2023 Alliant Credit Union Auto Loan Review
Alliant Credit Union auto loans at a glance
* Rates include autopay discount
Alliant Credit Union was established in 1935 by a group of United Airlines employees. Today, it’s the sixth-largest credit union in the U.S. by assets and has over 700,000 members.
- Quick approval process: In many cases, Alliant Credit Union can approve your auto loan application the same day you apply.
- Fully online experience: The auto loan application and approvals process with Alliant Credit Union is fully online. ACU doesn’t have any physical branch locations, though it does have more than 80,000 ATMs across the country.
- No prepayment penalties: While some auto lenders charge prepayment penalties if you pay your loan off early, Alliant Credit Union doesn’t charge this fee on its car loans.
- Offers debt protection plans: If you’re worried about what the future may hold, you can pay a small monthly fee of up to $1.99 to cover your Alliant Credit Union auto loan in the event of death, disability or involuntary unemployment.
- Unclear credit requirements: Alliant Credit Union doesn’t provide much insight into the credit score or history you’ll need to qualify for a loan. Generally, though, you’ll need an excellent credit score, a solid payment history and a consistent income to qualify for an auto lender’s best rates.
- Best for loan amount flexibility: Whether you need a cheap, older car or an expensive Tesla, Alliant Credit Union provides flexibility for car buyers in the market for new or used cars.
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Alliant Credit Union pros and cons
Alliant Credit Union offers its members many benefits, but there are still some downsides you may want to consider.
Rate discount available for using Alliant’s car buying service
No prepayment penalties
Offers debt protection plans
Unclear credit requirements
Must become member to receive funds
Higher rates for cars 10 years or older
Alliant Credit Union offers competitive auto loan rates, but if you want even lower rates, you can use the Alliant Car Buying Service and receive a 0.50% discount on your annual percentage rate (APR). Borrowers also have the option of paying their car loan early without a prepayment penalty, which some lenders charge. In addition, Alliant offers debt protection plans that allow you to cancel your loan balance or monthly payments in the case of death, disability or involuntary unemployment.
On the other hand, Alliant Credit Union isn’t clear about the requirements consumers will need to meet to receive a loan. And if you want to save money by purchasing a used vehicle that’s 10 years old or older, you can expect to receive a higher interest rate from Alliant.
A closer look at Alliant Credit Union auto loans
Alliant Credit Union finances both new and used cars, and also offers refinancing for both Alliant auto loans and loans from other financial institutions. While new vehicle APRs start at 6.00%, used cars and refinancing start at 6.62% APR. If you buy a car that’s 10 years or older, APRs start at 9.62%.
Alliant Credit Union also offers Tesla financing with terms from 24 to 84 months. New Teslas come with starting APRs of 6.44%, while used Teslas have starting APRs of 6.79%. Tesla refinancing rates also start at 6.79% APR.
Unfortunately, Alliant Credit Union doesn’t directly offer lease buyout loans. These are provided by Alliant’s third-party partner, Lease Maturity; Alliant’s rates do not apply to Lease Maturity’s buyout loans.
How to get a loan with Alliant Credit Union
To apply for an Alliant Credit Union car loan, you won’t need to become a member right away, but you’ll need to sign up to receive loan funds. Here’s what you need to know about the process.
Fill out an online application or call Alliant Credit Union to get preapproved for a car loan. Typically, Alliant can review and may approve your application on the same day you apply. If you aren’t yet an Alliant member, you can apply as a guest to see your rates.
Verify your information
If you’re preapproved for a car loan, you’ll need to verify the information you provided in your application. This includes your residence, income, employment and identity. In particular, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number, driver’s license and a lease/mortgage agreement or utility bill.
Become a member
To receive your Alliant Credit Union auto loan, you’ll need to apply for membership. To become a member, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
- Current or retired employee of one of Alliant Credit Union’s business partners
- Domestic partner or immediate family member of current Alliant member
- Live or work in one of the eligible communities near Alliant’s headquarters in Chicago
- Become a member of Foster Care to Success, a nonprofit organization that provides college scholarships and tuition assistance for foster youth
Close on your car loan
The final step in the process is to close on your car loan. You’ll need to sign the documents agreeing to the rates, terms and monthly auto loan payments. Be sure to read the fine print of your agreement so you understand what you’re signing. Once you close on your car loan, the car is now yours and you can begin to pay off your car loan.
How Alliant Credit Union auto loans compare
Even if you believe that an Alliant Credit Union car loan aligns with your borrowing needs, it’s always smart to shop around and compare lenders. Here’s how Alliant Credit Union stacks up against a couple of competitors.
|Alliant Credit Union||Consumers Credit Union||PenFed Credit Union|
|Terms||24 to 84 months||36 to 84 months||36 to 84 months|
|Amount||$4,000 and up||$250 to $250,000||$500 to $150,000|
|Min. credit score||Not specified||550||Not specified|
* Rates include an autopay or car-buying discount
Is an Alliant Credit Union loan right for you?
Alliant Credit Union may be best for consumers who are looking to buy a car that is less than 10 years old; rates for vehicles that are older than 10 years have a much higher starting APR than newer models. And while Alliant Credit Union doesn’t specify its credit requirements, this lender may also be best for consumers with good credit scores.