Webull vs. Ally Invest: Comparison of Self-Directed Trading Platforms

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Webull vs. Ally Invest

When you’re looking at ways to start investing, it’s easy to notice the plethora of low-cost or free trading platforms that are present in the current marketplace. Two popular platforms are Webull and Ally Invest, and they’re both targeted at new investors.

Both have all the features that a more experienced investor will appreciate if they want to save on charges and reduce fees. But, given the similarities, it’s natural to wonder how they compare. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Webull vs Ally Invest to help you choose the right investing platform to meet your needs.

Webull vs. Ally Invest Overview

The main difference between Webull and Ally Invest lies in the type of users they target. Although both platforms can be used on a mobile device or desktop, Webull is more popular with younger users who prefer the mobile experience and want access to fractional shares and cryptocurrency. Ally Invest is better suited for experienced investors who value access to lots of data and are not concerned about fractional shares and crypto. Additionally, Ally Invest’s affiliation with Ally Bank makes it an obvious choice for existing Ally Bank customers.

The Webull Basics

Webull

Webull Financial, LLC is a U.S.-based company. It was formed in 2017 and it’s regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

At its inception, Webull was a mobile app, but love the past few years, extra features have been added. Now, this is a web-based solution and a desktop platform (mobile apps are still available) that has become a popular choice for many new and more experienced investors. Webull offers a wide variety of investment products including crypto trading.

Here are some of the standout features:

  • Stock, ETF, and options trades are commission-free.
  • Webull is beginner-friendly thanks to support for fractional shares and no minimum deposit requirements.
  • Webull monitors market data in real-time.
  • A free trade simulator is built into the platform.
  • Webull allows access to popular cryptocurrencies.
  • This platform has commission-free short-selling.
  • Webull uses more than twenty technical indicators.
  • A live news feed can be accessed within this platform.
  • Webull has extended trading hours.
  • The platform has a stock lending program.
  • Webull offers IPO access before they go public.
Commission-Free Trades
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Webull is a free investing app that provides advanced reporting tools and allows you to make free trades of stocks, ETFs, and options. Right now Webull is offering six free stocks when you signup through our link (use the button below) and deposit any amount.

Features:
  • Commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency
  • Buy fractional shares for any amount
  • Extended trading hours
  • Advanced reporting tools
  • IRAs now available
  • 24/7 customer service

The Ally Invest Basics 

Ally Invest

Ally Bank was established to streamline banking services and make them more accessible for consumers. The Ally Invest platform is the brokerage arm of Ally Bank and it has developed into a well-regarded trading platform. Ally Invest offers a number of specialized tools and analysis features to help investors build their portfolios.

Here are some of the standout features of Ally Invest:

  • Zero commission on ETFs and stocks.
  • Low or no account fees.
  • Access to dynamic profitability graphs.
  • Probability calculators for experienced investors.
  • Comprehensive data and research selection options.
  • No commission on foreign exchange.
  • Competitive fees, commissions, and more when using Ally Bank.

Investment Options 

Webull has four primary investment securities:

  1. Stocks
  2. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
  3. Options
  4. Cryptocurrencies

Fractional share trading is allowed (minimum of $5), which is an attractive feature for new investors. Webull has cash and margin accounts and access to IRAs (traditional, rollover IRAs and Roth).

At this time, Webull has no long-term investment products such as bonds or fixed-income securities. But, Webull does have limited digital token offerings if you sign up to trade cryptocurrencies on the platform.

Ally Invest has a wide selection of investment options to choose from. This platform can be used to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and fixed-income products (U.S. Treasuries, bonds, and CDs).

There is a separate dedicated platform for foreign exchange trading with access to more than fifty currency pairs.

There are three limitations to consider before you choose Ally Investment:

  • No access to cryptocurrencies
  • Futures cannot be traded
  • The platform does not offer fractional shares

Webull vs Ally Invest: How the Platforms Work

Webull has mobile, web-based, and desktop platforms that many investors praise for their easy-to-understand and simple-to-operate interfaces. The workplace is customizable, you can add many helpful tools, such as analyst ratings, a stock screener, charts, fundamental analysis, and more.

Webull has no specific tools to manage a stock portfolio. There are no chat features and it can be a challenge to get phone support. So, a Webull investor needs to have a good basic grasp of investing and a self-reliant mindset to get the most out of the platform.

Webull offers extended trading hours which is a great feature for investors that are holding down a full-time job and work during normal market hours.

Ally Invest has a fully functioning platform with all the features you might expect and yet it does feel dated in some areas. The main home screen shows the Ally Platform related accounts in a single location, including bank accounts, managed accounts, and any loans. This could be a major plus if you’re already a customer of Ally Bank. A link can be clicked to access the Ally Invest page and to launch Ally Invest Live.

The platform has a pretty responsive feel, the pages refresh quickly, and streaming quotes are easy to find. The menus are intuitive, and the sub-menus are easy to navigate, but at times the main menu bar disappears entirely, which can be frustrating.

There are a few customization options to alter the look and feel. The mobile and web-based solutions have a more modern design that’s less distracting. This leads to a strange situation, certain features such as charting will work better on Ally Invest Live. But, the main features and functions are both found on the primary web-based platform.

Mobile Apps

Webull has no mobile check deposit, bill paying, or Zelle transfer features. The trade ticket is harder to use than the Ally Investment implementation and there are fewer order types. There is access to an ACH tool and unlike Ally, this mobile platform does have paper trading which is an attractive option for new investors.

Where the Webull app really shines is the access to more sophisticated tools that improve the user experience. There are comparisons, day price action replays, drawing tools, dual charting where direct graph comparisons can be made, and horizontal viewing.

The Ally Invest mobile platform can be accessed via the dedicated Ally Bank app. Extended hours trading is possible, options can be traded as well as ETFs and stocks. The multiple timeframes, technical studies, graph styles, and horizontal chart features all work well. The order ticket system allows investors to stop limit and to trail stop orders. There are other great features, including bill pay, Zelle transfers, and mobile check deposits that Webull does not have.

Fees

The Webull fee structure is relatively simple to understand:

  1. There are no account fees.
  2. There are no fees or commissions for trading stocks, ETFs, or options.
  3. For crypto trades, there is no fee, but a charge is applied to a 100-point spread. In real terms, this is a 1% charge that is automatically applied to every crypto transaction.

Of course, there are some fees that may be assessed in certain situations for things like wire transfers and paper confirmations.

Ally Invest has a more convoluted fee structure with zero commissions on ETF, stock, and foreign exchange trading: But, there are other fees to consider, such as:

  1. Options are charged at $0.50 per contract with a $0.50 fee when low-value options positions are closed.
  2. Each no-load mutual fund trade incurs a $9.95 fee.
  3. The OTCBB charge is $4.95 and $0.01 per share with a maximum commission per order set at 5% of the total trade value.
  4. Live broker-assisted trades should incur a $20 fee but this is often overlooked.
  5. The Robo Managed Accounts require a $100 minimum investment. There are no management fees if at least 30% is allocated to cash with an enhanced portfolio. There is a 0.30% annual management fee to cover any other robo-managed portfolios.

Like any other brokerage, Ally Invest also charges fees in certain situations for things like wire transfers and outbound transfers.

Education and Research

Webull has a very strong focus on solid research with a suite of specialized tools to undertake technical and fundamental analysis. The technical indicators can only be accessed via a paid upgrade, but all the excellent free features are useful.

The platform has an impressive investor dashboard with built-in watch lists, analyst reviews, real-time streaming quotes, and alert features. Webull has no free or paid portfolio management tools to explore.

Ally Invest has more research selection and data options, including price performance, exchanges, valuations, fundamentals, and filtering that can be applied to the stock screener.

The platform allows access to fundamental information, such as accounting ratios, FactSet analyst ratings, dividends, and earnings per share. There is also access to mutual funds, ETF, fixed-income, and options screeners.

Ally Invest has good charting options. These are limited on the mobile app, where you cannot open orders, position, or draw trend lines. But on the website, the charting is far better with a customized timeframe, comparisons, and more.

The very best charting is available on the Ally Invest Live platform where you can check studies, adjust the chart and have access to improved drawing tools.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Ally Invest has a built-in strategy builder that facilitates backtesting.

Cryptos and Digital Wallets

Webull offers access to all the main cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and many others) and they can be traded easily on this platform. Sadly, there are certain other cryptocurrencies that you cannot trade on Webull, such as: Solana, Internet Computer, Polkado, Uniswap, Algorand, and more.

The selection of crypto on the Webull platform does not extend to stable coins, which have been pegged to other assets such as the USD and other currencies. This is unfortunate, as stable coins are a popular option with many investors that want to lend their crypto at a stable price and then earn interest on the loan. The two most popular stable coins at the time of writing are Coin and Tether, and neither can be traded on Webull.

There is no Webull crypto wallet (yet). This platform can facilitate buying and selling cryptocurrencies, but they cannot be transferred to other locations. This is a drawback for some investors because they’re not fully in control of the crypto that they hold. On the other hand, some investors prefer to let Webull handle the security rather than holding crypto in their own digital wallet.

All of the above information is only applicable to Webull. It’s worth repeating here that Ally Investment does not offer any way to buy and sell crypto.

Webull Advantages

Here are the key Webull advantages that you’ll want to consider when you’re determining which platform is right for you.

  • Webull offers trades on stocks, options, and ETFs with no commissions.
  • Webull supports the buying and selling of fractional shares.
  • The platform has $0 account minimums.
  • Every Webull platform (mobile, desktop, browser) has free research and data that’s extensive.
  • Webull offers 24/7 crypto trading on the most popular cryptocurrencies.
  • Webull has a built-in free trading simulator.

Ally Invest Advantages 

And of course, Ally Invest has some advantages as well.

  • Ally Invest is linked to the Ally Bank which does offer some competitive commissions, fees and minimums for investors using their platform. This is an excellent option for people that want to streamline their finances and keep track of everything under the same roof.
  • Ally Invest has self-directed accounts that integrate easily with the other Ally financial products. This means that you have an overall financial condition snapshot that can be viewed in a single location.
  • Ally Invest offers commission-free foreign exchange trading in more than 52 currency pairs via a dedicated platform.
  • Traders often hold cash in their investment account as they wait for their next trade or have remaining funds left after they have purchased a certain number of shares. Ally Invest pays interest on the investment account cash balance at 0.50% up to a maximum value of $250,000.

Final Thoughts on Webull vs. Ally Invest  

As you can see, both Webull and Ally Invest are solid choices for new and more experienced investors. Both provide a low-cost entry point into the wider investment world, and yet there are key differences between them.

Ally Invest is a bit trickier to use, but it offers more options and functionality for investors. The exact Ally Invest user experience will depend on your chosen interface and some features work differently on mobile, desktop, and web-based platforms.

Aside from cryptocurrencies the investment options are more extensive with Ally Invest, but the fee structure is harder to understand and this could deter new investors.

Webull is a better fit for investors that want to trade the well-known cryptocurrencies. This is an easy-to-understand platform with access to multiple asset classes. Webull supports stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto trading on a single platform.

As always, the ultimate choice in the Webull vs Ally Invest comparison will depend on the type of trading and investments that you want to make and the features that you need.



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