Check out our guide to Ally Bank’s new lineup of invitation-only credit cards to determine if they’re a good fit
Ally Bank is a subsidiary of Ally Financial, a popular online financial services company that offers a range of products, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, mortgages, auto loans, and investment services. It was founded in 2009 and has its headquarters in Sandy, Utah.
Recently, Ally Bank introduced three credit cards: the Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard®, Ally Everyday Cash Back Mastercard® and Ally Platinum Mastercard®. For now, these are invitation-only cards, so you can only apply for one if you receive an offer from Ally Bank.
If you’ve received an offer and are wondering if you should apply, here’s a look at each card’s features and drawbacks and some alternatives to consider.
Ally Bank credit cards
Ally offers a mix of credit-building and rewards cards, all of which come with standard features like zero fraud liability, free FICO score access and the ability to lock your card if it’s lost or stolen. They also don’t charge foreign transaction fees, over-the-limit fees or assess penalty APRs.
|Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard®||Ally Everyday Cash Back Mastercard®||Ally Platinum Mastercard®|
3% cash back at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases
$0 to $39
|Other notable features ||Other notable features ||Other notable features |
Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard® details and benefits
The Ally Unlimited Cash Back Mastercard offers an unlimited flat rate of 2% cash back on all purchases. That’s one of the highest flat rates around, topping the popular Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers 1.5% cash back on purchases.
The card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees, which is on par with other top flat-rate cards. The lack of a penalty APR is also refreshing considering some cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card could send your credit card interest rates soaring up to 29.99% if you miss a payment.
Beyond the great flat rate and limited fees, the Ally Unlimited cash back card is light on additional features that could help make it one of the best flat-rate cash back cards. It doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, and not all applicants will receive an intro APR offer for purchases and balance transfers. A number of the top cash back cards — including the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card — offers cash rewards bonuses worth $200 after spending $500 in purchases in the first three months and also carries introductory APR offers for purchases and balance transfers, which can help you minimize interest charges.
Ally Everyday Cash Back Mastercard® details and benefits
The Ally Everyday Cash Back Mastercard® offers 3% cash back on gas, grocery stores and drug stores and 1% on other purchases. Depending on your creditworthiness, your annual fee could be anywhere from $0 to $39.
Some of the best cash back cards that offer 3X points on everyday purchases don’t charge an annual fee – but they’re for people with a good credit score or higher. If you have fair credit and qualify for the Everyday cash back card, it could be worth it to pay an annual fee, especially for the chance to earn unlimited 3% back on gas and groceries, two of the average person’s biggest spending categories.
If you already have good credit, this Ally Bank card may not offer as much value as other rewards cards for good credit, which typically come with perks beyond bonus rewards, like sign-up bonuses, intro APR offers and more. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express goes even further than most other no-annual-fee rewards cards,offering credits for the Disney bundle (including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+) and Home Chef online meal solutions.
Ally Platinum Mastercard® details and benefits
The Ally Platinum Mastercard could be a great fit for credit-builders. It’s an unsecured credit card that gives you access to credit and a chance to improve your credit score without having to deal with secured cards and the hassle of having to put down a security deposit.
The card’s best perks include charging no penalty APR if you make a late payment, free access to your FICO credit score and a higher credit limit after your first five on-time payments. These features are similar to those you’ll find on some of the best credit cards geared toward people with no credit, bad credit or fair credit. In fact, the Ally Platinum card’s credit limit policy beats out that of one of the most popular credit-building cards, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, which requires at least six months of on-time payments and doesn’t guarantee a credit line increase. Instead, Capital One only promises to review your account.
The Capital One Platinum Card also has a high variable APR of 29.74%, which applies to all cardholders, while the Ally Platinum Mastercard’s carries an APR range of 17.99% to 28.99%. While not all cardholders will qualify for the lower interest rate, it’s great that Ally at least gives you a chance at a low rate based on your credit history.
How to qualify for an Ally Bank card
Ally Bank cards are currently available by invitation only and aren’t open to the general public. To qualify, you’ll have to receive a prescreened offer. Only then are you eligible to apply. And while a prescreened offer means you’re likely to be approved, approval isn’t guaranteed. If your credit score has dropped due to negative marks appearing on your credit report or your income has gone down since Ally sent the offer, you could get denied.
Pros and cons of Ally Bank cards
Though Ally Bank cards offer useful benefits for cardholders, they certainly have some drawbacks. Here are some of the key pros and cons of Ally Bank credit cards:
- Ally has options for credit-builders and rewards fans alike
- No penalty APR if you make a late payment
- No over-the-limit fees if you make a purchase that exceeds your credit limit
- Free FICO score access
- Rewards cards offer a nice mix of bonus categories or flat-rate cash back
- Available by invitation only: You must receive a prescreened offer to apply
- Limited short-term benefits: Ally cards carry no sign-up bonuses and only select cardholders receive intro APR offers
- The high end of the standard APR range (17.99% to 28.99%) is higher than other credit cards with similar features
Are Ally Bank cards worth it?
The Ally Bank cards could be a good fit depending on your credit score and financial goals. There are certainly better cash back cards on the market compared to the Ally Unlimited and Ally Everyday cards, but if you can’t get approved for a rewards card that offers better perks or just want a card to help you grow your credit score, the Ally Bank cards are solid picks. This includes the Ally Platinum Mastercard, which is a great option for credit-builders who want to avoid putting down security deposits but struggle to get approved for other unsecured cards.
If you receive an invitation to apply for one of the new Ally Bank credit cards, it’s worth considering, especially if you are still working on building up your credit score. But before you apply, take some time to compare credit cards to determine if you are eligible for a card with more features.