7 Online Banking Questions from Fox Business

Here at the Straight Talk blog, whenever someone talks about direct banks, our ears perk up. That’s why a recent article on Fox Business caught our attention. In it they give seven questions people should ask themselves before deciding to do business with a direct bank. We took a look at how Ally stacked up when it came to the questions and concerns they raised. The results? Take a look below. We were pretty proud of what we found.

1. Are you sure you don’t mind having no access to tellers?

This question referenced the fact that some banks offer online banking but then charge their customers for talking to a teller. While we may not have brick-and-mortar locations, at Ally you can talk to a real live person about your account, 24/7. Give us a call or chat with us on our website about anything from raising your rate on one of our Raise Your Rate CDs to asking a question about a specific checking account transaction.

2. Is it really a bank?

Some online financial services companies aren’t really banks. Tom Alexander, chair of the finance department and associate professor at Northwood University in Michigan, points out that among other legal requirements, “For an entity to be a bank, it has to be chartered by the Federal Reserve and insured by the FDIC.” In case you were wondering, Ally Bank is in fact a bank. As we’ve discussed before, Ally accounts are all FDIC insured up to the maximum amount allowed by law.

3. Who’s behind it?

The article suggests looking at the roots of a direct bank to make sure it’s legitimate. But when it comes to Ally, you don’t have to look too far. In the article, Tom Alexander mentions Ally Bank as an institution he’s familiar with and trusts.

4. Can you talk to a human being if you need to?

We touched on this in the first question, but at Ally, you can talk to a real live person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s just one more way we do right by our customers.

5. How do you deposit money?

The story talks about the fact that some direct banks only let you make deposits though the mail. At Ally, you can mail us your checks if you want, but we’re also in the process of rolling out our new eCheck Deposit service, a safe and secure way to deposit money in your account. Just endorse your check, scan and email it to us and you’re done!

6. How do you get cash?

Most online banks don’t own ATMs for their customers to use free of charge. Even if those banks offer free transactions at other ATMs, chances are their customers are getting charged by the bank that owns the machine they’re using. At Ally, we won’t charge you any ATM fees plus we’ll reimburse all ATM fees our customers incur from other banks in the United States. That makes accessing your money with Ally hassle-free.

7. Do you still need a traditional bank?

Only you can answer this question. But with products like our Interest Checking Account and Online Savings Account, there’s a good chance you won’t need another bank. If you do decide you want to do business with two financial institutions, it’s easy to transfer between your Ally account and an account at another bank.

Do you think direct banking makes dealing with your finances easier? What other questions should people think about before they choose a financial institution?

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  1. 1
    Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural

    I love direct banking and I love Ally! Why waste gas driving to a B&M bank? Most of us are on the computer all the time nowadays.

    • 2

      Thanks for your comment, Victoria. We agree! No need to waste gas on trips to the bank. With the beautiful summer weather, gas money’s better spent going to the beach, perhaps? Thanks again!

  2. 4

    I’m running into a problem of finding a safe deposit box. Mostly they are at banks. And the banks want more and more idle cash to make an account “free” or want you to jump through significant hoops. I get that they want active customers, but I’m stuck on the safe deposit box issue.

  3. 5

    Mr. Whitworth:

    Right now, to deposit cash with Ally, you either need to deposit it into another account and electronically transfer it between accounts or buy a money order (the Post Office is fairly cheap, roughly $1.50) and send that in.

  4. 6

    If I make a large deposit, and need part of that immediately for a vehicle, how would I get that money out with the daily limits imposed? And are we allowed to walk into any bank and request cash withdraws using our debit card?

  5. 9

    No where on this site does it say what ATM network Ally uses. No way to find ATM locations. I need to know if there are fee free locations near a specific place and nothing on this site helps! Guess I will look at other banks that actually provide such an important info.

  6. 10

    Saphira – all ATMs are free. If they charge you – Ally reimburses you. Its so nice! All my friends have to look for their bank’s closest ATM, and I just use the closest one – regardless of the fee.

    Also, money orders at Smith’s Food and Drug are only $0.50. They are a division of Kroger – so I bet most Krogers have the same deal.

  7. 15

    I wonder what is the big deal with e-depositing money orders. I just started with Ally and I need to get the ball rolling but if I am going to have problems with deposits being convenient in cash, I don’t think this new banking will be simple. e depositing a money order should be the same as doing a check. I think it is actually more secure than a check especially once it’s endorsed. Why can’t we e-deposit money order or cashier checks?

    • 16

      Sorry for your inconvenience but we are unable to accept money orders via Ally eCheck Deposit . We are happy to accept a money order through a mail deposit.

  8. 17

    I love many things about Ally, but there are definitely drawbacks to having an online bank. For instance, my husband and I had to transfer funds to another B&M bank to get a cashier’s check for our home purchase. In addition, Ally requires you to send hard copy letters for many account changes like name changes, adding owners to a joint account, etc. Most banks allow for these transactions via fax or phone, and have an easy form to fill out to complete them. Not Ally, you have to take the time to write a letter and mail it.

  9. 19

    I can’t seem to find anywhere about how Ally handles cashier’s checks or money orders. I have to pay rent each month using this method, but with my current bank I just go to the branch and get one since that’s the quickest and easiest for me. Where can I find out this information?

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