Ally Interest checking accounts review: monthly, maintenance fees, interest rates, pros/cons. Compare Ally checking vs Discover and Capital One 360 checking accounts.


Ally Interest Checking Overview

Since GMAC Bank rebranded as Ally Bank in 2010, it has become a leader in online banking. What makes Ally a leader in the banking industry? And, how does Ally compare to its top online competitors (Discover and Capital One 360 checking accounts)? We’ll try to answer those questions by reviewing the Ally Interest Checking Account. The following will be discussed:

- Account features
- Fees
- Advantages and disadvantages of Ally Checking
- Comparison to its online checking competitors


Account Features

Basic features of the Ally Interest Checking Account include no monthly maintenance fees, 24/7 live customer service, no charge to use Allpoint ATMs in the United States, reimbursement of fees charged at other ATMs up to $10 per monthly cycle, a debit MasterCard, online bill pay, and free standard checks.

The Ally Checking Account interest rates are higher than at all online and offline banks. All accounts earn interest and accounts with balances of $15,000 or more receive a higher interest rate. As of 2/5/2019, an account with up to $15,000 balance earns 0.10% APY, and above $15,000 balance earns 0.60% APY.

Opening a checking account with Ally is straight-forward. No minimum deposit is required to open an account; however, you must fund it within 30 days or the account will be closed. You can fund the account by mailing a check, depositing a check via the Ally eCheck Deposit feature, moving money from an existing Ally account, or transferring funds from another banking institution.

Here are two screenshots of an active Ally checking account. One screenshot is of the main screen. Lower in the article is the Bill Pay screen.


Ally Interest Checking Account


Ally Interest Checking Fees

While there are no fees for basic account features, other features have fees associated with it. Some of the fee-based features are:

  • Stop Payment - $15
  • Overdraft Item Paid/Returned - $25
  • Rush Delivery of Debit Cards - $15
  • Overnight Bill Pay - $14.95
  • Same-day Bill Pay - $9.95


Advantages

Because Ally is strictly an online bank, it offers advantages that traditional banks simply do not have. While some banks offer checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fees, you are required to keep a minimum balance of $100 or more. With an Ally checking account, you are not required to maintain a minimum balance to enjoy no monthly maintenance fees.

Another perk of having an Ally checking account revolves around ATM usage. You can withdraw cash from any Allpoint ATM (usually located in Walgreens, CVS, and Target stores) for no charge. Additionally, if you withdraw money from a non-Allpoint ATM, Ally will reimburse your account up to $10 per statement cycle.

For individuals who write checks, Ally offers standard checks for no charge. Most banks charge a small fee for checks.


Ally Interest Checking Make Payment


Disadvantages

Banking online, whether its Ally or another online bank, has some disadvantages. For instance, Ally does not accept cash deposits. You can only deposit checks through the Ally eCheck Deposit feature, transfer money from another bank account to the Ally account or perform a wire transfer.

Ally does not have any physical bank locations. That may be uncomfortable for individuals who are used to speaking with bank personnel face to face.

If you have an account at a traditional bank and your debit card is lost, stolen, or hacked, you can report the issue in person and receive a temporary ATM card until your new debit card is mailed to you. Because Ally lacks physical locations, you don’t have that option. At best, for a fee, you can request a rush delivery of your replacement debit card.


How Ally compares to other online banks

Let’s explore how Ally’s checking accounts stacks up against other highly-rated online banks.


Ally Checking vs Capital One 360

Both Ally and Capital One 360 offer interest-bearing checking accounts. For accounts that carry a low balance, Capital One 360 offers a slightly higher interest rate (0.20% APY) than Ally (0.10% APY). However, if an account carries a balance higher than $15,000, then Ally’s interest rate is higher (0.60% APY) than Capital One 360 (0.20% APY).

Each bank offers similar basic account features: no monthly fee, no minimum deposit required to open an account, no minimum balance requirement, free online Bill Pay, and access to no charge Allpoint ATMs.

Ally reimburses fees charged by non-Allpoint ATM up to $10 per statement cycle. Capital One 360 doesn’t offer any ATM fee reimbursement.

Capital One 360 offers account holders an overdraft line of credit. This feature is used to cover overdraft transactions. Ally does not offer any overdraft protection to its customers.

Capital One 360 charges higher fees than Ally for certain account features. See table below.


ServiceAllyCapital One
Stop Payment $15 $25
Overdraft Item Paid/Returned $25 $35
Outgoing Wire Transfer $20 $40


Finally, Capital One 360 has a handful of physical bank branches, called Capital One Cafes. These cafes are in Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Chicago and other cities. There are 34 bank cafes located in the US. Ally does not have any physical bank locations.


Ally Checking vs Discover Checking

Discover Bank does not offer an interest-bearing checking account like Ally and Capital One. Instead, Discover’s checking account is a Cashback Debit account. Account holders can earn up to 1% percent cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases.

Both Ally and Discover offer similar basic account features: no monthly fee, no minimum deposit required to open an account, no minimum balance requirement, free online Bill Pay, and access to no charge Allpoint ATMs. However, Discover also offers no-fee access to all MoneyPass ATMs also. Ally does not.

Ally reimburses fees charged by non-Allpoint ATM up to $10 per statement cycle. Discover Bank doesn’t offer any ATM fee reimbursement.

Discover offers Overdraft Protection to their account holders. It is a link between the Discover account and another account (savings, money market, etc.) that transfer funds, in order to cover transactions that would otherwise be rejected due to insufficient funds. Ally does not offer overdraft protection to their customers.

Discover Bank’s fees for certain account services are competitive with Ally. See table below.

ServiceAllyDiscover
Stop Payment $15 $15
Overdraft Item Paid/Returned $25 $0*
Outgoing Wire Transfer $20 $30
Rush Delivery of Replacement Debit Card $15 $0


(*- While there are no fees to use Discover’s Overdraft Protection Service, other fees may be assessed if there are insufficient funds to cover overdrafts.)


Ally Interest Checking Account Review Verdict

In less than ten years, Ally Bank has grown from its beginnings as the financing division of GM to become the leader in online banking. With features like no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum account balance, and reimbursement of ATM fees from non-Allpoint ATMs, Ally has set a standard that other banks are just catching up to.


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