Ally and Capital One 360 are two of the most popular online banks available right now. While brick and mortar banks have their uses, they don’t exactly go out of their way to provide decent levels of interest or even good customer service in many cases. That creates a case for online only banking. In Ally vs Capital One 360 – which is best? I pit one against the other to see which one is better than the other.
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Online banking has a couple of advantages over RL banking. The online banks often pay more interest (although not by much) and have lower charges. The downside is that getting anything complicated arranged and customer service can often be challenging.
TechJunkie is a tech site, not a financial adviser so the following is a personal opinion of my experiences with both Ally Bank and Capital One 360. I’ll present my findings and you can decide which is best for you.
Ally Bank is a simple, no-nonsense online bank with deposit and checking accounts. It is an online-only enterprise but has good customer service to offset the usual downside of online banks. If you just want a simple daily account or a straightforward savings account, Ally can deliver.
Ally Bank began life as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) to help people buy GM cars. Since then it has shifted into normal banking operations, rebranded to Ally in 2006 and has become one of the highest regarded banks in America.
The main draw for customers is the high interest paid on savings and low fees. Ally doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee and there is no minimum deposit required on accounts. This opens up a huge market for the bank, one that it is taking advantage of.
Ally Bank offers an online savings account, high-yield CDs and an interest checking account for daily use. For the checking account you get a debit card and a decent rate of interest. You also get free access to ATMs and refunds on any ATM fees charged by other banks.
Even though separate from GMAC, Ally still offers auto financing for GM and Chrysler cars.
Day to day banking is simple, the website and app are very easy to use and customer service is first class. With decent interest and low fees, plus a lot of flexibility in how it can be used, Ally Bank is definitely up there with the best.
Ally Bank offers customer service by phone, chat, email and social media. I have used phone, chat and email and all representatives were polite, responsive and dealt with my queries quickly and professionally.
Capital One 360
Capital One 360 is the product of Capital One’s acquisition of ING Direct in 2012. Capital One 360 was introduced a year later and has been offering checking and saving ever since. It is an online-only bank that offers good interest rates and low fees. Like Ally Bank, those low fees and decent rates are a big draw. Credit Unions and traditional banks simply cannot compete which is why these are so popular.
Capital One 360 offers a checking account, savings, business accounts, children’s accounts and CDs (Certificates of Deposit).
The checking account has no monthly maintenance fee and pays competitive interest. It also has no minimum balance and the ability to write checks. You will have to order checks specially though. There is also free ATM access with their debit card, online bill paying, overdraft facility and the ability to use Capital One branches for deposits and withdrawals.
There are also Capital One 360 Cafes if you live in a big metro area that also provide some branch services should you need them.
Business accounts are also online and benefit from no fees or minimum balance requirements. Interest isn’t very competitive at the time of writing but ease of use outweighs that cost for most smaller businesses.
Capital One 360 also provides access to loans, overdrafts, mortgages and other credit products should you need them.
Capital One 360 offers customer service by phone, email and social media. I have only used phone support and found it fast and efficient once you get past the IVR system. The lack of chat isn’t a big thing but does add an extra step in getting your issue dealt with.
Which is best? Ally or Capital One 360?
My personal experience with both of these is mixed. I like the simplicity of Ally Bank and the free ATM use is a real bonus. The website is attractive and easy to use and the mobile app is straightforward too. Customer service is good although I haven’t needed anything complicated from them.
Ally Bank Savings and Capital One 360 offer automatic transfers from their respective checking accounts and the ability to split savings across multiple accounts to make prioritizing easier. I also like the chat function. It makes getting help in real time much faster and is of the time.
Capital One 360 is more fully featured and offers more in terms of banking facilities but (currently) pays less interest. The Wallet feature that helps budgeting is also very useful. So it the ‘My Savings Goal’ feature that can help if you’re saving for something specific like a new car or vacation.
The Capital One 360 mobile app is also easier to use and faster in operation it seems. While the Ally app is still pretty good, the Capital One 360 app looks and feels friendlier and makes the entire experience that little bit better. The lack of live chat isn’t a showstopper but takes away the real-time assistance factor. You may not mind and I don’t mind that much but it is a consideration.
Both Ally Bank and Capital One 360 are very good online banks that offer great service for low fees. Both have decent checking accounts and savings features, both have multiple ways to contact them and both offer mobile apps. In my personal opinion, picking the best from these two will come down to which one you like the look and feel of and the interest rates being offered at the time. Good luck with that!