Alliant Credit Union Review

Is Alliant Credit Union a good financial institution?

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Alliant Credit Union is an online credit union with a wide range of services, low fees, and competitive interest rates. Originally founded in 1935, as the United Airlines Employees' Credit Union, it has since grown to be one of the largest credit unions in the U.S., with more than 500,000 members and $12 billion in assets.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Broad eligibility requirements

  • Checking and savings accounts without fees

  • Checking and savings accounts for kids

Cons
  • 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

Company Overview
  • Official Website www.alliantcreditunion.org
  • Product Offerings Savings, checking, CDs, custodial accounts, credit cards
  • Customer Service Email or phone support available 24/7 at (800) 328-1935
  • Year Founded 1935

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:

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

The High-Rate Savings account is a competitive online bank account that offers rates 15x the banking industry average. It offers these other features:

  • 0.65% 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
  • Up to 19 supplemental accounts allowed to help 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 Down Payment" 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.

Checking Account

The Alliant High-Interest Checking account is a standard checking account with a 0.25% APY—more than four times 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 that.

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:

CD Rates
Term of Certificate APY
12 to 17 months 0.55%
18 to 23 months 0.55%
24 to 35 months 0.55%
36 to 47 months 0.60%
48 months 0.65%
60 months 0.65%

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

Custodial Accounts

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

Credit Cards

Alliant Credit Union offers three credit card options:

Card Main Benefits Annual Fee
Visa Signature 2.5% cash back $99, waived the first year
Visa Platinum Low ongoing APR; 0% APR purchase and balance transfer deals $0
Visa Platinum Rewards 2 rewards points per $1 spent; 0% APR purchase and balance transfer deals  $0

Other Financial Products From Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union offers a selection of other offerings:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Vehicle loans
  • Personal loans
  • IRAs
  • 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. Its account opening experience is user-friendly, and it does its best to extend eligibility to virtually anyone interested. Customers with questions can visit an online Q&A guide, send an email, or contact 24/7 support at (800) 328-1935. However, Alliant doesn't offer online chat support like some larger banks do.

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.

Final Verdict

BENEFITS

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.

DRAWBACKS

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.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
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  2. Alliant Credit Union. "Bank." Accessed August 21, 2020.

  3. Alliant Credit Union. "High-Rate Savings." Accessed August 21, 2020.

  4. Alliant Credit Union. "Save to Make Dreams a Reality." Accessed August 18, 2020.

  5. Alliant Credit Union. "Kids Savings Account." Accessed August 21, 2020.

  6. Alliant Credit Union. "High-Interest Checking Paired With an Award-Winning Mobile App." Accessed August 18, 2020.

  7. Alliant Credit Union. "What is Courtesy Pay?" Accessed August 21, 2020.

  8. Alliant Credit Union. "Teen Checking." Accessed August 18, 2020.

  9. Alliant Credit Union. "Certificates." Accessed August 21, 2020.

  10. Alliant Credit Union. "Is There a Penalty If I Close My Alliant Certificate Early?" Accessed August 18, 2020.

  11. Alliant Credit Union. "Custodial Accounts." Accessed August 18, 2020.

  12. Alliant. "Find Out If You Are Eligible." Accessed August 18, 2020.

  13. Alliant Credit Union. "Eligibility." Accessed August 18, 2020.