Ally.com Review – The Only Bank You’ll Ever Need!
I’m going to tell you a story…
A long time ago, when I was but a wee lad at the ripe old age of 23, I moved across the country from Binghamton NY to a small town called Weslaco, which is located one hop, skip, and jump away from the US/Mexican border. My girlfriend at the time had just gotten a job through Teach For America at a charter school down there, and I was making the move with her (#relationshipgoalz). After I’d spent roughly 72 hours in Weslaco, I had a terrible feeling, the one that says that your stomach was going to fall out of your ass…
I hated it.
The people were rude to me, everywhere I went trying to buy furniture I was treated like a child, my air conditioner didn’t work (which, when living 4 miles from Mexico in July, simply does not fly). I had no money, no friends, no job, and my girlfriend was 5 hours away finishing up her training in Houston. I was miserable.
On the fourth day I decided to get off my butt and join a gym. Working out would give me something to focus on, a way to spend a couple hours while trying to find a job in this small “Texican” town. I sat across from the sales associate at the gym, handed her my debit card, and made my way promptly…
Back to the car.
To call my bank.
Because my card had been denied.
After a few choice expletives due to sheer frustration, I called and got a woman on the phone (her name was Peggy, in case you wanted to know). Peggy had a sweet southern drawl, an accent warmer than the Alabama sun and thicker than honey. She immediately put me at ease. She asked me about why I was in Texas, how great it was that I made the move, that I did it all with my girlfriend from college, how she loves Texas, that she wished me all the best and how of course it’s normal to be a little culture shocked when moving to a new part of the country. I swear, it was one of the most memorable conversations I think I’ve ever had.
And yet, this is all from a banking associate. Not a therapist, not a doctor, not a mentor, not my mom.
A lady who works at a bank.
Which is why I’ve decided that I will be an Ally customer from now till the day I die. Now, I understand that you have many options out there as far as which bank you choose. But in my extremely valuable and humble opinion, Ally.com should be the first bank you put your money in, hands down. They’re certainly not the biggest bank, nor are they super well-known. But in terms of your financial future, you simply can do no better. Here’s why:
They make your money work harder than anywhere else.
So let’s talk about on of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to banking. It comes from understanding exactly how banks work. In a nutshell, you show up, you give them your money to hold on to, then they make loans with your money to people that need houses, cars, businesses, etc. That’s right; the money you give banks is being GIVEN OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE. So here’s what most people don’t understand: banks need your checking accounts and your savings accounts in order to function. In effect, YOU are doing THEM the service.
Without your deposits, without your paycheck, or the cash deposits you make, there is no bank. They simply wouldn’t have the capital to exist. So when bigger banks say things like, “Oh, well, you overdrew your checking account when you bought those groceries” or, “We have to charge you $35 dollars because you overdrew your account and we had to transfer from your savings” they’re getting the flow of demand backwards: It should be THEM paying YOU for allowing THEM to use YOUR MONEY.
Ally.com understands this. And while earning 1.00% a year is really not anything to write home about, it’s the fact that this is one of the, if not the, highest rates of interest for a savings account around. They even give you interest on your checking account! Because they understand that they need your money for their business, and they compensate you for it. If you’re going to leave your money anywhere, it should be somewhere where it’s going to gain the most interest possible. That place is ally.com.
They don’t charge you bullshit fees (gasp)
This is an obvious one. How many times have you had to pull money out of an ATM and get that nasty little warning at the end, “$2.50 will be charged to this account as a service charge” or “The card you have inserted is not affiliated with this bank. You will be charged a $4.00 service fee.” It’s ridiculous! I should be able to pull cash out of my account without paying for it! It is my money after all! With Ally, every withdrawal from an ATM that has a service charge or fee is reimbursed at the end of the month. Every. Single. One. Believe me, I’ve checked. And there is nothing better than saying “Yes, I will accept this $4.00 fee” because you know at the end of the month it’s coming back to you anyway. It’s like wearing a financial bullet-proof vest.
But that’s not the only fee they protect you from. If you make a mistake and overdraw your checking, they’ve been known to not charge an overdraft fee (provided you have the money in a savings account). They don’t charge you if your checking account goes below a certain value, which many banks are known to do. There are no foreign transaction fees (see below). Ally.com is basically doing everything they can to keep as much money in their customers pockets as possible!
They automatically do exchange rates/international transactions
This is huge if you’re into international travel. As I spend a lot of time in Canada (lot’s of family up there) it’s vital for me to have a debit card that works up there, especially one that allows me to pull out cash when needed. And Ally uses the lowest exchange rate possible. But even if they didn’t, are you really going to spend your time shopping around for the best exchange rate when you’re traveling? No, you’re going to get your money and try to buy those twins from Finland a couple drinks and try to find out how they stay warm up there in Scandanavia.
On top of automatically doing the exchange rates, they don’t charge an international transaction fee. This is huge! This could be 1-3% of every single transaction! Who in their right mind would pay that if they didn’t have to? You’d have to be dumber than a box a rocks who’s IQ is lower then the temperature in your fridge.
They have an automatic withdrawal program with their savings
Quick story: I was a young sprout living in France on an exchange program when I learned a very valuable lesson. I’d signed for a checking account through PNB Paribas, so I had a place to put what very little cash I had. At the end of my exchange year, I went to close the account, and they told me I owed them roughly 70 Euro, which at the time was right around $110. I asked why, and they said it was because of all the overages on my account. I was flabbergasted. What do you MEAN? The card was still swiping, so I still had money, right?! WRONG! So So SOOOOOO wrong. So I paid my way out (long story), and took my lesson with me back to the US.
Ally’s solution to this is simple: If you don’t have the money in your checking account, then they’ll just take it from your savings account. No overdraft fee, no stupid “Your card works even though you don’t have the funds”. Just simple logic: if you have the money, the card will work. If you don’t, it won’t. Simple as that.
Check deposits are just pictures
“Ok Paul”, you might say. “You’ve made some pretty good points, and I can tell that you’re a very intelligent person who’s as charismatic as you are humble, and are probably an extremely good dancer and chef, but what else do you have to convince me that ally.com is the right bank for me?!” Well, dear reader, this is probably the coolest thing ally.com does.
Let’s say you get a check. Maybe it’s an inheritance check from your great aunt Birgit, maybe it’s some birthday money from your parents, maybe you just like getting paychecks instead of direct deposit because you’re a weirdo, I don’t know. But you have ally, which is an online bank. “HOW DO I DEPOSIT THIS CHECK?! That Paul Andrews has been feeding me nothing but LIES!” Not so quick, dear reader. Simply download the ally.com app on your smartphone, take a picture of the front and bank of the check, and the check will post to your account in 1-3 business days. How wonderful is that! No running to the bank, no waiting in line, no needing to talk to people (you anti-social little butterfly, you). Just spend 30 seconds taking a couple pictures and go about your day. Yeah, it’s that awesome.
Ally.com is OBSESSED with having the BEST Customer Service
I’ve saved the best for last. In this day and age, it’s really tough to find people that aren’t going to treat you like some leper piece of shit from the other side of the tracks. Big companies can afford to lose a customer when a service rep is having a bad day because they’ll have thousands more customers by the end of the day. However, ally.com doesn’t take this approach at all.
Ally.com’s greatest strength, even with all it’s great financial benefits, is it’s customer service. I’ve never had such an easy time getting a real person on the phone. Ever. And every time I do, and I mean EVERY TIME in the last 4 years I’ve been with them, they’ve always been super helpful and I always get off the phone more amazed than the last time. The website has this really convenient feature that allows people to see the wait time for the call before they even pick up the phone. On top of that, if you want to chat with someone online, they offer that service as well.
Not to downplay the profession, but companies often struggle with having customer service support staff that are… shall we say, a cup of cheery sunshine? But the folks over at Ally rock at making sure their customers are happy. I mean, I call them when I need to talk about how to survive my family during the holidays, so they must be pretty good, right?
Ally.com bank Review – The Wrap Up
Ally.com is just the bomb.com. It’s the bee’s knees. It’s the cat’s ass. It’s that thing at the end of your shoelaces that makes it easier to put through the holes in your shoes. Here’s why ally.com rocks:
- Your money works harder there than anywhere else
- They don’t charge bullshit fees
- They automatically complete international transactions
- They have an automatic withdrawal program from your savings
- Depositing checks is as easy as taking a picture
- They’re obsessed with having the best customer service
So now you know the love story between me and my bank. Wasn’t it beautiful?! I’d love to hear what programs your banks have that may be the reason you fell in love with them; leave your comments below!
For more tips and tricks on how to achieve your version of financial freedom, check out:
- The Seven Steps to Avoid Being a Money Moron
- The 7 Vegetarian Meals That Are Saving My Budget
- How Much Is Half A Million Dollars?
- The 10 Best Finance Books Money Can Buy
- 9 Credit Score Hacks You Must Know
- Why I Never Want To Retire
- The Laziest Way to Riches – Investing In Index Funds
- Budgeting Basics – Allocating $$$ Like A Boss
- Fuck You, Frugality
- Why A Million Budgeting Tips Will Never Be Enough
Keep trying to crack the code,
Follow me on social media!