Ally Bank Review

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Ally BankIn mid-May, GMAC Bank changed its name to Ally Bank. With General Motors in the news every day for something negative, it’s hard to do business when everyone thinks you’re about to go out of business. The funny thing about it all is that GMAC Bank’s parent company, GMAC Financial, hasn’t been a part of General Motors for several years. When you have financial companies in distress and auto companies in distress, a bank that people think is inextricably linked to auto company is in some deep trouble.

So, they changed their name.

But are they a good bank to do business with? Let’s find out.

History Lesson on GMAC

If you are confused with all the acronyms and relationships between businesses, you aren’t a lone. I was very confused. GMAC stand for General Motors Acceptance Corporation and was once a wholly owned financial services arm of General Motors, the auto manufacturer. The financial services company provided financing to GM dealers, among other things. In 2006, General Motors sold a majority stake in GMAC to Cerberus Capital Management, thus providing some separation in the GM and GMAC relationship. Last year, GMAC was converted to a bank holding company to give them access to TARP funds.

GMAC Bank is a subsidiary of GMAC Financial Services, which offers a whole host of other financial products. This year, in May, GMAC Bank changed their name to Ally Bank.

Whew! Hopefully that all makes sense, but the end result is that Ally Bank/GMAC Bank is part of GMAC Financial Services, which is separate from General Motors itself and has been since 2006.

Rates are out of date. Compare today’s high yield savings account rates.

FDIC Insured

First things first, always confirm that the bank is FDIC insured. I would never bank at a non FDIC/NCUA insured financial institution and neither should you. Ally Bank is FDIC insured under FDIC certificate #57803 and have been since August 2004. The FDIC certificate still lists as their primary internet web address but that will redirect you to the Ally Bank homepage. If you’re curious, their headquarters is at 6985 Union Park Center, Midvale, UT 84047.

Bankrate Safe & Sound rating: I don’t put a tremendous amount of credence in bank ratings because I believe FDIC insurance trumps everything, but they are valuable to read so you know what you’re getting into. Since the reports are quarterly, the most recent one is from December 2008, which is arguably a little dated. Back then, they still had a three star rating (out of five) and their predictive indicator was positive. You can read the memo for GMAC Bank here. I didn’t find a more recent report.

Online Savings Account

Let’s get to the reason why you and I care about Ally Bank in the first place, their deposit products. Ally Bank’s high interest rate on their high yield savings account is pretty good, enough to snag one of the top spots on my table of high yield savings account rates (Everbank is listed higher with an asterisk because they offer a promo rate for three months). The minimum to open is a comedic $0 (they will close your account if you don’t fund it, but I’d read that to say “no minimums”) and there are no monthly fees.

One thing I do like seeing is the explicit listing of a limit of six withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle. This limit is true on all savings accounts because there is a six transfer/withdrawal limit mandated by federal regulations. So many people, myself included, run into this problem with online accounts and it’s mostly out of ignorance. It’s nice to see them inform people about it.

No Penalty Certificate of Deposit

They’ve been heavily promoting the fact that they have no tricks, with no fees, no minimums, and all sorts of other anti-gimmick messages. It’s a great angle, especially during a time when banks are trying to earn as much revenue as possible, but a lot of other banks have very low minimums and don’t have any maintenance fees. In that respect, they’re not that much different. However, they do have one unique product – a no-penalty CD.

The no penalty CD lets you withdraw your money without paying a penalty, which is usually several months worth of interest. On CDs shorter than 12 months, the standard penalty is three months worth of interest. On CDs greater than 12 months, the standard penalty is six months worth of interest. For the no penalty CD, the penalty is in fact $0. The difference is in the interest rate.

In May 2009, they offered a 9-month No Penalty CD at 2.50% APY and a 9-month regular CD at 2.60% APY rate, a difference of 0.10% APY (the rates have since changed). That translates into $0.75 on ever $1,000 deposited over the 9 month period. Seventy five cents doesn’t look like a lot, but to be fair you need to compare it with the interest you would’ve earned at 2.60%. When you calculate the difference as a percentage of the total interest earned, it’s not a significant price to pay at 3.86%. You lose a little under percent to gain the flexibility to cancel, it doesn’t seem too bad and would be a fair price if you think interest rates are rising.

The only downside with the no penalty CD is that the only term they offer is 9 months.


It’s FDIC insured, they have great rates compared to their peers, and they seem to be in sound financial shape. I don’t have an account with them but I’ve heard good things about people who opened GMAC Bank accounts because of their great rates. I don’t see anything that would stop me from banking with them.

Do you have a GMAC Bank/Ally Bank account? What do you think of them?

{ 345 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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345 Responses to “Ally Bank Review”

  1. DCB says:

    Well, I have had a savings account for over a year with no issue except how the interest rate keeps going down, it was the highest when I first opened it up.
    And I was real skeptical with all the bank crashes going on around. So far so good.

  2. mike says:

    i now have 3 accounts with ally. they fund fast from your check book and arch the money back to you fast. great accounts

  3. Wayne says:

    I have an account with Ally and have had good experience with them except for one big issue. They have a 3rd party bill pay system that is of very poor quality. Their bill pay system is very slow and clunky to run. I don’t have slow issues when running any other system. Second, it is not user friendly and was clearly built by an computer person with no knowledge of how a consumer would pay their bills. While they have paid bills late, they have reimbursed me for late charges. Ally backbilled the 3rd party bill pay vendor.

  4. Trent Davis says:

    I took a loan from Ally on my Dodge to get a lower price and pay it off early. It has been a nightmare to try and pay the bill. All the phone calls for the car loan are outsourced and when I have tried to pay it off I get sent to several departments and have to tell my story over to each person. It has been so frustrating. No one is consistent with the regulations within the departments. I have asked to speak to a branch in America or a corporate number, but they are not allowed to give it to me. They have been promising a refund for a payment for the last three months and I have to call weekly and have them constantly tell me it will be sent out in 3-5 business days. I wish I could have someone in corporate listen to the hours of conversation that has occurred. Their add says, “I love my bank”, well, “I HATE THIS BANK!”

    • D says:

      I am an ex employee of Ally and there are things I don’t like about them but many of the comments here really have nothing to do with them or serious lack common sense.
      One thing that many people don’t seem to understand is that Ally Auto Loan is an entirely different company than Ally Bank. They are just owned by the same people. A problem with the auto loan division is not a problem with the bank.

  5. Shirley says:

    My husband’s pickup was financed through GMAC (Ally) so I created an online account with them to be able to see the payoff at any given time. Since I only intended to make three payments before paying it off with the fourth, I used checks. My last payment was $11k+ and the next bill came in for $4.12, the days it took the check to get there, I guess.
    When the pink slip didn’t arrive after three weeks, I tried to log on to see the estimated time of arrival, and couldn’t because it said there was no account for that name. When I called them they said my account was closed because I had paid it off and that I could start over and create another one if I wished.

    They offered no information as to what was available, no offer of any help or instructions, nothing. Just “Your title of ownership will be mailed in due time.” That’s not the kind of company that I am interested in doing business with.

    • D says:

      As I replied to the post above, Ally Auto is not the same company as Ally Bank, so what you are saying has nothing to do with Ally Bank.

  6. Vero Man says:

    I recently received an advertisement for Ally Bank in the mail. Rather than add it to the recycle bin, I decided to check it out. Glad I searched and found out the comments on this blog. Nowhere in the mailer does it say anything about its former life as GMAC, nor does it give any idea that it would be impossible to deposit cash directly into an account. While the mail says that MONEY magzine rates it high, it appears there are enough problems with customer support to cause me to toss this into the recycle bin after all…

    • D says:

      No offense, but you seriously thought you could somehow deposit cash with an online only bank? How would that even be possible? You planned to mail cash? Have some common sense. I am an ex employee of Ally bank and although they do have some problems this is not a legitimate complaint.

  7. Colt says:

    I bought a car at my local Chevy dealership.

    I was financed with GMAC which was, to my understanding, bought out by ALLY.

    To help get my car paid off early, I would send in extra payments ($1,000 check here and there). I would call ahead and let ALLY know that I wanted my $1,000 check put towards the principle ONLY. They would say everytime, “We sure will apply it to the principle only, thanks for the call ahead.” IT NEVER WAS APPLIED TO THE PRINCPLE ONLY. I would call after I checked my online statement and they would say, “I’m sorry, you should have called us ahead of time” AAAHHHH It made me want to pull my hair out. My car has since been paid off, and I have called requesting to know where my Title is, and they DO NOT KNOW!. I will never deal with them again.

    • Tony Bray says:

      Seeing these problems already. Not impressed. pay 200 over payment every month and they apply it to the next payment! I have called and im waiting for the extra money to be applied to principle….What im reading so far it doesn’t look good.

    • D says:

      Ally Auto Loans is not the same company as Ally Bank. They are completely separate companies.
      Also GMAC financial was not purchased by Ally, GMAC just changed their name.

  8. Earl says:

    I have to say –I would never do any business with Ally Bank. They are dishonest and not forthcoming with information and treat the customer like a government run organization more in line with the IRS rule. The customer service and service personal act like they are above all of us and refuse to work or provide the correct documents. When you have a complaint they transfer you to another staff member and play the big business game of not fixing or correcting the problems just bully you around. They have taken our hard earned tax money and have not learned we are the once that kept them in a job.. They just look down at us as the lower class.. Being the working class..

    I have never been so frustrated with an organization—Banks are just hard to do business with let a bank get a chip with all the bailout money and you have created a monster..

    I would ask that if you don’t want to be like me then don’t do business with the dictatorship in my opinion…

    Bring them to reality –support your local business and make them go out of business because they don’t deserve our hard earned money

    • D says:

      I am an ex Ally bank employee. Although I think all banks are generally bad, I’m not sure what you are saying is accurate. For one, the bank is owned by the Federal Government so it is no surprise they might treat you like a government organization would. Secondly, they are easily more open and forthcoming about their practices than any other bank in the US. I know because I had to give every single detail of everything to the customer when working customer service there. Also, like any other company or bank, you explicitly agreed to their terms and depositors agreement and every possible piece of information is in there. Don’t sign up to something and then complain about what you agreed to.
      Last, the owners are a different story, but the actual customer service employees there make minimum wage and so they are definitely not “looking down on you” in the slightest. I spent half my time working there wondering how customers I spoke with were so dumb but had so much money. The fact of the matter is most people don’t have the slightest clue how the banking industry or system works. So many people still think you can just send someone an electronic transfer instantly and get pissed when you explain to them that it takes 2-3 business days to do and always has (actually it used to take longer). Half the customers I spoke to had far more money than me and were absolute morons. that is the problem with the US, everyone with money is an idiot.

      • N says:

        Hey D – everyone knows you’re an ex employee we’ve read it 10 times. 2 questions:

        1. in the first paragraph your told Earl that you’re not sure what he said was accurate. then you said “its no surprise they act like the government.” so Earl was accurate, they do act like the IRS?

        2. you said you the customer service, which you did, doesn’t “look down on you.” Then you spent the rest of your post telling us how dumb the customers were.

        not looking good for your credibility D.

      • P says:

        I found this site because I was considering opening an Ally account. Based on your comments (i.e., ” . . . customers I spoke with were so dumb . . .” I am now sure I don’t want any part of this bank. Also, I don’t think you are an “ex” employee – you sound more like a salesperson.

  9. Cora says:

    After reading the comments on this and other blogs about Ally Bank, I was left wondering why FDIC hadn’t shut down this bank. Then it occurred to me that you people are only complaining on this website and not directly to FDIC!!! Go to the FDIC website and file a complaint. First of all, your problem will be resolved ASAP and then some because no bank wants federal regulators on their tail, secondly, if Ally gets enough complaints the Feds can force them to change their ways and technically even shut down the bank. Frankly, I doubt they would put a bank out of business for what Ally will claim was only ‘poor customer service’ and not them profiting by holding onto people’s money and then not paying interest on it while it’s “in limbo”. They should put Ally and many many other banks out of business for scamming customers, but the Feds are the whores of big business so they never really make bad actors pay for their transgressions.

    • D says:

      The US federal government owns Ally Bank, so good luck with that. Also, I know how the banking system works and believe it or not, there really are periods of time when funds are not in anybody’s possession but are rather “in transit”. The US federal government regulates all movement of funds in the country and despite the fact that things are mostly done electronically these days, funds don’t just zip from one place to another. Electronic transfers go through at least 3 regulating bodies every time. during the 2-3 business days it takes to do an electronic transfer, nobody is making interest on those funds. Banks never just hold on to your money and make interest on it while you are not making interest on it. This is illegal.

  10. Jim says:

    Whatever, but you might as well start out/change to a big bank (Wells Fargo, Bank of Am, Chase) since in 10 years, they’ll own everyone else anyway and you’ll be good to go!

  11. randy millsap says:


    • D says:

      As I have said to several other people on here, Ally Auto is not the same company as Ally Bank, so your complaint is not against Ally bank.

  12. randy millsap says:


  13. T says:

    ALLY Bank sucks (GMAC Mortgage) they refuse to assist their customers & careless about the economy. Changing your name does not change who you are. As soon as I can get my loan to someone else, I will be happy…ALLY is loser!

  14. Lee says:

    I keep a savings account for it’s high interest rates and I generally stick half of my paycheck there. Their web interface is really simple and minimal and gives me exactly what I want to know. I’ve had this account for about 2-3 years and I’ve never had any issues.

    A short while ago I decided to get the checking account so I could get money from ATMs for FREE. I laugh at my friends when they have to pay ATM fees. Actually they ask me to get money from ATMs now so they don’t have to pay the fee (the jerks, go get your own account!)

    Apparently they’ll soon have some sort of scan your check feature which i’m really looking forward to (although I think banks like chase already have it)

    Anytime I had a question I could log in and chat with a banker about my account (but I rarely have questions).

    I really enjoy banking with them. My only gripe is they don’t offer a credit card. If they did I would ditch my wellsfargo bank account so I could have it all in one.

  15. Brit Renee says:

    Ally Bank Customer Service is THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE I have dealt with in my entire life.
    I first tried to open an account online after being enticed by their advertised low fees.
    They did not allow me to open the account online, no reason was given. I then received numerous unsolicited phonecalls from their customer service leaving voicemail after voicemail. I finally called them and talked to three people. All of them were completely clueless. Nobody was able to give me
    any answers to any of my questions nor to the question as to why I was unable to open up the accountonline. I spoke to one person, you would have thought the guy did not even work for this bank.
    I then was transfered at some point to a woman, that was absoultely crazy. She started lecturing me.
    And even though I am a legal taxpaying permanent resident in the US for almost 21 years now, had
    several checking and savings accounts with different banks, own several credit cards from different banks and have never had any problems, except my current banks have started charing fees for everything and anything, she told me I was not eligible to open up an account and then started talking to me about immigration laws and a whole bunch of bull, stuff she knows nothing about. I was so stunned, I had NO idea how I ended up having a conversation like this after simply logging into a website to open
    up a simple bank account. But things did not end here! I kept on receiving calls from the bank and more voicemails, and then they emailed me saying they were unable to reach me, after I spoke to THREE clueless people on the other line!!!! So I sent back an email that pretty much I hoped would have cleared things up a bit and started a little investigation into who gave me this speech on the phone and was completely out of line. But no, after I did not receive another call and no more emails, I received
    a personal letter in the mail to my legal mailing address, telling me again, that they tried to reach me by phone numerous times, were unable to reach me and asked me to call them back!!!! And informed me, that they at this time decided to close my application.
    This bank is a joke!

    • D says:

      Permanent residents can open accounts with Ally bank by providing copies of legal ID (like drivers license), green card, and proof of residence. You have to understand that this is an online bank and they never actually meet their customers. Do you think they are just going to open accounts willy nilly and let a massive fraud and identity theft bomb explode? This is a bank, not toys r us.

      • cindy says:

        omg D we know we know but if they are separate how is it their websites lead to the same stupid page and im starting to wonder if your actually still a employee either way the company is crooked

  16. Valentina says:

    Thanks everyone who commented here. I was considering opening an account with Ally. I wanted to check on customer satisfaction, dsnt look good for them. I will take my money somewhere else. Sorry you all had such a horrible experience….

  17. Dana says:


    • D says:

      It is your fault if you didn’t read the disclosures and depositors agreement when you signed up. It is all made explicit plain and simple. You’re just an idiot.

  18. Jim Horn says:

    I have tracked my money carefully in ach transfers and there is a pettern of slow movement with AllyBank. I think this is a ploy to develop large amounts of cash in transit which the bank has on their books but pays no interest for. Other banks such as Bank of America do the same thing. Just know that the 2 day ach is going to take at least 3 days if not 4. On the upside getting all those atm fees returned makes their atm card popular in my pocket and well worth having the account.

    • D says:

      This is not how it works. Funds transferred go through several regulating bodies and believe it or not there are periods of time when nobody is making interest on the money. Also, it is 2 business days, not 2 days, and you have to initiate the transfer before 7:30pm EST or else it doesn’t get sent out until the next day. This is all public knowledge. You are making interest in the funds until the day they go out at which point the bank stops making interest as well.

  19. david says:

    I cannot beleive the run around my wife got when she tried to get a refund on a automatic draft. She was told that because her statement was returned from the postal service, that she could make a payment over the phone for a fee or go online and do an automatic one time draft for free. She make the automatic draft on the 9th but on the 15th the payment was deducted again. They said they would overnight the check in 3 days, it is now day 9 and still no check. We called and got as expected, a call center in the Phillipines where there english is so bad you get frustrated and just say wow!
    seriously!! Give me a break Ally! And while your’re at it send us our check!

    • D says:

      This is Ally Auto, not Ally bank, different company.

      • Pablo says:

        You are nasty and rude. It’s mo wonder customer service is so screwed up at some organizations. It’s people like you that make it hard for consumers to get anything done.

  20. DownbutnotOut says:

    The products and ammenities offered by Ally bank caught my immediate attention. After reading a favorable rating for them in Money magazine, I decided to give them a try. I was unable to complete the app on line and was told by the customer service rep that although she did not know the reason, I would receive a reply in the mail. It stated, that my credit rating did not meet their criteria for services. Therefore, I was denied a checking and savings account with Ally bank. No fine print is absolutely correct. Ally should atleast have the courtesy to state that there are credit conditions to have accounts with them. I was asking to borrow money from them. I was stating my intentions to allow them to hold my money in accounts that would help to re-establish myself financially after a bad divorce and bankruptcy. So sad to say, I will be staying with Bank of America for the time being. GMA-C or not, truth in lending should also include truth in practice and criterion.

    • DownbutnotOut says:

      Correction: I wasn’t trying to borrow money from them. Just wanted to switch banks.

    • D says:

      I’m not sure I understand your complaint. You do realize that ALL banks do credit checks for any account, especially checking accounts, right? It is common sense, nobody should have told you that because everyone knows that and if you asked they would have told you that of course they do credit checks.

      • Pablo says:

        You are nasty and rude. It’s no wonder customer service is so screwed up at some organizations. It’s people like you that make it hard for consumers to get anything done.

  21. Patricia says:

    This company cannot hold a candle to the way GMAC was run. There was pride in being the financial institution for General Motors products, its dealer base and its customers. Now it is just another cold hearted bank with no respect for anyone, just the all mighty dollar. It treats its long time employees like they have the plague and want rid of all and hire only temp employees that have no experience of the business but the benefit to the company is that they will work for 11.00 an hour and no benefits. I had needed an extension on my account where I pay only the interest for a month, which was exteded to me. However I received 6 phone calls during the month where they kept leaving me messages that my payment was past due and received 3 different pieces of correspondence stateing that I owed three different amounts. I made several phone calls to their customer service, two of the people I could not understand and it was difficult for me to explain the situation to them. I have had to contact the credit bureau to have the 1/30 days late taken off of my credit report due to their mistake.

    • D says:

      You are definitely right about the employees there because I used to be one of them. They do not respect talent or good workers and they cycle through employees like it is going out of style. I was one of the best employees there and brought them in millions, and I was fired for surfing the internet when I had no customers to serve (sometimes there are periods of time when nobody is calling or chatting, especially at night as they are open 24/7). Using the internet there is a security concern apparently, even though their IT department is a joke and you could easily and I mean very easily steal personal and financial information there. They will hire almost anyone because they contract generic customer service outfits to do their customer service. There were 18 year old kids working there that had no education. Anyone could easily get a job there and steal tons of personal and account information and easily commit fraud and other financial crimes. Meanwhile they are worried that a long time trusted employee is checking his emails at work. Ridiculous. You are correct about pay as well, I made only $11.50 an hour there (and that was after a recent $1 raise), next to minimum wage. Their policy is that they would rather just keep hiring new people and couldn’t care less about the genuine concerns and advice from long time employees. Everyone who has any sense or education leaves after they can’t take it anymore. They have absolutely no respect for employees. Mcdonalds seriously treats their employees better, I’m dead serious.
      And this is why some people get bad service, because the company throws good employees like me out on their ass for something stupid and then keeps people who give horrible service but are wiling to tow the company line. Almost every customer I talked to said I gave the best service they ever had, and almost every serious prospect ended up opening an account, sometimes with a lot of money. The bank itself is pretty decent (as in what they offer), but the way they run the company is terrible. I was working at the bottom for a long time and I was one of the most educated people there. Like most companies, they promoted people or hired people for high positions because of who they knew and who the liked, not base don who deserved it or who had more education and intelligence. I had people younger than me with absolutely no experience or bank knowledge correcting me on stupid crap that didn’t matter at all to the operation of the bank and providing good customer service. They are absolute morons there, and that is reason enough not to bank with them.

      • Pablo says:


        You are nasty and rude. It’s no wonder customer service is so screwed up at some organizations. It’s people like you that make it hard for consumers to get anything done. You should just stop trying to give bad advice

  22. Tony says:

    I have been reading the comments above, because I was interested in opening and account. I see that someone called “D”, who clams to be an ex-employee, replies to any negative comment. I wonder why an ex-employee would take so much time to defend an ex-employer, it is unusual.

    • sort of customer says:

      A wonderful question. I have noticed that “D” has popped up on several of these comment based websites, always with the same position of ‘true,this bank sucks, but you’re an idiot and your complaint is invalid’. it has at least left me curious about what “D” does for his banking solutions.

    • Matt says:

      And he was fired

  23. D says:

    I’m unemployed I just been trolling u kids.

  24. NTC says:

    Is no one on here listening to D? Poor D. Maybe you should have not been fired. Is it because you were on FB? I bet you were. Everyone is always on FB when there is nothing to do at work. Hahahaha 😛

    Seriously though, the people that work for the company that outsources… they aren’t to blame. They take the job that comes just like the German businesses or Japanese businesses that open here. Just imagine how they feel about our “accents”. If you can’t understand them, you don’t have to be rude, all you have to so is say, ” I’m sorry I couldn’t quite understand you” or “pardon me?”. It isn’t difficult and, even if they take offense, you can ask for someone else. But please be sure to let them know it isn’t their fault and that you aren’t mad and that you aren’t used to it so its difficult for you. Because believe me… I’m sure its difficult for them to try and get a simple tech report through to you.

    After reading this, as I have read about so many banks in the past 3 days and made my way here through good words about Ally, I humbly refuse to use online banking at this time. Although the bank and its processes seem decent, I still like the feeling of somewhere to deposit cash and shake a hand. I started looking at e*trade for banking and thought to check Ally out and Google’d something that brought me here.

    I think D is right about idiots having all the money. Yay for having zero dollars -_- Ugh!

  25. Baykon says:

    I considered opening an account with Ally, but after these complaints? I’m not so sure.

    Also, D? If you’re trolling, you’re doing it wrong.

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