Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card review

Nouri Zarrugh  in  Cash Back How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
Alliant Credit Union Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Annual Fee:
$0 the first year, then $99
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
12.24% - 22.24% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

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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Best for heavy spenders

  • Rewards Rate: 2.5 percent cash back on all purchases (on up to $10,000 in spending per billing cycle)
  • Welcome Offer: None
  • Annual Fee: $99, $0 first year
  • Purchase Intro APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 12.24 percent – 22.24 percent (variable)

If you’re looking to put a ton of spend on a single cash back credit card, the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card will no doubt offer impressive ongoing value. Along with its best-in-class cash back rate, the card also comes with a chance at a low APR and generous credit line.

The catch? You must be an Alliant Credit Union member to be eligible, and there’s a limit to how much cash back you can earn. You’ll also need to pay a hefty annual fee after the first year and have excellent credit to qualify.

That said, this card’s terrific cash back rate could more than offset its cost if you spend heavily.

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card Current Welcome Bonus

Unlike many cash back cards – especially those that charge an annual fee or require excellent credit – the Alliant Cashback Visa does not offer any sort of welcome bonus.

This is somewhat disappointing given that plenty of rewards credit cards charge no annual fee and offer welcome bonuses of upwards of $200 after a minimal spend in the first few months. Then again, depending on your spending habits, those cards are unlikely to beat the Alliant Cashback Visa in terms of long-term cash back value.

Cash back

Overall, the Alliant Cashback Visa makes earning cash back simple. You’ll earn cash back at the same rate on all purchases and you won’t need to track where you use the card or enroll in bonus categories. That said, the card imposes a cap on how much cash back you can earn, and your rewards won’t stick around forever.

Earning cash back

You’ll earn 2.5 percent cash back on all purchases on up to $10,000 in spending per billing cycle for a maximum of $250 in cash back per billing cycle. This is one of the most generous cash back rates on the market – a full 1 percent higher than you’ll typically find on flat-rate cash back cards.

While most consumers wouldn’t come close to reaching this card’s $250 cash back limit, having a cap on how much cash back you can earn is never ideal. If you’re an especially big spender, you could conceivably find a high limit credit card that lets you earn unlimited rewards (though you won’t know your limit until you’re actually approved).

Redeeming cash back

Once you’ve earned a minimum of $50 back, you can claim your cash rewards as either a statement credit or a deposit into your Alliant checking or savings account. Not only is that double the minimum redemption requirement you’ll find on most cash back cards, but many cards let you redeem any amount at any time.

While having the option to choose between a statement credit and “true” cash back in the form of a deposit is great, some cards offer even more flexibility, allowing you to redeem as a check or convert your cash back to points and redeem for luxury travel.

Note, too, that your cash back expires four calendar years after it’s first earned on your December cycle date. For example, any cash back you earn in 2020 will expire in December of 2024.

How much are points worth?

Since the card earns cash back instead of points, the Alliant Cashback Visa won’t require you to figure out point values or fret over the best transfer ratios. What you see is what you get: As long as you’ve spent less than $10,000 in a billing cycle, you can simply calculate 2.5 percent of a purchase and know exactly how much cash back you’ve earned.

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card: Benefits

As you may have guessed, this card’s cash back rate is by far its most compelling feature. And though it also comes with a handful of cardholder perks that could be useful for travelers and frequent shoppers, these benefits can’t hold a candle to those you’ll find on a dedicated travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Purchase protection & extended warranty

You’re covered for the first 90 days after purchase on eligible items bought with your Alliant Cashback Visa that are stolen or damaged in certain circumstances. You’ll also get manufacturer warranties doubled on items purchased with the card.

Travel accident insurance

The Alliant Cashback Visa gets you $250,000 of coverage in the event of accidental death and dismemberment when you purchase travel with the card.

Roadside assistance and rental car collision coverage

You’ll get 24-hour access to roadside assistance services (though you will still need to pay per use) and are protected by an auto rental collision damage waiver when you rent a car with the card.

Rates and fees

A key factor in determining whether the Alliant Cashback Visa is a good fit for you will be to compare your cash back earning potential against the card’s ongoing costs. Keep these rates and fees in mind:

Annual fee: The card charges an annual fee of $99 that’s waived for the first year. This is substantially higher than you’ll find on most cash back cards, passed only by rewards credit cards designed for luxury travel. Even so, the annual fee can be worth it in exchange for the card’s high cash back rate – but only if you make it your primary general-purpose card.

You’ll need to put at least $3,960 on the card to break even after the first year and over $9,900 per year to earn more cash back than you would with a no annual fee, flat-rate 1.5 percent cash back card.

APR: The Alliant Cashback Visa offers a wide range of potential APRs, depending on your credit history. You could get a variable APR as low as 12.24 percent or as high as 22.24 percent. The low end is significantly lower than the current average credit card interest rate.

Foreign transaction fee: None. You won’t have to worry about having charges tacked on when you make purchases abroad. Many cards charge a fee of 3 percent of the purchase amount for such transactions.

Balance transfer fee: This card does not offer any introductory APR on balance transfers, so it likely won’t be a great option for paying off existing debt. But if your Alliant Cashback Visa APR is lower than the APR on your current card and you have no other options, you could try transferring your balance to the Alliant Cashback Visa for a fee of 3 percent of your transferred balance.

How the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card compares to other cash back cards

Though the Alliant Cashback Visa offers an impressive flat cash back rate on all purchases, it charges an annual fee, caps the total amount of cash back you can earn and requires membership with Alliant Credit Union. There are a number of other cards that may be a better fit, depending on your spending habits and what sort of rewards you want to earn.

Card Annual fee Rewards rate Welcome bonus Other details
Citi® Double Cash Card $0 Up to 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay off those purchases) None No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn; includes 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (13.99%.- 23.99% variable APR thereafter)

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited® $0 • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn; can pair with an Ultimate Rewards card and enjoy increased rewards value when you redeem for travel.

 

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card* $0 1.5% cash back on every purchase $150 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months Includes a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 15 months of card membership (15.49% – 25.49% variable APR thereafter)

 

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express $95 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%); 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services; 3% cash back on transit purchases; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations; 1% on all other purchases

 

$250 if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months Includes a 0% introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months of card membership (13.99% – 23.99% variable APR thereafter)

 

Best cards to pair with the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card

As a flat-rate cash back card, the Alliant Cashback Visa gets you a solid rate on every purchase, making it a great all-purpose payment option. But you can earn even more rewards by pairing it with a card that offers a higher rate in specific spending categories.

Discover it® Cash Back*

The Discover it Cash Back offers 5 percent cash back in rotating categories each quarter (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1 percent). Discover cash back categories typically include practical spending on grocery store purchases, online shopping, gas and more. Plus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.

The American Express® Gold Card

If you’re a foodie who’s looking forward to traveling again, the American Express® Gold Card could be a great card to pair with the Alliant Cashback Visa. You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide, 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending per calendar year, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases. You’ll also enjoy perks like an annual  $100 airline fee credit and up to a total of $120 in annual dining credits upon enrollment.

Bankrate’s Take – Is the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card worth it?

If you spend heavily and don’t want to deal with the headache of juggling multiple rewards cards or tracking bonus spend categories, the Alliant Cashback Visa could be a great fit, thanks to its very high cash back rate on all purchases. And though the card features a $250 per billing cycle cash back limit, few cardholders will come close to reaching it.

But if you don’t put much spend on the card, its high annual fee will be hard to justify after the first year. Indeed, if you anticipate spending less than $20,000 per year on the card, you’ll be better off with the Citi Double Cash Card. The Alliant Cashback Visa is also short on perks, so if you’re hoping to get a taste of luxury, you may want to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Very high cash back earning rate
  • Annual fee waived for the first year
  • Chance at a high credit limit
  • Impressive low-end APR
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Cash back capped at $250 per billing cycle
  • $50 minimum cash back redemption
  • Steep annual fee of $99 after the first year
  • Must be an Alliant Credit Union member or sign up to qualify

*The information about the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Discover it® Cash Back has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.