Investor Strategy

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

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  • Alliant Credit Union (federally insured by the NCUA) is an online institution that’s easier to join than most other credit unions.
  • Alliant pays high interest rates on savings and checking, but you can find slightly better rates on CDs elsewhere.
  • The credit union has a huge free ATM network, and it reimburses up to $20 per month for fees charged by out-of-network ATM providers.
  • Alliant doesn’t charge monthly service fees on any of its accounts, as long as you select eStatements rather than paper statements.
  • See Business Insider’s picks for the best credit unions >>

You might like Alliant if you:

  • Are comfortable banking digitally
  • Prefer a credit union over a bank
  • Prioritize earning a high savings interest rate
  • Want a checking account that earns interest
  • Use ATMs frequently

You might not like Alliant if you:

The bottom line: If you want to open a savings and checking account through a credit union, Alliant’s are some of the best out there. But if you’re looking for high CD rates, then you can find better elsewhere.

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.

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.

The main thing to look out for is overdraft fees. You’ll automatically enroll in overdraft protection if you also have an Alliant savings account. But if you aren’t enrolled, then you’ll pay a $28 overdraft fee — and there’s no limit on how many times Alliant can charge you for overdrawing.

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.

You may be able to find better certificates elsewhere, though. Alliant requires $1,000 to open a certificate, and some institutions require less. Some credit unions have certificates with shorter or longer terms than Alliant, too. And although Alliant’s rates are above average, you can find slightly higher rates elsewhere.

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 4.5 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.

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

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Alliant Credit Union

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Pentagon Federal Credit Union

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Connexus

Account types

Savings, checking, certificate

Account types

Savings, checking, certificate, money market account

Account types

Savings, checking, certificate, money market account

Savings APY

0.65% APY

Savings APY

0.70% APY

Savings APY

0.25% APY

Monthly fees

None

Monthly fees

Up to $10

Monthly fees

Up to $5

ATM network

Yes; $20/month for out-of-network fee refunds

ATM network

Yes; $1.50 charge for using out-of-network ATM

ATM network

Yes; up to $2 charge for using out-of-network ATM

Open an account Open an account Open an account

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. Alliant doesn’t charge you for using ATMs out of its network, and it reimburses up to $20 per month if an ATM provider charges you a fee. Connexus doesn’t refund any ATM fees. You can only use Connexus ATMs up to four times per month, then you’ll pay a $2 fee each time.

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.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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