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Noteworthy Features of Ally’s Pandemic Relief Package

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Ally Financial, the parent of Ally Bank, issued this press release yesterday announcing a relief package that’s intended to help people to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The relief package is intended to support customers, auto dealers, communities and employees. Ally Bank customers may find the following support useful:

To aid customers in accessing their money as they need it, all fees related to expedited checks and debit cards, overdrafts, and excessive transactions on savings accounts will be waived for the next 120 days (as always, there are no monthly maintenance fees or balance minimums).

For savers, the waiver for the excessive transaction fee is noteworthy. Ally Bank normally charges $10 for each withdrawal (excluding some withdrawal types) from the Online Savings Account or Money Market Account that exceeds 6 per statement cycle. If you’re using your Ally Bank Online Savings Account to fund multiple CDs (either at Ally or at other institutions), you could easily reach this limit.

Ally Bank describes the details of this excessive withdrawal fee on its website. Below is an excerpt from Ally Bank’s Money Market Account page:

Federal law limits certain types of telephone, check and electronic transfers and withdrawals from money market accounts to 6 per statement cycle. These limited transactions include things like Point of Sale transactions, Online and Mobile Banking transfers, our Overdraft Transfer service, and transfers from your Money Market Account to another of your Ally bank accounts. If you go over this limit, we charge $10 for each of these transactions after the initial 6. If you exceed this limit on more than an occasional basis, we are required to close your Money Market Account. Some transactions are unlimited. You can make as many deposits as you'd like. You can make unlimited ATM withdrawals or call us anytime to request a check made out to you.

UPDATE 3/20/20: Due to concerns in the comments over the question of whether Ally could still close your account if you exceed the excess transaction limit during this period, I requested input from Ally. Below is the reply I received:

Because of COVID-19, we’re waiving the normal ‘excessive transaction’ fee if a customer has more than six withdrawals or transfers in a statement cycle. We know this is a difficult time for customers, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to help while maintaining compliance with federal regulations. For customers that transact frequently from their online savings or money market accounts, we recommend transitioning to a checking account, which offers unlimited transactions.

The other two fee waivers may be less useful for savers, but they could be useful to Ally Bank customers who are having financial difficulty. One is the fee waiver for overdrafts. Ally Bank charges an overdraft fee of $25. According to Ally Bank’s Straight Talk Product Guide, the fee is charged when you don’t have enough money in your checking account to cover a transaction. There is a maximum of one fee per day, and Ally won’t charge an additional fee even if you have a negative account balance over an extended period.

Ally Bank does offer a free overdraft transfer service which can be helpful to those who may accidentally overdraft. When you enable this service, Ally automatically transfers available funds from an Ally Online Savings Account you choose in $100 increments when your checking account comes up short. The only potential gotcha is that if there are too many overdraft transfers, you could be charged the excessive transaction fee for each transfer over the limit. With this temporary fee waiver, this fee will be one less thing to worry about. As I described in this blog post about how to use this overdraft transfers to maximize interest, the excessive transaction fee is an issue that complicates overdraft transfers and may force you to keep more money in the checking account which will earn little interest. With the temporary fee waiver, you’ll be able to keep more money in the Online Savings Account where it will earn more interest.

Ally Bank Cash Bonus Reminder

Don’t forget Ally Bank’s Cash Back Promotion. To qualify for the bonus, you have to sign up by 3/20/20 (which is this Friday). This promotion can be easy money, especially if you were already planning to move money into Ally Bank. Please see my review of this Ally cash back promotion for the details.

Related Pages: nationwide deals, Internet banks
Comments
Predatory Depositor
  |     |   Comment #1
"If you exceed this limit on more than an occasional basis, we are required to close your Money Market Account."

I assume the same also still applies to their online savings account as it normally does.

So they waive the fee for making more than 6 withdrawals. But they can still close your account. How much help is that?
alan1
  |     |   Comment #3
Re Comment #1 -- In addition to proclaiming that "they can still close your account", it may be useful to read and quote the e-mail sent by Ally. (Predatory Depositor has posted elsewhere that he is an Ally customer, so perhaps he has already received that e-mail. But maybe not.) The relevant paragraph of Ally's message states:

"Suspended fees at Ally Bank. For the next 120 days, we're waiving fees for overdrafts, excessive transactions for savings and money market accounts, and expedited shipping of checks and debit cards. As always, there are no monthly maintenance fees or balance minimums to bank with us. If you have questions, contact us at 1-877-247-2559. We're here 24/7."
(emphasis added)

If Ally customers have questions as to whether Ally would close an account for exceeding a certain number of transactions, I suggest they follow the instructions in Ally's e-mail.

Predatory Depositor's query is "How much help is that?"

Following Ally's instructions in its e-mail might be of some help in answering that query. (That could depend on Ally's informing its representatives about this.) But I believe that an Ally customer who is concerned about this issue should read and follow the instructions in the e-mail before speculating about it here.
Burrows
  |     |   Comment #4
Got email as well. I would only use in an emergency.
Ken Tumin
  |     |   Comment #38
I just updated the post to address this issue of the potential of having your savings or money market account closed due to excessive withdrawals. Based on Ally's reply, it appears it would be prudent to keep excessive withdrawals to a minimum.
Burrows
  |     |   Comment #40
Unlimited withdrawals till this summer
Burrows
  |     |   Comment #5
Thanks for reminding about bonus, I just put 1000 in my savings. Thinking we will get that check from government.
Check
  |     |   Comment #6
I don't follow the news very much. What check are you referring to?
Burrows
  |     |   Comment #11
Every American is getting around $1000, due to epidemic
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #12
I would be very wary of Ally. All of my accounts were frozen a few days ago. I can't transfer money out. Emails that I have written have been ignored for four days now. It takes about 1/2 hour to get a customer service rep on the phone. I even spoke to so-called "fraud protection" which told me that, according to the computer, my accounts were frozen for so-called "discrepant activity" whatever that means. So, now, my money is stuck in Ally and has been stuck there for almost a week, I get the run-around everytime I try to discuss it with customer service. When I ask who I can talk about the problem with, they tell me that "they'll call you", and that I should try to call "them", whoever "they" are.

I cannot help but wonder if this has something to do with Ally having a much larger than normal percent of its assets in car loans. People default on car payments first, and perhaps the bank doesn't have the funds to continue normal banking operations. If I can figure out a way to get my money out of Ally before it goes belly up, I am going to do it, but they've blocked every exit door.
Frozen
  |     |   Comment #14
Are you saying that Ally has had your money for over a week now and they don't know why your accounts were frozen? Did you do anything unusual that would trip an alert? I opened a new account with them, but I didn't fund it yet. I don't think I will if anyone else has this same problem. This is quite strange to me. If anyone else has experienced Ally freezing their account, please post.
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #17
I am sure that someone at Ally has a very good idea of why they froze my accounts, but no one is telling me. I get the run-around. All I did was to do a Zelle transfer to someone who had been on my Zelle list for 2 years, and to whom I transferred several thousand dollars to in December. And, also, an ACH to myself at one of my other banks. I have posted this situation here exactly because I want to know if others have been experiencing this same situation. In the past, Ally got back to me literally within an hour or two, everytime I wrote them an email. Now, it is 4 days, with no answer, and a run around every time I call to inquire. No one will even tell me who I can talk to who has authority over the matter. The customer service reps are always very apologetic, but tell me that I'll have to "wait until they call you"! The situation, frankly, is outrageous.
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #19
I should also note that the ACH destination bank account was vertified by me about 7 years ago and has been on my transfers list ever since. In the past, I've transferred 10s of thousands of dollars to that other bank. The Zelle recipient has been on the transfer list for years also, and a multi-thousand dollar transfer just sailed through to the same person, in December, 2019 without any problem. There can be no question that both destinations are not fraudulent.
pgroove_fan
  |     |   Comment #21
I am not a Zelle user, but a quick online search reveals numerous references to Ally's daily limit on Zelle transfers to be only $500 starting about Aug 2019. Maybe an attempt to exceed that limit triggered your account lock, and maybe you also forget exactly when you sent this other party so much money in the past.

https://www.mybanktracker.com/checking/faq/zelle-pay-limits-274406
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #25
The limit on Zelle from Ally is $5,000 per month. I sent $5,000 in December and $1,500 in January to the same person. Exactly. I just looked it up, and have the receipts from Zelle.
pgroove_fan
  |     |   Comment #28
Ok, $5000 a month. But what you actually said in comment #19 was "a multi-thousand dollar transfer just sailed through to the same person, in December, 2019"

You did not say 10 transfers sailed through, you said A transfer. Your original statement struck me as false, perhaps with clarification it was just incomplete.
blazer9
  |     |   Comment #30
Maybe a little Zelle Laundering?
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #33
pgroove_fan, I sent one unitary transfer of $5,000 in December 2019. Then, another unitary transfer of $1,500 in January 2020. Not in $500 increments. In spite of the supposed "limits" both transfers went through with flying colors. No problem. The limit actually was $5,000 per transfer before August 2019, appparently, which is why I didn't think twice about sending the amounts I sent in December/January. But, the system processed them anyway, without any problem. And, my accounts continued to operate just fine. The recipient got the cash. I've had an account with Ally since 2002 and have never had any problem remotely like this one before.
pgroove_fan
  |     |   Comment #36
Your continued replies have certainly clarified things.

With no other users reporting any difficulty, it still seems more likely to me that there are unique circumstances surrounding you that have lead to your accounts locking rather than the liquidity that you seem convinced of.

I will be finding out for myself early next week when my monthly transfer from Ally to PSECU for my add-ons is scheduled to take place. I do have a backup setup where I can fund PSECU from one of my RCAs, but I sure hope that isn't necessary.

If/when you get an Ally rep on the phone, you might ask about whether the "discrepant" activity is related to those earlier high-dollar Zelle successes. I could imagine an auditor coming along and wondering just how those went through, and perhaps suspecting you of something rather than a system error on their side.
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #34
I note that, since I've been reading and responding to you, I've been on hold with Ally's so-called "loss-prevention" department (same department that passed the buck yesterday claiming it had no authority and that the freeze was the work of the so-called "back office") for over 1/2 hour now...
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #32
I read your hyperlink, and while it does say that Ally now has a $500 Zelle limit per day, I have a receipt (I am reading it right now) for $5,000 in December, 2019 and then another receipt for sending $1,500 in January 2020. The recipient successfully received both payments. But, beyond that, if someone inadvertently exceeds the limit of the Zelle system, a normal bank just gives an error message and says, "your request is over the available limit of $500 and cannot be processed." No normal bank freezes all your accounts and removes your ability to do all ACH transfers in response to a mistake like that! A normal bank, that is not illiquid also doesn't give the customer the run-a-round every time he calls. Someone takes responsibility to resolve the issue. That is not happening here, leading me to believe that this is a liquidity issue and nothing less...
Tin Man
  |     |   Comment #24
Yeah thanks for sharing a bit of truth.

Zelle, good luck!
Burrows
  |     |   Comment #16
They have always been solid with me. Rates are not the best but they have the 1 day transfers and debit card with $10 free atm per month.
David
  |     |   Comment #23
How much did you try to ACH out?
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #26
Total, between Zelle and the ACH was a bit under $10 Gs
pgroove_fan
  |     |   Comment #39
I've moved $18K of ACHs out of Ally since the 3/23. PSECU, Rising Bank, Comenity Direct, and First Advantage Bank (TN) all worked as expected for me.
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #13
Maybe, the 1% bonus offer is being motivated by a cash flow issue. I've got a lot of CDs with the bank, as well as a savings. If it collapses, I am going to be up sh-t's Creek without a paddle. Who knows how long it will take to authorize the FDIC to reimburse folks who banked at failed banks, given that the insurance fund has $36 billion in it, right now, to cover many trillions of bank deposits.
David Mark
  |     |   Comment #15
It will take about 30 seconds to cover all FDIC and NCUA insured deposits for the first bank or credit union to fail.

The government is planning to spend hundreds of billions on bonus welfare checks, guaranteeing greedy airline executive bonuses, and guaranteeing money market funds that they swore they would not do again after 2008.

The first banks and credit unions to fail will be insured and covered immediately, to prevent a run on banks.

The constant bailouts are not good long term, but people buy FDIC and NCUA insured products for a fair reason.
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #18
Maybe, then, it is good if Ally Bank is about to collapse. It will be one of the first, based on what they are doing, now, to me. So, its depositors will get paid first. But, where to put the money? What if I deposit the cash the government gives me in a bank that will be the 30th or 40th to fail. Then, what? Do I take it out in $100 bills and stash that in my mattress? Frankly, I don't think they have so many $100 bills...and I've never contemplated the possibility of doing such a thing, in the past.
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #20
One thing is a certainty. I was about to transfer $25,000 into Ally Bank to take advantage of the full $250 1% bonus. That is definitely not going to happen. If I have to collect my money from the FDIC, I prefer it to be that much less, rather than that much more...
Tin Man
  |     |   Comment #22
If a bank froze my account, or did any of the things people here complain about, I would ask enough questions to be able to articulate the problem.

Why would anyone take vague warnings seriously?
VeryWorried
  |     |   Comment #27
I've been asking questions to many people. The problem is that I don't get any answers! And, every CSR claims it is not within their power to do anything. Whatever was done, supposedly, was done by "back office", and nobody knows how to contact them, apparently, or won't give me a number to contact them. It is absolutely outrageous and, I guess, my next step is to file a complaint with the FDIC and/or a lawsuit. But, what good will either of those things do if this is all being caused by a liquidity problem and they are doing this to a lot of people in preparation for possible failure? No good at all...
Tin Man
  |     |   Comment #29
Complain to the FDIC and state banking regulator.

If they genuinely won't let you transfer money out and won't explain.

Never heard of Zelle, and doesn't worry me about liquidity at all.

If you think about it, not too many people buying cars this month.
Anony LA
  |     |   Comment #35
I had a similar issue w/Alliant CU re a 20K check deposit into a US Bank atm, which I had done many times before. Somehow the check deposit was mishandled, and I didn't actually see it in my account for 15 days. Their answers were LIKE YOURS, that the back room is checking w/US Bank ..but to speak to someone in power was impossible. How a bank resolves problems becomes clear to me that it is a major consideration, perhaps w/all online banks!??
Down 60% Off Top
  |     |   Comment #31
Ally stock is down nearly 60% from its peak in February 2020 just 5 short weeks ago so you might be right about a liquidity issue. The stock hit a high of $33.34 on Feb 12 and today down to $13.11.
Buckeyes
  |     |   Comment #37
They are fine. They would have dropped their rate by now, like Sofi. However they do like those Friday drops. Expecting a big one tonight.
Burrows
  |     |   Comment #41
No penalty cd rates are down .05

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