Ally Invest Forex Review

Ally Invest brings all the resources of this popular online bank to forex traders on a budget by providing low minimums and tight spreads. A functional trade execution interface and robust reporting tools save you time and hassle by simplifying repetitive tasks.

The Claim

Ally Invest forex promises access to valuable research and analysis, highly competitive trade prices, and a robust collection of educational material. Its trading platform features 24/5 market access, a practice account, and a full suite of trading tools.

Is it true?

Mostly. The company does feature a full suite of smart trading tools and competitive pricing that make it especially appealing to traders on a budget. The trading platform is beautifully designed, with an easy-to-understand layout that makes it simple to plan strategy and make trades. If you’re looking for financial solidity, you can’t do better than Ally: In the company’s latest annual earnings report, its CEO announced that “Ally posted some of its strongest results since becoming a public company”.

Where we felt the company fell short was in its educational materials. Considering that its low minimums make it a good choice for beginners, we expected to see a robust series of videos and other tutorial elements. But the only educational element that seems designed to aid newcomers is the glossary, which is admittedly comprehensive and useful. Other than that, though, you’ll have to look elsewhere for information that breaks down the hows and whys of forex trading.

Product Overview

Best for

Traders on a budget.

Not for

Investors who want the convenience of a physical location where they can have in-person conversations with a broker, or those looking for extensive educational support.

Features

Price Based on spread
Standout features 50 currency pairs, flexible, intuitive platform, access to MetaTrader, Expert Advisors automated strategies
Forex trade cost type Pips
Minimum deposit $250*
Clearing method Market Maker
Maximum leverage (international) 50:01:00
Maximum leverage (U.S.) 50:01:00

*Ally recommends a minimum of $2,500

Low minimum trade

While some brokers like ATC Brokers have initial investment requirements as high as $5,000, you can start trading forex on Ally Invest’s platform with as little as $250. The low minimum and ability to trade micro lots play well with the novice investor. Add in pricing spreads as low as 1 pip and it’s easy to see why Ally Invest Forex is great for the budget-minded investor with a smaller bankroll.

Expert Advisors automated strategies

Advanced traders can take advantage of the Expert Advisors (EA) strategy within the MT4 platform. Traders program EAs to analyze the market for opportunities to automate trading decisions and set risk management criteria. EAs are efficient ways to take advantage of market opportunities without the investment of time in front of a computer.

Intuitive interface and customizable layout

Click on the trading panel to find every spread updated in real time, with buy or sell buttons for quick execution. More advanced traders can take advantage of the customizable layout by creating multiple chart windows or a watchlist of the top currencies to track.

Solid reporting and data export functions

Reporting features are often overlooked, but Ally Invest delivers useful reports which can all be exported to a .CSV file. The account value summary breaks down your running balance by displaying all transaction types so you can track trade P/L, interest, and deposits separately. Come tax time, export your realized P/L report for a simple transfer to your accountant.

One-click trading

Markets move fast, and Ally Invest lets you capitalize on quick market movements by entering trades with one click from the trading panel. Instead of opening an order ticket, choosing which order type, and setting a price limit, simply click buy or sell and your order executes swiftly at the market price. This is also a useful feature when learning to trade because it simplifies the order entry process.

Possible Drawbacks

Poor educational resources

For a platform that caters to beginners, Ally Invest Forex needs to improve in the education department. While the site does a decent job of walking a trader through the basics, it lacks videos and webinars that most other brokers offer. Brokers like FXDD knock education out of the park by offering courses, videos, and platform tutorials.

Limited access to other investments

From the Ally Invest Forex account, traders can trade both gold and silver CFDs (contracts for difference). With only two trading options, Ally Invest falls behind market leaders such as thinkorswim, which offers stocks, options, futures, as well as other investment products. Other investment products are accessed through separate Ally Invest accounts.

Must be logged in for automated strategies

Advanced traders may get excited about the automated trading capabilities from Ally Invest’s MetaTrader platform. However, you need to be logged into your account for the strategies to run. An automated strategy should work without you there. Because forex markets trade around the clock, this requirement makes it difficult to execute Ally Invest’s automated strategies and defeats the purpose.

The Competition

Ally Invest
Thinkorswim
ATC Brokers
Oanda
Forex trade
$13
$1.00 + $0.10 per 1,000 lot
$0.80
$12
Forex trade cost type
Pips
Flats and pips
Commission
Pips
Minimum deposit
$250
$3,500
$5,000
$0
Maximum leverage (international)
50:01:00
50:01:00
200:01:00
50:01:00
Maximum leverage (U.S.)
50:01:00
50:01:00
50:01:00
50:01:00

Ally Invest vs. thinkorswim

Thinkorswim, TD Ameritrade’s forex platform, offers savvy investors the opportunity to trade multiple products from a single account — a real bonus for experienced traders who work with stocks, options, and futures as well as forex. It has more currency pairs than Ally (70 vs. 50), and a full deck of trading tools. But for beginners, Ally Invest may be a better choice. You can start trading for as little as $250 with Ally, compared with $3,500 for thinkorswim. Ally’s platform is great for beginners, too: It’s intuitive and smart, with a streamlined trading interface that makes it fairly simple get up to speed and start trading.

Ally Invest vs. ATC Brokers

Like thinkorswim, ATC Brokers offers some great benefits, but is probably better for experienced traders than beginners. The minimum deposit is $5,000, and there’s not much on the website in the way of educational resources. But it does outshine Ally Invest in the high-end trading tools and perks that allow you to customize and quickly execute orders, and post your order directly to counterparties through a Straight Through Processing (STP) order system.

Ally Invest vs. OANDA

OANDA is more of a direct competitor for Ally Invest by serving the needs of beginners as well as experienced traders. With OANDA, you’ll have access to historical exchange rate information and can subscribe to a feed to take an even deeper dive into the data. As a result, you can try out your strategies with its currency databases before putting your cash on the line. Unlike Ally, which offers everything from home mortgages to checking accounts, OANDA does nothing but forex. This focus may work for you if you’re totally committed to forex trading, but won’t suit your purposes if you want to trade in stocks, futures, or other investment vehicles.

Ally Invest FAQ

How can I fund a forex account at Ally Invest?

There are four ways to fund your account.

  1. Debit card: This is the easiest, fastest way to fund an account, posting to your account immediately.
  2. Wire transfer: Use U.S. dollars, Euros, Canadian dollars, Japanese yen, Swiss francs, Australian dollars, or British pounds (sterling). Funds should be available in 1-2 business days.
  3. ACH: You can fund your account via an ACH with your checking account. Your money will be available in 2-5 business days.
  4. Check: From a U.S.-based personal or business account; funds will be available in 5-10 business days.
  5. Ally does not accept bank or cashier checks or cash deposits, including money orders, traveler’s checks, or other cash equivalents.

How customizable is the Ally Invest interface?

Ally offers a robust advanced desktop with an intuitive user interface. You can customize your trading layout to suit your style. You’ll find some pre-set layouts you can try out, or develop your own through trial-and-error and save it for future use. Portable windows ensure that you’re never far from your next trade, even while working in other programs. Ally also offers apps for iPhone and Android so you can trade on the go.

Does Ally Invest sync with MetaTrader?

MetaTrader 4 is the most popular forex trading platform in the U.S., and it is completely compatible with Ally Invest. Take advantage of the competitive pricing and services available at Ally while using MetaTrader features like Expert Advisors (EA) automated trading strategies. The Meta Charts function, meanwhile, combines a professional charting application with MT4’s customer indicators, scripts, and automated trading capabilities.

The Bottom Line

Ally Invest is great for traders who are just starting to dip their toes into forex and aren’t ready for a huge financial commitment. Traders will find world-class tools and platforms at competitive pricing, with a customizable user interface to allow you research, strategize, and trade seamlessly and easily. A free $50,000 practice account allows you to work with the numbers without risk, and a full suite of professional charting and order management tools lets you take your trading to the next level.