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Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review

Alliant Credit Union offers low auto loan rates and a promise to put customers first.

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

Our Verdict

Alliant Credit Union is perfect if you need auto finance fast and want the chance of enjoying some of the lowest auto loan rates around. Applying is straightforward and supported online and by phone, and everything is made clear at the start, from the potential costs through to the payment of your funds. Customer reviews might provide a small reason for concern, and you’ll need to become a member of the credit union too, but all this is outweighed by the potential to secure some of the best auto loan rates you can find.

For

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

Against

  • Poor customer service reviews
  • Need to sign up as credit union member

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, you know that Alliant Credit Union will always put its members first. Established in 1935 and now holding more $12 billion in assets, Alliant is the largest credit union in Illinois and one of the largest in the U.S. - it also stands out as a provider of some of the best auto loans too. 

While an 80-year plus history means its financial services experience is not in doubt, Alliant has embraced newer technology as well, and now offers online banking and a mobile banking app. The range of services available through Alliant has also grown over time, with its 500,000 members able to secure some of the best mortgages, credit cards and savings rates, and also make use of its retirement and investment services. If you’re using Alliant to buy a vehicle, it also offers some of the best auto insurance rates too. 

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review: Eligibility

If you want to become a member of Alliant Credit Union and gain access to its suite of services, you will need to meet one of its five eligibility requirements:

  • Be an employee or retiree of a business or organization that Alliant partners with in the U.S. 
  • Be an immediate family member or a domestic partner of a current Alliant member.
  • Live or work in one of the communities near its Corporate Headquarters in Chicago. 
  • Be a member of a qualifying organization.
  • Become a member of Foster Care to Success (FC2S), which serves foster teens across the U.S. - Alliant will pay a $5 membership fee to FC2S on your behalf.

Once you are a member, you are a member for life, and membership will be available to your entire family as well.

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review: Application process

Key Features

Application process: Online or by phone
APR: New vehicle from 2.74%; used and refinance from 2.99%. Discount of 0.5% if use car buying service
Fees: No upfront fees or pre-payment penalties
Loan terms: Up to 84 months

  • Attractive and easy-to-use website
  • Fast approvals

The well-presented and highly accessible Alliant website makes applying for an auto loan quick and easy. To get the auto loan process started, you can submit an application online or call on a number that is available 24/7. There are two application routes – one for members and one for non-members. If you’re not a member, this doesn’t pose a problem, as you can apply and then join after you receive your loan decision. 

Usually the same day, you can expect your application to be processed and pre-approval to be completed. The pre-approval can then be taken to an auto dealer to get the purchase process rolling and give you leverage when negotiating a deal. Alternatively, Alliant offers its own car buying service which, if used, can net you a discount on your loan rate. 

Once you’ve settled on the price of your new vehicle, the purchase agreement must be sent through to Alliance Credit Union, who will then finalize your loan documents online using DocuSign. The final step sees your funds sent overnight via FedEx either to you or direct to the dealer. 

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review: Essential details

  • Chance of low rates
  • Discount if use car buying service

What really makes Alliant Credit Union stand apart from some other auto loan providers is the competitiveness of the interest rates that you can expect to pay. New vehicle rates start as low as 2.74% APR, with used vehicle and refinance options potentially coming in as low as 2.99%. If you’re thinking of buying a used car that is between 10 and 15 years old, however, it is worth noting that the minimum APR rises sharply to 5.99%. 

Obviously, what you eventually pay will depend on the make and model of the vehicle you choose, while your creditworthiness and ability to repay will be influencing factors too. An online car loan calculator is available to help you estimate your payments, and also shows how much you will save with Alliant compared to industry average rates. 

If you want the cheapest auto loan rates that the credit union has to offer, then a 0.5% rate discount can be secured by using the Alliant Car Buying Service. The service provides access to a nationwide network of certified dealers, and means the best auto loan rate available on a new vehicle then drops as low as 2.24% APR. 

There are no explicit details about minimum and maximum loan amounts, but we do know that loan terms of up to 84 months are available for new or used cars. There are no upfront fees and no prepayment penalties for paying off your loan faster than your payment schedule. 

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review

(Image credit: Alliant Credit Union)

Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan review: Service

  • 24/7 phone support
  • Disappointing reviews

The Alliant Credit Union website has almost everything you might need to make an informed auto loan choice. There are calculators and blogs, all of which are easy to use, read and find. The one thing that might let Alliant down slightly is its FAQs - if your question isn’t among the handful that are answered on the auto loan homepage, then you must use the search function that can frustrate in the list of responses it provides. 

If you’re still struggling for answers, round-the-clock, seven-day-a-week phone support is available, while if you email, you should receive a response within one business day. As to what you can expect, Alliant has been an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2004 and has an A+ rating. That said, the customer reviews on BBB are little to get excited about, and come in at an average of one-and-a-half stars out of five. Things are slightly more positive on yelp, where the typical rating is two-and-a-half out of five. 

Should you choose an Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan?

If you want the chance of low auto loan rates and a fast approval, Alliant Credit Union could be for you. There is a welcome transparency about the costs you could incur, the application process is straightforward, and 24/7 customer service is always on hand if you get stuck. 

The online calculator is great for helping you work out what you might be able to afford, while the discount for using its car buying service can make things more affordable too. The absence of glowing customer service endorsements might cause some to pause for thought, but if you’re looking for the best auto loan rates, Alliant cannot be ignored.