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Ally’s Curious CD Rates Schedule

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Ally BankI’ve started moving everything I need to in order to make Ally Bank our main checking account, away from Bank of America, and I was looking at their certificate of deposit rates when I noticed something very curious. As of November 1st, 2011, the online savings account had an APY of 0.85%. That APY is higher than the yield on the 3-month, 6-month, and 9-month CDs at Ally. Those rates are 0.39%, 0.75%, and 0.74% APY respectively (yes, the yield on the six month is fractionally higher than the nine month CD).

As an aside, I found it strange that the APY on the 9 month CD was lower than the 6 month CD – typically APYs go up as the lock in period gets longer. On Oct. 31st, the difference was even greater.

What this means for savers is that unless you’re willing to tie up your money for at least a year (well, 11 months, because the 11 month no penalty CD is yielding 0.95% APY), you might as well keep it in a savings account.

Why do they do this? I asked a representative using their chat tool and their response was:
“Hello, Jim! Rates are determined by a myriad of disciplines including, but not limited to: what the marketplace and industry are doing, the climate of the economy, and Ally Bank’s management. Our CDs offer fixed rates rather then the variable rate with the Online Savings account which is subject to change daily.”

So there are a lot of different factors that come into play and the end result is what we see – a most curious CD rate schedule. The rates of the 3-9 month CDs might be lower and the rates of the 11month and 12 month CDs aren’t much higher than a savings account, but those rates are locked in.

If you’re curious, the rates at ING Direct are even worse relative to the savings account. The savings account earns 0.90% APY, which beats all but the 60 month CD rate. That’s right… at ING Direct, to beat the online savings account with a CD, you need to lock it in for five years. And you don’t even get the benefit of Ally’s favorable CD termination penalty!

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “Ally’s Curious CD Rates Schedule”

  1. mp99 says:

    I have to wonder if it has something with getting the loyalty bonus… a while back i got a short term cd i think it was 9month (over the 12 month) just so i could renew it quicker and get the .25% loyalty bump. when they rep asked why 9 instead of 12 and i pointed that out to him, he said that was an interesting idea.

    i don’t know if you still get the .25% bump on 3months…but if you wanted to lock in a 4 year Raise your rate cd it seems smart to get the 3 month first, then get .25 bump then use the 4 year RYR cd. especially if you only have to pay two months penalty if you need to get the money out earlier.

  2. Sun says:

    SmartyPig is 1.1%. Still, they are dismal rates. That won’t even keep up with inflation.

  3. Courtney says:

    Well, if you roll over a CD at Ally you get a .25% renewal bonus on top of the prevailing interest rate. So our 6-month CDs are actually at 1%, marginally better than the savings account rate.

  4. Steve says:

    This probably means that they expect rates to change in the next 11 months. Or something. (I am not sure which way it means they think it will go.)

  5. Ken says:

    In 2009 I wrote about a WSJ article which reported that FDIC was restricting Ally Bank’s deposit rates. Other banks felt it was unfair for Ally to offer such high rates when its parent was receiving capital injections from the government. I wonder if this is still going on.

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