Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.