in lieu of features I don’t use. You’ll need to be responsible with your ATM withdrawals, and savings account transfers as they are not unlimited. Deposits are kind of slow, but average compared to other banks. Don’t take this card on vacation. They charge 1% on foreign transactions, and 1% on foreign withdrawals. Get a Capital One Quicksilver credit card for free foreign transactions or an Aspiration bank account for foreign cash withdrawals.
Do the right thing. Be a man. Switch to Ally.