Alliant Credit Union: 2023 Banking Review

This national credit union offers competitive rates on certificate accounts.

Alliant Credit Union is an NCUA-insured online credit union serving more than 600,000 members. Its certificates of deposit accounts, simply referred to as "certificates," earn among the highest annual percentage yields available nationwide. Alliant's savings accounts also offer competitive APYs, but you can find higher-yielding savings accounts elsewhere. The credit union provides up to 19 supplemental savings accounts per person to help you organize your savings goals.

Alliant logo on a smart phone against a blue background.
James Martin/CNET

Alliant also hosts a webinar series as a part of its retirement and investment services designed to help you improve your financial IQ. Membership is available nationwide to anyone who qualifies based on a variety of membership options.

Overall, Alliant offers members competitive rates on deposit accounts. Its broad membership eligibility and online banking platform make nationwide access easy, especially if you're comfortable banking in a purely digital environment.

What we like

  • Competitive rates: Certificate accounts earn some of the highest APYs available nationwide. 
  • No fees: Most accounts don't charge maintenance fees or they can be waived by opting to receive electronic statements. Alliant also doesn't charge overdraft fees.
  • ATM rebates: Up to $20 a month in ATM fees by third-party vendors is refundable.
  • Low initial deposits: Savings and checking accounts can be opened with reasonable initial deposits. 
  • ATM cash deposits: Its large ATM network supports cash deposits.
  • Online and mobile banking services: Alliant provides a secure mobile app, and its online banking tools include mobile check deposit, online bill pay and 24/7 account access.
  • Broad membership eligibility: Membership is open to virtually anyone nationwide. 

What we don't like

  • No physical branches: Because Alliant is an online credit union, all assistance and transactions must be handled by phone or online.

Who is Alliant Credit Union suited for? 

People looking for a credit union that offers high-yielding deposit accounts, with minimal fees, but who are comfortable banking in a purely digital environment are best suited for Alliant. Membership is open to people who live in or near Chicago, are members of one of the more-than 250 partner organizations or who join Foster Care to Success (membership fee is $5). Alliant provides a complete list of membership eligibility requirements to join. 

Checking account review

Alliant's High-Rate Checking account earns an APY that's more than four times the national average. The low initial deposit requirement and free checking features help you hang on to more of your money. Additionally, the large ATM network and ATM rebates help land Alliant's checking account on CNET's list of top accounts. However, you can find higher-yielding checking accounts at other banks and credit unions.

Alliant's Teen Checking account has many of the same features as High-Rate Checking with the obvious exception that it's open to children from ages 13 to 17 and whose parents are Alliant Credit Union members. Teen Checking requires an adult to be joint owner and provides spending controls. Its 0.25% APY applies to balances for teens who opt for electronic statements and has a direct deposit minimum (or recurring monthly transfer from an external account) of $600. Otherwise, the account won't earn interest. 

Once the child turns 18, the account automatically converts to a High-Rate Checking account.

Checking account features

Checking account APY Minimum initial deposit Monthly fee Overdraft fee Foreign transaction fee
High-Rate Checking 0.25% $0 $0 $0 1%
Teen Checking 0.25% $0 $0 $0 1%

Rates are as of Feb. 17, 2023.

What we like

  • Free checking: There are no monthly fees, including overdraft fees, or minimum balance requirements to avoid fees.
  • ATM fee rebates: Up to $20 a month is refunded to you for out-of-network ATM fees.
  • Large ATM network: Alliant has a network of more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs.
  • Interest-bearing account: High-Rate Checking earns an APY that's four times the national average. 

What we don't like

  • Teen checking application process: A Teen Checking account can't be opened online. A PDF application must be submitted in a multistep process and can take up to 14 business days to complete.
  • Limited spending controls: Spending controls on Teen Checking accounts can't be adjusted on an individual basis. Limits are broad and may need to be restricted for younger children.

Savings account review

Alliant's savings account APYs are nearly 13 times the national average, according to CNET's sister site Although its savings rates are competitive, you can find higher-yielding savings accounts at other banks and credit unions. 

Kids and Supplemental Savings accounts have similar features to the High-Rate account. Alliant will donate the initial $5 deposit to any Kids Savings account opened for children ages 12 and younger. Each account must be opened with an adult as a joint account owner. Supplemental Savings accounts can be used to save for specific purposes, such as a new car. Kids can open up to 19 Supplemental Savings accounts with nicknames ("car fund" or "Jamaica in June"), that represent your specific savings goal. 

Savings account features

Savings account APY Minimum balance to open Monthly maintenance fee
High-Rate Savings 2.95% $5 $0
Kids Savings 2.95% $5 $0
Supplemental Savings 2.95% $0 $0

Rates are as of Feb. 17, 2023.

What we like

What we don't like

  • Paper account statement fee: A $1 monthly fee applies unless you opt into electronic statements.

Certificate (CD) account review

Alliant Credit Union's certificate account is a fixed-rate, time-based savings account similar to a CD. It offers six terms ranging from 12 to 60 months. The minimum deposit required to open a certificate is $1,000. 

The early withdrawal penalties range from 90 to 180 days' worth of dividends, depending on the number of days the certificate has been open. 

Certificate account features

CD term APY
12-month 4.60%
18-month 4.25%
24-month 4.25%
36-month 4.60%
48-month 4.25%
60-month 4.25%

Rates are as of Feb. 17, 2023.

What we like

  • Competitive rates available: Some CDs offer high-yield rates. CNET has a list of more high-yield CD options available.

What we don't like

  • No specialty options: Alliant doesn't offer options such as no-penalty or bump-rate certificates.

Banking experience

Alliant describes itself as having a "members-first" approach to service because, as with all other credit unions, it's a not-for-profit organization dedicated to its members, not shareholders. The online-only credit union provides members with tools that make mobile banking convenient while ensuring that live assistance is only a phone call or an email away. 

Alliant provides a basic set of deposit accounts, except for money market accounts, along with lending, credit card and investment services.

Overdraft fees

Alliant Credit Union doesn't charge overdraft fees. Early withdrawal penalties on certificate accounts range from 90 to 180 days' worth of dividends, depending on the length of time the account has been open. 

Customer service

You can contact a customer service representative 24/7 at 800-328-1935. You can also submit inquiries online

About Alliant Credit Union

Alliant is one the largest credit unions in the US, with $15 billion in assets. Membership eligibility is open to employees of more than 250 partner organizations throughout the US, such as United Airlines, as well as residents of Chicago, immediate family members of current Alliant members or those who are members of Foster Care to Success.