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Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card: Is It The New Cash Back King?

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card: Is It The New Cash Back King?

An excellent card for high-spenders who want 2.5% cash back anywhere they shop.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

We recommend the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card to high spenders who want a good fixed-rate cash back credit card. The 2.5% rewards rate is currently unmatched by most other rewards cards. However, the $59 annual fee (waived year 1) means you have to make enough cash back to break even. Ignore this card if you spend less than $11,800 per year – at that point you should consider other options, like the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Note: You must have an Alliant Credit Union account to apply for this card.

This card is good for...

  • Individuals who don't want to optimize rewards for certain categories and want a simple cash back credit card
  • Anyone with varied spending that doesn't conform to traditional credit card rewards categories

This card is bad for...

  • People spending less than $11,800 each year on their card
  • Those who are looking for a sizable credit card sign-up bonus

Review: Our Thoughts On The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card is easily one of the best cash back credit cards around, and quite possibly the best overall card for some consumers. The 2.5% rewards rate it offers on all purchases is unheard of. Up until now, the only cards that came close offered just 2%. While it’s possible to beat the 2.5% return with other cards, your spending needs to break down in a specific way, with much of it going towards dining and travel. If you want a hassle-free card to put all your purchases on, this is a good one to go with.

Estimated 2-Year Net Rewards Per Card Based On Average Consumer Expenditures

Credit Card2-Year Net Rewards Estimate
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card$1,027
Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card$885
Citi® Double Cash Card$686

There are two major things to consider before you apply for this card – its annual fee and the Alliant bank account requirement. The card charges a $59 annual fee that is waived during your first year of cardmembership. We don’t consider this to be a con, since for some users it actually makes sense to pay the fee. You just need to make sure you’re spending over $11,800 annually on your card. Otherwise, a no-fee option may be better. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that you can’t get this card unless you have an Alliant checking or savings account. This is a minor obstacle, and for some consumers it may be a small price to pay for that 2.5% rewards rate.

Bottom Line: The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card can’t be ignored. It offers one of the highest rewards rates on the market right now. However, due to its annual fee, you shouldn’t get it unless you spend at least $11,800 per year on purchases.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card Benefits & Features

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card offers consumers a steady 2.5% cash back rate on all purchases with no category restrictions. There are also no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn in a single year. The cash back rewards can be applied either as statement credit to your account or be deposited directly into your Alliant bank account. The card doesn’t have any bonuses. Instead, for your first year, you receive 3% back on all purchases, instead of the standard 2.5%.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card
Annual Fee
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $59
Purchase APR
10.74% - 23.74% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent
Details
  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year
  • A true cashback card: 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No limit to the cash back awards you can earn

In terms of fees, cardholders must contend with a $59 annual fee that is waived during the first year of card membership. Generally speaking, most cash back credit cards don’t have any annual fee. However, given the higher than normal rewards rates this is justifiable. You need to spend just $2,360 annually to break even -- $2,360 x 2.5% = $59. If you compare this card to a no-fee 2% card, then you would need to spend $11,800 each year to come out ahead. At that point, the extra 0.5 points you get on each purchases will come out ahead, despite the $59 annual fee. The math works as follows:

  • $11,800 (spending) x 2.5% (rewards) - $59 (annual fee) = $236
  • $11,800 (spending) x 2.0% (rewards) - $0 (annual fee) = $236

How Does The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card Compare To Other Credit Cards?

You can only get the true measure of a credit card after knowing how it compares to other credit cards. Most people will only want to sign-up for one credit card at a time, therefore it’s important to consider the opportunity cost of picking one over another. We matched the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card against some popular alternatives to see how it stacks up.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card vs Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is likely to be the better option for low-spenders. That is anyone who charges less than $11,800 to their credit card per year. This card awards 1% cash back on all purchases, and another 1% back when those purchases are then paid off. Since it has no annual fee, you also never have to worry about breaking even. As we showed in the math example above, getting 2.5% back through the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card while also paying an annual fee will only be worth it if you spend above that $11.8k annual threshold.

One other thing to consider is the fact that the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card has the 3% cash back bonus during the first year of membership. The Citi® Double Cash Card, on the other hand, currently has no special promotions going on at the moment. However, most consumers should keep in mind the long-term differences between the card we described above. The marginal increase you’ll get during that first year may not be worth it, if you get slapped with a $59 fee in the second year.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card vs Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card are natural to compare since they both come in at the same price-point. Both cards have their annual fee waived during the first year of card membership. However, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card charges $95 thereafter, as opposed to the $59 charged by the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card. The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card will always come out on top, because it offers a superior rewards rate – 2.5% versus the 2% on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. One thing to consider, however, is the fact that you don’t need to open any Capital One bank account when you open the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card requires you to have some Alliant account. For some, this restriction may be a deal breaker.

From a bonus perspective, the reward you can get on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is superior. Cardholders get 50,000 miles once they spend at least $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. You would need to spend $50,000 during your first year with the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card to match that bonus’ value.

Right now, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is also running a fantastic new promotion. Users get 10x miles on hotels when they pay with their Venture card at hotels.com/Venture. The promotion is running through January 31, 2020.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium credit card that has the potential to earn its users a lot more than just 2.5% back, depending on how they use it. Before considering the card's rewards, however, it is important to know that it comes with a $450 annual fee. Despite that, the card can pay for itself, and be much more profitable than the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card, for the right consumer. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides a 4.5% rewards rate on dining and travel purchases, 1.5% on everything else, and a $300 annual travel credit. You'll earn 3 points on travel purchases, but only after using the $300 travel credit.

Comparison Tool

When picking a rewards credit card, it’s important to consider how you spend your money. The math behind this can be tough, especially when annual fees are concerned. This is why we constructed a comparison calculator that allows you to input your estimated monthly purchases, and do the work for you. We included a few other cards so that you can better see how the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card performs against the competition.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that 3.18%
$500
Receive 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months
$1,091
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.01 = $686
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.01 = $500
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,091

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $59 2.33%
$0
$799
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 85,800 x $0.01 = $858
Bonuses
0 x $0.01 = $0
0 x $0.01 = $0
Less Annual Fees -$59
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 799

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $59
APR 10.74% - 23.74% Variable

Card Details

  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year
  • A true cashback card: 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No limit to the cash back awards you can earn
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
$450 1.55%
$750
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem for travel.
$530
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 45,360 x $0.015 = $680
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.015 = $750
Less Annual Fees -$900
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 530

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $450
APR 17.99% - 24.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Citi® Double Cash Card
$0* 2.00%
$0
$686
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 686 x $1 = $686
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 686

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0*
APR 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$0 1.94%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 51,480 x $0.01 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $0.01 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 665

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.99% - 25.74% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, and Amazon Business American Express Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.