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Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Less-Than-Ideal Features of Ally Bank's Transfer Service


As I reported in October, Ally Bank made a big change to its online banking system. Part of the change involved the bank-to-bank ACH transfer service. Ally now uses Cashedge to conduct the transfers. Before the change, it was Ally's own customer service. In the October post I reviewed some of the transfer details such as the times it takes for transfers and dollar limits. Based on the comments in that post, I don't know anyone who thought these changes were improvements. As I've been using the service in the last few months, I've noticed a few annoying issues.

First, in the account transaction summaries, you don't get any information about the transfers that have completed. In the summaries, transfers are shown as:


There are no details about where the funds came from or went to. Even if you click on this, the page doesn't show the source or destination of the transfer.

I asked Ally's CSR via the online chat if there's a way for it to be more descriptive. Here's the reply I received:

With our new transfer system there is no way to have those be more descriptive. We now send alert emails that let you know about pending transfers.

That brought up another issue. For every transfer, Ally emails you the transfer summary. Here's an example of what the email contains:

Transfer #: 123456789
Amount: $YYY.YY
From: Bank XYZ, Checking
To: Ally Bank, MMA Savings

One reader had expressed concern about having these details sent in unsecure emails. Even though there is no account number, someone could see what banks you have and how much you're transferring.

I asked the CSR if there's a way that this email feature could be disable or if the transfer details could be reduced. Here's the reply I received:

No, those are generated by our vendor and are not something we can edit. They do not include any information that is used to access your account.

In short, Ally's new transfer service has quite a few limitations. I hope Ally is seeing benefits from this change (perhaps in cost or security). I don't think customers are seeing any advantages. If you've seen any advantages or if you have other issues with Ally's new transfer system, please leave a comment.

Related Pages: Ally Bank, savings account

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  |     |   Comment #1
Wow. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come elsewhere. I don't have an Ally account, but based on other commenters here, this is a big change, and not a good one for customers.
  |     |   Comment #2
Along with the limit on the number of linked accounts, Ally is no longer suitable as a hub.

Since their rates are always just out of the running, it's time to move on.
  |     |   Comment #3
There is a simple way to pull up specific transfer information.  Click transfer funds on the left hand navigation list, click the transfer now button as to your choice on which type of transfer, click on the Activity tab.  This will bring up a page with the following columns:  reference number, send date, from, to, purpose, amount, frequency, status.

How the CSR neglected to guide you to this page is what amazes me the most.

As to limit of linked accounts, when this first got reported on a thread, I called Ally up to confirm.  I was told there is no limit.  My account is presently linked to 17 outside banks.  That's not enough?
  |     |   Comment #4
The new UI is more cumbersome, too. I'm still waiting to see a bank with a great transfer interface.
  |     |   Comment #5
It would be easy for Ally's contractor to modify its emails in order to address any concerns about the details of disclosure in those emails. First, just eliminate the listing of the amount tranfered since that isn't as important as simply establishing there is in fact a transfer that will complete in x days, and second, it's very easy to make a very simple revision to show the transfer as follows: "Transfer From:  Account ending in "050"", "Transfer To:  Account ending in "403." Obviously, the person making the transfer knows the numbers of the accounts involved, one of which, of course, is always their Ally account. To me, trying to escape  from low rates these days, is, in the case of a money market savings account, for example, like trying to avoid avoid leaves in the fall, and Ally seems to be the leader in providing a very full range of services in connection with this type of account.
  |     |   Comment #6
Andy at #3 is correct.  However, a transfer that I made on January 24 and for which the funds have already been deducted from my account is NOT included in the transfer data, even when the "all transfers" option is selected.  The new UI seems pretty sloppy, at best.
  |     |   Comment #7
It is all about the money, Ally made this change to save money and the customers are no longer as valuable as pre QE1,2. Ally has received billions of TARP money and has a nest egg of billions to serve as  rainy days money.  Customers are there just to fulfill the FDIC requirements as viable business model.
They are no longer customer oriented bank and get used to receiving less and less free services or wish list of customer ideas.
  |     |   Comment #8
MDBill at #6, Completed transfers and In process transfers all show up on one page.  Pending transfers have their own page.  I just did a transfer 5 minutes ago, it immediately shows up on the Pending transfers page. 

There is nothing wrong with their UI or their system.  As a web page designer, my opinion is this is a logically designed and well executed process.
  |     |   Comment #9
I was leery of the change as well, but am now used to it.  I know there is never going to be any bank that does everything exactly as I want it to be done, but Ally comes as close as any other one I have found.  There rates as at least competitive and so far their customer service has been top notch.
  |     |   Comment #10
I am now hesitant to do large fund transfer using Ally as a hub (mainly due to the ACH hold), but still use Ally to meet the RCA ACH requirements. 
  |     |   Comment #11
To Andy#3 - the limit is 20 accounts. this has been confirmed to me by multiple Ally CSR's and if you search this blog and other sites, you will find other references to it. IMO the 20 account limit is now fairly well documented.

Is that enough? Maybe if you only have 17 it's enough for you. Personally I had as amany as 25 accounts link at one point, set up before there was a limit. Now I am down to 23 having closed a couple of accounts but I still can't add any new ones unless I get below 20.
  |     |   Comment #12
I have experience with the CashEdge "service", from which I escaped a couple of years ago.

The edge being referred to in their name is that of a razor blade they pass forcefully across your neck each time you use their "service".  Said another way, they bleed you to death.  I don't like companies like CashEdge.  They are unvarnished thieves.

I wised up and now use Alliant as my hub.  I initiate an ACH transfer today and the money is at its destination first thing tomorrow morning.  Why anyone would choose to use CashEdge I have no clue;  ignorance, perhaps.
  |     |   Comment #13
Hi Ken, we really appreciate the feedback. User experience is very important to us and it's always helpful whenever we hear how we can be better. We've passed along this post to our team over here to look over. Also, we would love to send you an email to discuss. Anybody else that would like to leave their feedback about the new process, please leave your comments here so we can also send them to the right people. Thanks again!
  |     |   Comment #14
I noticed this phenomenon a few days ago, when I did an ACH transfer from my external account to Ally using Ally's transfer funds feature.  I had called their customer service because I could not see the funds that I had transferred, and was told that you could not see a pending transfer because the transfer had already occurred.  In other words, although the money was already out of my checking account two days earlier, it didn't show up anywhere in the Ally account, not even as a pending transaction.   I remember being surprised because in the past I could tell there was a pending transfer.  How would we be able to establish that the funds that came out of another account were actually transferred to Ally?  What if they accidentally went into someone else's account?   That has happened to me before.  Is it better to move accounts over to Capital One or do they also use Cashedge?  Capital One seems to have the similar rates.  Do you have a suggestion?
  |     |   Comment #15
Ally adopted the exact same system as Capital One.  It seems apparent that few employees of Ally actually have used or tested the website that is used by customers, otherwise they'd notice usability issues and how the website can present 2 different mailing addresses over the course of an account opening process (and that certain CD interest credit options don't exist or aren't available).
  |     |   Comment #16
I posted at #12.  My post was confined to very critical, but truthful, remarks about CashEdge.  I never mentioned Ally Bank.


Given the post immediately following mine might be from a person at that bank, I think we have insight as to why they opted, against all good sense, for CashEdge:

Based solely on that post, the Ally bank folks are technically challenged/clueless.  In 2011, that's a dangerous state of affairs at any  bank. 
Eric from Ally Bank
  |     |   Comment #17
Hi Ken, we really appreciate the feedback. User experience is very important to us and it's always helpful whenever we hear how we can be better. We've passed along this post to our team over here to look over. Also, we would love to send you an email to discuss. Anybody else that would like to leave their feedback about the new process, please leave your comments here so we can also send them to the right people. Thanks again!
  |     |   Comment #18
Cashedge is pretty much universally recognized as the worst provider of ACH services that exists.  No bank that uses Cashedge will be getting my business.  ACH is too important.  And Cashedge rips people off.

How could any bank not know this??  
  |     |   Comment #19
When I receive emails from banks that I don't want, I use their customer service email address so that they end up sending them to themselves.
  |     |   Comment #20
I guess I'm one of the few that actually likes the change.  I couldn't track tranfers that were "pending" before--very irritating.  Now, no problem, very easy to see on the tab that Andy #3 mentioned.
  |     |   Comment #21
For what it's worth, once Ally switched to Cashedge, I withdrew most of the money I had with them, closed my savings account and left a pittance in my money market account just in case Ally improves in the future. Alliant is my hub but that's about all I use it for. My liquid funds are in three rewards checking accounts each of which  pay 3%.
  |     |   Comment #22
For what it's worth, once Ally switched to Cashedge, I withdrew most of the money I had with them, closed my savings account and left a pittance in my money market account just in case Ally improves in the future. Alliant is my hub but that's about all I use it for. My liquid funds are in three rewards checking accounts each of which  pay 3%.
  |     |   Comment #23
To Ally Bank:

Why would you switch from a great money moving service to a slooooooow service?
  |     |   Comment #24

It's an easy answer.  The standard Xfer time for ACH is overnight.  Any entity taking longer has the use of your money during the delay . . interest free.

Did you notice the part about  . . interest free?  I hope so.  Because access to money interest free is a reason they made the switch.  The other name for that is "theft".  But fortunately we can opt out.  And that's what the smart money is doing.  Why cooperate with them as they go about trying to fleece you??
  |     |   Comment #25
With Alliant ACH, you lose 1 day of interest. 

With Ally ACH, you lose 3 days of interest.

I agree it is theft in either case, but will take the lesser of two evils until a smarter bank comes around.
  |     |   Comment #26
Here is my take:

Overnight ACH service involves no theft.  Persons wanting same day transfer of funds have forever had available Fed wire service.  We all expect to pay for that service, customarily between $10 and $30 for each domestic wire transfer.  Some financial institutions even charge to receive wired funds.  So same day movement of funds seldom is free.

Given ACH is free, overnight service is the best that can be expected.  And financial institutions offering that level of ACH service are not committing theft.  They are serving their customers properly.
  |     |   Comment #27
One good thing about Ally is they don't take the money out of your account on the day the transfer was initiated.  It usually shows up on the next day.  So that's one more day of interest earned on money going out.  On the opposite side of the coin, Ally no longer gives one an instant credit on money coming in.  It has to wait until it clears.  So all-in-all it seems pretty even to me.
  |     |   Comment #28
Loss of interest is important, and reason alone not to use cashedge.  But this isn't entirely about interest.  It is also about introduction and imposition of completely unnecessary delay.  And the longer the delay, the more likely it is that the transaction will extend over a weekend.  Which brings us back to interest . . . . . . 
  |     |   Comment #29
is ally a part of M&T bank
Anonymous Also
  |     |   Comment #30
I'm certainly not happy to hear about what has been described as Ally's regressive approach.  However, that said, if your concern is about loss of interest, I would be inclined to say that based on today's next to nothing interest rates that this is almost laughable.  Even if the principal amount were 50k, one day's loss of interest would approximate $1.50....that's one dollar 50 cents.  Come on now, be practicle, pragmatic, not simply theoretical.  Should interest rates move up, and they will eventually move up because of inflation, our inability to continue borrowing from external powesrs, then be concerned.  If your concern is more genuine, the length of time needed to transfer funds, I would say simply to get used to it.
  |     |   Comment #31
No, Ally isn't part of M&T.
  |     |   Comment #32
I was aware of the change in Ally's funds transfer system and noticed that transfer time is now about one day longer than before. Frankly, it's still tolerable since Ally is still faster than HSBC or ING. I use Ally not only as a hub bank but also as my main bank (have all paychecks and payments posted to and from my Ally account). What I'm most unhappy about is Ally's failure to get their Deposit Alert work. Even though one signs up for the Deposit Alerts, none of them ever comes even though numerous deposits have been made. Ally people, if you're reading my post, please tell the bank to fix it soon, or I'll have to go to another bank that sends reliable alerts to me as promised (e.g. FNBO).
  |     |   Comment #33
It's not faster than ING.  ING's new transfers are about as quick as Alliant's, which are some of the fastest I've ever used.
Kelly College Student
  |     |   Comment #34
Stay away from this bank please! I am stuck with them because I used them to receive automatic transfers of my financial aid *which is a university. I could not receive my aid without many challenges and now i cant receive the second part due to my "restricted account," status EVERYDAY! Everyday I have to call and let the ally bank account systems dept. that my purchases (the last one with "abnormal activity was 1.99 from amazon.com for an instant video) was valid. No record of transfers, no transfers have went to processed even after being said they were and linked by Ally. 


The customer service told me they did not know why I was never and continue not to be notified about anything regarding my account. I know that the email correspondence is in tact because promotional emails come in fine. 

Also, out of 10 purchases you make atleast five especially online retailers (online bank right?) wont process the account due to secure $0 debit protection. I called about this and a rep actually told me to ask the reltailer to "ping," my account. Of course there was nothing they, or their, "check specialist," couild do. Please for any of you who are students or anyone who wants to keep your money safe leave now!!! The more money you have in your account equals more problems because that everytime my account is high so are the issues. No one can help. I have offered documentaiton to prove and backup everything and they dont want it. Im waiting to see if my aid will be accepted and not rejected by Ally one more week and if it doesnt come in I am going to have to wait a month for a paper check. Then I am running back to bank of america (who I thought wasnt the best) with open arms like a child. 


  |     |   Comment #35
I'm currently an Ally Bank customer and I've had a positive experience with them so far. When I first read the title of this article, I thought that I would disagree with this whole thing.

However, these are all legitimate concerns and I fully agree with what was written here. Most people think that metadata isn't important, but it can quite accurately be be used to infringe on people's privacy.

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