Alliant High-Rate Checking Account Review

Kailey writes about credit cards, loans, and all things personal finance. Her work has appeared on USA Today, CNN Money, Fox Business, and MSN Money.

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The Alliant High-Rate Checking Account has managed to garner a lot of positive attention because it does the basics so well. It may not offer some of the flashy perks that other online checking accounts do, like cash-back rewards on debit card purchases, but it makes managing your money simple and affordable. It has no minimum balance requirements, a large ATM network with out-of-network ATM reimbursements, and online and mobile account tools. And its high APY, while not industry-leading, is still far better than the national average.

Top perks

0.45% APY: The Alliant High-Rate Checking Account has a 0.45% APY, which is not the highest rate found among interest-bearing checking accounts, but it's still far above the national average. There's no minimum balance required to obtain this rate, although there are a few other requirements. Those who don't have enough money in their checking accounts to qualify for a high APY with another bank should consider this account.

No minimum balance requirements: Alliant doesn't require its High-Rate Checking Account holders to maintain a minimum balance in order to avoid monthly maintenance fees or earn interest. This makes it an appealing choice if you don't usually keep a lot of cash in your checking account.

More than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs: Alliant Credit Union has a network of more than 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. You can find the one nearest you using the ATM Locator tool on Alliant's website or on its mobile app for Android and Apple devices and use your provided Visa® debit card to access your funds.

Monthly ATM fee reimbursements: You shouldn't have to worry about ATM fees, even if you can't find an ATM in Alliant's network near you. The credit union offers up to $20 in monthly ATM fee reimbursements for out-of-network ATMs. Be aware that while this does include international withdrawals, it does not include the 1% foreign transaction fee Visa will charge you to use your debit card in a foreign country. Alliant will deposit these rebates into your checking account at the end of each day.

What could be improved

Interest not available to all account holders: In order to claim the APY, you must enroll in eStatements and have at least one electronic deposit into your Alliant High-Rate Checking Account every month. These requirements aren't that stringent and anyone who has their paychecks direct deposited into their account should qualify.

Membership requirements: Applicants must become members of the credit union to join. This isn't particularly difficult, but it is a hoop to jump through. You can qualify for membership in any of the following scenarios:

  • Your immediate family member is already an Alliant member.
  • You live or work in a qualifying community near Alliant's Chicago headquarters.
  • You make a $5 donation to Foster Care to Success.

Fees

Alliant High-Rate Checking Account Monthly Maintenance ATM Withdrawal Overdraft Stop Payment Insufficient Funds
Fees $0 $0 $28 $25 per item, but $0 for checks if done online or over the phone $25 per item

How to access your money

Alliant Credit Union gives you the following options for depositing and withdrawing money from your Alliant High-Rate Checking Account.

Deposit options

You can deposit money into your account in any of these ways:

  • ACH transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Mailed check
  • Mobile-deposited check
  • Cash deposit at an ATM

There are no restrictions on the number of deposits you can make in a day or in a month, but it could take a day or two for the money to show up in your account, especially if you're mailing in a check. Be sure to deposit your funds in advance of when you will need them.

Not all ATMs accept cash deposits. You can check which ATMs within Alliant's network do so by using its ATM Locator tool on its website or in its mobile app.

Withdrawal options

You're able to withdraw funds from your Alliant High-Rate Checking Account using any of the following methods:

  • ACH transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Request a mailed check
  • ATM withdrawal
  • Point-of-sale cash withdrawal

Visiting an ATM or making a point-of-sale withdrawal is your best option if you need cash quickly. ACH transfers, wire transfers, and mailed checks may take a day or two to process.

Online checking account comparison

Those hoping to earn a higher APY on their checking account funds should give the Simple Protected Goals Account a closer look. In addition to a high APY, Simple's checking accounts also offer access to budgeting tools to help you track your progress toward your financial goals and identify areas where you may be able to cut back your spending.

The TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Checking Account is another option to consider. Its higher APY for the first year is competitive for a checking account, although it drops after your first year and is not as high as the APYs Simple offers. Its Yield Pledge guarantee means that TIAA will evaluate its APYs weekly to ensure that they are always in the top 5% of checking account APYs.

Rates as of Jan. 16, 2020
Offer
Alliant High Rate Checking
 
Member, FDIC
Simple
 
Member, FDIC
TIAA Bank Yield Pledge® Checking
 
Member, FDIC
Rating
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
APY

APY: 0.45%

APY: Up to 2.15%

APY: 1.01% (intro rate)

Best For

Best For: High APY and monthly ATM reimbursement

Best For: Budgeting tools

Best For: High intro APY and ATM fee reimbursement

Min. to earn APY

Min. to earn APY:

Min. to earn APY:

Min. to earn APY:

Next Steps

This checking account is right for you if:

Those with several thousand dollars in their checking account may be able to earn a higher APY elsewhere. These individuals should consider the options above or put the bulk of their money in a high-yield savings account if the Alliant High-Rate Checking Account does not appeal.

The Alliant High-Rate Checking Account is a good fit for those with low average daily balances who still want to earn interest on their account without being bogged down by fees. Its APY is not the highest in the industry, but it's easy to qualify for, and still higher than most banks. With its large network of surcharge-free ATMs, monthly ATM fee reimbursements, and no monthly maintenance fees, you should only make money with the Alliant High-Rate Checking Account.

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