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Alliant vs. Connexus: 2 Credit Unions With Top Accounts

June 14, 2019
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Credit unions tend to be known for tight membership requirements and few account options. But Alliant and Connexus are two with the chops to prove that thinking wrong.

Both institutions have a variety of accounts and make it easy to become a member. But which would work better for you?

Snapshot comparison

Alliant

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Connexus

4.5 NerdWallet rating
Checking accounts
Alliant High-Rate Checking

  • Interest on balances: 0.65% APY.
  • No minimum opening deposit.
  • No monthly fee.

  • Connexus Xtraordinary Checking

  • Interest on balances: 1.75% APY on up to $25,000.
  • No minimum opening deposit.
  • No monthly fee.
  • Savings accounts
    Alliant High-Rate Savings

  • Interest rate: 2.10% APY on balances of $100 or more.
  • Monthly fee: $0 with e-statements.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5, which Alliant will credit back to your account.
  • Connexus Personal Savings

  • Interest rate: 0.25% APY on balances of $100 or more.
  • Monthly fee: $0.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5.
  • Certificates of deposit
    Alliant share certificate interest rates

  • 1 year: 2.35%.
  • 5 years: 2.55%.
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

  • Connexus share certificate interest rates

  • 1 year: 2.20%.
  • 5 years: 2.60%.
  • Minimum deposit: $5,000.
  • Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service
    • Overdraft fee: $28 courtesy pay fee, $25 nonsufficient funds return fee.

    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: Free.

    • ATMs: 80,000+ fee free.

    • Branches: 1.

    • Customer service: 24/7 via phone. Also available via email and Twitter.

    • Overdraft fee: $29.95.

    • Overdraft protection transfer fee: Free.

    • ATMs: 54,000+ fee-free.

    • Branches: Co-op network accesses 5,600 branches nationwide. Less than 15 Connexus branches, in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and New Hampshire.

    • Customer service: Available by phone Monday through Saturday. Also available via chat and email.

    Choose Alliant if:

    Choose Alliant if:

    • You want higher savings account rates.
    • You want a larger ATM network.

    Choose Connexus if:

    Choose Connexus if:

    • You want a high rate on your checking balance.
    • You want a high rate on a share certificate — and are willing to deposit more to get it.

     

    Below is a detailed breakdown of how the credit unions compare when it comes to checking, savings, share certificates, credit union experience and overdraft fees.

    Checking accounts

     Alliant High-Rate CheckingConnexus Xtraordinary Checking
    Interest on balances0.65% APY.



    • Sign up for e-statements.

    • Make at least one monthly electronic deposit (includes direct deposit, ATM or mobile deposit or electronic transfer).

    [Back to top]

    1.75% APY on up to $25,000.



    • Sign up for e-statements.

    • Do each of the following each month:

    • 1. Make a least 15 debit card purchases.

    • 2. Receive one direct deposit.

    • 3. Have at least one third-party online bill payment clear your account.

    • Amounts more than $25,000 in the account earn 0.25% APY, and if you don’t meet the requirements, you’ll earn 0.20% APY.
    [Back to top]

    Minimum opening depositNone.None.
    Monthly fee$0.$0.


    ATM fees and network
    • 80,000+ fee-free ATMs.
    • Alliant will reimburse fees incurred at out-of-network machines up to $20 per month.
    • 54,000+ fee-free ATMs.
    • For high-rate Xtraordinary Checking customers, Connexus offers ATM surcharge rebates of up to $25 per month.
    • But after six non-network ATM transactions, Connexus charges its own fee of $2 per transaction.
    » Learn how Alliant and Connexus stack up against top banks with NerdWallet’s round-up of best checking accounts.
    Many banks don’t pay interest on checking balances, so by that measure, both Alliant and Connexus are good picks. Go with Alliant if you’re unsure you’ll meet Connexus’ long list of requirements — but if you’ll qualify, go with Connexus.

     

    » MORE: Read our review of Alliant.

    Savings accounts

     Alliant High-Rate SavingsConnexus Personal Savings
    Monthly fee$0, with e-statements.
    • With paper statements, $1 monthly fee.
    $0.

    Interest on balances of $100 or more2.10% APY.0.25% APY.
    Minimum opening deposit$5, which Alliant will credit back to your account.$5.

    » Want to compare these accounts to those offered at other banks and credit unions? Check out our round-up of NerdWallet's best savings accounts.
    Alliant’s savings rate is among the best in the industry. It’s the clear winner if you’re after a strong savings account.

     

    Share certificates

     AlliantConnexus
    Minimum opening deposit$1,000.$5,000.
    APY on 1-year term 2.35%.
    2.20%.
    APY on 3-year term 2.45%.2.50%.
    APY on 5-year term 2.55%.2.60%.
    » Find out where you'll get the best CD rates this month
    Alliant’s and Connexus’ certificate rates are both impressive. Choose Connexus for higher rates; go with Alliant if you prefer the lower minimum deposit.

     

    » Read NerdWallet’s full review of Connexus Credit Union

    Credit union experience

     Alliant Connexus
    BranchesOne, in Chicago.

    Participates in the Co-op network with access to 5,600 branches across the country. Less than 15 Connexus branches, all in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and New Hampshire.
    Membership requirementsSign up to support Foster Care to Success, a nonprofit that supports foster children. (Alliant will pay $5 to the organization on your behalf.)Make a $5 donation to the Connexus Association, a financial literacy organization.
    Banking apps (current ratings from app store users)
    4.6 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.5 out of 5 stars for Android.4.7 out of 5 stars for iOS; 4.6 out of 5 stars for Android.
    Customer service
    24/7 by phone. Also available via email and Twitter.Available by phone 6 a.m.-9 p.m. CT most weekdays and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. CT on Saturdays. Also available via chat and email.

    Unless you live near a branch, neither Alliant nor Connexus will provide a neighborhood bank experience. But both are good choices for remote service. Both credit unions’ mobile apps have high ratings.

     

    Overdraft fees

     AlliantConnexus
    Overdraft fee
    • $28 “Courtesy pay” overdraft program covers checks, electronic payments and transfers.
    • Otherwise $25 non-sufficient funds fee for a transaction; no limit to fees in a given day.
    • $29.95 per transaction, no maximum number of overdraft return fees per day.
    Overdraft protection transfer fee$0 for a savings transfer, $3 for a line of credit.$0 for a savings transfer or line of credit.
    Extended overdraft feeNone.None.
    Alliant and Connexus’ overdraft fees are cheaper than the national median, but they can charge them an unlimited number of times per day, which not even large banks like Wells Fargo charge. If you tend to overdraw once in a while, choose Alliant for the slightly lower fees, but if you want extra protection, check out banks that don’t charge overdraft fees.

     

    Banking from home

    As long as you don’t mind managing your accounts online — or you live near a branch — Alliant and Connexus are both good choices. Interested? Read our introduction to online and mobile banking. If you prefer in-person service, check out our list of best national banks.

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