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Online Banks and Same-Day Wire Transfers - My Experience at Ally


If you need to make a same-day wire transfer, be careful about assuming that your bank can do it. This is especially the case for online banks. Last week I had to make a real estate payment using a wire transfer. I chose to do it from Ally Bank. Using Ally’s online wire transfer request form, I submitted the wire request at 11:22am EDT. The wire was not sent until the next day (at 9:53am EDT). Fortunately, I gave myself an extra day before the wire was due.

In my case, the extra day for the wire transfer wasn’t an issue. That is not always the case for wire transfers. Often they’re needed on the same day or, at the very least, the next day. I found one example on this Bogleheads forum thread of an Ally customer who was burned by Ally’s slow wire transfers. The Ally customer had requested a wire transfer the day before a home closing. In summary, the wire wasn’t sent on the day that closing was scheduled, and the Ally customer had to postpone closing which resulted in extra costs and headaches.

If you need a same-day wire transfer, it’s questionable if that can be done at Ally Bank. In the Ally wire transfer management page, Ally provides the following instructions and warnings about wire transfer executions:

We’ll need time to review your wire. If you’re sending a same-day delivery, be sure to send it as early as possible.

If you’re requesting same-day delivery, we have to fully review wires before 3 pm ET.

Be sure to keep your phone handy; we may need to call you to verify your information at the number listed on your profile. If we can’t reach you by 3 pm ET, we’ll continue the reviewing process on the next business day.

Fully verified wires will be sent by 6 pm ET

It sounds like if you submit a wire transfer request a few hours before 3pm, there’s a good chance that your wire transfer will be sent on the same day. That wasn’t the case for me. I submitted the wire transfer at 11:22am. An Ally email confirmed the receiving of the request.

By 4:45pm that day, I had not received any phone or email notification from Ally. Consequently, I did an online chat with Ally to try to obtain the wire status. That’s when I was told that the wire would not be sent that day. While I was on the chat, I received an Ally email at 4:59pm notifying me to call Ally so that they could verify the wire request. When I called and verified the wire, I was again told that the wire would not be sent until the next day.

On the next day, I then received an email from Ally at 6:39am notifying me that Ally was processing my wire request. Finally, I received an email from Ally at 9:53am notifying me that they had sent the wire transfer.

Based on my experience, I would be hesitant to trust Ally to complete a same-day wire transfer. Based on what I read from others, this seems to be a common issue for not just Ally, but for several other online banks. What has your experience been with wire transfers at Ally and at other banks? Is this one reason to maintain a brick-and-mortar bank or credit union?

Below are the basic features of Ally Wire Transfers:

  • $20 fee for outgoing wire transfers
  • Only domestic wire transfers are allowed. International wire transfers are not allowed.
  • Wire transfer request can be done via online banking or by faxing in a form (the online option was added in 2015)
  • An Ally representative will likely need to speak with you on the phone to verify the wire.
  • Note, wire transfers are different than ACH transfers. Initiating ACH transfers to your other bank accounts is free at Ally.

Update on early closures of Ally’s No Penalty CDs

Before the wire transfer, I had to obtain access to additional funds by requesting an early closure of an Ally No Penalty CD. Unfortunately, CD early closure still requires that you contact an Ally representative. The online CD management page still has these instructions:

We’re only processing early withdrawals by phone right now.

Call us at 1-877-247-2559. We’re here 24/7.

Ironically, Ally was promoting its ability to manage CDs online on its home page:

manage your CDs online, easier than ever.

Renew terms, explore products, and more – no phone calls required

When I last wrote about this in November, I was told by an Ally official that this was just temporary:

Ally Bank offers service that is unique in the industry, and we take our customer commitment seriously. We constantly balance both convenience and security measures, and have temporarily taken our CD close and ACH transfer feature offline to strengthen the security for our customers. We intend to reintroduce the capability within a few months. In the meantime, with just a call, Ally’s customer care team can complete the same process on behalf of our CD customers in under five minutes. It’s always a good idea to check the wait times – posted online and on the mobile app –prior to calling.

I’m starting to think it may not be temporary. However, it was easy and fairly quick to call Ally to request the early closure. In addition, the CSR was able to close the CD and move the funds immediately to my Ally savings account. The funds were then immediately available. This process took around 10 to 15 minutes. It’s not as quick and easy as the online closure feature, but it’s not a major issue for me.

Related Pages: nationwide deals, Internet banks
  |     |   Comment #1
And banks can/do honor ach “requests” from external entities, e.g. utility payments, cc payments, etc that were initiated by a paper check…all w/o customer approval and no phone call…all transfers were not created equal
  |     |   Comment #2
Marcus is excellent for immediate wires especially since you can initiate yourself.
  |     |   Comment #14
Marcus has wires, but just checked their site and it doesn’t look that useful overall. Especially a large amount like Ken is talking about for a house (with the $10K limit):

“Wire Transfer: You may withdraw funds from your Marcus savings account by calling Customer Service to initiate a free wire transfer from your Marcus Savings account to an account you own at an external bank. You may also have the option to send a wire transfer from your Marcus savings account online, up to $10,000 total per statement period.”
  |     |   Comment #15
Marcus has wires, but just checked their site and it doesn’t look that useful overall? Especially a large amount like Ken is talking about for a house (with it only to an account you own or with the $10K limit):

“Wire Transfer: You may withdraw funds from your Marcus savings account by calling Customer Service to initiate a free wire transfer from your Marcus Savings account to an account you own at an external bank. You may also have the option to send a wire transfer from your Marcus savings account online, up to $10,000 total per statement period
  |     |   Comment #3
Ken: Thanks for sharing this information about Ally. This is one example of why I'd like to see customer service ratings included as a factor in your evaluation and recommendation of all financial institutions.
  |     |   Comment #6
Ken can't be the "One man band" in this request.
The numerous members here are the Front Line in getting to the bottom line
in the quirks,cures, and cusses, of account applications and navigation.
Thanks Fellows and Feminines who take the time to show us the way.
  |     |   Comment #7
Blaze…Ken is the owner and “we” may provide site improvements, but the buck stops with him and his organization. This not a partnership. After all who has the incentive and the earn out provisions for determining the final price of his sale? Ken, remember who your customers are…is it that difficult to step up and/or say why not!  The recent feedback to Ken’s post on Alliant is apropos ….he made his post yet he never responded to his customers!  Otherwise why did he post it?  The phantom moderator has been outed!
  |     |   Comment #8
good night
  |     |   Comment #18
Blazer 9: Indeed. My suggestion for Ken to add the customer service metric to his reviews in no way implies that the laity should not remain on the front line as partners in the quest for the bottom line; indeed the laity often blazes new trails for this blog.
  |     |   Comment #4
I used to like Ally as a hub account for ACH transfers. But trying to get blessed with and hold onto their 1 business day transfer privilege is tedious if not frustrating. Am switching banks.
  |     |   Comment #19
Any failure or issue with a transfer and you will immediately loose the 1-day privilege regardless of the reason. It will then take 90-days of no transfer issues for the 1-day transfer to be restored.

A classic case that will always lead to loosing the 1-day transfer is when you try to establish a link with a CU from Ally. Most CU's have a member account that requires at lest $5. When you open a CU account and did not fund that $5, as soon as Ally tries to link to the CU account with the micro deposits the CU will block those micro deposit from leaving in a attempt to bring the balance up to the $5 and in turn cost you the 1-day transfer at Ally since the link failed to retrieve the micro deposits. I'm dealing with this crap right now thanks to blue cu.
  |     |   Comment #5
Believe it or not, Bank of America does wire transfers quite well. I've never had a wire held until the next day. Chase puts a $25,000 limit on wires initiated online, but Bank of America has no limit as long as the funds are available in your account. They do review them and the length of time may vary from wire to wire, but for me it has always gone out the same day.
  |     |   Comment #13
Chase limits vary based on account type, but Private Client customers have a $250k limit for wires initiated online. I use Chase often and I've always had them go out same day (sometimes within minutes and sometimes a few hours later).
  |     |   Comment #9
simple question: why wait til the day you need the $ ?
Why not be pro-active and allow time for trouble - do it a few days or a week in advance?
Just wondering ...
  |     |   Comment #10
Closings are dynamic and usually multi-party with numerous closing conditions.  Read about consequential damages for your (ie your bank) breach!  Suffice to say, if one can’t rely on their bank to deliver what they promise…then don’t rely upon that bank in the future! And if a big deal, interest rates on the source of funds may tip everything…rest assured no one should use a non-performing organization!  Finally, if “no big deal” then the bank should have delivered since it was “nothing.”
  |     |   Comment #11
I used Ally for a wire transfer for a home closing. I remembered from a prior time that they call to verify the instructions. So this time, I either called and initiated the wire by phone, or I filled out the online form and then called to verify that I wanted to send the wire instead of waiting for them to call me. Can't remember which, but it did work.
  |     |   Comment #12
Kudos for your reasoned, balanced review—I would have been less generous. First, more and more banks are offering free outgoing domestic wires. Second, a Fedwire is somewhat like a long distance phone call: fifty years ago, a big deal; today, not so much. To be charged $20 and have to wait overnight for a wire submitted before noon is inexcusable in the absence which of a crisis.
  |     |   Comment #17
Here is my recent experience with Ally ACH transfer out. I recently added an external account that offers a higher interest rate and decided to ACH out from ACH to that bank. The transfer was stopped and my account was locked. I called the CS and spend like an hour on the phone with them verifying all kinds of info. The account was then unlocked and ACH returned to my account in 2 or 3 days. Then I tried to initiate the transfer again and noticed my external linked accounts disappeared. "Manage external account" page says account locked. I had to contact their CS again and was told that I need to wait 1-2 business days and call back again if the issue is not resolved.
  |     |   Comment #20
I have a lot of accounts with Ally both individual, retirement and trust accounts.

I must say that the quality of service is not what it used to be. I've noticed a difference over the past year or more, even before the pandemic.

I have done a number of wires from Ally, but none recently. I don't recall ever having one not go out the same day, but that is unacceptable. The point of a wire is guaranteed same day funds. That's what you are paying for. The only exception would be some kind of serious emergency.

I'm getting slow service from Ally right now on a retirement account transaction. Not happy.

I did have a bad experience with Synchrony on a wire though a couple of years ago. They made a mistake and the funds did not go out the same day. I am becoming more disenchanted with them too. In my experience both Ally and Synchrony have slipped a notch in competitiveness and customer service over the last couple of years.
  |     |   Comment #21
I have been pleased with the overall service with Ally, but honestly, as someone who does a fair amount of business deals that require multiple same days wires, I am now of the opinion that relying on these online banks for true business banking is not an option and a brick and mortar relationship is still required. Even in a small business sale, you may have multiple wires that need to go out within hours.......line of credit payoffs, asset based loans, liens, legal and broker fees, etc. These online banks seem not ready for prime time, and the fin techs even worse.

A big thank you to Ken for sharing.
  |     |   Comment #22
I use Ally and Marcus for wire transfers and also when I need same day ACH. Never once a problem.

Ally is no longer my online bank of choice for a variety of reasons, the slow processing of transfers being just one of them.
  |     |   Comment #23
Hi MikeG62, Does Marcus offer same day ACH transfers? I saw them taking 3 days.
  |     |   Comment #26
ALLY BANK gets a F-, FAILURE to  deliver a Reliable, guaranteed, Competent Wire service, nor do they follow  their own published written protocols stating the customer (WILL BE CALLED)..., if further info must be verified. . The evening in advance of the next day my Funds are required for a Real Estate property closing, I initiated a wire to the recipient. Did NOT receive a call from Ally assuming with confidence my wire would will be received.. Only discovered late in the PM NEXT day, Ally sent a email after 1:30PM, they did not send the wire, and request me to call them for further verification. I spent a total of more than TWO HOURS, 35 minutes on hold for a human, then another 30 minutes on hold for that person to wait on hold for the Wire Staff.. They only had me verify the details. It's 12 hours later and my Dashboard still shows "Further Action" needed with the Orange Triangle ... Another call, at 1:30am why my wire does not show in Progress, it's still stuck ....Angry is an understatement, Ally is short staffed, incompetent, reckless, has cost significant expense, loss of income, anxiety, lost investment opportunity. I am removing my money  back to Wells fargo at zero interest.. Wells fargo can get a Wire done in 3 hours same day without fail. Ally is taking two days for a Wire transfer and will not call as promised guidelines, or notify if they are setting aside your wire for days until you discover days later it never was sent. I am stunned they continue to ignore time is of the essence life and death necessity to honor a same day expected Wire Transfer far in advance the day before. Don't open an account if you plan to require timely Wire Transfers for critical deadlines.

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