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Alliant Credit Union Review 2022: Fee-free checking and savings and competitive APYs—but charges inactivity fees

November 15, 2022, 6:35 PM UTC
Illustration of the Alliant Credit Union logo inside of a blue and green frame.
Alliant customers have access to a fee-free network of 80,000 ATMs nationwide.
Illustration by Fortune; Original logo by Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union is a fully digital bank based in Chicago. A nonprofit financial institution, Alliant offers a suite of financial services and accounts with minimal to no fees. This includes no monthly service fees and no overdraft fees on its checking accounts and no fees on savings accounts for customers who select e-statements. Alliant customers also have fee-free access to 80,000 ATMs across the country.

In addition to these notable benefits when banking with Alliant, customers get a high 2.5% APY on savings accounts, which is 21 times the national average and 0.25% on checking accounts. However, the bank does charge inactivity fees, which may be a problem depending on how often you need to use your account—or if you have multiple checking accounts for different needs.

All deposits to Alliant accounts are FDIC-insured. Rates and fees are current as of Nov. 14, 2022, and are subject to change.

Alliant Credit Union offerings 

Alliant offers checking and savings accounts, credit cards, CDs, auto loans, and even UTMA accounts. 

Checking and savings accounts 

Alliant offers both a high-rate checking and a high-rate savings account; both accounts come with minimal to no fees.

High-rate checking account

  • APY: 0.25%
  • Fees: $0
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • Returned deposit fee: $15
  • Deposit of checks from non-U.S. banks: $35
  • Document copies: $5

In addition to the notable APY and lack of fees on its checking accounts, Alliant customers have access to a fee-free network of 80,000 ATMs nationwide. Alliant also offers up $20 in ATM rebates each month.

High-rate savings account 

  • APY: 2.5%
  • Fees: $0 for those who choose e-statements
  • Minimum balance: $0
  • Returned deposit fee: $15
  • Inactivity fee: $10
  • Account closure within 90 days of opening: $10
  • Deposit of checks from non-U.S. banks: $35

The interest rate on Alliant’s savings account is well above national averages. While there is no minimum balance required to open the account, customers must maintain a balance to earn the APY. 

Supplemental savings account 

  • APY: 2.5% for those who maintain $100 balance or more
  • Fees: $0 for those who choose e-statements
  • Minimum balance to open: $0
  • Returned deposit fee: $15
  • Inactivity fee: $0
  • Account closure within 90 days of opening: $10
  • Deposit of checks from non-U.S. banks: $35

Alliant allows customers to open as many as 19 supplemental savings accounts. While customers may open supplemental savings accounts with no initial deposit, money must be transferred later. In addition, to keep these accounts open a $5 balance must be maintained. 

Certificates of deposit

  • APY: Up to 4.5%
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000
  • Fees: Early withdrawal penalty varies based on timing of withdrawal and the number of days the CD was open.

The maturity dates on Alliant’s CDs range from 12 to 60 months, and deposits are insured up to $250,000. The bank offers several types of CDs including a standard CD, a traditional IRA certificate, a Roth IRA certificate, and a SEP IRA certificate. The APY for all of the CDs is 4.5%. In order to open a traditional, Roth, or SEP CD, you must open the corresponding retirement account.

Other services Alliant Credit Union offers 

Alliant Credit Union offers a handful of other financial products and services, including: 

  • Auto loans: Alliant’s auto loans offer same-day approval and rates as low as 4.85%. For new vehicles, loan terms can be as long as 84 months.
  • Alliant Signature Card: There are also credit cards available when banking with Alliant. The Signature card, which has no annual fee, offers up to 2.5% cash back on the first $10,000 of qualifying purchases and 1.5% for purchases after that point.
  • Alliant Platinum Card: The Platinum card from Alliant offers a low introductory APR of 0% for one year on purchases and balance transfers. As with the Signature, card there is no annual fee. 
  • Financial guidance: Alliant publishes a Money Mentor blog that requires simply providing an email address to sign up for.
  • UTMA custodial account: Alliant’s UTMA custodial account allows for saving on behalf of a child. Opening an UTMA requires just $5, which Alliant offers to pay for customers. The account offers a 2.5% APY.

The Alliant Credit Union platform and customer support 

Alliant offers a well-developed mobile banking platform that allows customers to deposit checks, make payments, manage their debit and credit cards, and transfer funds between accounts 24 hours a day.

And while the bank is entirely digital, it is possible to reach a customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-800-328-1935. Customers can also send secure messages through the bank’s online platform. The bank is located in Chicago, operating in the Central Standard time zone, but its headquarters are not open to the public.

Pros and cons of Alliant Credit Union

Here are some pros and cons to consider when banking with Alliant Credit Union.

Pro: No fees on checking accounts. There are no monthly service fees on Alliant checking accounts.
Pro: No minimum balance required. Neither the checking nor the savings accounts require a minimum balance. 
Pro: No fees on savings with e-statements. For those who sign up for e-statements, there are no monthly fees on savings accounts.
Pro: Competitive APYs. The rate on the Alliant checking account is 0.25%; on the savings it is 2.5%.
Pro: Extensive network of ATMs. Alliant customers have access to 80,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide.

Con: No business accounts. Alliant does not currently offer business checking or savings accounts, which can be an issue for those who need such services.
Con: No brick-and-mortar locations. There are no physical locations for this bank.

Frequently asked questions

Can anyone open an account at Alliant Credit Union?

Yes. Anyone can become a member of Alliant by opening an Alliant Savings account with just a $5 deposit.

Who is Alliant Credit Union owned by?

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, Alliant is owned by its members.

Can you use Zelle with Alliant accounts?

Yes. Alliant costumes are able to use peer-to-peer apps to send money to and from Alliant checking accounts.

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