Ally Bank Problems
I have talked about Ally Bank quite a lot recently, from my decision to open an account with the bank, to troubles when trying to get a second account, to eventually leaving the bank after only two weeks. It wasn’t a very good experience for me, even though initially I thought I could use Ally Bank for some time because the bank’s predecessor, GMAC Bank, has a track record of keeping its rates relatively stable.
Apparently, my posts on problems with Ally Bank have gotten the attention of the bank and yesterday I was contacted by Laura Johnston, the executive of Social Marketing at GMAC Financial Service. She offered to have a Customer Service manager contact me to address my concerns. Since right now I don’t have much problem with the bank (the transfers were stopped and I moved my money out of the bank already) that needs to be addressed immediately, I decided to give her a full recount of my experience with Ally Bank, especially the part when I opened the second account. To be fair, I have never opened more than one account with any other online banks, so I don’t know whether what happened with Ally Bank could happen with other banks or not, which means the problems I had may not be unique to Ally Bank. Nonetheless, I wanted to tell the bank my story and, hopefully, my experience can help the bank improve.
In my response, I listed a few issues with Ally Bank that contribute to my decision to leave:
- During the processing of opening my second CD account last week, I was shown the same account application page when I got my first account after clicking the “open accounts” button from my account. It seems that I will have to start the process all over again because it says I will need my driver’s license number and SSN. Only until I clicked the “start application” and made a selection on “How Many Account Owners?”, I saw the option to open an account as an existing customer. It will be much easier if the choice to open an account either as a current customer (I am still logging in my account, so I must be a current customer) or a new customer at the is given at very beginning, instead of having to click a few button to see the selection.
- After selecting “Joint Account”, I also chose “Current Customer with user name and password. I can access my Ally Bank account”, because that’s what’s applicable to me, and the type of account type I want to open and opening deposit. Then I was asked to log in. This is where the problem started. Once I had that log in screen, I logged in with my own ID and password without thinking too much because I am a “Current with user name and password. I can access my Ally Bank account.” However, after I logged in, I was shown an account page where my name appeared as both the primary and secondary account owner, which wasn’t what I wanted to have in a joint account. So I called customer service and was told that to have both my wife and me appeared on the account, I had to log out, start again, and log in with my wife’s ID and password (my savings account and first CD account are joint account with my wife). I did what I was told to do and remember, the previous application never finished. The second time I had both my wife’s name and my name on the account, which is correct. The question is what if I want this to be a joint account with somebody else other than my wife? It looks like I wasn’t given the chance to enter the other person’s information.
- When I got to the fund the account page, I saw two CD accounts with two different account numbers and both ask for $56,000 initial deposit. Apparently, the first attempt somehow went through, even though the process was never completed. Since I only wanted one account, not two, I selected to fund only one of them. I was subsequently given an error message, saying something like I have to fund both accounts in order to proceed (I don’t remember exactly what the error message is, but I can’t continue if I don’t fund two accounts). Without any other choice, I selected to fund both accounts with $56K and finally got the congratulation page, saying my accounts were successfully opened (something like that).
- The next thing I did was listing accounts I own. In addition to the savings account I opened early, I also saw three CD accounts and the last two required a total of $112K deposit. Realizing this could be a big problem, I tried to edit one of the transfers, but I couldn’t despite that Ally Bank has the option to edit or cancel a transfer. I asked the CSR and later a manager why I can’t change the transfer that I made only minutes ago, I was told once a transfer is submitted, I am not allowed to edit or cancel it. If that’s the case, then what’s that “Edit” function for if there’s no way I can use it? I have transferred funds between banks very frequently and many banks, like HSBC Direct, IGoBanking, and Dollar Savings Direct, let me make changes after submitting a transfer request minutes or even hours later. But not with Ally Bank.
- The only choice for me to stop the transfer and avoid overdrafting my checking account , as I was told, was to call Bank of America to put a stop order. I did and fortunately, the transfers were stopped so I don’t have to pay a load of overdraft fees for transfers that are scheduled to occur later.
My overall experience with Ally Bank is that it doesn’t make things easier for its customers. Rather I think some information is quite confusing. I like to use banks that are easy to deal with. Since there are many banks out there, I feel that I don’t have to stick to a bank that has caused me so much trouble so far, even though maybe nothing is the bank’s fault. I like simple.
Finally, I told Laura that I was initially attracted to Ally Bank because it had better rates. Now, after less than two months, that’s no longer the case. What bothers me even more is that Ally Bank adjusts its rate every week. I am not aware any other bank does this on the savings/CD/money market accounts. When I open a savings account, I want a good rate and I want it to be relatively stable. Unfortunately, I have neither from Ally Bank now.
Do you have any problem with Ally Bank?
Update: Despite the initial issues, I am still using Ally Bank now as the bank’s savings account interest rate is among the highest I can find.
This article was originally written or modified on . If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed. Or you can also choose to have free daily updates delivered right to your inbox.