Alliant Credit Union Personal Loan Review: Great for Secured Personal Loans

Alliant Credit Union Personal Loan Review: Great for Secured Personal Loans

Only members of Alliant Credit Union can apply for a personal loan. However, the credit union can be a great choice for a secured loan.

Good for

  • Existing Alliant Credit Union members
  • Savings or CD secured loans
  • Direct payment to creditors

Bad for

  • High starting APRs for unsecured loans

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

Alliant only extends personal loans to existing members of the credit union. To become a member, you’ll need to be part of an eligible organization, live or work in a certain area of Chicago, or be related to an Alliant member. Having said that, we think the credit union is an especially good choice for a secured personal loan because of the low rates, large loan amounts and flexible payment terms.

Alliant Credit Union Personal Loan Review: Should You Apply?

While Alliant only provides personal loans to existing members, we think the credit union has great rates and terms on secured loans. For unsecured loans, the credit union has rather high starting annual percentage rates, so we advise borrowers to shop around before committing to an unsecured loan from Alliant.

ProsCons
  • High loan amounts for secured loans.
  • Option to pay off your creditors directly for debt consolidation loans.
  • High starting rates on unsecured loans.

For existing members, Alliant has competitive APRs and high loan amounts on savings and CD secured personal loans. With savings secured loans, for instance, members can borrow up to $500,000 with rates under 5% (though how much you can actually borrow will depend on how much is in your savings account). CD secured loans can go up to 90% of the value of the certificate with rates 2% above your CD rate. Because these loans are secured by a deposit account, your credit score will not be as important to the application process as with an unsecured loan. In fact, when we spoke to a loan specialist, he said that the advertised rate is what's given to all applicants approved for a secured loan, and that credit score is not necessarily an important factor to qualify.

If you’re shopping for a debt consolidation loan, Alliant can pay off your creditors directly. Many online lenders and banks don’t give borrowers this option, which makes consolidating debt a little inconvenient–especially if you have a few different accounts you need to pay off. While this shouldn’t be the sole factor in your decision, this is a nice feature that few other organizations offer.

An area where we think the credit union falls short is its rates on unsecured loans. Rates start at 12.15% with AutoPay (they will be 0.4% higher without AutoPay), and the loan specialist we spoke to said that applicants should have a credit score of 680 or higher to increase their chances of being approved. For comparison, many other banks and online lenders have annual percentage rates starting at 5.99% or 6.99%. On a three-year $10,000 loan, you would save over $800 in interest if your APR was 6.99% instead of 12.15%. For this reason, we generally recommend borrowers with good to excellent credit shop around for an unsecured personal loan.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an Alliant Credit Union personal loan, borrowers should meet the minimum criteria listed below. If you want to improve your chances at qualifying, you should also meet the recommended criteria.

  • Must be an Alliant Credit Union member
  • Must have sufficient income to support repayment

Alliant Credit Union has physical branch locations in California, Illinois, Colorado, Texas and Virginia. To become a member of the credit union, you must:

  • Be an employee or member of a qualifying organization.
  • Live, work or worship in a qualifying Chicago area community.
  • Be a member of Foster Care to Success.
  • Be related to an existing Alliant member (including partners of unmarried members).

Alliant Credit Union Personal Loan Rates, Terms and Fees

Alliant offers both unsecured and secured personal loans to its members. Secured loans use either a savings account or a CD as collateral for the loan.

Unsecured Personal Loans

If you decide to apply for an unsecured loan, you can borrow up to $50,000 with fixed interest rates and a variety of payment terms.

Loan Amount Range$1,000 - $50,000
APR Range12.15% - 20.00% with AutoPay
Fees
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: $27
  • NSF/returned payment fee: $27
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan Terms1 month to 5 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsYes

Secured Personal Loans

If you have a savings account or CD with the credit union, you can borrow against the value of the account through a savings or CD secured loan.

Loan Amount Range
  • Savings secured loan: $500 - $500,000
  • Certificate secured loan: $500 - up to 90% of certificate balance
APR Range
  • Savings secured loan:
    • 3.11% for 1 to 48 months
    • 4.11% for 49 to 60 months
  • Certificate secured loan: Certificate rate + 2%
Fees
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: $27
  • NSF/returned payment fee: $27
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan Terms
  • Savings secured loan: 1 month to 5 years
  • Certificate secured loan: Up to maturity of certificate
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsYes

Application Process

You’ll need to be a member of Alliant Credit Union to apply for a personal loan. You can apply online or by phone. To apply online, you’ll need to log into your account. You’ll need to provide the credit union with some details about how much you want to borrow, how long you want to repay and what type of loan you want. If you are approved, funding is very fast with some customers receiving funds the same day.

Application ProcessOnline or by phone
Time to Get FundsAs fast as same day
Credit CheckHard credit check when you apply
Credit ReportingYes
Cosigners/Co-borrowers Allowed?Yes (cosigner does not need to be an Alliant member, but will automatically become a member if the loan is approved)

How Does Alliant Credit Union Compare to Other Lenders?

If you’re in the market for a personal loan, it’s a good idea to consider a variety of lenders before committing. We take a look at some other options below.

Alliant Credit Union vs. Navy Federal Credit Union

Similar to Alliant, you’ll need to be a member of Navy Federal to take out a personal loan with the credit union. Generally speaking, you’ll need to be uniformed personnel or a civilian employee of the Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps), U.S. Coast Guard or the National Guard to be eligible for membership. All honorably discharged veterans, employees of NFCU and family members of those eligible are also eligible for membership. That being said, NFCU has a lower range of rates and longer loan terms on its unsecured and secured personal loans than Alliant.

Alliant Credit Union vs. LightStream

We recommend applicants consider LightStream over Alliant for an unsecured personal loan, provided you have strong credit history. Through LightStream, you can borrow up to $100,000 with lower rates and longer terms than what Alliant offers. Like Alliant, LightStream can provide funds as fast as same day in some cases. To qualify, applicants should have good to excellent credit (a 660+ credit score), several years of credit history and a variety of account types, a demonstrated ability to save and a low debt-to-income ratio. To improve your chances, we recommend applicants have a credit score of 720 or above, significant personal or retirement savings and a high annual income.

Alliant Credit Union vs. loanDepot

If you aren’t a member of Alliant (or aren’t eligible), you might want to consider a personal loan from loanDepot. This company is perhaps best known for mortgages, but it also provides unsecured personal loans up to $35,000. Starting rates at loanDepot are also lower than those at Alliant, so you may be able to save on interest if you can qualify for a rate under 12%. One downside to loanDepot is that the company charges origination, late payment as well as returned payment fees and you can only borrow funds for three or five year terms. However, there are no prepayment penalties so you can always pay off the loan earlier. To qualify at loanDepot, applicants should have a verifiable source of income and a bank account as well as a personal credit score of 660 or higher.

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