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Alliant Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Alliant Credit Union’s checking account options

High-Rate Checking

This is a great account to consider if you use ATMs frequently and want to earn a good interest rate.

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

0.25%

$0.01

  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: Free. However, the ATM’s owner may charge a surcharge fee. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM surcharge fees, not including the foreign transaction fees.
  • Overdraft fee: $28 for a courtesy pay, or $25 for a non-sufficient funds fee.

This account offers a very good interest rate. To earn it, you’ll need to jump through a few hoops. First, you’ll need to be signed up for electronic statements (if you opt for paper statements, you won’t earn interest and you’ll pay a $1 monthly fee), and you’ll need to have at least one electronic deposit into the account each month. For people with steady paychecks from employers, that might not be a problem. But if you’re self-employed with an erratic paycheck, you might need to pay attention to this “gotcha.”

Other than that, this account also comes with a free starter box of checks. And while it does offer a good interest rate and ample ATM fee policies, there are still a few fees you have to watch out for. If you close your account within the first 90 days after opening it, you’ll pay a $10 penalty. If you go more than a year without making any deposits or withdrawals, that’ll be another $10 fee, and Alliant Credit Union can close your account.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s High-Rate Checking account

Members and non-members alike can apply for this account online. If you’re not yet a member, however, you’ll first need to join. This can also be done online, or you can send in a paper application.

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NCUA Insured

Free Teen Checking

If you have a teenager between the ages of 13 to 17, you can open this account with them, so they can learn money management skills.

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

0.25%

$0.01

  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: Free. However, the ATM’s owner may charge a surcharge fee. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM surcharge fees, not including the foreign transaction fees.
  • Overdraft fee: $25 for a non-sufficient funds fee. This account isn’t eligible for courtesy pay.

Checking accounts can pose a new challenge for young adults. That’s why Alliant Credit Union offers this checking account. Parents must agree to be joint owners on the account, and can sign up their children who are between the ages of 13 to 17. To earn interest, you’ll also need to make sure your teen is signed up for electronic statements and have at least one monthly direct deposit, ATM deposit, or transfer from another bank into this account (transfers from other Alliant Credit Union bank accounts don’t count, unfortunately).

This account comes with more limitations compared with the normal full-fledged checking accounts. Teens aren’t eligible for courtesy pay, and any checks ordered with the account (including a free box of starter checks) must include both your name and your teen’s name, reflecting the fact that it’s a joint account.

In addition, teens can’t make more than $300 in PIN-based transactions and $300 in signature-based transactions per day, or withdraw more than $100 per day from an ATM. As a comparison, adult accounts are limited to $2,000 in PIN-based transactions, $2,000 in signature-based transactions, and $1,000 in ATM withdrawals per day.

When your teen turns 18, this account will automatically convert into a Free Checking account. You’ll still be listed as a joint owner, so if you’d like your name removed from the account, their 18th birthday will be the time to do it.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s Free Teen Checking account

In order to sign up for this account, you’ll need to download an application form online and then contact the credit union through an online form directly on this account’s main information page. Alternatively, you can also mail or fax in the application.

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Free Checking

You might be able to earn back some of the ATM surcharge fees you pay thanks to this account’s generous ATM fee reimbursement program.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: Free. However, the ATM’s owner may charge a surcharge fee. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM surcharge fees, not including the foreign transaction fees.
  • Overdraft fee: $28 for a courtesy pay, or $25 for a non-sufficient funds fee.

If you just want a basic checking account, consider this one. There’s no monthly requirements, but you do get a few small perks that come with all Alliant Credit Union accounts, such as a very good ATM fee reimbursement program and a free box of checks to start you out with your new account.

Even though these are great terms for a basic free checking account, there’s a few fees to watch out for as well. Make sure to make at least one withdrawal or deposit per year, otherwise Alliant Credit Union will charge you an “inactivity fee” of $10 and may even close your account. Make sure you’re signed up for electronic statements as well, otherwise you’ll pay $1 each month for a paper statement to be mailed to you. Finally, if you close your account within 90 days after opening it, you’ll pay another $10 fee.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s Free Checking account

You can sign up for this account online or by sending in an application by mail. All you’ll need to provide is a government-issued photo ID, some sort of document proving your home address (such as a utility bill), and your social security number.

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NCUA Insured

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How Alliant Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

We’re a fan of these accounts, but we still have some reservations. The interest rate offered on the High-Rate Checking and the Free Teen Checking accounts are quite good, even though it is possible to find a few banks and credit unions that pay even higher rates on checking accounts. We also really like the generous ATM fee reimbursement policy, which any frequent ATM user will also appreciate.

However, there are some hidden fees with these accounts, such as fees for closing your account early, letting the account go dormant, or receiving paper statements. Still, most people won’t be affected by these, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Alliant Credit Union’s savings account options

High-Rate Savings

This savings account offers an excellent rate, and allows you to create sub-savings accounts for specific savings goals.

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

1.20%

$100

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5, and Alliant Credit Union will even donate this so you can get started
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: Free. However, the ATM’s owner may charge a surcharge fee. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $20 per month in out-of-network ATM surcharge fees, not including the foreign transaction fees — but only if you have a checking account open with Alliant Credit Union. If you don’t own an Alliant Credit Union checking account, you won’t receive any refunds.
  • Overdraft fee: $28 for a courtesy pay, or $25 for a non-sufficient funds fee.

If you’re looking to earn a good rate on your savings account at a credit union, you can’t do much better than this one. To keep the account open, you’ll need to keep at least $5 in it, and to earn interest, you’ll need to keep a reasonable $100 in the account.

One important point about this account is its ATM policies. If you have a checking account open with Alliant Credit Union, you’ll get one debit card to use for both your checking and your savings account. In this case, you’ll be eligible for up to $20 in ATM surcharge fee rebates for both accounts — checking and savings. But if you only open a savings account by itself, you’ll be issued a Convenience Card to use at the ATM, and this one doesn’t offer any ATM fee rebates.

One of the nice things about this account — other than the high interest rate — is that you can open up to 19 sub-accounts, called “Supplemental Savings” accounts. These earn the same rate as the High-Rate Savings, and you can name them according to your savings goals, such as “House Down Payment,” “Christmas Fund,” or “Vacation Savings.” It’s easy to open each of these individual savings accounts through the online banking portal, and each one also needs at least $100 in it before it’ll start earning interest.

The High Rate Savings and Supplemental Savings accounts are governed by federal Regulation D, which means that you can’t make more than six certain transfers out of the account per month. Once you reach that limit, you simply won’t be able to make any more transfers. Some types of transfers, such as ATM withdrawals, in-person withdrawals at a branch, withdrawals made by mail, or withdrawals made to pay an Alliant Credit Union loan don’t count towards this limit.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s High-Rate Savings account

You’ll need a few things to apply for this account, such as a government-issued photo ID and your social security number. You can apply for this account online, and once approved, you can transfer over money from your existing bank account.

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NCUA Insured

Kids Savings Account

This is the same account as Alliant Credit Union’s regular High-Rate Savings, but age requirements are lowered so that children under 12 can get a joint account with a parent, guardian, or grandparent.

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

1.20%

$100

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5, however Alliant Credit Union will donate this to get you started
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: Free. However, the ATM’s owner may charge a surcharge fee. If you use your card abroad, you’ll also pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28 for a courtesy pay, or $25 for a non-sufficient funds fee.

Alliant Credit Union’s regular High Rate Savings account is indeed a very good savings account — but it’s only available to people age 12 and above. If you have a child, grandchild, or a ward under 12, however, you can still sign them up for this same account (only it’ll be called a “Kids Savings Account”) by agreeing to be a joint owner of the account.

This account abides by all the same rules of the High Rate Savings account as well. Unfortunately, this means that the child must also have at least $100 in the account in order to earn any interest. That’s a lot of lemonade for a kid to sell, or allowance money to earn on their own, so you may need to help them out a bit to get started.

There can be no more than six transfers out of this account per month, not including ATM, in-person, or by-mail transfers.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s Kids Savings Account

To sign up for this account, you’ll need to fill out a form with your child/grandchild/ward. You can find this form on Alliant Credit Union’s main webpage for this account, and submit it online as well. You can also mail or fax the form in.

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How Alliant Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

We really like Alliant Credit Union’s savings accounts, for several reasons. First, there’s the interest rate. You can’t get much higher than this (although there are a few exceptions; see these savings accounts, for example). Then there’s the ATM policies: no Alliant Credit Union fees for using out-of-network ATMs, plus an allocated amount of refunds for surcharge fees from other banks (as long as you also have an Alliant Credit Union checking account), combine to make this a top-of-the-line savings account.

We also like the fact that you can open numerous Supplemental Savings accounts to save towards specific goals. Partitioning out your individual savings like this is very helpful because if you know a certain pot of cash has a specific use, and you may be less tempted to spend it on other things.

The only things we don’t like are that you need to watch out for a few fees still: fees if you opt-in for paper statements, closing your account early, or letting your account go dormant. These fees — which you probably won’t end up paying anyways — pale in comparison to the benefits of these accounts.

Alliant Credit Union’s CD rates

Regular Certificates

These certificates offer decent rates, and even better early withdrawal penalties.

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.35%

60 months

1.40%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw money from your CD within the first seven days, you’ll pay seven days’ worth of dividends on that amount. After that, how much you pay will depend on the term length of your CD:
    • For the 12-17-month CD, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 90 days’ worth of dividends
    • For the 18-23 month CD, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 120 days’ worth of dividends
    • For the 24-60 month CDs, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 180 days’ worth of dividends

CDs — or certificates, as credit unions call them — are a good way to earn the highest interest rate possible on an NCUA-insured bank account. These CDs fit the bill quite nicely, offering a decent interest rate and a wide range of term lengths to choose from. You will need at least $1,000 to open a CD, however, which can be a bit of a stretch for some people.

There are a few other nice things about these CDs too. Often, with other CDs, you may end up paying principal back when you make an early withdrawal. With Alliant Credit Union’s early withdrawal penalties, you will only ever owe dividends that you’ve earned — never any principal. You can also withdraw the dividends you’ve earned at any time. You won’t earn the stated APY if you do so, but you also won’t pay an early withdrawal penalty either.

When you open your CD, you’ll choose what happens after it matures. You can have the CD automatically renew for the same term length, renew for a different term length, or be automatically deposited into another bank account. If you elect to have it renew into another (or a different) CD, you will get a 10-day grace period after it renews to withdraw the money, if you change your mind. Alliant Credit Union will also send you a reminder 15 days before your CD matures, so you can change your options if you wish.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s Regular Certificates

The easiest way to open these CDs is online. You can also open up a CD by sending an application in by mail, applying over the phone, or visiting a local branch in person.

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Jumbo Certificates

If you’ve got a lot of spare cash laying around, you can earn slightly better rates with these CDs.

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.25%

60 months

1.40%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $25,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw money from your CD within the first 7 days, you’ll pay 7 days’ worth of dividends on that amount. After that, how much you pay will depend on the term length of your CD:
    • For the 12-17-month CD, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 90 days’ worth of dividends
    • For the 18-23 month CD, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 120 days’ worth of dividends
    • For the 24-60 month CDs, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 180 days’ worth of dividends

Alliant Credit Union’s Jumbo CDs work the same as its regular CDs, with one exception: you need a much larger deposit — at least $25,000 — to open these accounts. After that, the policies are the same.

You can withdraw the dividends you’ve earned at any time without paying a penalty, but you will earn less than the stated interest rate if you do so. That’s because the quoted APY assumes you roll your dividends back into the account and keep them there until it matures.

When you open the CD, you get to choose whether it automatically renews for the same or a different term, or gets deposited into another bank account at maturity. Alliant Credit Union will send you a reminder 15 days before your CD matures so you can change your mind, if you want. If your CD renews and you change your mind, you get a brief 10-day grace period to withdraw the money penalty-free.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s Jumbo CDs

There are four ways you can open these CDs:

  • Online
  • Over the phone
  • In person at a branch
  • By mail

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How Alliant Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Alliant Credit Union offers good rates on its CDs. Still, they’re far from the best. If you’d rather open a CD with the highest rates possible, we recommend these CDs with the best rates. Not only do these CDs pay higher rates, but some of them even have lower minimum deposit requirements, which is helpful if you can’t gather the minimum $1,000 needed to open a CD at Alliant Credit Union yet.

Alliant Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

These IRA CDs offer slightly better rates than Alliant Credit Union’s normal CDs.
Traditional IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.35%

60 months

1.95%

Roth IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.25%

60 months

1.40%

SEP IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.35%

60 months

1.40%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw the IRA CD within the first seven days, you’ll pay 7 days’ worth of dividends on the amount you withdraw. After that, your early withdrawal penalty will depend on the term length of the IRA CD:
    • For IRA CDs from 12-17 months, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 90 days’ worth of dividends
    • For IRA CDs from 18-23 months, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 120 days’ worth of dividends.
    • For IRA CDs from 24-60 months, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 180 days’ worth of dividends.

If you’re looking to earn an even higher rate on your retirement savings than the regular IRA savings accounts offers, consider one of these IRA CDs. There’s plenty of term length options to choose from. One important thing to note is that you must maintain an IRA savings account with your IRA CD — you can’t have one without the other.

Unlike Alliant Credit Union’s regular CDs, you can’t opt for dividends to be paid out monthly if you’re under age 59 ½ (the IRS considers withdrawals from your IRA as “early distributions” subject to taxes and penalties if you’re under this age limit). Instead, they’ll just have to sit in the account until it matures. If you are above age 59 ½, however, you can elect to have the dividends on this account paid out monthly into your IRA savings account, although this will reduce your earnings a bit in the long run.

When your CD matures, you can opt to have it closed and deposited into your IRA savings account, automatically renewed into another IRA CD of the same type, or renewed into another IRA CD of a different term length. If you opt to have the IRA CD renewed and you change your mind, you will get a 10-day grace period to withdraw the money without paying any penalty.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s IRA CDs

There are three easy ways you can open an IRA CD with Alliant Credit Union:

  • Over the phone
  • Inside of a physical branch
  • By mail

Unfortunately, you can’t open these IRA CDs online.

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Jumbo IRA CD rates

If you have at least $25,000, you can earn even higher rates with these Jumbo IRA CDs.
Jumbo Traditional IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.25%

60 months

1.40%

Jumbo Roth IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.35%

60 months

1.40%

Jumbo SEP IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

1.20%

18-23 months

1.20%

24-35 months

1.20%

36-47 months

1.20%

48 months

1.25%

60 months

1.25%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $25,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw the IRA CD within the first seven days, you’ll pay 7 days’ worth of dividends on the amount you withdraw. After that, your early withdrawal penalty will depend on the term length of the IRA CD:
    • For IRA CDs from 12-17 months, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 90 days’ worth of dividends
    • For IRA CDs from 18-23 months, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 120 days’ worth of dividends.
    • For IRA CDs from 24-60 months, you’ll forfeit all of your dividends earned, up to a max of 180 days’ worth of dividends.

Alliant Credit Union’s Jumbo IRA CDs work the same way as its regular IRA CDs, just with a higher minimum opening deposit and higher interest rates. You’ll still need to open an IRA savings account to go along with these Jumbo IRA CDs.

Unless you’re age 59 ½ (an IRS-imposed limit on early IRA distributions), you can’t elect to have dividends paid out on a monthly basis. When your Jumbo IRA CD matures, you’ll have one of three options:

  • Close the Jumbo IRA CD and deposit it into your IRA savings account
  • Automatically renew the Jumbo IRA CD for the same term length
  • Automatically renew the Jumbo IRA CD for a different term length

If you change your mind after renewing the Jumbo IRA CD, you do have the option of withdrawing the money penalty-free during the first 10 days after it’s renewed.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s Jumbo IRA CDs

Unfortunately, there is no way to open these Jumbo IRA CDs online. Instead, you’ll either need to head to a local branch, call them up over the phone, or mail in an application.

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How Alliant Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Alliant Credit Union offers OK rates on its regular CDs. But for IRA CDs, it’s a different story. There are many banks and credit unions offering top-dollar rates on IRA CDs, and since Alliant Credit Union’s IRA CD rates aren’t much higher than its normal CD rates, Alliant Credit Union is somewhat outshone by its competitors.

It is nice that you can make an early withdrawal of your IRA CD without having the penalties eat into your principal (unlike most other banks). But the likelihood of needing to make an early withdrawal from an IRA CD is probably a lot less than with regular CDs, so this point is moot. Instead, we recommend looking elsewhere for your IRA CD investment.

IRA

Alliant Credit Union offers these IRA savings accounts as a Traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA.

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

1.20%

$100

  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: $28 for a courtesy pay, or $25 for a non-sufficient funds fee.

If you want to open any IRA accounts at Alliant Credit Union, this one will be your first stop. It offers Alliant Credit Union’s stellar savings account interest rate which is pretty good on its own, but you’ll also need to have one of these accounts open and active if you want to open an IRA certificate as well.

You can open an IRA account as either a SEP IRA, Traditional IRA, or Roth IRA depending on what your goals are.

Since this is a savings account, you also can’t make more than six withdrawals per month. That shouldn’t be too hard, however, considering that IRA accounts are designed for you to stuff money into rather than taking it out until you’re retired. One final note is that this account doesn’t come with ATM access. If you need to make a withdrawal or rollover, you’ll need to fill out forms to do so.

How to get Alliant Credit Union’s IRA account

You can easily sign up for this account through your online banking portal if you’re a member. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll first need to join the credit union in order to get access to the online portal.

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Overall review of Alliant Credit Union’s banking products

We really like Alliant Credit Union for two things: its checking accounts, and its savings accounts. If you open both of these accounts together, Alliant Credit Union offers a generous ATM fee reimbursement for both accounts (you won’t get the fee reimbursements if you open a savings account alone, sadly). We also like the high interest rates offered by both account types. For frequent ATM users looking to earn high rates on their deposits, you can’t go wrong with these accounts.

Alliant Credit Union’s CD and IRA accounts, on the other hand, are a bit more lackluster. There are many banks and credit unions offering better rates on CD and IRA CD accounts. If these accounts are a part of your investment plan, we suggest looking elsewhere for better value.

Overall, Alliant Credit Union can be a great choice for your everyday banking needs.

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Reviews

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings and CDs Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

BrioDirect is an online brand of Sterling National Bank, a brick-and-mortar bank based out of New York. By being online-only, BrioDirect is able to reduce its costs and potentially offer better deals for its customers. BrioDirect does not offer all the Sterling bank account types though, and only has two products: a high-yield savings account and CDs. Both accounts pay out respectable interest rates — especially compared with the returns at large national banks.

Our BrioDirect bank review covers the product details, along with the pros and cons, so you can decide if BrioDirect is the right place for your money.

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings account

APY

Minimum opening deposit

Monthly fee

1.25%$25None

Between a competitive interest rate, a low opening deposit requirement and minimal fees, the BrioDirect savings account is an excellent choice. However, it’s not the most accessible account, as it doesn’t come with a debit card and you can only take out money through bank transfers.

Rates

The Brio Direct savings account pays an excellent interest rate, competitive with the best online savings accounts on the market today. This high rate applies to all balances, large and small. You won’t earn more by depositing more but the upside is that even small accounts can earn a high rate. The only requirement is that you need to keep a balance of at least $25 in your account to earn interest.

Fees and minimums

The minimum opening deposit requirement for a Brio Direct high yield savings account is just $25. This account does not charge a monthly maintenance fee. If your balance falls below $25, you stop earning interest but there is no charge.

If you overdraft the account, BrioDirect charges $35 per overdraft/insufficient funds transaction. Since this is a savings account, you are limited to six withdrawals per statement cycle under the rules of Federal Regulation D. If you make more than six transactions, you will be charged $10 per excess transaction.

Transfers and limits

To deposit money into a BrioDirect Savings account, you can set up an ACH transfer from another bank account, send a check or make a wire transfer. Once your account is open, you can withdraw funds to another bank account by using the Sterling National Bank online banking portal or by calling the bank’s customer service hotline.

Since this is a savings account, you will face a $10 charge per excess transaction beyond the six withdrawals allowed per statement cycle mentioned above.

FDIC insurance

Considering BrioDirect is part of Sterling National Bank, you may be wondering whether Sterling Bank is FDIC-insured and if that applies to BrioDirect. The answer is yes, accounts at both organizations are insured by the FDIC to protect your deposits.

One point to keep in mind is that the FDIC maximum insurance limit applies to your combined account balances from both organizations. Now, since the FDIC limit is $250,000 per individual at an institution, this won’t be a problem unless you plan on having a six-figure balance. But if you do, make sure that your account balance combined at both organizations does not go over the FDIC limit.

Account accessibility

BrioDirect’s saving account offers online access through its website and mobile app. With these tools, you can check your balance and transfer funds to other accounts, like to a Sterling Bank savings account. However, Brio Direct Bank does not offer a debit card for ATM access. If you want to make a cash withdrawal, you’ll need to transfer money to another account first.

You also cannot service your account in person at a Sterling National Bank branch. For help, you need to either handle things online or by calling the customer service line.

BrioDirect High-Yield CDs

BrioDirect has a solid variety of short- and long-term CDs. The Brio CD rates are mostly competitive, especially compared with those at national banks, but they don’t quite match the very best online offers.

Rates and terms

Term

APY

30 day0.05%
3 month1.00%
5 month1.15%
9 month0.80%
12 month1.00%
18 month1.00%
24 month1.00%
30 month1.00%
36 month1.00%
48 month1.00%
60 month1.00%

The BrioDirect CDs come in terms ranging as short as 30 days to as long as five years. They are all traditional, fixed-rate CDs. They do not offer specialty products, like a bump-up CD that lets you increase the interest rate partway through the term.

The Brio Bank CD rates are mostly decent, except for their 30-day term, which is very low. However, while the Brio CD rates are respectable, you could potentially find even better rates with some of the best online CDs on the market today.

Minimum opening deposit

You must deposit at least $500 to open one of the BrioDirect CDs. It’s the same minimum opening deposit for any of the CD terms. If you make an early withdrawal and your balance falls below $500 for more than 20 days, the bank could close your account.

Early withdrawal penalties

You can withdraw your interest out of a BrioDirect CD before the end of the term without owing a penalty, though it will reduce your total earnings below the quoted APY. If you try to withdraw any of your deposit before your CD matures, BrioDirect will charge an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty depends on your CD term:

CD term

Penalty

Terms of 30 days or less30 days’ interest
Terms of 12 months or less90 days’ interest
Terms of 18 months or more but less than 60 months9 months’ interest
Terms of 60 months or more12 months’ interest

BrioDirect will charge the interest penalty even if it’s more than what you’ve earned. In other words, the bank could deduct the penalty from your initial deposit.

FDIC insurance

The BrioDirect CDs are also covered by FDIC insurance. However, since BrioDirect is part of Sterling National Bank, the limit applies to your deposit accounts at both institutions. FDIC insurance goes up to $250,000 per individual per bank. So long as your total balance in CDs and other deposit accounts at both organizations is below $250,000, you’re fully covered by FDIC insurance.

BrioDirect pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates: The Brio Direct high yield savings rate is one of the highest on the market today, and is competitive even with the best online accounts. While the bank’s CD rates aren’t quite as high, they are still respectable for most terms.
  • Low deposit requirements: It only takes $25 to open a BrioDirect Savings account and $500 to open a CD, which is lower than the typical large lender. The bank’s accounts can be a good choice for customers with smaller balances.
  • Minimal fees on the savings account: The BrioDirect savings account does not charge a monthly maintenance fee. If your balance falls below $25, all that happens is you stop earning interest.

Cons

  • Lack of ATM access: The BrioDirect savings account does not come with a debit card. To withdraw cash, you’ll have to transfer funds to another account first, so your money is not immediately accessible.
  • Costly CD early withdrawal penalties: All the BrioDirect CDs charge early withdrawal penalties and they can be fairly steep, up to a full year of interest. BrioDirect does not let you withdraw any of your deposit without charging the penalty so make sure you can commit to the full term before signing on.
  • No in-person customer support: Since BrioDirect is an online bank, you can only get support through the website or over the phone. Even though BrioDirect is part of Sterling National Bank, you can’t visit a branch for in-person support.

How to open a BrioDirect Bank account

To open a BrioDirect Bank account, you apply through the bank’s website. You’ll need to provide your name, contact information, Social Security number and a form of ID like your passport, driver’s license or State ID. Since this is an online account, you can apply from anywhere in the United States.

You’ll need to make your opening deposit to complete the process of opening your account. BrioDirect suggests that you make the initial deposit by ACH transfer from an existing checking or savings account, but you can also deposit funds through wire transfer or by check. The bank’s website states it should only take a few minutes. Then, BrioDirect reviews the information to finish setting up your account.

Who is BrioDirect best for?

If you are comfortable with an online-only bank, BrioDirect could be an excellent choice. The bank’s high yield savings account is particularly impressive since there’s no monthly fee and the interest rate is competitive with nearly any account out there.

BrioDirect could also be a good fit for existing Sterling National Bank customers as they could manage both accounts through the same organization. If you’re on the fence about being a joint customer, this Sterling National Bank review can explain what the bank offers along with BrioDirect.

On the other hand, BrioDirect is not suitable for someone who needs fast and regular access to their money. Its savings account does not come with a debit card so to take money out, you need to make a transfer to another bank account, which takes time.

BrioDirect is also not a top choice for CDs. While its offers are decent, someone researching online could likely find a better offer. Finally, as an online-only bank, BrioDirect is not a good choice for someone who wants face-to-face customer service.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

LightStream Auto Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

If you’re in the market for a quick, affordable and hassle-free way to finance your next car, a LightStream auto loan should definitely be on your radar. It’s particularly well-suited for deal-seekers with good credit who don’t mind working with an online company when it comes to financing their cars. If you’d rather work with a local company that can offer in-person support, however, you might want to skip this lender.

How LightStream auto loans work

LightStream offers a wide range of options for financing your next ride, including:

  • Purchase of a new or used car, either from a dealer or an individual
  • Auto loan refinance (except it does not refinance its own loans)
  • Auto lease buyouts
  • Loans for motorcycles, as well as boats and RVs
  • Classic car loans

Auto loans at a glance:

  • Starting APR range: 3.49%–9.49%
  • Fees: None
  • Loan amounts: $5,000–$100,000
  • Terms: 24–84 months
  • Credit requirements: Minimum 660 credit score
  • Mileage or vehicle restrictions: None

LightStream offers the same starting rate whether you’re buying a new or used car from a dealer, something you don’t see at other lenders. But keep in mind that the lowest rates go to those with the best credit who opt for the shortest loan terms possible and use autopay to make their car payments.

Satisfaction guarantee

If you see a lower rate elsewhere, LightStream will beat any verified offer with a rate that is .10 percentage points lower. It also promises a $100 guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied with your loan experience.

How to apply for a LightStream auto loan

The only way you can apply for a LightStream auto loan is through its online form. It is an online lender, after all, so you should be comfortable with handling your business details — including the loan application — online. You’ll need to:

  1. Acknowledge receipt of LightStream’s statement on the use of electronic records.
  2. Agree to receive electronic records.
  3. Agree to use electronic signatures to sign your loan documents.

You’ll also need to have a Visa or Mastercard credit card to apply, which LightStream uses during the verification process.

You will be asked to provide:

  • The purpose, term and amount of desired loan
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Annual income
  • Total amount of assets and equity in your home

From there, LightStream may contact you for more details and documentation. If approved, you’ll need to sign your loan documents electronically and provide LightStream with your bank account details. The money will then be deposited into your bank account, which means you’ll need to pass it along to the seller, whether that’s a dealer or private seller. LightStream will not send the money to the seller directly.

It’s important to note that LightStream doesn’t offer any preapproval options, but if you apply and are approved for a loan, you are under no obligation to accept the loan.

How to qualify for the best rates

LightStream requires good credit at a minimum, but looks for excellent credit when giving the best rates. It defines excellent credit as:

  • Five or more years of significant credit history.
  • A credit history with a variety of account types such as major credit cards (for example, Visa, MasterCard, Amex), installment debt (vehicle loans) and mortgage debt if applicable.
  • An excellent payment history with no delinquencies or other problems repaying debt obligations.
  • A proven ability to save as shown by some or all of the following: liquid assets (stocks, bonds, bank deposits, etc.), cash down payments on real estate, retirement savings and little, if any, revolving credit card debt.
  • Stable and sufficient income and assets to easily repay current debt obligations and any new loan with LightStream.

Pros and cons of LightStream auto loans

LightStream offers the convenience of an online lender with the backing of a brick-and-mortar bank as the online arm of Truist, the bank created by the merger of  SunTrust Bank and BB&T. But it’s important to weigh all of your options carefully when choosing an auto loan. It’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll make, after all.

Pros

  • Wide variety of loans: New, used, refinance and lease buyouts loans are available on a wide range of vehicles. Unlike other lenders, LightStream doesn’t place restrictions on your vehicle’s age, make, model or mileage.
  • Decent rates: We’ve seen lower starting rates at credit unions, but you’ll have to meet membership requirements. LightStream has no membership requirements and provides the same starting rates for new and used vehicles as well as refinance loans.
  • No down payment required: LightStream finances up to 100% of the car’s cost. Of course, it’s always best to put down as much as you can afford on an auto loan. This will help you save money over the life of your loan and avoid becoming underwater on that loan.
  • Quick funding: If you complete the application process and are approved by 2:30 p.m. EST, you could receive funds the same day.
  • Good reviews: LightStream auto loan reviews are generally positive.

Cons

  • Good credit required: To qualify for a LightStream auto loan you’ll need a credit score of at least 660 or better.
  • No preapproval process: Unlike many lenders, you’ll have to complete a full application in order to see your rates and terms. Still, the process is fast, and if you complete your rate shopping within a certain time period, multiple applications should not impact your credit any more than a single application.
  • No face-to-face service: If you’re the type of person who likes to seal the deal with a handshake after signing the documents, you’ll want to stick with some place local.

LightStream vs. Capital One

If you’d like a bit more of a guided approach to the car-buying process,  Capital One’s Auto Navigator loan options might be better for you. Rather than sending you cash directly that you can use on whatever car you want to buy, Capital One’s Auto Navigator service lets you first get prequalified for financing, and then shows you which dealers in your area may offer based on the type of car you want to buy and the financing you can afford.

If any of the offerings pique your interest, you can then finish the application and buy the car. It’s still a good idea to compare the offer with other new and used car loan rates.

LightStream vs. Carvana

Carvana works similarly to Capital One Auto Navigator in that you can prequalify for financing and browse real cars in your area that you may then be able to buy. It’s important to remember that Carvana only sells used cars and its financing is only available on Carvana cars. But it is possible to finance here with poor credit — Carvana requires borrowers to be 18 years old, have no active bankruptcies on their credit report and earn at least $4,000 per year.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.