Ally Bank Payback Time Promotion: 1% Additional Cash Bonus (~6% APY 3-month CD)

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Ally Bank has a new promotion called Ally Payback Time that is offering a 1% cash bonus (up to $1,000) on new deposits on top of their existing interest rates. Valid for both new and existing customers. Given the holding period, this roughly equates to the same total interest paid as a 3-month bank CD at 6% APY. Here’s how it works:

  • Enroll by 10/21/18 at You must enroll or you won’t get the bonus. Existing customers must enroll with the same e-mail as linked to their Ally bank account.
  • Fund account by 10/31/18. This means your account has to be approved, opened and funded by this date. Technically the terms state that the funds must arrive by 11/5/18, but that is likely just a grace period and you should initiate any fund transfers by 10/31/18.
  • Maintain funds through 1/15/19. You must keep your new funds there through 1/15/19. This is really only a 2.5 month period if you waited until the last moment. Withdrawals may lower your bonus.
  • Get cash bonus on 2/15/19. After another 30 days, they will deposit your cash bonus into your Ally account.

To be clear, the bonus applies to new funds added to an eligible Ally bank account, not your total balance. Eligible accounts include Ally Online Savings, Money Market, Interest Checking, and CD accounts.

Rough math. The current rate on the Ally Online Savings account is 1.90% APY, and the 11-month No Penalty CD is 2.10% APY on $25k+ balances (as of 10/15/18). Given that you can an additional 1% bonus in a bit under 3 months, the bonus itself works out to the equivalent of a 4% annualized yield. 2% plus 4% = 6%, so you’re looking at the equivalent of a 3-month CD at 6% APY for new money deposits between $1,000 and $100,000. At such a high yield, this promo is a “no-brainer” when compared to other liquid savings accounts for the next 3 months.

The promo page has a calculator to show you your total cash earned over a year. If you move over $10,000 at 1.90% APY, you’d get $190 of interest in a year plus a $100 bonus = $290 total. That would work out to a total of 2.9% APY if you were lazy and just kept it all there for a year. Still not too shabby.

Should I move money out of Ally and back in to qualify? No, it won’t make any difference as Ally has already thought of that. All new funds added after 10/8/18 will count as new money for this promotion. They’ve already set the start date in the past, so you gain nothing by delaying your enrollment.

Existing customers. As a longtime Ally accountholder, I’m happy to see that this offer includes existing customers, even if it has to be new money. The promotion should be called the “Ally Money Comeback Time” as lots of people are probably bringing back funds that in the past year or so.

Payback Time? This YouTube ad explains the meaning behind “Payback Time”, basically the megabanks pay you no interest and keep it for themselves:

Bottom line. Ally Bank has a new promotion to attract new money (or bring back old money). You get a 1% cash bonus (up to $1,000) on new deposits on top of their existing interest rates. For their savings account, this works out to a 3-month holding period paying roughly 6% annualized interest. You must enroll soon by 10/21 and your account must be opened and fully funded by 11/5/18 at the very latest.

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  1. Does this apply ALL new funds that hit our Ally accounts before the deadline, like check deposits, direct deposit of salary, cash back from credit cards, money other people send us, etc. or does this only include funds that we transfer in from another bank account?

  2. new money deposited after 10/8 qualifies, what about withdrawals? do they look at net cash flow starting from 10/8? if so then it actually hurts their current customers who have most of their money with ally

  3. Thanks Jonathan for this great info!! I love the 24 hour turn around with transfers with Ally. I clicked on the link you provided signed into my savings account and added some money. I will assume this is cumulative and I can keep adding funds up to 10/31/2018?

  4. Thanks Joanathan for the great info! I am assuming after I clicked on your link and since I am a current ALLY customer that when I made my initial transfer it will be cumulative as I add additional funds up to 10/31/2018?

  5. Say your Ally Balance is $10K on 10/7. Any deposits after 10/8 will count toward promo. So if your balance is $50k on 10/31, $40K would count for the 1% promo.

    Now I suspect if my balance stays at or above $50k up until 1/15, I should be fine.

    Now what happens if I withdraw $5K on 11/1 and deposit $5K on 11/31? Do I get disqualified for promo? Do I get 1% only on $35K since I technically withdrew new funds before 1/15?

    • Good questions. I also wonder what would happen if I opened a new savings account in addition to my existing one and deposited money in the new account and only made withdrawals from the older account. That way there would be no dispute that the withdrawn money was “old” funds.

  6. I don’t know exactly how Ally will enforce their terms, but this is how I read their terms and conditions.

    – Whatever your balance is on 11/5/18 is will be the high water mark. (Minus whatever was already there on 10/7/18). Doesn’t matter what happens before 11/5 in terms of deposits and withdrawals. This will determine your max bonus.

    – Between 11/5/18 and 1/15/19, any time you go below your high water mark, that will lower your eligible bonus as you did not keep all the money there every single day of the the retention period. Your eligible deposit amount can only be adjusted downward, and permanently. If you add funds above the high water mark first and then withdraw the same amount or less later, that will not affect your bonus.

  7. DirtyLilRat says

    I’m a bit confused… What if you withdrew 20k on 10/11/18?

  8. Dirty-
    Allow me to speculate. The two important dates are 10/8 and 11/5. The increase in your balance between those 2 dates is the maximum amount you can get the 1% bonus on.

    So if you withdrew money on 10/11 (and had no other transactions) you would have to redeposit that amount by 11/5 to even get to $0 for the 1% and would have to add more (and somewhere in fine print you have to have at least $1000 involved to get any bonus) to have any money eligible for the bonus. (“The minimum Cash Bonus payout amount is $10.”)

    If you do contact Ally, please post here to confirm or refute this.

  9. Jason Boxman says

    Rejected. I guess I’ve opened too many accounts lately or it’s the 7 year freeze I have at the credit bureaus. I opened an HSBC account for the easy bonus (just add money) and an account with a local physical bank (only a DD for bonus). Fortunately I’m content with my current primary account, although the flexibility of the Ally account was something I would’ve considered for a primary account if I’d not been rejected.

    • its probably the freeze. My dad had a ID theft notice place on his accounts and it caused him to not be able to open an account. If that is the case, they’ll give you a case number and you can manually open your account over the phone.

      • Jason Boxman says

        Looks like that’s what it was. I setup a 7 year alert some years ago. Since then my identity has been breached so many places, I just laugh when there’s another breach. How much worse can it get?

        And yet, even today, when a bank verifies my identity, too frequently it’s information that’s readily available from a breech, be it birth place or maiden name or last 4 of social or whatever. It’s like the past 10 years of breaches haven’t happened.

  10. Thanks for the heads up for this great promotion. I visit the main Ally website often and even so, would have otherwise not known about this promotion as I’d seen nothing on their site promoting it.

  11. The promotion terms are misleading & the actual bonus calculations incorrect. I deposited brand new $ 100,000 from another bank to my Ally Savings. Everything was done before the deadline. Got confirmations & all seemed fine. Until – Today, when I got an email which said “as of 11/5/18, you’re on track to get a bonus of $999”. Which kept me wondering where did the $1 got lost. I had not made any withdrawals from my Ally Savings after the deposit of this new money. I decided to chat with Ally Customer Service. The rep’s name was Destiny. I understood from her that I lost $1 because of withdrawals of $133.39 made from my Ally Checking Account which were prior to my deposit of new money of $ 100,000 in my Ally Savings Account – but within the period 10/08/18-11/05/18. Also newly understood from her that the promotion is based upon the total balance in both accounts. Don’t understand how my Checking Account transactions prior to the deposit of monies in my Savings Account should be of any relevance. I read the full terms of this program again but cannot find any mention of what the rep told me.
    The only thing I understood is that at anytime the balance should not fall below the new monies deposited in the Ally Account where the money is deposited. In conclusion – this is a confusing & not well implemented program. Disappointed with Ally.

    • I dunno, seems pretty clear to me. Ally wants to reward new money. If you put $100,000 into a new CD and take out $100,000 from your checking account, should that count as bringing in new money? I don’t think so.

      I think taking into account all your money at Ally is actually the best practice, as long as they can track it accurately.

  12. The amount I received in my email is$700 less. I deposited $92K
    When I called the rep said that there was an error with emails.
    I have documented the phone call. I also have the name of a supervisor prior to adding more funds stated if I cash out on any CDs that would not go against my external deposits to my savings account.
    Now I need to fight for my money!!

    • Ally clearly needed to do a better job of explaining how this works.

      But if I had $100k in CDs which I cashed out to a savings account, do you think Ally intended to treat that as “new money” and give me a bonus on that? (And if the objection to that is “it’s not external funds”, just modify that scenario to have the CD money go to an external account for a day.)

      The rules say:
      Eligible Account(s) – Includes any single or combination of Ally Bank Online Savings, Money Market, Interest Checking, and CD accounts.

      And they also say:
      Ally Bank reserves the right to refuse to … pay out the Cash Bonus, at any time, for any reason.

      Maybe you’ll find a sympathetic person at Ally to deal with the mistake the supervisor made in explaining the rules.

      • Please let me clarify Bill. I added external funds to my Savings account totaling $92K during the dates specified within the terms. I also had some NO penalty CDs with Ally. Because I didn’t want to exceed the $250K amount among all my accounts at Ally I placed a call to Ally prior to depositing the total $92K to Savings. I asked the question, if I bring in the funds to Ally but cash out my CDs and remove from Ally will this effect my promo bonus on the external funds I am bringing into my Savings account. He said “NO” The phone call is recorded along with my documentation of the Supervisor’s name and call date and time. It was my understanding, the balance would only apply to my Savings account (which I registered to the promo) at the specified dates and tracking of external funds coming in. The benchmark would be amount prior to 10/8 and after 11/5 on this account ONLY.
        However based on my recent Ally email that is not what happen! I was misinformed!!

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