Online bank Ally has started a new venture called Ally Invest that allows for self-directed trading and managed trading. Let’s take a quick peek at their self-directed online trading platform to determine how it holds up to the competition.

Pricing

Ally Invest’s pricing starts at $4.95 per trade with no account minimum. That’s lower than most competition, although Robinhood allows commission-free trading. Traditional investing services like E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade charge $6.95 per trade. For seasoned investors who make more than 30+ trades per quarter and have a balance of more than $100,000 with the bank, you can make trades at $3.95 per trade. Only E*TRADE offers something similar, and the price is lowered to Ally’s base price of $4.95. Ally is a clear-cut winner on commission fees per trade, but they also offer an extensive list of commission-free ETFs for those who prefer long-term investing.

Margin Account

Like most traditional trading platforms, Ally allows traders to open a margin account and pay interest on the money borrowed. They have the lowest interest rates in the industry on these accounts, according to the amount you’ve borrowed. Interest rates start at 9.50% for anything under $10,000 and just 5% for accounts borrowing $1,000,000+. The cheapest interest rates you can get from competitors is 7% at E*TRADE, and that’s from the $1m borrowed tier. Ally’s low-interest rates should give margin traders something to look elsewhere for if you’re not happy with your current trading platform.

Research & Tools

While Ally can’t beat Robinhood’s free trades, their research and tools for self-directed traders are much better than what Robinhood offers. The streaming charts are clean and easy to follow and offer six different chart types with 90 chart studies. Plenty of drawing tools are included to help you analyze the performance of your stocks. Ally’s trading platform features a watchlist that will help you stay on top of securities. You can even group them according to a sector, so you can quickly move between lists to see how market performance is doing across sectors. The profitability calculator will help you determine the likelihood of profit from any trade you may be planning on making. It can be a valuable asset for beginner traders to understand why their trades may or may not work.

Brokerage Transfer

Ally accepts account transfers from anyone submitting a Brokerage Account Transfer form. The documents must be faxed in, and you can expect the account transfer to complete five to seven business days after it is initiated. The only caveat to this transfer is that Ally Invest requires the starting account to be the same type you plan on opening under Ally’s umbrella. For example, only IRA accounts can be transferred to Ally’s IRA service. Ally Invest is offering a $150 transfer fee credit to your account to pay any fees you may incur from your current brokerage. However, you will need to transfer in $2,500 or more and complete the ACAT form within 15 days of when the transfer is received to receive the credit.

24/7 Service

Because Ally Invest and its banking platform are online-only, all support requests are handled online or through the phone. That also means if you have any problems with your service, you can contact them no matter the time of day. It’s often annoying having to deal with phone and chat representatives, but in this case, it works in your favor. The 24/7 support is also available for Ally’s managed trading accounts if you’d prefer to have someone else handle the trades for you.