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

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Updated on Thursday, October 1, 2020

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.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

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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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

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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

0.65%

$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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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

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

0.65%

$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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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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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

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

  • 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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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

  • 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

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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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

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

Roth IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

SEP IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

  • 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

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

Jumbo Roth IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

Jumbo SEP IRA CD rates

Term

APY

12-17 months

0.55%

18-23 months

0.55%

24-35 months

0.55%

36-47 months

0.60%

48 months

0.65%

60 months

0.65%

  • 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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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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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

0.65%

$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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on Alliant Credit Union’s secure website

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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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