Banking

Alliant Credit Union review: It’s easy to become a member, with high interest rates on savings and checking

This post was last and updated on September 20, 2021.

 

Should you use Alliant Credit Union?

Savings

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.55% APY

Min Deposit

$5 (Alliant will pay it for you)

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Competitive APY
    • Alliant covers your $5 minimum opening deposit
    • No monthly service fee if you opt for eStatements instead of paper statements
    Cons
    • Interest compounded monthly, not daily
    • Minimum $100 balance to earn interest
    • Several ways to become a member; the easiest is to join Foster Care for Success (Alliant will cover your $5 membership fee)
    • Must maintain $100 balance to earn interest
    • Interest compounded monthly
    • Federally insured by the NCUA


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    Alliant High-Rate Savings is a solid online savings account. It pays a competitive interest rate, and there are no monthly service fees. There’s technically a $5 minimum opening deposit, but Alliant will cover the cost. Keep in mind that you do need to keep a $100 balance to earn interest, though.

    Checking

    Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.25% APY

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Earn interest
    • No minimum opening deposit
    • No monthly service fees
    • $20/month in out-of-network ATM fee refunds
    • No overdraft fees
    • No incoming wire transfer fee
    Cons
    • Compounds interest monthly, not daily
    • $25 outgoing wire transfer fee
    • Several ways to become a member; the easiest is to join Foster Care to Success (Alliant will cover your $5 membership fee)
    • 80,000+ free ATMs
    • Alliant does not charge overdraft fees; you can overdraw, but you will not pay a fee. You may also link checking to a savings account and select for funds to automatically transfer to cover overdrawn amount.
    • Interest compounded monthly
    • Federally insured by the NCUA


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    If you’re searching for an online checking account, then the Alliant High-Interest Checking Account is a worthwhile option. You’ll earn 0.25% APY, regardless of your balance.

    You don’t need any money to open an account, and there are no monthly service fees. You’ll have free access to over 80,000 ATMs nationwide. If you do use an out-of-network ATM and the provider charges you a fee, then Alliant will reimburse you up to $20 per month.

    Share certificates (CDs)

    Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.55% to 0.65% APY

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Competitive APY
    • Low-to-standard early withdrawal penalties
    Cons
    • Interest compounded monthly, not daily
    • $1,000 minimum deposit
    • No terms under 1 year or over 5 years
    • Several ways to become a member; the easiest is to join Foster Care to Success (Alliant will cover your $5 membership fee)
    • Terms ranging from 1 to 5 years
    • Early withdrawal penalty is dividends for the number of days the certificate is open. Up to 90 days dividends for terms of 12-17 months; up to 120 days dividends for terms of 18-23 months; up to 180 days interest for terms of 24 months or more; 7 days dividends if you withdraw during the 7-day grace period, even though no interest has accumulated yet
    • Interest compounded monthly
    • Federally insured by the NCUA


    Read Our Review
    Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

    An Alliant Certificate (the credit union version of a certificate of deposit) pays pretty good rates. Its early withdrawal penalties are relatively low, especially for longer-term certificates. Alliant requires $1,000 to open a CD, but if you don’t have that much money on hand, you can find other institutions that require less.

    How Alliant Credit Union works

    Alliant Credit Union is an online institution, and you can open accounts from anywhere in the US.

    Unlike banks, credit unions require you to become a member to open accounts — and Alliant makes it easier to join than most credit unions. Join Alliant by being an employee, retiree, or member of certain organizations. You can also qualify by living in certain parts of Illinois or being a relative of an existing Alliant member. But the easiest way to become a member is to join Foster Care to Success, and Alliant will cover your $5 joining fee.

    Alliant pays competitive interest rates. But like most credit unions, it only compounds your interest monthly. Most banks

    compound interest
    daily, which helps you earn more money in the long run. If it’s important to you to maximize your earnings, then you may prefer an online bank over a credit union.

    But if you prefer a credit union over a bank, then Alliant is a strong contender.

    The Alliant mobile app has received mostly positive reviews. It has 4.7 out of 5 stars in the Apple store, and 4.6 out of 5 stars in the Google Play store.

    Speak to an Alliant representative by calling customer service 24/7. Alliant doesn’t have a live online chat feature, but you can fill out an online form and wait for a response if you don’t want to talk over the phone.

    Your deposits are federally insured by the NCUA for up to $250,000, or $500,000 for joint accounts.

    Is Alliant trustworthy?

    The Better Business Bureau gives Alliant Credit Union an A+ in trustworthiness. A good BBB rating signifies a company responds effectively to customer complaints, has honest advertising practices, and is transparent in how it handles business.

    Alliant doesn’t have any public scandals. Between the strong BBB rating and positive public image, you may decide you’re comfortable banking with Alliant.

    How Alliant compares to similar credit unions

    We’ve compared Alliant to two other online credit unions that are easy to join: Pentagon Federal Credit Union and Connexus Credit Union.

    Alliant Credit Union review vs. Pentagon Federal Credit Union review

    Pentagon Federal Credit Union is the clear choice if you want to open a money market account, because Alliant doesn’t have

    money market accounts
    .

    You’ll probably prefer PenFed if you want a combination of online and in-person banking, and live near a PenFed branch. You can open a PenFed account online, but there are also branches in 13 US states and DC, and on military bases in Guam, Puerto Rico, and Japan.

    But you might like Alliant if you use ATMs regularly. Both credit unions have large free ATM networks, but PenFed doesn’t reimburse any fees charged by out-of-network ATM providers. PenFed will also charge you a $1.50 fee for using an out-of-network ATM.

    Alliant Credit Union review vs. Connexus Credit Union review

    You’ll want to go with Connexus Credit Union for a money market account, because Alliant doesn’t offer money market accounts.

    You might prefer Alliant if you think you’ll use out-of-network ATMs. Connexus has an ATM network and doesn’t charge you for using out-of-network ATMs. But if a provider charges you for using an out-of-network ATM, then Connexus doesn’t refund you. Alliant reimburses up to $20 per month for fees charged by ATM providers.

    If you care about interest rates, then your choice between the two credit unions could depend on whether you keep more money in savings or checking. Alliant pays a better APY on savings, but you can earn a much higher APY with Connexus’ checking account.

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