Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card Review – 2.5% (Annual Fee Increased To $99)

Update 1/20/20: Beginning March 14, 2020, there’s a limit of $10,000 in purchases per billing cycle which earns cash back.

Update 4/2/19: The annual fee has been increased to $99 from $59. This is still waived first year. It’s not clear when this increase took place or what will happen to existing users. I know that the annual fee was still $59 in January (update was still $59 on March 28th, 2019 so change is very recent). Hat tip to reader Dan C

Card Basics

Alliant has a credit card called Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card. Let’s take a look at the card basics:

 

Joining Alliant

To apply for this card, you need to join the Alliant Credit Union. There is no hard pull to join and anybody can join for free. Here is the easiest way to join for free:

  • Click Become a Member green button in the top right side of the Alliant web site.
  • Click on Another way to qualify gray button twice until the Find Out If You Are Eligible header shows up.
  • Select Freelancers Union radio button from the list of qualified organizations
  • Click on Continue green button.
  • You will see the following message: Congratulations! You are eligible to apply for membership in Alliant Credit Union. You have selected Freelancers Union.
  • Finally, click on Continue with application green button to start your Alliant Credit Union application process.

Big thanks to reader Eduardo.

Additional Alliant Benefits

You can improve your credit score if you don’t have any installment loans by using the secured loan technique (discussed in detail here). Alliant is one of the most popular credit unions to do this with.

In addition they are one of the better hub accounts and lots of datapoints of using ACH to meet direct deposit requirements for bank account bonuses.

They also offer an account with a 2.1% APY interest rate, there are accounts with higher savings rates but this is still somewhat competitive.

Our Verdict

Obviously 3%/2.5% cash back is one of the best options out there. Our base line is usually 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee. This card offers 3% cash back the first year with no annual fee (similar to Discover it Miles), so it’s obviously better in that regard. Year two onwards you’d need to spend $11,800 to be better off with this card compared to a regular 2% card if you have the old $59 annual fee or $19,800 with the new $99 annual fee.

The nice addition is the lack of foreign transaction fees. It’s nice that you also earn 3%/2.5% cash back on these purchases. It’s also great that if you do a product change/upgrade to this card (they offer targeted bonuses of up to $400 for their other cards), that you get the annual fee waived and also the 3% cash back in the first year.

Overall I think this is a great card if you have a lot of credit card spending that is on unbonused categories. Just keep in mind that the best value comes from credit card sign up bonuses, so take into account how much unbonused spend you’ll have after meeting minimum spend requirements.

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beaunity
beaunity

doesn’t look like they offer 3% anymore for first year folks. It looks to be a flat 2.5% now…

Betelgeuse ㊙️

William Charles The title should be updated since 3% is no longer available.

Peter
Peter

I’ve been using this card for a couple years now. No complaints. They have decent interest rates for savings as well.

5150d
5150d

Just received my annual fee for Alliant Cash Back 2.5% card. 4/4/20 FEE WAS STILL $59.00.

Adam
Adam

I just went to the website to apply and it had this note:

Visa Signature
2.5% cash back on all purchases (3.0% in the first year)
No foreign transaction fee
$99.00 annual fee (waived in the first year)
Changes Coming – Effective March 14th qualifying purchases up to $10,000 per billing cycle will earn cash back

So looks like starting in March, any purchases over $10,000 in a billing statement would not earn cash back.

Ori Gutman
Ori Gutman

So it seems, I sent an inquiry just to be sure, waiting for them to reply.

Jason
Jason

Their underwriting department is BS. They asked for pictures of social security card, driver license. They further asked you your pay stub and 2 years of tax filing returns.

Ken
Ken

Anyone able to add their Alliant accounts to Mint? I’ve had errors for months now.

JH
JH

Does this card offer any Travel Benefits such as Trip Cancellation and Interrruption protection?

midas89
midas89

I got my letter in the mail today from Alliant advising that effective 6/13/2019 the annual fee will increase to $99. They also notified a change in the terms of what charges do not qualify for the 2.5% cash back rate. This includes purchases of gift cards, pre-paid cards, or re-loadable cards. They also won’t count “purchases made for business purposes.”

hora
hora

Received the same letter. Do we need to cancel one month before the date or we can wait till June to cancel it to avoid the annual fees?

midas89
midas89

@hora, when one decides to cancel their Signature Visa to avoid the $99 annual fee, they should consider what their anniversary date is. (Mine is mid-July, so I will cancel my card before that anniversary date hits. My monthly cash back will be available shortly before the anniversary date, so I’ll immediately have the rewards transferred to my Alliant checking account when they post, and then will call Alliant to switch to their 2% no-annual-fee Visa.)

I kept the Alliant Signature Card the 2nd year at 2.5% cash back when the annual fee was $59. I won’t keep it for a third year at $99 per year.

hora
hora

My annual fees hit sometime in December. Yet the letter shows the terms are effective 06/13. Will call them and find out tomorrow

midas89
midas89

hora, no need to call just for that specific thing. The 6/13 effective date is for new applicants and for existing applicants regarding only when their annual fee is up for renewal. It does not mean at all that existing Alliant cardholders are going to be billed $99 on 6/13.

Again, effective 6/13/19, when an existing cardholder’s annual fee is due to be charged, whatever that date is for each cardholder, instead of $59 being charged, they’ll be charged $99. For any cardholders whose annual fee renewal is before 6/13, they get to renew at $59.

Alex
Alex

I got an email today confirming that this change applies to my existing card.

Memphis
Memphis

I got a similar email today with the increase to $99 for the Annual fee but it also said that if you spend $4000 a month you automatically get an extra $100 in cashback. However, I also received a letter in the mail today noting the change in the AF but no mention of the $4000 spend per month $100 cashback bonus.

5150d
5150d

2 1/2% of $4000 IS $100 per month.
That is the earnings example…..not a special bonus

Memphis
Memphis

Ah, the language seemed different. Thank you for the clarification.

tuphat
tuphat

E-mail from Alliant received today: “Changes to terms and annual fee take effect on June 13, 2019. Your annual fee is charged on the 3rd business day of the month following your anniversary date.”

E-mail also included this reminder: “certain categories of purchases such as cash advances and gift cards do not qualify to earn cash back. “

rick b
rick b

So are there datapoints now of them automatically filtering any GC related merchant and not awarding points?