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Alliant Credit Union's Savings Account Rate to Remain 2% Through December


I received confirmation from Alliant Credit Union that the savings account rate will remain at 2.00% APY for the month of December 2009. Hat tip to the reader who first commented on this news. Alliant's board of directors typically meets around the middle of the month to approve next month's rates.

The savings account requires only $100 balance to qualify for this 2% APY, and there is no maximum balance limit. The only issue with the savings account is that Alliant is tight on its ACH transfer limits. In early 2008, I received the following info regarding their ACH transfer service:
Once the membership has been established, the member may subsequently request Alliant-initiated ACH transfers to/from other financial institutions via Skybranch up to $10,000 per day. The process is free of charge. As the process involves batch processing through the Federal Reserve ACH, it can take 2-3 banking days to complete.

Last month I received an update from my Alliant contact. They appear to be more flexible now, but it can vary. Here is what I was told:
Alliant has variable maximum limits that are based on the following criteria: Length of membership, Loans, Average Daily balance and if the member is in good standing.

If you have experience with ACH transfers at Alliant, please leave a comment about any transfer limits that you've experienced.

In addition to a top-notch savings account, Alliant also has a checking account (non rewards) that pays a very competitive rate. Refer to the following posts for a review of the savings and checking accounts:

In addition to competitive savings and checking account rates, Alliant Credit Union also has top CD rates. However, it's important to note these rates are not guaranteed to last through December. These are subject to change at anytime. The CD rates have remained the same since September 24th. Refer to my September Alliant post for more CD details.

Membership and Joining Alliant Credit Union

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. 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.

General Info

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.

Alliant has a top rating of 5 stars for safety and soundness at BauerFinancial. However, it only has a 3-star rating (performing) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 6/30/09 financial data. It's a large credit union with over $6.3 billion in assets.

The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 67955).

Other Competitive Savings Accounts and CDs
Related Pages: CD rates, IRA rates, savings account, Alliant Credit Union, Chicago

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  |     |   Comment #1
Previously you could only transfer $9999.99 on one day. I was able to transfer $$11,000 last night. I have been a csutomer for several years.
  |     |   Comment #2
You don't need to limit the amount of your transfers if you use the ACH system of another institution. Per a response to my question on this point, they told me (and I quote):

"There is no cap for amounts when you are usin g the online banking system from another financial institution, we will have no limitations on our end. This pertains to deposits or withdrawals."
  |     |   Comment #3
The 10,000 per day limit is handled well.

I just moved 15K in two batches over two days (from an archac CU that doesn't have an online ACH setup.)
  |     |   Comment #4
I haven't transferred amounts over $2K, but I wanted to say that my experience has been good with them in all aspects.
  |     |   Comment #5
I needed to transfer $35000 into my Alliant account a few weeks ago. It told me the limit was $25000. So I did $25000 on Monday and $10000 on Tuesday.
  |     |   Comment #6
My limit was always 9999.99, but I just tried it and now it is 25000.00. This is a lot better.
  |     |   Comment #7
I have been with Alliant CU since Feb 2009. Except for the hard credit pull upon account opening, my experiences have been fine. They offer quarterly credit scores which is a help (at no charge).

I highly recommend this CU as they also handle educational IRA accounts (very few places offer these accounts). CD rates are ok - actually better earlier in 2009 as compared with banks and other CU.
  |     |   Comment #8
When does the first credit score appear online after joining?

I joined in Nov 2009.
  |     |   Comment #9
RE credit scores: a note in my account says "Fourth quarter Credit Bureau Scores will be updated by January 31, 2010." I normally noticed the credit score posted within a month after the quarter end. Looks like you missed out on the 3rd quarter by a month.

RE transfers: I haven't initiated any transfers over 10k out, but like an earlier comment, initiate a request from an outside party - whether for payment or another account.

I've been using Alliant savings/checking for over a year and am extremely happy.
  |     |   Comment #10
I just opened this account and transfered 10K (my limit). One note is that if you are a Lifetime Fitness club member, you qualify. I used that. Also no proof is asked for. Plus the initial $5 deposit was given as a gift by the CU. So far this looks like a very good deal.
  |     |   Comment #11
My wife and I are recent Alliant customers. I was floored when I opened the account online only to learn we were restricted to $1000 initial deposit via ACH. We had intended to purchase several jumbo CDs instead. We recently moved exactly $10,000 into our new savings account via Alliant's Skybranch ACH. The next day I tried $25,000 only to be informed $9999.99 was the limit! We transferred our IRA accounts to Alliant, and a few days afterward I attemped to purchase a jumbo CD only to learn it will be ten days before we can purchase a CD with our savings deposit. If you wish to move substantial amounts via ACH, best plan on doing so from your source account as Alliant's Skybranch is all but worthless for the purpose. Also, be prepared for restricted access to your funds for two weeks or more(even in-house!). If you are used to being in overdrive with online institutions like Ally Bank, Discover Bank or Pentagon CU, be prepared to downshift into first gear when you arrive at Alliant. Alliant's customer service is good but their policies are holdovers from the horse and buggy era.
  |     |   Comment #12
I always wonder why these money amount restrictions for EFT transfer are in place for some of these institutions. It could be because they want to prevent rapid capital shifts on their books? Or are they trying to minimize the potential fraud impact of moving such a large balance? Or is the Automated Clearing House system placing a specific restriction on that company?
Banking Guy
  |     |   Comment #13
I should have included a link to this previous post which discussed the ACH issue at PenFed along with the reasons why institutions often have restrictive ACH policies. It does seem to be due to security issues.
  |     |   Comment #14
Thanks for the link, BG. So it is a case of "better being safe than sorry".

BTW, Alliant has one of the best HSA rates in the country and they don't charge maintenance fees. Nice way to earn tax free interest (and tax deductible contributions). If you are over 50, you can contribute close to $6000 per year.
  |     |   Comment #15
"There is a high risk of fraud associated with ACH transactions - both incoming and outgoing."

If the above is true, then why do banks offer this service? Isn't that like cashing any check without asking for an ID?
  |     |   Comment #16
I am very happy with my experience thus far with Alliant:
• I applied for Regular Savings account on Nov 9 using EFT from another bank. On Nov 13 got email confirming membership; on Nov 17 got the membership pack, including the account number and a signature card to mail in.After calling to get a temporary access number I was able to log onto account same day. Thus it took 8 days from start to finish, not too bad.
• I then created 3 external tranfer acccounts: took only 2 days to verify the test deposits. Transfers to and from for new accounts are limited to $10k per day (get alert if try more), but there are no limits when push funds from the other bank. Banking Guy mentions the delay in transfers due to ACH batch processing (mine took 3 days), but there is no lost interest. I pulled $10k from another bank on Nov 22: funds were debited at the other bank on Nov 25 and credited at Alliant on the same day.
• I pushed $100k from one of the external bank accounts to my Alliant Savings account, was credited next day. On same day I then purchased a $100k CD at Alliant, transferring the funds from my savings account. Could not be easier.
  |     |   Comment #17
To Anonymous, at 5:00 AM, December 03, 2009: There is no interest loss on *inbound* transfers initiated with Alliant's system but there is indeed a loss with outbound transfers -- usually 2 business days' worth, vs. the 1 business-day interest-loss I've typically encountered elsewhere.

To: Anonymous, at 2:21 PM, November 30, 2009: Once when I inquired about a certificate and was told that deposit holds are waived for funding purposes -- which makes sense since the money ends up "staying put," anyway. I wonder if you would've gotten a different answer from a different CSR. While Alliant's CS is better than average (especially via bankmail), they do sometimes give general misinformation -- especially if you reach an after-hours telephone CSR. I suppose it's possible that that holds aren't waived even for certificate-funding if the member is new; if so, that's an odd policy. Come to think of it, I think the person I spoke to may have been a certificate specialist, though I don't recall for sure.

I've been a member about 18 months, and recently saw my Alliant-initiated online-transfer limit bumped (unannounced) from $10k to $25k, as did a friend who joined a year ago on my recommendation.

It's not perfect in every way (what institution is?), but on the whole Alliant is great.

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