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?