Ally bank website and other problems

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pugchief
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by pugchief » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:15 pm

dualstow wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:39 pm
pugchief wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:36 am
No limit on withdrawals. I use their online billpay for the few non-electronic payments I have each month.
Isn't that electronic?
Actually, no in most cases. For instance, both my landscaper and snow plow guy send a monthly bill, and I sent the payment through Fidelity, who mails a paper check.
A less facetious question: don't you guys have to write checks once in a while? My friends in Europe and Asia don't, but I haven't totally escaped that in the States (nor do I mind, but that's me).
I write maybe 10-15 checks a year from my checkbook. Half of those are birthday gifts to family, and the rest are for service people who come to the house and want to be paid on the spot, e.g., the HVAC guy or the plumber.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by dualstow » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:01 pm

Ah, I see.

Checks: same story here.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by Tyler » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:56 pm

sophie wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:14 am
"Funds on an EFT [electronic funds transfer] can take several days to settle into your Fidelity® Cash Management Account."
I don't currently use the cash management feature, but I use Fidelity and like it a lot. In my experience, it takes about 3 days for an EFT to settle. In the investment account you can purchase securities with that money right away but you can't withdraw it until it's settled, and I imagine it's similar on the cash side. I've personally never experienced anything like a 2-week hold, and I suspect that's an outlier situation.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by sophie » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:31 pm

It seems to vary. I've had some transfers go through in a day. Most appear quickly but the funds are listed as "unsettled activity" and thus unusable for anything except buying securities in the account for periods that range from 2-3 days to more than a week. I definitely had at least one 2 week experience - maybe an outlier, but if it happened once it can happen again.

Thanks to the PP philosophy though, I have enough cash that can hang out in money market funds that I don't really have to worry about bouncing checks or bill payments. Still, though, I would not risk relying on Fidelity as complete drop-in replacement for a bank checking account. I really had no problems with Chase except I hated running into overdraft situations. I was thinking to use Chase only for fixed monthly expenses & ATM withdrawals, and pay all non-fixed bills out of Fidelity.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by ochotona » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:37 pm

Schwab has some good purchasable MM options, but they aren't sweep.

https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/in ... t_treasury
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by sophie » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:02 am

Now this is interesting!

I opened a Fidelity cash management account to try it out, connected it to my bank account in both directions, added my Individual brokerage account to the overdraft list, and ran a couple of tests. First, I sent $100 to Fidelity from my bank (sent FROM the bank, not pulling from Fidelity). The cash appeared in the account (in core) and settled within a day. As soon as it showed up, I put most of it into a money market fund (FDLXX) and left just a few dollars in the core account. This trade took the usual 5 business days to settle.

As soon as that trade settled, I tried out the debit card at an ATM machine, for an amount greater than the core account but less than the amount in the money market fund. Theoretically, a debit should be covered automatically from the money market fund, and if that didn't happen for some reason, it would go to the core position in my Individual account. I expected this would be a same-day transaction, since the cash manager runs every night.

I got my cash, but to my surprise this shows up as a "cash advance", and it's debited from the account but taking the usual week or so to settle. A cash advance carries an interest charge of 26%, but other than that Fidelity's website says nothing useful about this. The amount includes the ATM fee, which is supposed to be refunded at some point. Meanwhile, the money market fund and core fund still show their previous balances and are presumably still generating interest.

This is all pretty weird stuff. I would like to use this account, but figuring out the byzantine (and undocumented) rules is going to require a lot of experimenting before I'd do anything more than test transactions. Meanwhile, anyone with experience (pugchief?) who might know what this cash advance deal is about? Do all ATM transactions show up as a cash advance until they settle, or is this just because the core account didn't have enough in it to cover the withdrawal?
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by pugchief » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:21 am

Sophie, as explained elsewhere, I don't have a debit card with them. One would think the manner of excess, whether ATM, ACH EFT, or check would render the same result. This is what I was told in a chat:
New party ('Pugchief') has joined the session
Pugchief: cash management Q
Thank you for contacting Fidelity Investments. All interactions are subject to recordkeeping and monitoring. Brokerage chat representatives are
registered with Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC and are unable to accept any trading requests to buy, sell or exchange securities in ANY
account, or to process any transactions in your retirement saving or benefit plan, nor do they provide legal, tax or investment advice. Fidelity
Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC
New party ('Fidelity Rep') has joined the session
Fidelity Rep: Hello! Thank you for contacting us. I hope you are well.
Pugchief: Thanks, you as well.
Fidelity Rep: I am, thank you. I understand you have a question about cash management, how can I assist?
Pugchief: I have about $7000 in my core account, and another $50,000 'available for withdrawal' in another money market fund.
Pugchief: If I wrote a hypothetical check for say $10,000 would the $3000 above the balance in the core account just be paid from the
other money market account or would the check bounce?
Fidelity Rep: Great question. We will pull from your core account first. If there are insufficient funds in the core account, we will
automatically liquidate your money market to cover for the transaction. The check would not bounce.
Pugchief: Good to know, thanks for the clarification. That is all, have a good weekend.
Fidelity Rep: You're welcome! You as well!
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by pugchief » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:30 am

Also, I'm not sure why your trades are taking 5 business days to settle. Years ago there was a T+3 rule where 3 business days was allowed to settle trades. The SEC changed that to T+1 quite a while back, so everything should be fully settled in 1 business day if it involves a trade using available funds. Moving new money into the account might have different rules, but my experience is that except in rare occasions, check deposits and inbound ACH (as long as the $ is pushed to Fido rather than pulled) are always available the next business day. The cash management account is just a regular checking account thru UMB Bank that works invisibly in the background.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by sophie » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:41 am

Ah, I didn't catch that, sorry. Unlike you, I'd want to use the debit card to pull cash from ATM machines that aren't owned by my primary bank, to avoid fees.

I had much the same conversation with a Fidelity rep and was told the same thing, but I still thought that a test was in order. Should you ever decide to get a debit card, you now know that it apparently runs on a different set of rules from checks. And I still feel the need to check the behavior of billpay (e.g. by making a small mid-cycle payment to a credit card that also exceeds the core account balance).

I also don't know why Fidelity takes 5 business days to settle transactions, but it most definitely does. The ACH push from my bank was 1 day, but buying the Treasury MM took 5 days and this "cash advance" looks like it will also take the full 5 business days. Or longer...I have experienced up to 8 business days settlement time with Fido. Vanguard doesn't do this, and the only bank transaction I've seen take this much time is checks deposited into Ally - they allow you to use the first $200 right away, but hold the rest of the check for 5 days. This is a major source of complaints about them. Chase doesn't do this.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by dualstow » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:18 pm

Unable to see my tax checks (the images) for many days now. Grr.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by sophie » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:23 am

Which bank is that, dualstow?

Still testing out Fidelity. Their transfer software is seriously strange not to mention buggy. I did find that if you push from your bank to Fidelity it takes 1 day for the money to become available, but it's 3 days if you pull from Fidelity. When I tested automated investing (thankfully with small amounts) the thing failed most of the time and generated duplicate transactions with no confirmation or notification. I've used it before but not in a long time, and it looks like it's broken now.

Anyway, I've been enjoying the "Fidelity as a one stop shop" thread on Bogleheads. It appears you can get around the limitations of the CMA by creating a separate brokerage account (call it "checking"), setting its core position to the money market fund of your choice, and set the CMA to draft from this account. Keep a zero balance in the CMA and push money from your primary bank (or whatever source) to the separate "checking" brokerage. Voila, high interest checking with fast transfers and free billpay.
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Re: Ally bank website and other problems

Post by dualstow » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:31 am

Ally

Sophie’s referenced thread, I guess.
🧵 https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=266538
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