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.