Alliant High-Rate Savings Review

Elizabeth is a writer specializing in credit cards, student loans, debt repayment, and small business. Her work has also appeared on MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, and Business Insider.

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Alliant's high-yield savings account is among the best offerings for yield-hungry savers. Alliant offers the convenience you expect when banking with a major national bank while also delivering both a high annual percentage yield (APY) and low fees, which are more common among credit unions. These are the primary reasons why we like this savings account, but let's take a closer look and see if Alliant High-Rate Savings matches your needs as well.

Why you can trust me

I’m a personal finance writer with work published in MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, and more, meaning that I spend my days researching financial products and reading the fine print so you don’t have to. In my personal life, getting the highest rates and minimizing my fees is somewhat of a hobby, so I’m constantly seeking out the best high-rate savings accounts and love trying out new online products in the consumer banking world.

What I like about Alliant High-Rate Savings

High APY -- A 2.10% APY puts Alliant High-Rate Savings among the highest-yielding online savings accounts we've come across. Keep in mind the APY only kicks in when your average daily balance exceeds $100. Luckily, that’s a fairly low minimum balance requirement for such generous returns.

No monthly fees -- Cutting fees is crucial to harvest the most value from interest earnings. Alliant’s High-Rate Savings account has no monthly fees as long as you elect to receive eStatements. If you need paper statements, you’ll be charged a $1 monthly service fee.

Free ATM convenience card -- Including an ATM convenience card amps up the value of banking with Alliant, as the card provides easy access for cash withdrawals and deposits at qualifying ATMs. Keep in mind that Federal Reserve Regulation D limits you from processing more than six easy withdrawals per month from a savings account.

80,000-plus surcharge-free ATMs -- Alliant has a wide network of surcharge-free ATMs. Just keep your eyes peeled for Alliant-owned ATMs and those that are part of the Alliance One, Allpoint, CO-OP Network, Credit Union 24 CU Here, and Publix Presto networks. Alliant claims that its number of surcharge-free ATMs exceeds that of Chase and Bank of America combined.

Mobile app -- A user-friendly mobile app is a necessity for an online savings account, and Alliant's highly rated app includes key features such as electronic transfers to/from external accounts and mobile check deposits.

What could be improved

Membership qualification -- Alliant is a credit union, so it has some membership requirements that banks and online savings accounts don't. More than anything, this is a modest knock on credit unions, not Alliant specifically. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to qualify. You are eligible to join Alliant if any one of the following is true:

  1. You're a current or retired employee from one the many businesses and organizations Alliant partners with in the U.S.
  2. You're an immediate family member or a domestic partner of a current Alliant member.
  3. You've donated at least $5 to Foster Care to Success.
  4. You live or work in one of the communities near Alliant's corporate headquarters in Chicago.

Funding options

Savers have several convenient ways to start parking their cash in an Alliant savings account, including free electronic transfer from an external account, deposit at an Alliant deposit-taking ATM or branch, mobile deposit, direct deposit, incoming wire, and a mailed-in physical check.

Withdrawal options

Withdrawing funds is similarly convenient and can be completed by electronic transfer to an external account, outgoing wire, physical check, and visiting an ATM or branch.

How easy is it to move money from Alliant High-Rate Savings to another bank account?

You can easily transfer money from your Alliant High-Rate Savings account to another Alliant account or to an external account. Transfers can be processed through their mobile application, online, over the phone, or in person.

You do need to set up and verify any external bank accounts before transfers can be processed, but this is the case with all financial institutions. Once you’ve done that, transfers should process within 24 hours, but you might have to wait a little longer to access your funds depending on the external bank or credit union’s processing times.

There is no limit to the number of transfers you can do to or from your Alliant accounts, but it’s worth noting that the credit union does limit all customers to a maximum of $25,000 per day for ACH transfers. This means that if you ever need to transfer more than $25,000 from your Alliant High-Rate Savings to another account, you’ll have to do it over the course of multiple days.

Alliant High-Rate Savings vs. traditional savings account

Traditional savings accounts at large national banks tend to offer more convenience but lower rates when compared to credit unions. Here’s how Alliant stacks up against the big banks.

Highest rates: Alliant

Most standard savings accounts at traditional banks offer a 0.01% APY, which is about as good as not offering interest at all. Even the best traditional savings accounts will only net you 0.03% or 0.04%, and they might even come with a monthly fee. Alliant offers 2.10%, which blows traditional savings out of the water.

Lowest fees: Alliant

Alliant’s High-Rate Savings account comes with no monthly fees, and on top of that, you can set up a High-Rate Checking account to go with it, all for free. On the other hand, the savings and checking accounts at traditional banks usually require you to pay a monthly fee. Often, that monthly fee can be waived by maintaining a pre-specified minimum daily balance or having a certain number of direct deposits each month, but it’s easier to go with a fee-free account so you don’t have to worry about meeting any requirements.

Most branch locations: traditional savings

Big national banks do beat out most credit unions, including Alliant, when it comes to offering a large network of branch locations. If you prefer to do your banking in person, it might prove difficult with an Alliant High-Rate Savings account unless you happen to live near one of their branches. That being said, everything can easily be set up and managed online, so you never need to visit a brick-and-mortar location.

ATM access: Alliant

Even though Alliant doesn’t offer as many branch locations as most big national banks, they do have a network of over 80,000 fee-free ATMs across the country. In fact, Alliant claims that they offer more free ATMs than both Chase and Bank of America combined.

Is this the right savings account for you?

The first thing you need to decide is if you’re willing to go with an online savings account or you’d prefer a traditional savings account with a national bank. The deciding factor here tends to be whether you’re comfortable with giving up more traditional banking services such as having access to brick-and-mortar branch locations, in-person customer service, and paper statements.

If you’re willing to go fully online, an online high-yield savings account is the obvious option due to their low fees and high rates. When it comes to online savings, Alliant’s High-Rate Savings is easily one of the best options -- but there are a few competitors. Consider the table below, which shows how Alliant stacks up against similar high-yield savings accounts from our partners.

Rates as of Nov. 18, 2019
Offer
Alliant High-Rate Savings
 
Member, FDIC
Marcus Savings by Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs Bank USA
Member, FDIC
American Express® Personal Savings
 
Member, FDIC
Rating
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
APY

APY: 2.10%

APY: 1.90%

APY: 1.75%

Best For…

Best For: Credit union and free ATMs

Best For: High APY and low fees

Best For: Low fees

Min. for APY

Min. for APY: $0

Min. for APY: $0

Min. for APY: $1

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Data source: Alliant Credit Union, Barclays, and CIT Bank.

How to apply for an Alliant High-Rate Savings account

You can apply for an Alliant High-Rate Savings account online in a matter of minutes. If you aren’t yet a member, it could take a little longer.

1. Join Alliant Credit Union as a member

You can check your eligibility to join online by typing in your employer to see if you can qualify through them. If not, you can also qualify by having a relative who’s a member, participating in a qualifying organization, or living in a qualifying community. If you don’t meet any of those requirements, all you have to do is agree to support their partner charity by letting Alliant Credit Union donate $5 to them on your behalf. All of this can be done online.

2. Complete the online application

The online application takes about 15 minutes to complete. You’ll need to have a government-issued form of identification on hand as well as your Social Security number in order to apply.

3. Fund your account

Once you’ve completed the application and opened your Alliant High-Rate Savings account, all you have left to do is transfer the funds you’d like to save into your new account. See the funding options section above for more information.

Final take

We think Alliant strikes the right balance of features and convenience that customers should expect from an online high-yield savings account. While credit union membership limits eligibility somewhat, it's worth noting that anyone can become a member by paying the $5 price of admission with a charitable donation to Foster Care to Success. Gaining access to Alliant's feature-packed savings account may be well worth the price.

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