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Ally Invest vs TD Ameritrade: Which Do You Want – Managed or Self-Directed Brokers

ally invest vs td ameritrade

Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade provide excellent tools for novice and experienced investors, but TD Ameritrade is superior. Ally’s lengthy history dates back to 1919, when GMAC was created (the financial sector of General Motors). It gradually extended its financial services and relaunched as Ally Bank in 2009, offering high-interest online banking with minimum costs.

Ally Financial purchased TradeKing in 2016, transforming it into Ally Invest. New name, website, and mobile application. However, the exact low pricing and trading characteristics remain.

TD Ameritrade is among the largest and oldest online brokerage firms. It now provides commission-free online transactions for stocks, ETFs, and options. This comparison will examine the benefits of choosing Ally Invest against TD Ameritrade.

Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Mobile Trading Apps
Ease of Use

Ally Invest Overview

Investors can create a taxable account that combines numerous investments or a retirement account with Ally. They may also pick between a self-directed or robo portfolio; the robo portfolio has a $100 minimum.

Depending on your investment objectives, you might choose:

In October 2019, Ally joined the majority of online brokers in eliminating commissions on nearly all deals. SIPC insures accounts up to $500,000 ($250,000 for cash claims), with further coverage up to $37.5 million.

Moreover, Ally offers interest-bearing checking accounts and high-yield savings accounts, but TD Ameritrade does not.

Typically, new investors are recommended to begin by saving for retirement. Ally has your back with several IRAs and 401(k) rollover options.

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If you require hand-selected investments, Ally’s robo-portfolios are customized to your financial objectives and risk tolerance. The Cash Enhanced Robo Portfolio automatically allocates 30% of your investments to cash as a safety net.

Options trading is Ally’s strongest suit. Options investors can purchase assets at a defined price for a predetermined time. This sort of trading is risky and is only suggested for those with extensive expertise. Ally features a minimal cost of 50 cents per contract for options and options-specific calculators and scanners. The Ally Invest Options Playbook contains seminars and other information to help you become an expert in options trading.

Ally’s Currency & Futures platform is available to advanced investors who wish to engage in forex and futures trading. You may exchange gold, silver, and other currencies while receiving real-time notifications. There is also a dedicated Ally app for FX trading. Read also the Ally vs Charles Schwab review.


TD Ameritrade Overview

TD Ameritrade is one of the largest and oldest online brokers in the United States and has far more brand awareness. And TD caters to every type of investor, offering many investment alternatives and an overwhelming quantity of educational and research resources. Beginners can start modest and grow their asset classes as they gain experience.

TD Ameritrade offers ordinary taxable accounts, joint accounts, retirement, education savings, business/trust accounts, and managed portfolios. The minimum deposit for managed accounts is larger than Ally’s. In exchange, you receive the counsel of a competent adviser.

Individual accounts do not have a minimum investment requirement. They provide a “robo-advisor” model comparable to that of other brokers. As with Ally, commission-free stock and ETF transactions are now the norm.

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TD Ameritrade is unique for the ease with which novice investors may purchase mutual funds. Most of the platform’s over 11,000 funds have investment minimums of $100 or less, and over 4,000 have no transaction costs. These are not bargains that many brokers provide.

TD Ameritrade’s educational resources are also a valuable resource for beginners. Particularly useful for understanding how to manage (and rebalance) investments and save enough for retirement is the Portfolio Planner.

TD Ameritrade provides much more options and information for investors of all levels. Ally is easier to use and provides more competitive pricing for some services. Still, TD Ameritrade remains a formidable opponent. Read also the Betterment vs. TD Ameritrade review.


Service & Feature Comparison


Both Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade offer free trades. Neither Ally Invest nor TD Ameritrade charges a flat fee for options. Options contracts cost $0.65 at TD Ameritrade, as opposed to $0.50 at Ally Invest.

Education and Research

All stages of your financial life are covered in the “Do It Right” part of Ally’s web-based platform. You may receive in-depth guidance on several types of investments and follow a weekly-updated live broadcast.

Ally, however, does not offer a trading idea generator or demo trading accounts, unlike other platforms.

The sheer volume of TD Ameritrade’s financial research might be overwhelming, so it helps to know what you’re searching for in advance. If you feel ignorant, begin by determining your financial objectives or comparing the advantages and downsides of various accounts.

You may take virtual investment courses, listen to TD Ameritrade’s podcast, stream news from different sources, and join the online myTrade community, among other things. Even the most experienced traders will acquire new knowledge.

Range of Investments

TD Ameritrade has a broader variety of investing possibilities than Ally Invest. Investors may access Stock Trading, Over Counter, Options Trading, Mutual Funds, Futures Trading, Forex Trading, Advisor Services, and International Trading through TD Ameritrade. Ally Invest offers 10,146 more mutual funds than TD Ameritrade. Ally Invest offers 19024 mutual funds, whereas TD Ameritrade offers 8878.

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Trading Technology

We evaluated each broker’s software products, trading tools, and research capabilities to compare Ally, Invest, and TD Ameritrade’s trading platforms. In terms of trading tools, TD Ameritrade provides a superior experience. TD Ameritrade delivers outstanding market research in terms of research.

Ally Invest has a dual strategy by combining banking and investing into a single experience. Their HTML5-based, user-friendly InvestLIVE platform is compatible with most browsers and mobile devices.

To personalize your dashboard, you may drag and drop various widgets. These widgets include news feeds, watchlists, portfolio holdings, charts, streaming quotations, and other research instruments.

TD Ameritrade’s trading platform has long led the industry. The company’s full-service strategy developed many trading platforms, which might bewilder prospective investors. Nonetheless, the brokerage’s broad features distinguish it from other trading firms.

Using the website, investors may quickly check their portfolio holdings, use research tools, employ a screener, trade stocks, test options strategies, and see videos or live market commentary.

The thinkorswim tool enables TD Ameritrade investors, however. This desktop interface is designed for experienced, active traders who wish to acquire stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and currency.

Mobile Apps

Ally Mobile integrates banking and brokerage services into a single app, making banking and investing with Ally more convenient.

There are all the typical banking app capabilities, such as moving funds and paying bills. Investors may examine and evaluate their portfolios, but they should be aware that the app does not broadcast real-time watch lists and does not support after-hours trading. The web-based platform contains numerous features.

Traders on the fly can download TD Ameritrade Mobile or TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader (for regular online platform customers) (for thinkorswim users). On the mobile app, you can do almost everything on the website, including trade, study, receive help, and monitor your watchlists. Mobile Trader broadcasts real-time data and allows direct chart trading. Clients of managed portfolios can review their investments using the Portfolios app.

Robo-Advisor & Managed Portfolios

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios, which offers AI management for a 0.30 percent yearly charge of your total portfolio, is available to investors that desire automated investment. You must also invest a minimum of $500. Individual taxable accounts, Roth IRA, regular IRA, 529 programs, joint taxable accounts, and more are supported. However, neither automated rebalancing nor tax-loss harvesting is available.

TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios are accessible for customers who desire automatic investment. The broker provides tax-loss harvesting, automated rebalancing, socially responsible investing, and specialty account kinds but demands a $5,000 minimum deposit. Additionally, a 0.30 percent yearly management charge is levied.

Customer Service

Customer service is vital in business. Even expert traders will want support from Ally Invest or TD Ameritrade at some point. This is especially true for beginning traders with limited knowledge. In the beginning, you will want to guarantee that Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade help is constantly accessible. Both Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade offer superior customer service. It is vital to your success in trading!

Suppose potential clients are interested in evaluating Ally’s brick-and-mortar stores’ customer service. In such a scenario, it is impossible because Ally has no physical place. However, Ally Invest may be reached by telephone seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

There is also an international number for calls from outside the United States. The “talk with us” function of Ally Invest allows existing and potential clients to select topics to discuss in advance, such as trading, managed portfolios, account financing, etc. Name, account number, and email address are optional fields. Nonetheless, consumers will undoubtedly obtain speedier treatment if they submit this information.

TD Ameritrade provides phone assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has more than 100 physical locations around the United States.

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Other Features


TD Ameritrade provides a broader selection of IRAs than Ally Invest (with SEP, SIMPLE, and Minor accounts). In addition, there is no closeout cost. Ally Invest has a $25 fee.

Dividend reinvestment program: 

With an account at either company, you may convert cash dividends into more shares of the underlying stocks.

Automatic mutual fund investing: 

TD Ameritrade and not Ally offer this service.

IPO availability: 

Customers of TD Ameritrade with at least $250,000 in assets or 10 transactions per month can participate in Initial Public Offerings. Additionally, they can sign up for IPO notifications on the TDA website. These services are not offered by Ally Invest.

Extended hours: 

At both businesses, pre-market and after-hours trading is accessible. TD Ameritrade sessions are longer.


Online banking may be advantageous for investors, and several brokerages offer banking services to their clients. TD Ameritrade provides clients with Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, and Credit Cards. Ally Invest, on the other hand, offers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, and Mortgage Loans.

TD Ameritrade provides free checks and a Visa debit card with double the standard FDIC protection. With the debit card, it is free to withdraw money from any ATM in the United States.

Ally Invest also provides debit cards with check-writing capabilities. In contrast to its competitor, Ally Invest costs $35 annually to use its debit card. In addition, there is a $20 yearly check-writing charge. In addition, the broker charges a $5 fee for every check.

It would be able to link an Ally Bank account to more generous plans. However, the company’s banking division restricts the amount of monthly ATM charge rebates. TD Ameritrade doesn’t.

Ally Invest vs. TD Ameritrade: Summary

Ally Invest

Outstanding client service

Ally offers excellent 24/7 online chat and phone lines; you will be swiftly connected to a representative. Ally does not have physical branches, but they are no longer required to assist clients in our increasingly digital age.

Integrated banking and investment

If you’re an Ally investor, you may create an Ally Bank account and move funds rapidly across accounts. If necessary, users can make loan payments from their investment accounts. And Ally Bank offers an impressive annual percentage yield (APY) of 1.90 percent on savings accounts and many CD (certificates of deposit) alternatives.

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Simple and smooth trading

Ally’s online browser and mobile applications emphasize the fundamentals for trading newbies who don’t want a lot of bells and whistles. You may adjust the browser’s InvestLIVE platform to display the statistics you wish to view first.

Low-Cost Trades

If you want to trade options, you will pay only 50 cents for each trade, one of the lowest costs in the business.

TD Ameritrade

Excellent mobile applications

Both of TD Ameritrade’s mobile apps, Mobile for retail investors and Mobile Trader for sophisticated, active investors, include watchlists, stock quotes, charts, and everything else a mobile trader needs. You receive unlimited streaming real-time data on the applications and the web browser, allowing you to stay current.

Excellent educational materials

If a client has an investment-related inquiry, the TD Ameritrade website will have the answer. An interested investor may spend the day gaining knowledge through articles, videos, webinars, and live programs.

Multiple-tech add-ons

Among other bonuses, account users may grab quotations from Apple Business Chat, receive assistance from a Facebook Messenger chatbot, and link TD Ameritrade with Android Auto.

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Ally Invest vs. TD Ameritrade: The Bottom Line

Ally Invest costs less per trade than TD Ameritrade. Nonetheless, it compensates for this with an excellent trading interface and better research offers. You may discover that they are worth the additional few dollars. Both brokers have advantages and disadvantages and provide commission-free trading. TD Ameritrade, the market leader, is the superior option for most investors because of its comprehensive feature set.

Ally Invest is perfect for Ally Bank customers, and it’s a decent alternative for novice investors who don’t want a robust platform or competitive pricing on options transactions.

We believe this platform is appropriate for moderately to highly experienced investors who seek to develop wealth over the long term and will appreciate the platform’s many features, analytical tools, and research alternatives. It may be overkill for novice investors, who may not utilize all of the features to their maximum potential. In this instance, an online brokerage with cheaper fees may be preferable.


Is Ally Invest or TD Ameritrade better?

Ally Invest is a reasonably new platform based on TradeKing's 2017 platform. While it is streamlined, user-friendly, and has many features that active investors will like, you may not have access to all of TD Ameritrade's research tools, human advisers, or automated investment alternatives.

What Broker Offers Better Customer Support?

Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade promise to offer live chat, email, and phone service around the clock. However, TD Ameritrade also offers branch-based in-person service.

Is Ally Invest suitable for individual retirement accounts (IRA)?

TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest provide accounts with comparable features. However, Ally Invest does not provide any mutual funds with no transaction fees. TD Ameritrade provides almost 4,000 investments. TD Ameritrade's Essential Portfolios offer additional retirement planning tools, including calculators and automatic investment alternatives with tax-loss harvesting.
Unlike TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest charges a $50 fee for closing an IRA, whereas TD Ameritrade does not. TD Ameritrade is the best option for retirement, in our opinion, for casual and passive investors.


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