Alliant Credit Union Personal Loans Review: Should You Apply?
Whether you want to consolidate debt, pay off an unexpected bill, or finance a home improvement project, personal loans can allow you to borrow a large sum of funds quickly.
As you research the different lenders out there, one of your top options may be Alliant Credit Union.
As the eighth largest credit union in the United States, Alliant offers a full complement of banking services to its members, including personal loans.
Alliant personal loans are great overall options for borrowers because of their flexible terms, low fees, and competitive borrowing rates.
This review of Alliant Credit Union personal loans will go more in-depth on the details of the loan -- so you can decide whether you should apply.
How Much You Can Borrow
Alliant Credit Union is a great choice for most borrowers, letting you borrow between $1,000 and $50,000.
When you think about applying for a personal loan, you probably have a specific reason for doing so.
Regardless of the reason, you have an idea of how much you are looking to borrow.
You want a lender that will lend you the right amount of money.
There’s no point in borrowing less money than you need, and borrowing too much will lead to unnecessary interest charges.
Alliant's borrowing range is very accommodating, especially if you only want a small personal loan (starting at just $1,000).
If you’re looking to borrow a large amount of money, you might want to look into lenders that specialize in large personal loans.
Alliant Credit Union Personal Loans Pros & Cons
After you determine the amount of money you’re going to borrow, you have to decide how long you’ll need to pay the loan back.
Alliant Credit Union offers some flexibility when it comes to choosing a term, giving you between 1 and 5 years to pay the loan back.
Note that the rate increase for longer terms is particularly steep at Alliant, making it better-suited for short-term loans.
The advantage of choosing a long term is that you will have lower monthly payments.
That makes things easier if you have a tight budget.
The total cost of long-term loans is higher. There is more time for interest to be charged to the loan and the rates on long-term loans tend to be higher than the rates on short-term loans.
On the other hand, short-term loans will bring higher monthly payments.
However, they are cheaper in the long run. Rates on short-term loans tend to be lower and there is less time for interest to accrue.
When choosing a term, your goal should be to strike a balance between manageable monthly payments and a low total cost for the loan.
Becoming a Member
Alliant is a credit union, which means, by law, that they must restrict membership.
Not everyone will be immediately eligible to join Alliant, and non-members cannot apply for a personal loan from the credit union.
To be eligible to become a member of Alliant Credit Union, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Be a current or retired employee of one of Alliant’s partner business or organizations
- Be an immediate family member of a current member
- Live or work in specific communities in Chicago
- Choose to support the Foster Care to Success charity – Alliant will make a $5 donation on your behalf
In effect, these requirements mean that anyone can become a member. Just agree to support Foster Care to Success, and you will automatically become eligible and able to apply for a personal loan.
Fees and How Long It Takes to Get the Money
When you compare different lenders, you might find that each has its own specialty. Some lenders might offer large loans.
Others make it easy to apply and get approved. Others offer extra-long terms for their loans.
The two things that Alliant specializes in are low fees and quick disbursement of money.
There are no application or origination fees for Alliant Credit Union’s loans, which means that you don’t have to pay anything upfront to get a loan.
The credit union can also deposit your loan directly into your Alliant checking account.
The deposit can be made the same day that your approval goes through, making Alliant a great choice if you need cash quickly.
And, you can choose to have a check mailed to you.
How to Get Approved
Once you’ve decided to apply for a personal loan, you should do whatever you need to do to improve the chances of your loan application getting approved.
When you apply for the loan, the lender will ask you to provide some information so it can make a decision on your application.
The information that you’re asked for will often include:
- Date of birth
- Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license
- Social Security number
- Proof of income, such as bank statements or pay stubs
- Verification of employment
It might sound like it’s daunting to gather and submit so much information and paperwork, but ensuring that you do so accurately is essential to the process.
If you provide insufficient or unclear information, it will impact your chances of approval.
In the best-case, Alliant will slow down the process and contact you to request clarification or additional documentation.
In the worst case, your application will be rejected.
Improve the Chances of Getting Approved
Before you submit an application for a personal loan, you should take some steps to improve your odds of getting approved.
Increase your credit score
One of the top factors in determining whether your application is approved is your credit score.
Credit scores are a numerical indicator of your financial trustworthiness to a lender.
Your score will be between 300 and 850, with higher scores being better.
As you may know:
A good credit score will leave lenders comfortable with letting you borrow money. A poor credit score will be a red flag, showing that you may have missed payments in the past and could do so again.
Your credit score is calculated from five factors:
The most important of these is your payment history.
Though the process is slow, making your monthly bill payments before their due dates is the best way to improve your score. Even one missed payment can wipe out months of good payments, so make sure to pay your bills on time.
After your payment history, the amount you owe is the next biggest factor.
Avoid taking on debts that you don’t need. Also, avoid carrying a balance on your credit cards.
Each month, the credit bureaus note your card balances, so not using your cards in the month or two before applying for a loan can give your score a minor boost.
Reduce your debt-to-income ratio
Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is another major factor in your application’s chances. This ratio measures the percentage of your monthly income that is used to pay your monthly bills.
You can calculate your DTI ratio by dividing your monthly bill payments by your monthly income.
So, if you make $4,000 each month and have monthly bill payments of $1,500, your DTI ratio is 37.5%. The lower the ratio, the better.
The best way to reduce your debt-to-income ratio is to pay down your existing debts.
This gives you two benefits.
First, it reduces your DTI ratio. Second, it improves your credit score by reducing the amount you owe, giving your loan application’s chances an extra boost.
You can also improve the ratio by increasing your income. This is often more difficult. If you do decide to go this route, make sure that the income is documented. Under-the-table pay won’t be considered.
How Does It Compare?
Alliant Credit Union is just one of many personal lenders out there.
There are a number of banks that offer personal loans, and many companies that specialize specifically in personal lending. Whenever you’re shopping for a loan, you should take the time to consider multiple options to find the best deal.
When comparing personal loans, start by finding multiple lenders that offer loans that fit your needs.
Next, you should compare the interest rates of each loan. All else being equal, always opt for the lowest loan possible.
The only reason to choose a higher rate is if loan fees increase the cost of the loan.
Be on the lookout for application, origination, and early repayment fees.
The Final Verdict
Alliant Credit Union, overall, offers easily customizable loans that will meet most people’s needs.
The credit union’s loans are particularly appealing to those who need small, short-term loans.
Those seeking very large loans and who seek even longer repayment periods will do better with another lender.