Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card Review: Up to 2.5% Cash Back for Qualified Cardholders – The Motley Fool

What could be improved

There are a few important roadblocks to getting and maximizing this card that may be deal-breakers for some folks.

The top rewards rate requires specific checking account activity

To get the 2.5% cash back rate, you’ll need to qualify for what Alliant calls Tier One Rewards.

To do this, you’ll need to meet a few checking account requirements:

  • Open an Alliant High-Rate Checking account
  • Enable eStatements
  • Have one or more monthly electronic deposits
  • Maintain an average daily balance of $1,000 or more in your account

If you meet the Tier One Rewards requirements for each month in the preceding quarter, you’ll unlock the 2.5% rate the following quarter. If you don’t meet the requirements, you’ll earn Tier Two Rewards. This means you’ll earn just 1.5% cash back on purchases. (On the plus side, there’s no cap on the 1.5% rate.)

While you do need to maintain a specific balance to qualify for the Tier One Rewards, the checking account itself doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement. Nor does it charge any account or maintenance fees.

Must become an Alliant Credit Union member

As with most credit unions, you need to become a member of Alliant Credit Union to be eligible for an account.

There are a few ways you can meet the membership criteria, including:

  • Are a current or retired employee of an Alliant partner organization
  • Are the partner or immediate family member of an Alliant member
  • Live or work near Alliant’s headquarters in Chicago
  • Area member of Foster Care to Success (FC2S)

The last one is the most likely option for most people who live outside of the Chicago area. There’s a $5 fee to join FC2S, but Alliant apparently pays the one-time fee on member’s behalf.

No welcome offer for new cardholders

Most credit cards these days have some kind of welcome offer, be it a sign-up bonus or a 0% intro APR deal — or both. With the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, you get neither.

There’s no sign-up bonus at all, not even a modest $100 like other small bank cards tend to have. While the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card may have a higher rewards rate than other options, a $100 or $200 sign-up bonus can easily make up for a 1% difference in purchase rewards.

There’s also no introductory 0% APR deal on purchases or balance transfers. The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card does have a lower APR range than many other cards, however, so you may get a fairly low ongoing APR. But the lack of an intro offer is still a mark against it.

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