Ally Invest and Fidelity are two popular trading and investment platforms. While many of the core features are similar, important differences make each a better option for specific investors. Here’s how Ally Invest and Fidelity compare based on usability, trade experience, offerings and cost. Find out the similarities and differences between these two platforms here. If you prefer hands-on investing advice, a financial advisor could help you create a financial plan for your investments.
Overview: Ally Invest and Fidelity
Ally Invest is the trading and investment service of Ally Financial. The company was founded in 1919 by General Motors (GM) as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). Its purpose at the time was to provide financing for GM vehicles.
The company later entered other financial service sectors, such as insurance and mortgages. It re-branded as Ally Bank in 2009 (later, Ally Financial). In 2016, Ally acquired TradeKing, which was re-branded as Ally Invest.
Fidelity Investments, commonly known as Fidelity, was established in 1946 and is one of the largest asset managers globally with about $10 trillion in assets under administration. Fidelity provides a range of services, including proprietary mutual funds, index funds, wealth management, life insurance, retirement accounts and more. It also has branch offices in several U.S. states.
Fees: Ally Invest vs. Fidelity
Both Ally Invest and Fidelity generally have low fees. For example, there are no commissions or trading fees when trading stocks and ETFs. Mutual fund trades do have a small fee for both Ally Invest and Fidelity; those fees are $9.95 for Ally and $49.95 for Fidelity. However, Fidelity doesn’t charge transaction fees for Fidelity funds and certain no-transaction-fee funds.
Options contracts have a small fee for each broker, though the difference is smaller: $0.50 per contract for Ally and $0.65 per contract for Fidelity. Still, there are no sales commissions when trading options with either broker.
Other fees include account transfers, for which Ally Invest charges $50. Fidelity charges no fees for transfers. For their respective robo-advisors, Fidelity charges 0.35% and Ally Invest charges 0.30% (or 0.0% with a cash position). It is also worth noting that Fidelity has mutual funds with no management fees – something you won’t find at Ally Invest.
Services and Features: Ally Invest vs. Fidelity
Fidelity and Ally Invest offer a broad range and services and features to cater to the investment needs of most individual investors. Both offer brokerage accounts, IRAs, CDs, robo-advisors, cash management accounts and money market accounts. Fidelity has some accounts Ally Invest doesn’t offer, such as 529 plans, health savings accounts (HSAs) and 401(k)s. Ally Invest also has some accounts and services not available with Fidelity, such as high-yield savings accounts, checking accounts and home mortgages.
Both brokers generally allow you to open an account with no minimums, though buying certain investments may require a minimum. Robo-portfolios with Ally Invest have a $100 minimum, but Fidelity’s robo-advisor (Fidelity Go) has no minimum investment. Fidelity also offers fractional shares, which Ally currently lacks. Fractional shares allow you to buy smaller denominations of stocks, which can be better for new investors.
Ally Invest and Fidelity both offer more than 10,000 mutual funds on their platforms. The biggest difference between the two is that Fidelity has its own mutual funds, while Ally Invest does not. Fee-conscious investors might prefer Fidelity since it offers no-transaction-fee funds as well as funds with no management fees. However, costs are generally low at both brokers.
Fidelity offers one-on-one financial coaching with Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice. Customers can schedule 30-minute coaching calls as part of the service. However, Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice has a $25,000 investment minimum.
Ally Invest has access to financial advisors through its Wealth Management service, but it has a minimum investment of $100,000. Those who meet that threshold and sign up for the service will have regular check-ins with their advisor and can contact them as needed.
Online and Mobile: Ally Invest vs. Fidelity
Whether you invest with Fidelity or Ally Invest, you’ll have extensive tools to trade as well as monitor and track your investments, both online and via mobile. Both offer online trading platforms with real-time quotes and data, quick trading ability, a watchlist and advanced charting capabilities.
Likewise, both have intuitive mobile apps that pack quite a bit of functionality onto a small screen. Fidelity’s app lets you invest, track spending and move money all in one place. It also lets you monitor stock news and track savings goals. The app is highly rated with a 4.8 rating on the Apple App Store and a 4.2 rating on Google Play. Because of its investment focus, the Fidelity app may be particularly suitable for those most interested in trading and investing, as well as retirement planning and wealth management.
Ally’s app isn’t quite as focused on investing because it has one app that lets you manage your investments in addition to checking and savings accounts. For example, you can place trades and view stock charts on the app, but also create and manage buckets for savings accounts.
The Ally app also shows you information about your wealth advisor if you have one and lets you call or email them with one tap in the app. Its app is rated slightly lower than Fidelity’s with a 4.7 on the Apple App Store and 3.9 on Google Play. Because the Ally app allows you to manage checking and savings accounts, it may be the top choice for those who want a full suite of services in one place.
Ally Invest and Fidelity both offer a lot while keeping fees low. Fidelity caters more to active traders as well as retirement and wealth management. Ally Invest has more to offer in the areas of money management, checking and savings. While you can’t go wrong with either broker, these small differences may help you decide which one is right for you.
Tips for Investing
A financial advisor can help you develop an investment strategy that works for you. And finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Whatever your time horizon might be, it’s important to know where your investments will stand in 10, 15 or 20 years. SmartAsset’s free investment calculator can help you get an estimate.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Rob Daly, ©iStock.com/Pinkypills, ©iStock.com/Rinchumrus