Ally Invest versus Stash Invest: compare IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account pros and cons. Which online broker is better?

Overview of Ally Invest and Stash

If you’re looking for a low-cost way to capture America’s rising stock market, Stash and Ally Invest offer some enticing services in return for minimal fees. This article will reveal which broker is the better alternative.

Broker Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Ally Invest $4.95 $9.95 $4.95 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Stash $0 na na 0.25% 0.25%

Services

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Ally Invest
Stash

Promotions

Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + 90 days of commission free trades (up to $500 in value).

Stash Invest: Get $5 bonus when you open new account.


Category 1: Available Investments

Ally Invest customers can trade fixed-income securities, mutual funds, closed-end funds, ETFs, options, forex, and stocks.

Stash provides trading in ETFs and equities. For some odd reason, it doesn’t offer all stocks and ETFs on the three big security exchanges. For example, GLD, the very famous gold ETF, isn’t available; nor is DISCA, the Discovery Channel’s stock. We did find these investments at Ally. The one positive thing Stash has going for it is trading in fractional shares.

The victory in the first category obviously goes to Ally Invest.

Category 2: Research and Education

On the Ally Invest site, we found screeners for stocks, ETF’s, mutual funds, options, and fixed-income products. The stock screener is able to search by many criteria, such as market cap, price performance, technical events, and sector. There are also predefined screens for quick searches.

Profile pages at Ally Invest deliver quite a bit of important trading data. Analyst ratings are shown for stocks and funds. Lipper scorecards are available for many securities, and we found stock reports for major equities. The Ally Invest site hosts several articles on investment education.

At Stash, there are no security screeners to speak of. ETFs and stocks are divided into categories; but they are only searchable by ticker and company name. Profile pages have extremely limited amounts of data, probably just about 10% or so of what’s available at Ally. The broker-dealer does provide lots of articles on how to invest on the Stash platform, and we’ll now turn to this.

Ally Invest wins again.

Category 3: Website Trading

Ally Invest customers get to trade on a functional—although not very sophisticated—website. It does have a trade bar, and this tool can be used to submit orders for stocks, closed-end funds, ETFs, and options straight to the exchanges (no web pages needed).

Ally also has a browser platform called LIVE. It incorporates a lot of great features, including advanced charting, bond and option trading, and an order ticket with several order types.


Ally Live


Moving to Stash, we lose the trade bar and browser platform. Moreover, the brokerage firm doesn’t even provide a trading ticket. In its place is a simple request form for dollar amount and company. Stash does the rest. There is no charting on the site, other than a simple graph with no tools.


Stash Investing


Stash suffers another defeat.

Category 4: Mobile Trading

The Stash mobile app is basically a clone of the company’s website. This means that purchases of fractional shares of stocks and ETFs can be requested, and there’s information on the Stash method of investing. There is also information on the broker’s debit card.

Ally has a lot more in terms of trading capability. Perhaps even better is the platform’s mobile check deposit feature, a really handy service that’s missing on the Stash app. Ally’s app provides an options trading ticket along with the ability to trade stocks and ETFs (but not mutual funds). Another advantage over Stash is Ally’s charting program, which offers technical studies and horizontal viewing.

Once again, our pick is Ally Invest.

Category 5: Other Services

Dividend reinvesting is available at Ally Invest, a great service for stock traders. Strangely, Stash doesn’t offer a DRIP service even though it specializes in fractional shares.

Individual Retirement Accounts can be opened at both brokerage houses. Ally Invest offers more account types (SEP and SIMPLE plans are available, but not at Stash). Ally Invest also has a selection of target-date mutual funds, which are missing on the Stash platform.

There are several types of automatic investment services at Stash, while Ally Invest only offers recurring deposits of cash into a brokerage account (not recurring investments).

Overall, we have another victory for Ally Invest.

Our Recommendations

Beginners: For newbies, we’re going to suggest Ally Invest. The broker offers a robo-advisory service that costs 0.0% (zero) per year with a $100 balance. And for self-directed accounts, Ally Invest has very good customer service on the phone 24/7. Plus, there’s a human chat service.

Retirement Saving: With its target-date mutual funds and larger selection of IRA’s, we have to pick Ally Invest here.

Long-Term Investing: For investors with a long time horizon, we propose Ally again over its rival.

Stock and ETF Trading: Due to Ally Invest’s browser platform and trade bar, it is really the only pick here.

Promotions

Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + 90 days of commission free trades (up to $500 in value).

Stash Invest: Get $5 bonus when you open new account.


Stash vs Ally Invest Summary

This contest ends in a sweeping victory for Ally Invest. Nevertheless, we do like Stash for its fractional shares and debit card round-up program.


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