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Update on Alliant Credit Union's Checking, Savings and CDs


Update 7/01/09: The rates have fallen. Please check the credit union's website for the latest rates. Rates as of 7/01/09 include: 2.00% APY for Savings, 1.75% APY for High Rate Checking, 3.50% APY for HSA, CDs with $25K min: 2.15% APY 12mo-23mo, 2.30% APY 24mo-35mo, 2.75% APY 36mo-47mo, 3.00% APY 48mo-60mo

Update 6/02/09: The rates have fallen. Please check the credit union's website for the latest rates. Rates as of 6/02/09 include: 2.25% APY for Savings, 2.00% APY for High Rate Checking, 4.00% APY for HSA, CDs with $25K min: 2.40% APY 12mo-23mo, 2.55% APY 24mo-35mo, 3.00% APY 36mo-47mo, 3.25% APY 48mo-60mo

Like many credit unions Alliant Credit Union lowered several of its deposit rates for April. However, rates remain very competitive. The savings account rate dropped from 3% to 2.75% APY, and the high rate checking rate dropped from 2.75% to 2.50% APY. The savings and checking account rates typically last for the entire month.

I just noticed this morning that they also lowered the CD rates. Unlike the savings and checking rates, CD rates can change any time during the month. Even with these new cuts, the CD rates remain competitive. As listed in the rate table as of 4/02/09 the rates include:
  • 2.90% APY for 12 to 23 months
  • 3.05% APY for 24 to 35 months
  • 3.50% APY for 36 to 47 months
  • 3.75% APY for 48 to 60 months
The minimum deposit is $25,000. The rates are 15 basis points lower for a $1,000 minimum. CDs are also available for IRAs and Coverdell ESAs.

In addition to the very competitive rates, the deposit products have several other nice features. Refer to the following posts for a review of these accounts:
Credit union membership is open to local and national PTA members. There's a $25 membership fee for the National PTA, and it appears to be open to all. 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.

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.

Branches are located in Chicago, Des Plaines, and Elk Grove Township, Illinois. There are also branches in Colorado, California and Virginia.

The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 67955).
Related Pages: checking account, savings account, CD rates, IRA rates, Alliant Credit Union, Chicago

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  |     |   Comment #1
Great CU to join. I have had great assistance from their IRA department. Coverdell ESA account rollover was the main reason for joining as TIAA-CREF was only paying .6% yield at the time. I was able to lock in rates (before the drop) on CD's from 3% to 3.85% yield - depending on the term - which will help on college. I also placed taxable money with them. On-line access is OK. They remain competitive as other were dropping rates (ie. GMAC, Citi etc.). 24 hour customer service also helps with resolving issues. By joining National PTA, you can join this CU.
  |     |   Comment #2
I've had an account w/ Alliant for over a year and I agree that their rates are very competitive and their customer service is outstanding. They have 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs. However, if you like to deal with a live person, they may not be for you. Over half of their 11 branches are located in airport terminals. (They were formerly United Airlines Employee Credit Union.)
  |     |   Comment #3
"However, if you like to deal with a live person, they may not be for you. Over half of their 11 branches are located in airport terminals."

Applying this restriction would practically eliminate all credit unions, which as a group tend to be offering the best rates now. I cannot think of any credit union that has the retail presence (and open eligibility) we expect of national banks.

I'm lucky enough to live within driving distance of an Alliant branch. I've also tried their 24 hour phone service. There's little difference. You can be assured of good service using either.

Another positive about Alliant is the way they keep their rates steady. They don't use high rates to draw you in, only to yank them down within days or weeks. To be sure, rates are on a downward trend but that's happening all over.
  |     |   Comment #4
I joined never checked PTA membship
  |     |   Comment #5
To: All
Re: Credit Union Membership

The above poster sort of "caught my eye." I always wondered if Credit Unions even bothered to check your affinity group. For example, if I wanted to join NFCU, and just checked the box "retired", what are the odds they'd ever check?

Just curious, not having done that,

  |     |   Comment #6
There are some credit unions that are obsessive about checking eligibility. I remember one thread on FW a couple of years ago where someone discovered the cheapest way to become eligible to join a credit union was to become a member of a group called something like The Native American Sheriffs Organization. The Organization had like one guy who checked the mail once a week and was suddenly swamped with thousands of applications and the credit union demanded written proof of membership. It was rather amusing.

As I recall, the Brightstar CU deal a few months ago also required some proof of eligibility which had people signing up for online classes at Broward Community College.

In any case, I tend to be more honest when people trust me to do the right thing. When someone is checking up on me, I think more about ways to fool them.
  |     |   Comment #7
Those who don't trust others often can't be trusted themselves. Unfortunately, trusting people are often taken advantage of. But that's life in an imperfect world in which basic values have gone down the drain.
  |     |   Comment #8
I love banking with Alliant. It was $10 to join the California PTA.
  |     |   Comment #9
"I always wondered if Credit Unions even bothered to check your affinity group."

With Alliant, I had my e-mail confirmation from the PTA in hand and they asked to see it.
  |     |   Comment #10
The certificate rate listings on Alliant's website were weird. From 2/19 (I may not have the date right) until 3/31, it said, "rates effective 2/19." Then on 4/1 it changed to "rates effective 4/1," but had the same rates, leading you to believe the 2/19 rates had been "renewed" for awhile. But then, one day later, the rates were lowered to those in this post, and the heading said "rates effective 4/2." Updates on 2/19, 4/1 and 4/2? Weird.

Re the CU membership discussion: makes you wonder if Alliant enticed the PTA to swell the CU's membership ranks. If they dropped the affiliation, their membership growth rate would probably fall to a fraction of what it is now.

I've seen some CU's that are very strict, and some that make it as easy as possible. For one I had to click on the qualifying institution, none of which I worked or belonged to. But there was also a choice for "I don't belong to any of these" and it said you could join by donating $5 to some High School athletics association. The CU took care of the donation for you.

Alliant has some annoying little quirks and restrictions, and CS does sometimes give misinformation (though less than elsewhere). But the benefits, many of which folks have already discussed here, FAR outweigh the negatives. It's a great institution.
  |     |   Comment #11
About 2 years ago I joined Alliant Credit Union in San Mateo.

I wasn't a member of any PTA and didn't want to pay $25 for a National membership. I tried to join the PTA at a local school, but without a kid they treat you kinda funny.

I just went to the branch and asked the best way to qualify for membership and the service rep said he could sign me up for the PTA through Alliant. No charge.

Been a happy Alliant customer ever since.
  |     |   Comment #12
If you contact your local public school, you can join the "local" PTA which automatically gets you a National PTA number. Our local shchool in Cleveland Ohio area is $5.00 to join. Alliant never asked for the number though. I do not think $5.00 will break your bank account and will help the local school (including if you have kids attending the school).
  |     |   Comment #13
Alliant still has the 10,000 per day limit on ACH. I thought I read here a while ago that Alliane was planning to up that limit. Anyone know more on this?
  |     |   Comment #14
"Alliant still has the 10,000 per day limit on ACH. I thought I read here a while ago that Alliane was planning to up that limit. Anyone know more on this?"

This could be a far-fetched guess on my part but I'm going to venture the increase is unlikely. While depositing a cashier check representing the proceeds from a CD that had matured, I was told by teller at my regular bank (Corus) that they'd been noticing banks holding clearance of checks, even cashier ones, in the name of fraud prevention. He offered this when I asked if my funds would be available the following day, by way of explaining it would all depend on when the issuing bank releases them. If this one data point is any indication, banks seem to be tightening, not loosening, controls.
  |     |   Comment #15
I recieved last week a letter from Alliant CU ... due to my length of membership, good account standing, large balances, they will now increase my ach daily limits to $25k from $10k. Effective immeditely.
  |     |   Comment #16
What kind of balances do you have with Alliant and how long have you been a member. Just curious if I am in same category for upgrade to 25K/day.
  |     |   Comment #17
Just noticed, Alliant gives a free credit score (looks like it is updated every quarter) on their site (it is under CREDIT SCORE in menu) with a trend graph. Another benefit. Anyone know which credit score this is?
  |     |   Comment #18
I wasn't aware that Alliant provided an account holders credit score. Sure enough, I logged into my account and saw my credit score over the last three quarters!

Honestly, I don't care too much about it as I have no intention of opening any debt tools or accounts (except for a mortgage in the future), but it's neat to see.

On the credit score page, there is a FAQ link. Note the one bullet says the credit score is from Experian:

Is this the credit score Alliant uses?* No, Alliant uses a different scoring model for our lending. The credit score displayed on Alliant’s online banking system is produced by Experian and is similar to the one used by Alliant.
  |     |   Comment #19
Just checked, I have 3 Credit Scores. My last Credit Score was 12/31 (anyone have a more recent one on their account..perhaps they stopped doing this at end of 2008).
Not sure which credit score Alliant uses. Alliant's FAQ states that score will range from 150-950, but they send to VantageScore for more info which has range of 501-990. Therefore, theycould be using a Vantage score, or they could be referring to this sit for general Credit Score info.
  |     |   Comment #20
Kaiser/Permanente Health Plan members are eligible to join Alliant. Also many CUs belong to some kind of association which allows each member CU to act as a de facto branch of any other member CU...my initial funding of my Alliant account was done with no charge for wire, etc., at my Patelco CU branch (another very good CU, btw).
  |     |   Comment #21
the May savings account rate will be 2.50%
  |     |   Comment #22
Banking Guy tweeted this already, but Alliant CU dropped the savings rate from 2.50% to 2.25% APY. High rate checking dropped similarly from 2.25% to 2.00% APY.

I noticed this last month as well: the declared dates for the rates are 5/21 and 5/26 for the savings and checking accounts respectively. I am guessing the applied rate is back-dated.
  |     |   Comment #23
No, the rates are not backdated. They always are effective on the 1st of the month.
  |     |   Comment #24
Effective 7/01, Alliant Savings Accounts will pay 2.00% APY
  |     |   Comment #25
Great news: Alliant's savings rate will remain 2% APY in Feb. Credit for this info goes to craig10x at FW. Also, to add a comment to BankingGuy's article, Alliant CU used to be United Alrlines Employees CU. That's why the online banking feature is called Skybranch and why over half of its branches are located at airports serviced by United.
  |     |   Comment #26
Unfortunately, Alliant only has one option for the general public to qualify for the account, in the absence of qualification through relatives, employment, or Illinois communities.  A PTA represents the only joinable organization on their list.  Thus, anyone with a personal objection against joining a PTA has no other alternative with which to qualify.

Then again, Incredible Bank seems better in just about every way, and doesn't require any hoop-jumping to qualify.
  |     |   Comment #27
Alliant is allowing "members" of the Orphan Foundation of America to join.  I say "members" because you really don't become a member as it seems they don't have membership, you just put in a $10 donation and save the receipt as proof.  Thus, cheaper than a PTA membership, if you choose to donate around the minimum.  Also available to anyone.
  |     |   Comment #28
I ultimately decided not to go with Alliant Credit Union, because they require accessing the account via online banking, and their deposit agreement provides insufficient protection for customers in the event of online banking fraud. Online banking fraud is on the uprise, and it's very difficult for a customer to protect themselves against this kind of fraud. Best practice is for banks to promise to reimburse customers for any losses that may occur due to online fraud or hacking. However, Alliant refuses to make that promise, leaving your money at risk: if malware gets onto the PC you use for online banking, some hacker could empty out your Alliant account and transfer all your money out, and you'd be ****ed. As a result, I took my money elsewhere.  If Alliant catches up to current practice and agrees to indemnify customers against fraud, then I'll bank with them in an instant.

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