Top IRA Accounts Pricing

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Ally Invest $0 $9.95 $0 + $0.50 per contract $0 $0
Charles Schwab $0 $49.95 ($0 to sell) $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Fidelity $0 $49.95 $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0

Best IRA Firms Services

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Ally Invest
Charles Schwab
TD Ameritrade

Overview of Ally Invest, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, E*Trade, and Schwab

Ally Invest offers a very good IRA account at a low cost. But the company has a lot of competition. In particular, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and E*Trade also provide good deals on retirement investing. Let’s see how Ally's IRA performs against these top brokerage firms.

Portfolio Management and Investment Advice

Ally Invest has a Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolio that costs 0.0% (yes, no fee) per annum for automated trading of exchange-traded funds. There is a $100 minimum to start. The broker-dealer does not offer any human advisors at any price.

E*Trade clients have access to both human and robo advisors. The broker’s robo-advisory service is 0.30% of entire balance per annum and invests in ETFs. E*Trade requires a higher minimum ($10,000 for taxable accounts and $5,000 for retirement accounts). The broker’s traditional portfolio management costs less than 1.0% and requires a deposit of $25,000.

Fidelity traders pay 0.35% for the broker’s computerized account management, which requires a $5,000 balance. The brokerage house offers traditional management with varying minimums and costs, depending on factors such as account balance and securities desired.

TD Ameritrade provides a robot trader for just 30 basis points. This service comes with a $5,000 minimum deposit requirement. Unlike Ally, TD Ameritrade also provides traditional management, although it costs more than 0.30%.

Last, but certainly not least, is Schwab, who manages to offer a robo-advisory service for free. The broker makes money from free cash balances and relationships with the ETF’s that are traded. Human advisors are available for as little as 0.50% with a $25,000 minimum.

Mutual Funds

Ally Invest traders can buy and sell nearly 12,000 mutual funds. On this list, there are more than 1,600 products that carry zero load. The broker-dealer does not offer any funds that are both no-load and no-transaction-fee products. If a fund has no load, there is a $9.95 charge to buy or sell it—the lowest price in this list.

Schwab offers fewer mutual funds—just over 5,000; but there are more than 3,000 that have neither load nor transaction fee. A fund that isn’t on the NTF list costs $49.95 to buy and $0 to sell.

E*Trade customers have access to nearly 9,000 mutual funds that are open to new investors. Over 4,200 are no-load, no-transaction-fee funds. Transaction-fee funds cost $19.99 on both sides.

Traders at Fidelity can buy and sell more than 11,000 mutual funds, and nearly 3,800 have no transaction fee. Approximately half of this group also comes with no load. Funds with a transaction fee cost $49.95 to purchase, but there’s no charge on the sell side.

Mutual fund investors at TD Ameritrade will find over 13,000 securities. Over 4,200 come with no load and no transaction fee. The broker’s transaction fee is $49.99, and it’s applied to both purchases and sales.

Pricing and Account Minimums

TD Ameritrade is charging $0 for stock and ETF transactions. E*Trade, Fidelity, and Schwab have the same commission schedule.

Ally Invest is also at $0 for stock and ETF trades but options contracts cost 50 cents each.

An IRA investment account at any of the brokerage firms comes with no annual, low-balance, inactivity, or maintenance fee. Schwab and E*Trade are the two brokers in the survey to require a minimum deposit to open an account. Schwab is at $1,000, and E*Trade requires $500.

Customer Support

All five broker-dealers offer customer service day and night. TD Ameritrade is the lone exception to not have on-line chat. The broker’s website does have an AI named Ted that is able to answer some questions.

For branch locations, Ally Invest is the only company not to have any brick-and-mortar offices. TD Ameritrade has the most at more than 450.

Schwab seems to have the greatest emphasis on foreign language service. It has representatives who speak Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The broker also has offices in Britain and Puerto Rico. Ally Invest and E*Trade have the least global service, offering only English-language service with no international footprint.

Trading Technology

Ally Invest’s website is accessed through, which also hosts the company’s bank accounts. The brokerage side has a different layout than the banking side. It’s not quite as user-friendly as the banking layout, but it’s easy to navigate nonetheless.

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There’s a simple trade bar that sits at the bottom of the browsing window on Ally’s site. There is also an easy-to-use trading platform called Ally LIVE that is browser-based. Option chains, an order ticket, and charting are all available. There is no desktop platform available.

TD Ameritrade customers have access to much more than Ally offers. Trade Architect is a browser-based platform with better features than Ally’s version offers, such as live streaming of CNBC free of charge. SnapTicket is a trading ticket that appears at the bottom of the broker’s website. It is able to place trades for stocks, options, and ETF’s. TD Ameritrade also has a desktop platform called Thinkorswim, and it too has no trading requirements.

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E*Trade investors have access to a desktop platform, too; but it comes with frequent trader requirements. A simple dashboard, dubbed E*Trade 360, is the broker’s version of a simple browser-based trading environment. E*Trade also lacks the trade bar that Ally and TD Ameritrade have but it does offer a sophisticated trading platform, Etrade Pro, which comes with access requirements.

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Schwab traders can use a simple trade bar. It’s not as powerful as SnapTicket, however. In fact, trades cannot be placed from it. The broker does offer a simple trading platform at Its flagship trading system is StreetSmart Edge, a robust desktop platform.

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Fidelity’s clients get to use a sophisticated website, which has a pop-up trading window. SnapTicket seems more convenient because it sits at the bottom of the browser permanently. Like TD Ameritrade and Schwab, Fidelity offers its desktop platform called Active Trader Pro free of charge.

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Ally Invest: Up to $3,000 cash bonus + transfer fee refund.

TD Ameritrade: Get $0 commissions and ACAT fee reimbursement.

E*Trade: At E*TRADE, get $0 trades + 65₵ per options contract.

Charles Schwab: $500 cash for depositing money into Schwab.

Fidelity Investments: Get 500 free trades with $100,000+ deposit.

Mobile Trading

The normal Ally mobile app incorporates both bank and investment accounts. The brokerage side provides market news, charting, account positions, watchlists, and more. Besides phones and tablets, Ally Invest offers an app for both Apple and Android watches.

E*Trade also offers a mobile app. Its smartwatch platform only works on Apple, though. The broker recently replaced subscription CNBC with free streaming of Bloomberg. (Ally doesn’t offer any streaming financial news service.) The E*Trade app incorporates the ability to trade options and mutual funds.

Fidelity’s app is very sophisticated and obviously took a lot of effort to design. The front page displays information about global markets. The app streams Bloomberg and presents articles from Dow Jones and other sources.

TD Ameritrade customers have access to three mobile platforms. One of them is a version of thinkorswim. It streams CNBC, but only in standard definition. Like the other brokers, TD Ameritrade provides a mobile check deposit feature.

Schwab traders can use a phone, tablet, or watch app. CNBC streams free of charge, and paper checks can be deposited with the phone or tablet app. The software can buy and sell options and mutual funds, in addition to stocks and ETF’s. Market news and indices are also available.

Best IRA Companies Recap

Ally Invest and its rivals all offer top-notch retirement investing services, with each company excelling in a particular area. If you know beforehand how you plan to use an IRA account, you’ll be able to choose the right broker for your investing needs.