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Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loans offer some of the the lowest rates on the market, and it has a quick approval process too.

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review
(Image: © Alliant Credit Union)

Our Verdict

While the customer service is lacking, you'll appreciate the reduced costs, the ease of application and the fact that it's not as restrictive as other companies when it comes to car age, type or mileage.

For

  • Low rates compared with the market
  • Fast and efficient approval process
  • No pre-payment penalties

Against

  • Customer reviews highlight poor customer service
  • Limited physical branches

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loans do offer some of the lowest APR rates around. That's its strongest asset. However, there are a number of factors you have to consider when shopping around for the best auto loan for you, because - while repayment rates are important - lenders can sting you with fees, inflexible payment schedules, and complex fine print. Alliant Credit Union's APR can be as low as 3.24% on a new car, although this will go up to as much as 6.49% for a vehicle that’s older than ten years and is currently at 3.49% for used vehicle purchasing and refinance. 

It’s a lot better than the rates offered by many banks, with U.S. Bank Auto Loans being the current highest of those we tested, but you do need to become a member of the credit union in order to qualify for an auto loan. Application and approval at Alliant Credit Union can take as little as one day and the company offers an Alliant Car Buying Service that helps with the process and assures you of a discounted rate on your loan. These are all very positive things.

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review: How the process works

Key specs

Application process: Easy, online, accessible 
APR: 3.24% 60-month max term, new vehicle, 2.74% discounted new vehicle, 60-month term
Fees: Vehicle Service Agreement Transfer Fee $40
Loan terms: New vehicle, used vehicle, vehicle refinance, used vehicle 10-15 years, up to 84 months payment terms, no pre-payment penalties

  • Online application provides fast results
  • Accessible loan calculator and fee breakdowns

Alliant Credit Union offers superb rates that are lower than the industry average, but only within certain parameters. For example, you will only be eligible for the 3.24% APR on a 60-month maximum payment term on a new vehicle. You'll need a fantastic credit score for this rate, and anyone with poor credit should consider other lenders, with Wells Fargo Auto Loans the best for anyone struggling with money. It’s also quite tough to find out what the maximum loan amount is before entering into the entire process, which is frustrating, and the FAQs are very poor – you won’t find a lot of information in there. 

That said, the company does provide a fast and efficient application process that can net you a car loan within a day, even if you’re not a member. There are two application routes – one for members and one for non-members. You will have to sign up for membership before you can complete the application process so be prepared to fill in forms and commit to the process before you start.

Once you’ve submitted your application – you can do this online or by calling the number at any time of the night and day – you will be pre-approved for your loan. You can use this pre-approval to shop around for the right vehicle or to get the purchase process rolling. It isn’t a final approval, but it does reassure both you and the car dealer and allow you to negotiate the best possible deal. 

Once you’ve completed the pre-approval process you can use the Alliant Car Buying Service to net yourself a discount of 0.50 percent on the credit union’s rates, and to streamline the rest of the purchase process. Once you’ve settled on the price of the vehicle, you send the purchase agreement through to Alliance Credit Union, the loan documents are finalized online using a digital platform called DocuSign, and your funds are sent directly to you or the dealer.

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review: Ease of use and customer reviews

  • Limited information on the website
  • Variable customer reviews

Alliant Credit Union is not a winner on the customer review frontier (and our top pick here is Capital One Auto Loans). The company has been an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2004 and has an A+ rating. It also has terrible reviews about its customer service on BBB. NerdWallet and Yelp

There are some customers that rave about the rates, the quality of the services and the overall support from the credit union, but the majority feel that any complaints or customer service requirements they have are unheard and unresolved. The website is also very difficult to navigate as the search function isn’t great – if you want to find out about the types of vehicle financed or the minimum loan amounts, for example, the information isn’t readily available. 

That said, the application process is seamless and fast. The digital systems put in place by Alliant Credit Union make it easy to get started, sort out the paperwork and sign up as a member. The rates are excellent, the fees moderate, and the process is one of the best on the market. 

Alliant Union's auto loans have low rates, so could save you money

Alliant Union's auto loans have low rates, so could save you money. (Image credit: Flickr)

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review: Is it transparent, accessible and usable?

  • Online calculator to instantly assess fees
  • Upfront about charges and costs

Alliant Credit Union is very clear about its costs from the outset. The factors that influence rates and fees are clearly highlighted and the online calculator allows you to fine tune your budget down to the age of the car. The company is one of the few to offer finance for Tesla and RVs, which is another advantage for those who favor alternative forms of transportation. 

If you’re looking to take out a loan for longer than 60 months, it’s advisable to shop around or to work out exactly how much you’ll end up paying to the credit union. The fees and rates can add up significantly over longer term loans, and you may be better off going with someone like LightStream Auto Loans.  

The auto loans process is transparent, the site and application process easy to use and follow, and the 24/7 number is a helpful tool if you’re stuck. 

Should you choose an Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan?

Alliant Credit Union offers a very competitive auto loan package to the market with exceptionally rates, low fees and an extremely easy application process. It’s not the easiest site to navigate and you may need to give it a call to fine tune your overall costs and requirements, but the online calculator and fee schedule do help you work out the basics from the outset. The company is a member of BBB, which is an added bonus, but it comes weighed down with poor customer reviews that should give you pause before you start.