Credit unions are attractive alternatives to banks because they tend to have lower interest rates and offer other benefits to members. Alliant Credit Union is one of the best credit unions for auto loans because it’s widely available and has some of the best rates we saw.
One drawback of credit unions is you need to meet their membership requirements to get an account or a loan. Alliant’s requirements include living or working near its Chicago headquarters, being a retired or current employee of partner organizations, or having a family member who is a member. If you don’t meet those requirements, you can still join by making a one-time donation to Foster Care for Success.
We compared each lender’s advertised rates and found Alliant has some of the best, especially for new cars. Alliant advertises new car rates of 2.99% and used car rates of 3.24%. These are both lower than average and among the best rates we saw – they even beat LightStream’s rates.
It’s important to remember that the rates posted on Alliant’s site are only available if you have excellent credit and meet loan term, vehicle age and loan-to-value ratio requirements. Before you apply for a loan, check your credit score and use the tools provided by the lender to get an idea of what your rate could be and how much your monthly payments will be.
Loan terms range from 12 months to 84 months. Generally, the length of a loan affects the interest rate. Shorter loans have lower rates but higher monthly payments, while longer loans have slightly higher rates but lower monthly payments. One note of caution: With a term longer than 60 months, you’ll likely pay more than your car is worth in the long run.
Alliant has a car finding service that can help you find the vehicle you want at a nearby dealership. Using Alliant’s online tools, you can find a vehicle that meets your specifications, apply for financing and then go pick up your car from the dealership using the documents the credit union provides to finalize the sale. The whole process usually takes one business day. You also receive a discount of 0.5% on your rate when you find and buy a car using the credit union’s online tools.
Unlike many other lenders, Alliant doesn’t have restriction on the age or mileage of the car you finance. In some cases, age or mileage can affect your loan’s rate.
Alliant doesn’t have prepayment penalties on its loans. As such, you can pay off your loan early without being penalized or having to pay for the interest of the whole loan. There are no origination fees on an Alliant loan either.
If you have an existing auto loan and want a lower rate or a different term, you can refinance through Alliant. This often reduces your rate significantly, especially if your credit has improved since you got the original loan. If you refinance an existing Alliant loan, your rate will be higher than if you refinance a loan from another lender.