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Update on Alliant Credit Union's Savings Account and Checking Account

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Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union continues to offer 2.00% APY on its savings account and 1.75% APY on its checking account, and I just received confirmation from an Alliant Credit Union CSR that these rates will last for at least another month through September. Thanks to the reader who also reported on this yesterday. During the first half of this year, Alliant was dropping these rates almost every month by 25 basis points. The last rate cut was on July 1st. With rates remaining the same for another month, hopefully this is a sign of a bottom.

Alliant Credit Union has a long history of keeping rates very competitive. I've included its rate history below. I didn't pay much attention to Alliant back in 2006 and 2007 since its savings account rate never broke 5%. However, the rates were close to 5%, and when interest rates began to fall, Alliant's savings account held up better than most savings accounts from internet banks.

Alliant CU's Savings Account Rate History:
04/01/10: 1.50% APY
07/01/09: 2.00% APY
06/01/09: 2.25% APY
05/01/09: 2.50% APY
04/01/09: 2.75% APY
02/01/09: 3.00% APY
01/01/09: 3.25% APY
12/01/08: 3.50% APY
07/01/08: 3.75% APY
05/01/08: 4.00% APY
02/01/08: 4.35% APY
01/01/08: 4.85% APY
01/01/07: 4.85% APY
07/01/06: 4.65% APY
01/01/06: 3.80% APY

Please refer to the Alliant savings account page for the full details. Some important features of Alliant Savings account include:

  • dividends paid monthly on average daily balances of $100 or more
  • no maximum balance limit
  • Online free bank-to-bank ACH transfer service is available
  • ACH transfers are limited to $10,000 daily in/out (readers have reported getting this increased to $25K)
  • No ACH limit on receiving over $10,000 if initiated at another bank
  • No limit on the number of ACH links to other banks

For more savings account details, please refer to my Alliant savings account and CD review.

The savings account with the same rate is also available as an IRA (Traditional, Roth and SEP), a Coverdell ESA, a Trust Account and a Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) custodial account. The Health Savings Account even has a higher rate (currently 3.50% APY for a minimum balance of $100). This might be one of the best HSAs in the country. Some of its features include free HSA checks, free Visa HSA debit card and no fees. Refer to my HSA post for more HSA information.

Free High Rate Checking

The checking account rate has remained just 25 basis points under the savings account rate since the high rate feature was started early this year. There are two requirements as specified in the disclosure to qualify for the high rate:

  • Opt out of paper statements
  • at least one monthly electronic deposit, e.g. a direct deposit, payroll deposit, ATM deposit, eDeposit, eDepositPlus or transfer from another financial institution

Unlike reward checking accounts, there are no debit card usage requirements. Also, there are no balance caps. The top rate applies to all balances. Some features of the checking account include:

  • no monthly service fees
  • no minimum balance requirements
  • free online bill pay
  • first box of checks are free

Certificate Accounts

Alliant also has a history of competitive certificate rates. Unlike the savings and checking accounts, the rates may change more than just at the first of each month. The best rates require a minimum deposit of $25,000. As of 8/25/09, these rates include:

  • 2.15% APY 12 to 23 months
  • 2.30% APY 24 to 35 months
  • 2.75% APY 36 to 47 months
  • 3.00% APY 48 to 60 months

Rates are 15 basis points lower for a $1,000 minimum deposit. These same rates also apply to IRA certificates.

Membership

Credit union membership is open to local and national PTA members. There's a $25 membership fee for the National PTA, and it's open to all. You can find your local PTA here. Membership in your local PTA may be a lower cost option. Please see the credit union's members eligibility page for more details.

One downside regarding membership is that several readers have reported a hard credit inquiry by Equifax in the application. This can temporarily ding your credit score.

Credit Union Overview

Alliant's customer service has impressed many readers. Reports indicate they answer their phones promptly and provide helpful information. They have 24/7 live phone assistance.

One thing to note about Alliant Credit Union is that it used to be United Airlines Employee Credit Union. Consequently, most of its branches are located in airport terminals. Branches are located in Chicago, Des Plaines, and Elk Grove Township, Illinois. There are also branches in Colorado, California and Virginia.

Alliant Credit Union has some fair to strong ratings for soundness: 5 stars (superior) at BauerFinancial and 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com. Both are based on 3/31/09 data. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 67955).

Other Competitive Savings Accounts and Certificate of Deposit Rates

  Tags: California, checking account, savings account, Illinois, Virginia, Colorado, CD rates, IRA rates, Alliant Credit Union

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Comments
11 comments.
Comment #1 by Perry Samuels (anonymous) posted on
Perry Samuels
I have been an Alliant member for the last 18 months (actually, ever since I saw it mentioned on your website). Their offerings (both deposit and lending) and service are top notch. One additional thing to mention about their free high rate checking account is their e-deposit service wherein checks can be deposited online (no need for a branch visit) and immediately credited to the account; the checks are then either mailed in, in supplied mailers, or, even better, scanned in (no need to then send in the check). This service is so easy to use and makes check deposits a breeze!

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Comment #2 by Political news (anonymous) posted on
Political news
have used them als do my ach to korean installments thru them. live in quuens ny so have to do atm deposit when i esnt (when machine working) at melrose credit union.

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I've had an Alliant savings account for about a year. Very fast ACH transfer capability on the site, and very professional and available customer service when needed by phone and e-mail. I'll stick with them hoping that rates go back up.

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Comment #4 by Kevin (anonymous) posted on
Kevin
Regarding the PTA Membership requirement, I don't know if this is a common practice of theirs. Although I chose to join my local PTA as you suggest, Alliant actually enrolled me in the National PTA at no cost to me. I believe in the qualifier drop down list, I chose National PTA, Non-Member and opened my account with Alliant from there. About a month later, I received a membership card from the National PTA. A call to Alliant CS confirmed they provided the membership. Nice touch, GREAT Credit Union!

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Only negative point is their free but unreliable bill payment service. They withdraw money from your account immediately but do not guarantee if or when the payment will ever reach the payee. They always blame post office for any delays while earning interest on your money.

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Comment #6 by Mike (anonymous) posted on
Mike
customer service reps are nice, but unfortunately they are not the brightest bunch. i've had an account for almost 3 months now and i've had to call them about 4-5 times about my 1st order of checks. i did get 1 box with both my name and my wife's name spelled wrong, and as of today i'm still waiting for my checks with the correct name on them.

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Comment #7 by Craig (anonymous) posted on
Craig
I have found you usually get the best customer service from Alliant when you use the secure e-mail within the online banking...very efficient....

And if you use the phone, best to call during business hours (even though the phone is 24/7) so that you will more likely get someone in their office itself...

As far as the comment about poor bill pay...i haven't found that to be the case, at all...all my electronic payees and paper check merchants have gotten their payments in a very prompt manner..

Though they don't guarantee on time payment, if a delay was caused by the vendor they use, they will make good on it...

i know that person who posted the bad comment and had found out for him who to call to get it straightened out, but he refuses to call and would rather gripe about it here and on fat wallet forums....lol

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Alliant Bill Pay needs proper/full e-payment (and e-billing) support. This whole idea of them mailing checks to major payees is an outdated nonsense. When I tried out the ACU bill pay service every one of my test 8 bill payees was shown as being that they would receive a check and not be paid electronically, versus only one of those eight on Bank of America - which I hate as as entity, BTW. Fix this, Alliant, and I, and many others will gladly ditch the banks in an instant!

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
@craig:
Just because you have not been robbed or raped, does not mean that no one has been done so.
It needs does one positive experience to prove the existence of an event.
Sun shines everyday does not mean eclipse never occurs.

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Comment #10 by Craig (anonymous) posted on
Craig
Regarding the poster that commented today (aug 26) that he set up all 8 of his payees on Alliant CU BillPay and saw that everyone of them was going to go by paper check rather then electronic....that is not true at all...

It is easy to get confused, because the way the Bill Pay System on there works is that when you set up your payee's initially, they will all show as going by check....

However, once you schedule your first payment, on the day that the service makes the payment, they determine which one's can go electronic, and then it automatically switches over as such....

To give you an example..my payees are Verizon, Time Warner Cable, ECG (long distance) Citibank Credit Cards and my Managment (Rent)...

At BOA....all went electronic except my Rent....At Alliant CU Bill Pay, all go electronic except for Management (Rent) and ECG Long Distance (and that is because ECG only has an electronic agreement with Checkfree Bill Pay)...

Upon initially setting up...ALL appeared like they were going by check...until i started to make the actual payments..

Just for your clarification...try it for yourself and you will see....

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Comment #11 by Craig (anonymous) posted on
Craig
regarding the "just because you have never been robbed or raped doesn't mean"
comment....

the thing is, i never doubted his payment got delayed and he got a late fee...

my point was, is that they are willing to work with him..research it with their bill pay vendor, and if they determine that the vendor did not mail it when they were supposed to, then very likely they will cover his late fees even though their vendor doesn't provide a guarantee....

the problem is, he is unwilling to work with them, and contact the particular supervisor that could help him on it...
instead, he prefers to sit back and just "gripe" about it....

incidentally, by around Spring 2010 they will be introducing a NEW Online Banking and Bill Pay interface, which will likely be with a different vendor anyway....

Their current Online Banking/Bill Pay is provided by Wescom Resources Group which also runs and provides the interface for Wescom Credit Union, one of the largest CU's in California....

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