Question mark icon with text, Science behind savings boosters

If you could make saving money easier with the click of a button, would you? Of course, the idea sounds great … still, it’s natural to think it’s too good to be true.

But with the incredible technology available to you today through online banking, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re wondering “what are the benefits of online savings accounts?” the answer lies behind the screen.

At Ally, we’re dedicated to helping you make the most of your savings account through our booster tools, which combine smart technology with a dose of behavioral science. Of course, we want you to feel confident and in control when it comes to your money in the bank and all the tech you can use to help it grow. So, we’re taking you behind the scenes of the innovative tools for your Online Savings Account that can help you become an even savvier saver.

Read on to take a look at the tech behind our smart savings tools.


The bucketing tool, which is a feature of our Online Savings Account, is simple when you look at it from a technical lens. Basically, you can think of it as digital envelopes where you can separate your money. But the real power of bucketing comes from the behavioral science associated with the positive force of visualization.

Buckets allow you to organize different savings goals all within one account. You can create up to 10 customizable buckets for goals like “vehicles,” “emergencies,” “new laptop,” or “living room furniture.” When you see your goals specifically named in your savings account, it’s easier to really picture yourself achieving them.

You’ll likely feel more empowered to dedicate your hard-earned cash to a new car fund (or whatever goal you’re saving for), rather than putting money aside toward an unidentified lump sum. By divvying up your savings, you can see exactly where each dollar is going — and as your money grows, so will your motivation to keep saving.

Use buckets by making a deposit into your Online Savings Account and distributing as much or as little to your customized buckets as you choose. For instance, if you deposit $1000, it will first go into your core savings. You can divvy that up into your Vehicle savings bucket ($200), Savings for vet bills ($50), and Saving for a girls' trip ($150). The remaining $600 stays in core savings.

Sometimes even the most basic technology, like a savings organization tool, can be incredibly powerful in influencing positive behaviors. That’s what you’ll find with these buckets.

The technology isn’t tricky to navigate — and you don’t have to do any fancy math to save toward different goals. Bucketing eliminates the need to open multiple savings accounts (one for each savings target) and allows you to track all of your goals in one place. Plus, your savings will continue to earn interest all in one account.

Just keep in mind when you deposit money into your Online Savings Account, your funds will automatically be added to the catch-all “Core Savings” bucket, unless you set up your transfer to divvy into specific buckets. And you can always organize your savings into buckets manually when you’re ready.

Recurring Transfers

One of the best strategies to save money? Pay yourself first. That means, as soon as you get your paycheck, you put some of it in savings — essentially paying future you. But while this may seem simple enough, it can be all too easy to forget to transfer your money in the bank from your checking to savings.

That’s where recurring transfers come in.

With this savings tool, you can set up automatic transfers to your Online Savings Account, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to make them yourself. You can choose the amount to transfer and the frequency of your transfers. (Both of these actions are easily adjustable whenever you need to make a change.)

Savings strategy: If you utilize buckets, you can divvy up a transfer and have specific amounts deposited in each bucket. By setting and forgetting it, you can streamline your savings and have peace of mind knowing everything is on the up and up.

Surprise Savings

The Surprise Savings booster is where our online banking technology really comes into play. By linking any checking account — where you keep your income and do the most spending — to your Online Savings Account, we can analyze your spending patterns and find extra cash that could earn more in savings.

To do this analyzing, we use financial aggregation technology, which allows you to consolidate financial data from several bank accounts in one place. From your dashboard, you can add your bank accounts with our aggregator platform (which typically requires sharing where your account is held, the username or account number, and password). That way, we can securely access the details and data from your other accounts as well as your Ally account — all with your permission, of course.

By being able to see your spending and savings habits, our technology lets us identify extra cash that could be working harder for you in your Online Savings Account and automatically transfer it there. Whether it’s $5 or $85 a week, you’ll continue to add to your savings and take advantage of a more competitive interest rate than money in a checking account.

We’ve also built in a buffer to the Surprise Savings booster to help keep you from overdrafting or reducing your account balance too much. So, when you enable this tool, know we’ll never make more than three transfers in one week or transfer more than $100 at once.

Banking with an online bank can have several benefits — from more competitive interest rates compared to traditional brick and mortar banks, to fewer fees. But best of all? Online banks are digital first, meaning you can take advantage of a number of technological perks.

Almost all of us can agree that technology is pretty amazing, but when it affects your money, it’s understandable to have a few questions about how exactly it works on the backend. Here at Ally, we want you to maximize your savings. By giving you the tools to do so and the information you need to feel confident, we hope you’re ready to say hello to increased savings — and the financial freedom that comes with it.

Looking for a way to save smarter and faster than ever?

View the smart savings tools in our Online Savings Account.