Alliant Credit Union Bank Review
Is Alliant Credit Union a good bank?
Alliant Credit Union is an online credit union with a wide range of services, low fees, and competitive interest rates. Originally started on October 26, 1935, as the United Airlines Employees' Credit Union, it has since grown to one of the largest credit unions in the U.S. with more than 500,000 members and $12 billion in assets.
Broad eligibility requirements
Checking and savings accounts without fees
Checking and savings accounts for kids
No money market accounts
Not part of a national shared branching network for in-person business at credit union branches
Overdraft fees can get expensive
Who Is Alliant Credit Union Best For?
Alliant Credit Union offers account types to meet most consumers' needs. If you're a fan of credit unions and online banking, it may be the best of both worlds for you. Alliant should be particularly attractive to those who want to:
- Earn competitive rates on fee-free savings accounts
- Open savings accounts for children
- Open a checking account with online bill payment and a free debit card and checks
- Earn with CDs that don't charge hefty early withdrawal penalties
- Get rebates on ATM fees
What Does Alliant Credit Union Offer?
Alliant Credit Union offers a standard lineup of financial services and products. You can open a variety of accounts for long-term savings and daily use.
- Savings account
- Checking account
- Certificates of deposit (CDs)
- Custodial accounts
- Credit cards
The High-Rate Savings account is a competitive online bank account that offers rates 15x the banking industry average. It offers these other features:
- 0.75% APY with an average daily balance of at least $100
- No monthly fees if you select electronic statements
- $5 initial deposit (they pay it for you)
- Mobile check deposit
- Open up to 19 supplemental accounts to manage your savings
This account is unique because you get an ATM card with your savings account, while some online banks require you to transfer money out of savings to get cash. Supplemental savings accounts are subaccounts you can open and nickname to give yourself a savings goal and purpose. For example, you may open a supplemental savings account titled "Home Downpayment" to save for your first home.
You can also open savings accounts for children under the age of 13, helping them develop healthy financial habits. To do so, Alliant requires a parent, grandparent, or guardian to own the account with the child jointly, and they must be an Alliant member. The account features are otherwise the same as the High-Rate Savings account.
The Alliant High-Interest Checking account is a standard checking account with a 0.25% APY—more than 4x higher than the industry average. Other perks include:
- No monthly maintenance fees
- No minimum balance
- $20 monthly rebate on out-of-network ATM fees (excluding international transaction fees)
- Free order of checks
- Free Visa debit card and first box of checks
- Free online bill payment for one-time and recurring payments
The High-Interest checking account also offers overdraft protection. If you don't have the appropriate funds in your account, they'll pull funds from a savings account at Alliant instead of having your card declined. Unlike most banks, there's no fee for doing such.
Alliant's Courtesy Pay will cover electronic payments, transfers, and checks that won't clear due to insufficient funds. The charge for each Courtesy Pay is $28, and the overdraft balance must be paid within 17 days.
The Teen checking account is for members between the ages of 13 and 17, and like the Kids Savings account, it requires joint ownership with a parent, grandparent, or guardian. It includes the same perks as the High-Interest checking account.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Alliant Credit Union offers standard CDs with a variety of terms ranging from 12 to 60 months. Rates are as follows:
|Term of Certificate||APY|
|12 to 17 months||0.65%|
|18 to 23 months||0.65%|
|24 to 35 months||0.65%|
|36 to 47 months||0.70%|
Those rates are competitive with most other online banks, but many others don't include the $1,000 minimum deposit that Alliant requires. Here are the early withdrawal penalties:
|Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|Term of Certificate||Penalty (days of dividends lost)|
|12 to 17 months||Number of days the certificate is open, up to 90 days|
|18 to 23 months||Number of days the certificate is open, up to 120 days|
|24 to 48 months||Number of days the certificate is open, up to 180 days|
|60 months||Number of days the certificate is open, up to 180 days|
If you want to save on behalf of your child, the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) account, or custodial account, is a great option to consider. The account is technically in the name of the minor, but the parent or guardian has full control until they turn 18 or 21 years old, depending on the state. It includes the following benefits:
- Taxed at child's tax rate
- No maximum balance
- No yearly contribution limit
- Dividends paid monthly with an average daily balance of at least $100
Alliant Credit Union offers three credit card options:
- Visa Signature: 2.5% cash back
- Visa Platinum: Low interest rates
- Visa Platinum Rewards: Two points per $1 spent
The Signature card has a $99 annual fee, but the first year is waived. Neither the Platinum or Platinum Rewards cards have an annual fee, and they both offer a 0% introductory APR, which is beneficial for anyone looking to do a balance transfer. Other benefits include:
- Generous credit lines
- Compatibility with Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay
- $0 fraud liability guarantee
- Bonus point with qualifying spend
Other Financial Products From Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union offers a selection of other offerings:
- Mortgage loans
- Vehicle loans
- Personal loans
- Trust accounts
- Life insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Auto insurance
Alliant Credit Union Customer Service
Alliant Credit Union has consistently appeared on lists of the best credit unions and online banks. Their account opening experience is user-friendly, and they do their best to extend eligibility to virtually anyone interested. Customers with questions can access their frequently asked questions, send an email, or contact their 24/7 support at (800) 328-1935. They don't offer online chat support like some larger banks.
How to Bank With Alliant Credit Union
Eligible people can open an account on Alliant's website, or by calling (800) 328-1935. Those who live near Chicago may be eligible through their employer or geographic location, but virtually anybody nationwide can become a member by supporting Alliant's partner charity, Foster Care to Success. By donating at least $5, you meet Alliant's membership criteria.
There's also a substantial list of organizations, clubs, and unions, that give you eligibility. Like any financial institution, you'll need to provide personal information and proof of eligibility when opening an account.
The Bottom Line
Alliant makes an online credit union available to almost anyone. If you're a fan of customer-owned institutions and you don't have suitable options locally, Alliant may be an excellent choice. The range of financial products and services offered and its higher-than-average interest rates put it on par with some of the most competitive online banks. Other banks may pay slightly more, but the difference is minimal unless you keep a significant amount in savings.
Alliant's online help allows you to search for answers, but the functionality could be better. You need to know exactly what you're looking for, and you may end up with blog posts and other pages that don't directly answer your question. The solution is to contact customer service, which you can do 24/7. The lack of participation in shared branching may be disappointing to those who appreciate banking in a branch.
Alliant Credit Union. "About." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Bank." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "High-Rate Savings." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Supplemental Savings." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Kids Savings Account." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "High-Rate Checking." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "What is Courtesy Pay?" Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Teen Checking." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Certificates." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Is There a Penalty If I Close My Alliant Certificate Early?" Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Custodial Accounts." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Visa Signature." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Visa Platinum Rewards." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Visa Platinum." Accessed May 7, 2020.
Alliant Credit Union. "Eligibility." Accessed May 7, 2020.