Ally Bank Auto Loan: In-Depth Review
If you’re looking to finance a new or used vehicle, you’re probably interested in learning more about what Ally Bank has to offer. Ally is one of the top five largest auto lenders in the U.S., partnering with some 18,000 dealerships across the nation to finance new and used auto loans. Ally offers a wide range of auto loan terms including two unique financing options: Ally Buyer’s Choice® and Ally Balloon Advantage℠.
In this review, we’ll explain how financing with Ally works and what you need to know about Ally Bank’s auto loan options.
Here’s what we’ll cover.
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Ally Bank has technically only been around since 2009, but its history goes much deeper than that. Ally was created after General Motors chose to divest itself of its auto lending business in the wake of the financial crisis. By spinning off its auto business, it was possible for GM’s lending arm, GMAC, to receive TARP funds (i.e. bank bailout money) to avoid collapse.
Ultimately, Ally Bank became its own brand and entity and has carried on GM’s legacy of auto lending, which goes back to the early 20th century. It’s an entirely digital bank, meaning it has no physical branches. It doesn’t just offer auto loans, however, but also offers deposit accounts like savings, checking and CDs.
When it comes to auto financing, Ally Bank has five different options you may choose from. But you won’t be able to apply for these directly with Ally like you can with some other auto loans. You have to go to the dealership directly and apply for financing. And, even then, Ally may not be the lender that the dealer suggests to you. Furthermore, if the dealer does suggest an Ally loan product, it won’t be easy to compare the Ally offer with rates with other lenders.
This is why we suggest always getting quotes from banks before you walk into a dealership so you can compare auto loan rates in advance. At the very least, you’ll walk into a dealer more knowledgeable about what types of rates you should qualify for. You also have a big bargaining chip in your hand. If the dealer doesn’t beat your other loan offers, you can always walk away and get financing somewhere else. The point is that the dealer’s financing options are not your only options.
Here are the five auto loan options Ally offers:
- Traditional auto financing. This basic financing option comes with tools to help you manage your account and payments, and on-the-go access through the Ally Auto Mobile Pay app on IOS and Android. If you need special accessibility such as a wheelchair lift, Ally Bank has auto financing for your needs.
- Ally SmartLease®. This is Ally’s leasing option, which you can use to lease new and pre-owned cars. If you go with a pre-owned vehicle, it will automatically come with Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP), and you will be given the opportunity to purchase a maintenance plan similar to that of new vehicles.
- Ally Buyer’s Choice®. This unique auto financing option combines the best of both traditional financing and leasing. Ally Bank offers both 48-month and 60-month special prepayment dates. On the date of your contract, you have two options: You may sell the car back to Ally Bank, or continue making payments on your vehicle. Nevada is only one state in which this auto financing option from Ally Bank cannot be used.
- Ally Balloon Advantage℠. This vehicle financing option offers a fixed APR and low payments until the end of your financing contract. But the catch is that this financing option comes with a larger expected payment at the end. It is available to all customers except those who live in Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The Ally Balloon Advantage℠ financing option can be used on all new GM, Chrysler and Mitsubishi vehicles and on used vehicles up to four years old. The two types of vehicles that it cannot be utilized for when buying a pre-owned car are Saab and Suzuki.
- RV financing. Financing your RV is possible through Ally Bank. Finance your new or used RV, up to 10 years old with mileage up to 75,000. Ally will finance the following types:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
- Bus conversions
- 5th wheels
- Travel trailers
Highlights of the Ally Bank Auto Loan
- 24/7 support. Not having physical locations means Ally is not tied to normal business hours. Ally is available to support their customers around-the-clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Simply log in to your online Ally auto account and chat with a live person, send an email or call customer support.
- Mobile accessibility. From online account management options to an app to check on your account while you are out and about, Ally has you covered.
- Top auto financial company. Ally Financial has a 6% market share, the highest of all banks.
Lowlights of auto financing with Ally Bank
- Indirect lending. To discover what you qualify for you must go through one of the 18,000 dealers Ally has partnerships with. Rates are not openly disclosed on their website.
- No facetime. Ally Bank may offer around the clock chat with a live person but as an online bank, it can not offer you the opportunity to interact with a customer service representative face to face.
When you’re ready, here’s how to apply.
- Research your options. Ally has many options for auto financing. Make sure to do your research to determine which you think best fits your budget. You may also want to get loan offers from other lenders for comparison.
- Find a dealer. Ally Bank does not disclose its auto finance rates online. To find out what you would qualify for, the first step is to find a dealer.
- Go to the dealer. Meet with the dealer. Come ready to look at cars and make a selection.
- Apply for a loan. Once you’ve selected a vehicle, your dealer will perform a credit check. Make sure you consult this checklist for all the necessary paperwork you’ll need.
- Review loan offers. Dealers generally work with multiple lenders, so don’t be surprised if you get other loan offers in addition to Ally’s. Review the financing options available to you and compare rates, terms and payment amount.
Because the offer will come through a dealer, no fine print is available. In general, you should check to make sure you’re paying for the items discussed and nothing extra. Some dealers may try to hide add-on services that increase your financed amount. This may include dealer document fees, warranties or accessories. Check the line items in the contract and ask about anything you don’t recognize. In some cases, dealers may simply make a mistake, charging you for something you agreed was supposed to be free but isn’t.
Walking into a dealership to get a loan puts you at a disadvantage if you don’t come prepared. This means doing your homework on Ally, but also having other loan offers for comparison.
Make sure you talk to a couple other lenders or get multiple quotes using LendingTree. Then, when you’re at the dealership, you can compare the interest rate, term, monthly payment amount, and total loan costs to make sure you’re getting the best deal.