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If you want to save money on an auto loan, consider financing through credit unions, which are nonprofit organizations that can sometimes offer lower interest rates and better terms than their bank counterparts. Alliant Credit Union, based in Illinois, offers a number of vehicle loans, including financing for older vehicles.
In this review, we’ll cover:
About Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union is the largest credit union in Illinois and one of the largest in the U.S., with assets of more than $11 billion. The company was founded in 1935 as the United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union.
Members can apply for new and used auto loans, as well as refinancing. The credit union also offers a broad range of non-auto financing options, from recreational vehicles to watercraft.
Alliant requires membership before you can apply for one of its car loans. You can easily become a member in the first step of your loan application, or you can sign up independently. Eligibility is open to the following types of individuals:
- Employees or retirees of select businesses or organizations
- Domestic partners or immediate family members of existing Alliant members
- Members of select organizations
- Those working or residing in qualifying communities
- Supporters of a partner charity
You can check the eligibility of your company via a tool on the credit union’s website. If you don’t qualify via any of the traditional methods, you can join the credit union’s chosen charity, Foster Care to Success, with a $5 donation.
Residents of all 50 states can receive auto loan financing. For many customers, taking the steps necessary to join Alliant Credit Union may be worth the effort.
Alliant Credit Union auto loans at a glance
Alliant Credit Union Auto Loans
Type of Loan
Starting at 1.94%
Starting at 2.99%
Starting at 2.99%
Used autos 10-15 years old
Starting at 6.49%
Here are a few additional things you should know:
- APRs — the total cost of a loan, expressed as a yearly percentage rate — on 84-month terms for new auto loans are set 1 percentage point higher
- Creditworthiness and other factors can affect the APR you can receive and the amount you can borrow
- The quoted rates include a 0.4 percentage point autopay discount
For an auto loan on a new vehicle, the car must be from the current year or newer and must have been purchased as new in the past 180 days.
Alliant also offers auto refinancing and loans for used autos between 10 and 15 years old, though there aren’t many specifics provided on Alliant Credit Union’s website. Similar to the other types of loans, the APR you can receive will be based on multiple factors, including your credit score, your payment method and your ability to repay.
The credit union also finances new and used ATVs, RVs, boats and vessels, personal watercraft and snowmobiles.
How to apply for financing
Alliant makes the application process easy via five steps.
Step No. 1: Submit an application
You can start the process online or by calling 800-328-1935, which you can do 24/7.
You’ll need to choose the type of financing, term length and the amount of the loan you’re seeking. Then, you’ll provide personal information, including your date of birth, address and Social Security number. Note that you must be at least 18 years old. In the final two steps of the application, you’ll provide information on your income and your collateral — specifically the car you intend to finance.
Step No. 2: Get preapproved
Alliant will review your application and let you know if you have been preapproved, typically on the same day.
Step No. 3: Negotiate
Once you have your preapproval, you can use it to negotiate with a car lender. Alliant also offers a car-buying service where you can work out deals with preapproved dealers that include a 0.50 percentage point rate discount.
Step No. 4: Complete your loan documents
After you strike an agreement with a car dealer, Alliant can finalize your loan documents.
Step No. 5: Get your funding
Alliant will overnight your funds via FedEx to either you or your dealer.
The fine print
Alliant Credit Union doesn’t note any additional fees on its car loan products. Although it lists the lowest rates for its vehicle loans, there is no indication of what the upper range may be for customers with less-than-stellar credit. To find out the rate that you’ll receive, you’ll have to go through the application process.
Although Alliant does finance both new and old vehicles, you’ll face an entirely different (and much higher) rate schedule for vehicles that are at least 10 years. Also important to note is that the rates advertised on the Alliant Credit Union website include the autopay discount. Loans without autopay don’t include the 0.4 percentage point discount.
Pros and cons of financing through Alliant
Alliant Credit Union offers low auto financing rates for those with good credit. The online loan process is easy via the website or phone. Funding is rapid, arriving overnight via FedEx. Alliant offers a wide range of auto financing options, including both new and used vehicles and auto refinancing.
Rates can be high for those with poor credit, but it can be hard to find the high end of the range before you complete an application.
There are 58 complaints about Alliant Credit Union on the Better Business Bureau’s website, while online reviews of the credit union on some sites skew negative. It’s important to note that LendingTree can’t verify the BBB-filed complaints or site reviews.
Highlights of Alliant auto loans
- Low fees
- Easy membership requirements
- Many types of vehicle financing
- No prepayment penalties
- Fast loan funding
With the nationwide average for 48- and 60-month new car loans at 5.27%, Alliant Credit Union shines in comparison.
Good-credit borrowers may be able to get APRs as low as 1.94%, a full 2 percentage points below the national average. Although loans are only available to members, it’s easy to qualify. With Alliant, you can finance both old and new cars, and you can refinance existing loans as well.
To help make the loan process easier and cheaper, Alliant offers a car-buying service that can put you in direct contact with dealers and grant you a 0.50 percentage point rate discount. Once you’re approved, funding is rapid, usually in less than 24 hours. If you want to pay off your loan even faster, Alliant doesn’t charge prepayment penalties.
Lowlights of Alliant auto loans
- Rates are 1 percentage point higher for longer loans
- High end of APR range isn’t provided
- APR for loans without autopay are higher
For the best Alliant auto loan rates, you’ll have to avoid longer-term loans, as Alliant charges an additional 1 percentage point on 84-month loans. You’ll also want to set up autopay, or you won’t get the 0.4 percentage point interest rate reduction.
However, keeping a shorter-term auto loan is a best practice that financial advisors often recommend. The combination of a longer-term loan at a higher interest rate will translate into excessive interest charges over time.
The bottom line: Who is Alliant best for?
Alliant Credit Union is best for:
- Members with good credit
- Those looking to finance a new or used car for less than 84 months
- Those looking to finance a new or used car that is less than 10 years old
For these types of borrowers, Alliant Credit Union can be a good choice. The credit union offers low rates on shorter-term loans for those with good credit, and that’s the top factor for many loan shoppers. If you need to finance a car that’s at least 10 years old, or if you have poor credit, you can likely find a better auto loan elsewhere.