To my fellow Ally Bank customers, I have some potentially bad news. An Ally spokesman informed me that the online bank has joined the Allpoint ATM network, but it will no longer refund all ATM fees that customers incur. More likely than not, the change won’t have a major effect on you, but it’s important to understand the details of the fee changes.
For many years, I’ve recommended Ally’s checking account because its superb policy of refunding any and all ATM fees paid (also applies for Ally’s money market account, which I currently have).
Essentially, Ally’s existing policy means that customers can use any ATM for free. It saves plenty of money for people who are constantly making trips to out-of-network ATMs to withdraw cash.
Unfortunately, this great ATM policy is going away. Depending on how you are using the account right now, you might want to re-evaluate if Ally online checking account will still be right for you.
Ally has already begun to notify affected customers of new changes that will take effect Aug. 15, 2015. Here’s a summary of these changes:
No more unlimited ATM fee reimbursements: Ally will reimburse a maximum of $10 in ATM fees per statement cycle. Customers will have no-fee access to 43,000 nationwide ATMs on the Allpoint network. Any fees that you end up paying are charged by the ATM owner. paid are charged by the ATM owner.
What it means for you: Since the typical ATM charges a $3 fee, you should not worry if you use an ATM less than 4 times per month. If you incur more than $10 in ATM fees per month, you’ll have to start looking out for Allpoint ATMs, which I would consider to be slightly inconvenient even though you can use Ally’s ATM locator app to find them.
Overdraft fee is rising: Ally’s fee for overdrawing your account is increasing from $9 to a whopping $25. It’s a major fee hike that reminds me of the overdraft fees that big banks charge — the average overdraft fee is $35.20 at the top 10 U.S. banks.
What it means for you: Sure, it’s disheartening to see such a big fee increase, but you’ll just have to be more vigilant in avoiding such an incident — use Ally’s free overdraft protection transfers to avoid the overdraft fee.
Ally remains a good choice
I know that consumers tend to overreact when their banks add fees or drop free services, so I implore you to take a moment to review your financial habits to see if these changes will even have an impact on you.
If you don’t use an ATM more than 3x per month and you’ve never had an overdraft, these changes don’t really affect you.
Although I am not a fan of these changes whatsoever, Ally’s checking account remains a well-rounded account for most people. It still has no monthly fees, pays interest, offers free checks and has is a great mobile banking app.
However, as I covered last month, Radius Bank introduced a new account that rivals Ally’s online checking account. Called Radius Hybrid, it offers unlimited ATM fee refunds. So, if you still want an account that provides free access to ATM access, this account is worth considering.
What do you think about Ally’s changes to its ATM and overdraft policies?