Skip to Main Content

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card review: The ultimate flat-rate card — with a few hurdles

It has one of the highest flat rates around and offers a chance at a low variable interest rate if you don’t mind the eligibility requirements and limited features.

 /  17 min
Bankrate logo

The Bankrate promise

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

3.9

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 3.9 stars out of 5

Bottom line

If you’re willing to join Alliant Credit Union and maintain an eligible checking account, this card’s cash back rewards rate will definitely offer more long-term value than competing flat-rate cards.

Image of Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card
*

  • Rewards value
    Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
    3.5 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 2 stars out of 5
    2 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

1.5% - 2.5%

Rewards rate

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card Overview

Even though Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card offers one of the highest flat rates around, it doesn't attract as much attention as other rewards cards. This might be because it’s a credit union rewards card, which requires you to join the Alliant Credit Union. But besides its high flat rewards rate, the card’s variable APR range beats out many of the best rewards cards, making it a good choice if you have to carry a balance on occasion.

Despite these top-notch features, there are a few drawbacks that make the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card less appealing than other cards. The card lacks a sign-up bonus or intro APR offer, giving it less short-term value compared to other no-annual-fee cards. You’ll also have to meet a few additional requirements to earn the card’s highest rate. This could be more work than you want to do, especially if you can qualify for another card that offers a great flat rate and comes with additional features.

Here’s what you need to know about the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, including how it stacks up against some of the best rewards cards and the best alternatives if it’s not the right card for you.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 2.5 percent cash back on all purchases (on up to $10,000 in qualifying purchases each billing cycle, then 1.5 percent) with a qualifying Tier One Rewards status each quarter
    • Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back with Tier Two Rewards status

    Expert Appraisal: Exceptional
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • No annual fee
    • No over-limit fee
    • Late fee up to $27
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Return payment fee up to $27
    • 3 percent balance transfer fee
    • 16.99 percent to 26.99 percent (variable) APR
    • 3 percent cash advance fee (or $10, whichever is greater)

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Roadside dispatch
    • Purchase protection
    • Identity theft protection
    • Travel accident insurance
    • Extended warranty protection
    • Auto rental collision damage waiver
    • EMV chip technology for greater security 

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    The card has one of the highest flat cash back rates on the market.

  • Checkmark

    It has no annual fee, so there’s no extra cost to simply carry the card.

  • Checkmark

    This card charges a relatively low variable APR, making it a good card if you occasionally carry a balance.

Cons

  • To qualify for the card and the best rate, you’ll have to meet numerous requirements — far more than you have to with a traditional credit card.

  • There is a $50 minimum cash back redemption requirement, which makes it harder to redeem your rewards compared to cards with low or no redemption minimums.

  • The card has no cash sign-up bonus or intro APR offers available.

Why you might want the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card is one of the most outstanding flat-rate cash back cards on the market, since it allows you to earn a higher rewards rate on all purchases while still offering a relatively low interest rate. Also, its various benefits protect your purchases, travel and other pursuits. 

Rewards: Great flat rewards rate for its highest tier offering

Compared to bonus category cash back cards, you’ll have an easier time earning rewards with the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature. The card offers a flat rate on all purchases without worrying about tracking bonus categories.

The rate you earn depends on the tier you qualify for. To earn the maximum rewards rate, you have to be in Tier One, which is reserved for people who meet all the following requirements:

  • Have an Alliant High-Rate Checking account
  • Opt in to receive e-statements
  • Have at least one electronic deposit posted to the account each month
  • Maintain an average daily balance of $1,000

Tier One cardholders earn 2.5 percent cash back on qualifying purchases on up to $10,000 per billing cycle, which means the maximum cash back you can earn per cycle is $250 before stepping down to 1.5 percent back.

That 2.5-percent rate is hard to beat, making the Alliant Cashback card one of the best flat-rate cash back cards around. And the spending cap is extremely generous. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spent $72,967 in 2022, or $6,080 per month. These numbers include expenses not typically paid for with a credit card, like housing, so many people will have no trouble staying under the $10,000 monthly spending cap.

However, if you don’t meet the minimum requirements for Tier One, Tier Two members earn 1.5 percent cash back. This rate is still great, and if you qualify for an APR near the low end of the card’s variable range, the Alliant card makes a better low-interest card than many other 1.5 percent cash back cards.

Compared to a 2 percent cash rewards flat-rate card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, the Alliant Cashback card will earn approximately $80 more cash back on a $15,900 estimated average yearly spend. It will earn a whopping $159 more than a 1.5 percent flat-rate cash back card like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card on the same spend.

Rates and fees: No annual fee and low potential interest rate

Compared to the previous version of the card that charged a $99 annual fee after the first year, the new-and-improved Alliant Cashback Visa Signature is a remarkably low-cost card for the fantastic rewards rate. There is no annual fee, over limit fees or foreign transaction fees to eat away at your cash back, and the up to $27 late payment and returned payment fees are below average as well (usually up to $40). Plus, depending on the rate you qualify for, the card’s APR can be far enough below the current average interest rate to be an amazing low-interest credit card.

A low interest rate is essential, especially if you’re among the 35 percent of Americans who carry a balance month-to-month. If you can’t pay your balance off quickly, and you don’t take advantage of a credit card with an intro APR offer or a low ongoing interest rate, high interest charges can ruin your credit and push you further into debt.

However, if you make a late payment or make a payment that gets returned (like for having insufficient funds), you’ll get hit with a 29.99 percent penalty APR. Even if you make a late payment or have a returned check with another Alliant account, your Alliant Cashback card will get the penalty APR. If you are concerned about this factor, many cards, like the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, don’t charge a penalty APR if you miss a payment.

The penalty APR will last until you make six on-time payments. Luckily, this timeframe isn’t as long as some other cards, which set a penalty APR to last for a year or longer. With the Alliant Cashback you won’t have to worry about the penalty APR lingering for a long time.

Perks: Offers basic protection benefits

The major pull of this card is the high rewards rate, but it also offers a few other benefits to help give it good long-term value. The Alliant Cashback offers some essential purchase and travel protections even though it doesn't include all Visa Signature perks, such as reimbursement for lost luggage or airline incidental fee rebates.

The issuer also protects your eligible purchases with 90-day purchase security and up to one year of extended warranty coverage, along with travel staples like travel accident insurance, 24/7 pay-per-use roadside dispatch and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. Of course, your account will also be protected with typical account safeguards against identity thieves, such as $0 fraud liability and up to $5,000 reimbursement for personal identity theft protection. These benefits are generous compared to the barebones perks you’ll get with many other cards and bound to come in handy for most cardholders. 

Additionally, Alliant offers an optional debt protection plan in the case of death, disability or involuntary unemployment, which is not a common perk found with most credit cards. This plan could cancel three to 12 potential payments or up to $100,000 in debt based on the eligible event. Coverage will impose a monthly cost of up to $1.99 per $1,000 of your outstanding balance.

Why you might want a different cash back card

Even though you can earn high rewards with the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card, you still have to jump through many hoops before you can start earning maximum cash back rates, compared to other cash back cards. You also don't have the option of earning a welcome bonus or taking advantage of an intro APR offer on purchases or balance transfers, which could free you from interest for a limited period. Not only that, but the card’s redemption requirements can be even more restrictive.

Intro APR: No offer for purchases or balance transfers

The Alliant Cashback card doesn’t have an intro APR offer, making this a poor choice if you want a promotional period to avoid interest charges while you pay off debt or purchases.

Other flat-rate cash back cards offer a more complete variety of features and benefits compared to the Alliant Card, including high-value sign-up bonuses and intro APR offers. 

Welcome bonus: No offer for new cardholders

Currently, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card has no welcome offer. While this card does not offer a specific incentive for new members, the long-term value through its cash back rate may still be more worthwhile if you qualify for the card’s highest flat rate.

A typical no-annual-fee card’s $200 cash back sign-up bonus is more rewarding for the first two years, but the Alliant Cashback card’s long-term rewards greatly outpace competing 2 percent cards after the third year. It beats 1.5 percent cards after just the second year.

Other cash back rewards credit cards may seem more appealing due to their welcome bonuses, but that one-time benefit may not be worth it compared to the long-term earning potential of the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card.

Redemption: High minimum requirement and limited options

Any cash back you’ve earned is valid for four calendar years before expiring on your December billing cycle date. For example, any cash back that you earn in 2024 will expire in December 2028. Redeeming for a direct deposit will also get you your cash back in up to five days, which is better than opting for a statement credit, which will give you your cash back in two billing cycles, since Alliant seems keen on cardholders using their credit union checking account.

Like other cash back programs, the cash rewards you redeem have a 1:1 value. So you’ll get 2.5 cents back per dollar you spend ($25 for every $1,000 spent) in the Tier One status or 1.5 cents back per dollar you spend ($15 for every $1,000 spent) with the Tier Two status.

You can redeem earnings as a statement credit or deposit them into your Alliant checking or savings account. Unfortunately, members need to earn a minimum of $50 in cash back before they can claim their rewards. Many comparable cards require half that minimum or allow you to redeem at any time. You’ll also likely find more redemption options, like gift cards, discounts or travel benefits on other cards.

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

Even though the Alliant Cashback card offers one of the best flat cash back and a solid low interest rate, its meager features and rewards-rate eligibility requirements limit the card’s appeal. If you want to maximize your rewards, you may also want a card that earns higher rates in select bonus categories that match your everyday spending habits. If so, here are two alternatives to the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card to consider.

Image of Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1.5% - 2.5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Wells Fargo's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200 cash rewards
Info

Rewards rate

2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Up to $300 cash back
Info

Rewards rate

1.5% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

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

Combining cards is a great way to fix the shortcomings of each card and get you the best value. Pairing your Alliant card with a bonus-category cash back card lets you maximize your flat-rate cash back card while earning a higher rate in popular categories.

Who is the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card right for?

The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card isn’t the best option for everyone, but it could be the next best addition to your wallet if you identify with the following types of spenders.

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

Although you’d have to join the Alliant Credit Union and maintain an eligible checking account, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card is a solid pick. It rakes in perhaps the highest flat-rate cash back of any card on the market, and the spending cap is so high that modest and budget spenders should have no problem with it.

If the limited features are too much of a drawback, you can pair the card with a rewards card that offsets these disadvantages and helps you maximize your rewards.

The information about the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer. 

How we rated this card

Document
150+
cards rated
Congrats
50+
rewards programs valued
Search
1800
data points analyzed
Credit Card Reviews
40+
perks evaluated

We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Re'Dreyona Walker
Associate Editor, Credit Cards

Re’Dreyona Walker is an editor for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, focusing on product guides and reviews. As a personal finance expert, she is dedicated to providing honest product reviews as well as in-depth, comprehensive guides to assist readers in building credit and finding the best credit cards for their needs.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.