Ally invest is one of the newest players in the options broker realm. Having acquired TradeKing for $275 million in 2016, it’s safe to say Ally quickly transformed from an online bank to a very attractive DIY online brokerage firm essentially overnight.
Unlike many online brokers, Ally offers flexible pricing commission plans for active options traders as well as award-winning technology and zero maintenance or inactivity fees.
Ally is best for all options traders from seasoned pros to occasional covered call writers who want to save big with deep discounts on commissions and unparalleled 24/7 customer service.
Active Trader (30+ trds/qtr) Rate: $3.95 + $0.50/contract
Regular Trader Rate: $4.95 + $0.65/contract
Option Exercise: $9.95
Option Assignment: $4.95
Outgoing Domestic Wire Transfer: $30.00
Ally Invest offers some of the cheapest rates for trading options in the industry. For traders looking to trade 10+ contracts at a time, you simply can’t beat Ally’s pricing.
Plus, option sellers can rejoice with a low fee of $4.95 per option assignment.
As with virtually all brokers, incoming and outgoing ACH transfers with Ally Invest are free. A lot of traders at The Options Bro frequently wire transfer cash out of their account to pay themselves on a weekly basis, and $30 per wire transfer at Ally is noticeably $5.00 higher than the industry average of $25.
Ally’s options trading platform is web-based and surprisingly robust and capable of fairly sophisticated probabilities and analytics for options trading.
In addition to customizing all of the widgets by clicking on the “cog” symbol, you can select from two themes: dark (pictured) and light.
The main dashboard features basic charting functionality as well as an option chain, watchlist, order status widget, and account summary. All of these elements are partially customizeable.
Ally Invest’s option chain is great. We didn’t experience any lags in loading data or quotes. It’s common for web-based option chains to lag significantly, especially when scrolling, but Ally’s is quick. Plus, it’s customizable and easy to use. Clicking on the box on the outer edges of the chain populates that strike in the Option Probability Calculator tool.
Option Probability Tools
With the Option Probability Tool, you can see the potential profit and loss for a potential or current options trade. In addition to the max profit and loss, you can account for hypothetical changes in volatility with the appropriate number of days until expiry.
All of the software and data provided on the platform above is free.
If you do make more 10+ trades per month with Ally, you are eligible to receive a streaming data system (including level II quotes, charts, news, etc) free of charge. Unfortunately, this is the only way to receive level II market data with Ally. They don’t offer streaming services for a fee to traders.
Options Trading Capabilities
Ally Invest offers full options trading capabilities, but naked options come with a hefty requirement. Perhaps one of the only downsides of trading options with Ally Invest is the high account value requirement to sell naked index and equity options, specifically naked equity calls.
A minimum account requirement of $100,000 to sell naked index and equity options is arguably pretty steep. $25,000 to trade naked equity put options is more reasonable, considering the day trading requirement for accounts in the US is $25,000. But still, for options traders that are just starting out, the naked index option requirement with Ally might prove to be a bit of a barrier.
Undoubtedly, trading naked options involves a high amount of risk, but the margin requirements for Ally Invest are substantially higher than their competitors. This is definitely something active options traders should take note of when applying.
It’s reassuring to know an Ally Invest customer service representative always available via phone, chat, or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although there are no physical branches, Ally’s cyber-support is fantastic.
Whether you have a problem with your account or a question about a trade, someone is always standing by at Ally to assist you. We have used the “live chat” feature on numerous occasions, and responses have always been prompt and helpful.
Ally Invest is simply fantastic for options trading. At the end of the day, you simply can’t beat the low cost. Offering advanced options probability and analytics tools makes the deal even better. If you’re one to take an occasional trading hiatus, zero maintenance fees and zero account minimums are essential, and this is truly where Ally shines.
The only area where Ally could improve is with their high naked option margin requirements. Traders who are just starting out and do not want to commit too much capital might find the $100,000 naked call requirement a little steep.
Having said that, with 24/7 customer support, $0.50 option contracts, an advanced trading platform, and no minimum activity or balance requirements…how could you go wrong?
Best Options Brokers
Ally Invest not satisfying your options trading needs? There are other brokers out there! Check out more brokers that are great for options trading.