If you’re in the market for a straightforward savings account that offers government-backed deposit insurance and accepts applications from people all across the United States, banks aren’t your only option.
You can also choose from a bunch of reputable credit unions with national footprints and attractive savings yields. One of the best of this group is Alliant Credit Union. Its Alliant High-Rate Savings Account is rewarding, flexible, and mobile-friendly.
But the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account isn’t perfect, so take a few minutes to review its upsides and downsides before applying.
What Is the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account?
The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account is a high-yield savings account with no monthly fee when you opt into paper statements. It has a strong yield on all balances — 3.10% APY with an average daily balance of $100 or more — and, somewhat unusually, comes with an ATM card that enables fee-free withdrawals at about 80,000 machines nationwide.
The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account has other useful features, including digital bill pay and mobile check deposit. One standout capability is its supplemental savings accounts, which let you track your progress toward up to 19 savings goals at once.
The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account requires Alliant Credit Union membership, but it’s easy to qualify by joining Alliant’s nonprofit partner.
What Sets the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account Apart?
The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account stands out for a few reasons — nothing earth-shattering, but certainly notable:
- Above-average yield. It’s not quite at the top of the savings account heap, but the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account’s yield is well above average for national credit unions. Not to mention big banks, many of which raised rates in years.
- ATM card with expansive fee-free ATM network. It wouldn’t raise eyebrows in a checking account, but Alliant High-Rate Savings’ ATM card is unusual in the savings account world. Throw in a big fee-free ATM network with 80,000-plus machines and it’s a big selling point.
- Lots of subaccounts for easy budgeting and goal-setting. You can open nearly 20 separate savings accounts linked to your main High-Rate Savings Account. All earn the same high yield and have the same features and capabilities. They just make saving for and tracking goals much easier.
Key Features of the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account
Before you open an Alliant High-Rate Savings Account, review its core features and capabilities to understand what you’re getting into. Pay close attention to Alliant’s membership requirements and supplemental savings accounts option.
You must be an Alliant Credit Union member to open a High-Rate Savings Account.
If you don’t live in Alliant’s home territory — basically, the greater Chicago area — the easiest way to become a member is to join the nonprofit Foster Care 2 Success. There’s no out-of-pocket expense involved because Alliant Credit Union picks up Foster Care 2 Success’ one-time joining fee of $5.
Account Yield (Interest)
This account yields 3.10% APY on all balances. You need to maintain an average daily balance of $100 or more to earn this interest rate.
Account Fees & Minimums
The minimum balance to open and maintain your account is $5. You do need to maintain a $100 average daily balance to earn the posted yield.
There’s a $1 monthly paper statement fee if you don’t opt into electronic statements. Otherwise, this account has on monthly or recurring fees.
Alliant Credit Union has more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs in its network. These are distributed across the United States, including in places where Alliant has no branches.
Unusually for a savings account, Alliant High-Rate Savings offers an ATM card that works at hundreds of thousands of in-network and out-of-network machines. However, it’s not a debit card and can’t be used at other merchants.
Supplemental Savings Accounts (Subaccounts)
You can open up to 19 supplemental savings accounts tied to your main High-Rate Savings Account. This is helpful for setting and tracking specific savings goals without maintaining a separate spreadsheet or using a third-party budgeting tool.
Your supplemental savings account balances earn the same yield as your main savings account balance.
Mobile Banking Tools
Alliant Credit Union offers a nice lineup of mobile banking tools:
- Mobile check deposit
- Digital billpay
- Person-to-person and external account transfers
- Integrations with third-party finance apps like Mint and Quicken
The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account comes with up to $250,000 in deposit insurance from the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA.
Even though NCUA coverage isn’t exactly the same as Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) deposit insurance, it’s the same from a practical standpoint and should reassure you that your money is protected in the unlikely event Alliant Credit Union fails.
Pros & Cons of the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account
- No monthly fee with electronic statements
- Low balance requirements
- Up to 19 supplemental savings accounts
- Must be an Alliant Credit Union member to qualify
- Not the highest available savings yield
- No interest on balances below $100
The advantages of the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account include its low fees, lack of minimum balances (except to earn interest), and supplemental savings accounts feature.
- No monthly fee with electronic statements. As long as you opt into electronic statements, you pay no monthly maintenance fee on this account. Even if you don’t, the paper statement fee is just $1 per month, which is reasonable as far as paper statement fees go.
- Low balance requirements. You need just $5 in your account to keep it open. That barely qualifies as a minimum balance requirement these days.
- Above-average yield. While not quite the best around, this account’s yield is well above average for credit union savings accounts.
- ATM card and broad fee-free ATM access. Most savings accounts don’t offer ATM cards, let alone fee-free withdrawals at more than 80,000 ATMs. If you want the option to withdraw cash directly from your savings balance, this is the right account for you.
- Up to 19 supplemental savings accounts. You can set up, track, and save toward up to 19 savings goals simultaneously with the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account. Each subaccount earns the same high yield and has deposit insurance coverage, though the cumulative deposit insurance limit is still $250,000 no matter how many you have open at once.
- Useful mobile features. The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account boasts mobile check deposit, fast and free person-to-person transfers, and digital billpay. In short, it has most of the mobile features you expect from an online savings account.
- Full deposit insurance. This account comes with up to $250,000 in deposit insurance. That’s the standard limit at banks and credit unions alike, and reassuring in the unlikely event of Alliant’s failure.
The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account has few downsides. The biggest are the credit union membership requirement and the $100 average daily balance requirement to earn interest.
- Must become an Alliant member to qualify. Opening an Alliant High-Rate Savings Account takes some additional time if you’re not yet an Alliant member. It’s easy to qualify, but this could still be a deal-breaker if you’re pressed for time.
- No yield below $100 average daily balance. You need to maintain an average daily balance of at least $100 to earn interest on your balance. While modest, this could be an issue for savers just starting out.
- Can find higher yields if you know where to look. The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account has an excellent yield compared with many other credit union savings accounts, but it’s surpassed by a good number of online banks. Time will tell if that chances, but for now, it’s worth keeping in mind.
How the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account Stacks Up
Before you open an Alliant High-Rate Savings Account, see how it compares to another popular savings account available to applicants all across the United States: CIT Bank Platinum Savings.
|Alliant High-Rate Savings
|CIT Bank Platinum Savings
|$0 with e-statements
|Up to Up to 4.75% APY
|Minimum for Yield
|Yes, 80,000 fee-free
You can see that the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account is ideal for folks without big existing savings balances. It’s also a plus for those who want to be able to withdraw cash directly from their savings accounts without heading inside a bank branch.
By contrast, CIT Bank Platinum Savings is best for folks with higher balances seeking to maximize yield.
The Alliant High-Rate Savings Account is mostly a straightforward credit union savings account, but it does throw a few curveballs. These are mostly to the good: an above-average yield on all balances, an ATM card with more than 80,000 fee-free ATMs in its network, and easy budgeting and savings goal-setting with supplemental savings accounts.
The biggest downsides to this account aren’t fatal flaws by any means. There’s a bit of friction to open an account, especially if you’re not yet an Alliant member, and some online banks offer even higher savings yields. But overall, the Alliant High-Rate Savings Account has a lot more to like than dislike.