About 4 months ago I posed the question, “Is it Crazy to Switch to Ally Bank… Exclusively?” Well, as it turns out, making the switch to Ally wasn’t crazy – it just brought with it some new adventures. Some good, one bad, and a few unexpected. So today I’m here to download my complete Ally Bank review so that you can determine if it’s right for your personal finances.
The Complete Ally Bank Review – Is It Right For You??
To make sure my Ally Bank review is fair and impartial, I listed the following pros and cons exactly as they appeared in my head. Also, no brick and mortar banks were harmed in the writing of this review.
[SPOILER] – I’m really glad we made the switch, but there’s one issue I’d like to change.
Let’s dive in!
Pro – I love the improved interest rate compared to my old (brick and mortar) bank
I’ve earned $20.70 in interest in the last 4 months. That interest is coming from both our savings and checking accounts, and although I’m not quite comfortable with releasing our own version of a net worth report – those accounts have averaged a total of $5,000 combined over that time period.
For reference, I would’ve earned about $5 so far from our old accounts. Sure, the increase of $15.70 in interest may not seem like a ton right now, but as our savings account continues to grow, that interest accrued number – ‘will only get sweeter’.
Pro – I’ve ordered new checks 4 times and have never paid a penny in fees
Whether it’s from our business accounts or personal – I still write a lot of checks. And while my old bank sucked me in with the promise of free checks in perpetuity (forever) then pulled the rug out when they started charging me (or trying to), Ally keeps printing and sending those sweet money donators free of charge.
And our utility companies, my daughter’s dance school, and anyone getting married who has invited our family want me to make sure I tell our friends at Ally – “Thank You”. Your beautiful and reliable checkbooks make those payments possible.
Pro – My old bank had a mobile deposit limit of $5,000 per month while Ally’s is $50,000
Talk about a buzzkill…
Imagine for a moment that you work your tail off over the point of a day, week, or few weeks. And you work so hard and so well that someone has decided you’ve earned a check totaling $6,000.
You’re so excited to take that check home, show your wife, then immediately deposit it into your account! Well, with my old bank, I took it home and showed the wife without issue… But when I went to deposit it into our old account, I couldn’t do it. Our mobile deposit limit was $5,000 per month.
So my only options were to ask for new checks so that I could deposit over 2 months (that sounded so ridiculous that I almost didn’t include it – but hey, it was an option) or, I had to make the trek into the branch…
Sure, I am a millennial… Hit me with your slings and arrows.
However, I’m also a business owner with now 8 employees, husband, dad of 2, workout fanatic, and all-around busy guy, and when it comes to staying away from stress-induced heart attacks, avoiding additional To-Do items is on my To-Do list!
With Ally – I’ll need to earn $50,000 (via paper check) before I run into this problem again… Should be good for a while.
Pro – Converting all of my direct deposits and auto payments wasn’t a complete PIA (pain in the [butt])
For me preparing the switch to Ally, this was the single most dreaded portion of the process. Frankly, I wanted nothing to do with switching all of my direct deposits and auto payments… Wasn’t feeling it.
But… 2 Things:
1- It wasn’t nearly as difficult to make the changes as I had anticipated. I simply took my statement from the previous month and started crossing off names.
Electric – Check
Gas – Check
Mortgage – Even with a recent refinance, still made that switch without hiccup
2- Going through all of our regular bills was enlightening. I didn’t necessarily make many changes to our monthly finances, but the review exercise helped remind me where our money is going – and that’s always helpful!
Con – Ally has reduced the interest rate on my savings account twice since I’ve jumped in
The original yield on our savings account started at 2.2%, and in June it downgraded to 2.1%. At the time, I wasn’t thrilled about the decrease, but given the current economic conditions and indicators, a rate reduction was definitely to be expected.
Additionally, our Ally checking account still boasted a significantly higher interest rate than any other brick and mortar bank I’d ever been with. So, just a slightly less intense win.
Then our rate dropped to 1.9% about a month ago (August 2019). Following my initial frown face, I looked around and saw that the Fed had just cut rates again and that there were some less than exciting economic conditions out in the world, I wasn’t stoked – but I understood.
In the interest of full disclosure, sure there are other online banks with slightly better interest rates on savings accounts. But, in the spirit of this Ally bank review – I’m willing to make that sacrafice with all of the other positives that came from our switch to Ally.
Pro – My savings account interest rate is still 190X better than my old account
Yep – when comparing against other online savings accounts, we’re somewhere in the middle. But when compared with our brick and mortar account… 190 Times better than that.
Con – Depositing cash is difficult
Full disclosure, I didn’t close our accounts at our old bank. I needed to use them to continue depositing cash for our business (and then transfer the funds over to our business bank. The same is true for any personal cash we need to deposit.
Ally even says it on their website. Here are the 3 options they list:
We take full advantage of the remote deposit option, however, when it comes to cash deposits – we still visit the old brick and mortar shop.
Con – If things go sideways, I can’t go sit with someone and hash it out
Ally has a few offices, just none in any proximity to our home. For now – we settle for phone calls. Which we understood before making the change.
Pro – I have two ‘modern’ ways to send money digitally now
I have been using PayPal for what seems like a decade, but not all of our younger friends share the same functionality. However, by signing up with Ally, I now have the ability to transfer funds using Zelle, which I hear the kids are more excited about.
Con – It takes a couple of days for deposits to be available
This issue is not unique to Ally…
You deposit a check remotely and then wait about 24 to 48 business hours for those funds to be available to you. For someone in a pinch, that wait could be unbearable. In that instance, cash is king.
And while I’ve heard of newer modern technologies coming around to change this process, we’re not there yet. So for now, we wait patiently.
Pro – I get to write this Ally bank review
Let’s be honest – this is what it’s all about… Amirite??
The switch to Ally bank was part experiment and part for the benefit of our finances, and in spite of the cons listed above, I’ve decided that all of the pros will keep our deposits with Ally for the time being.
Of course, if that is to change for any reason – I’ll keep you guys updated!
Do you bank with Ally or have you made a switch to an online bank recently? What was your experience?