Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card

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One of the best unlimited cash-back cards you can get.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our cash back category page.

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In April 2017, Alliant Credit Union launched a new champion of cash-back credit cards — the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card. The card pays a stunning 3% cash back on all purchases during the first year of card ownership, then a still-impressive 2.5% thereafter.

Review

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card outshines other top cash-back reward cards that pay 2% percent on all purchases. There are other cards out there that pay higher rewards in specific categories or in quarterly rotating bonus categories, but there’s only one other credit card on the market that potentially pays as high a rewards rate on all spending as the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card.

At its highest rewards tier, The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card bests Alliant’s cash back rate by paying 3.5 points per $1 on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per $1 on all other purchases. But you have to have a minimum $100,000 combined daily balance in your qualifying Bank of America deposit accounts and/or your qualifying Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts., That’s a pretty tall order for someone who’s just looking for a great cash-back credit card.

Alliant’s Cashback card has a $59 annual fee, waived the first year, which is easier to stomach then meeting BofA’s best rewards rate requirement.

Because Alliant is a credit union and doesn’t operate like a traditional bank, you have to become a member to apply for this card. Membership is open to people who live in one of the Illinois communities Alliant serves, relatives of an existing Alliant member or through membership in select organizations.

If none of those criteria apply to you, you can still join by making a $10 minimum donation to Foster Care to Success, which helps foster teens who are aging out of the foster system. Alliant membership comes with a High-Rate Savings Account. The account has a $5 minimum deposit requirement but Alliant will make that opening $5 deposit for you..

The final thing to consider before applying for this card is if you will spend enough to earn back more than the cost of owning this card. After the first year, you’ll have to pay a $59 annual fee. At a cash-back rate of 2.5% you’d have to spend $2,360 to break even, which should be fairly attainable for most.

Who should get this card

Anyone who wants maximum cash-back rewards for little cost can benefit from owning this card.

Advantages
  • One of the highest restriction-free cash-back rates of any credit card.
  • Earning rewards is easy and doesn’t require any category tracking.
  • There’s no cap on the amount of rewards you can earn.
Disadvantages
  • You have to be a member of a credit union to apply for the card.
  • Depending on how you spend, you may be able to earn more using a card that offers higher bonuses in certain spending categories.
  • There’s no introductory 0% APR offer on purchases or balance transfers.

Fees and APR

  • The annual fee is $59, waived the first year.
  • You’ll pay a variable APR on purchases and balance transfers of 11.24% to 24.24%.
  • There’s a 3% balance transfer fee.
  • If you use this card to make an international purchase, there are no foreign transaction charges.
  • If pay late or miss a payment, a variable penalty APR of 24.99% may apply until you make at least six months of consecutive on-time payments. You may also be subject to a late fee of up to $25.

Extras, perks and using points

As a Visa Signature card, the Alliant Cash Back Visa Signature comes with auto and travel insurance and protections, and extended warranty coverage for items purchased with the card. Cardholders also have access to the Visa Signature Concierge.

You can receive your cash-back earnings as either a credit card statement credit or deposited into your Alliant checking or savings account. If not redeemed, cash-back earnings will expire in the December billing cycle after the fourth calendar year they were earned.

How this card compares

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our cash back category page.

Card Details
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash-back on every net purchase.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 14.99%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee No Annual Fee.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. You don’t need to have an account with Fidelity to apply for this card, but if you do, you can have your earnings deposited directly into your account or applied as a statement credit to your card. This card also comes with Visa Signature benefits.

Citi® Double Cash Card
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49% 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*
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
Annual Fee $0*
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 18 months*

When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee.

So why, you might ask, does this card not receive a higher score from Bankrate? There are a couple reasons, but the main thing dragging this card down is this: Because Citi Double Cash offers no sign-up bonus, it struggles to compete with many cards in this category.

Card Details
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

The Chase Freedom card is fee-free and offers rotating bonus categories that pay 5% back, with a cap of $1,500 in each category and an unlimited 1% back on everything else. You also have to sign-up each quarter to get the bonus.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.