The sky-high 2.5% rewards rate is one of the best available, but you'll need to meet requirements to earn it. The base rewards rate of 1.5% is decent, but you might be able to do better.
No annual fee
High rewards rate
No foreign transaction fee
No bonus offer
Must be a member
No bonus categories
Compare to Other Cards
19.24%-29.24% Variable APR
17.24%-28.24% Variable APR
0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card
With two different cash-back rates, the $0-annual-fee Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card is either a decent or an outstanding option. Where you land on the flat-rate spectrum of 1.5% or 2.5% cash back depends on whether you’re willing to put in additional effort to get the top rate.
What's the catch? First, you'll have to join Alliant's credit union before applying for the card, but that's relatively easy to do. After that, you'll have to open an Alliant High-Rate Checking account, opt in to electronic statements, make one monthly deposit into the account and maintain an average daily balance of $1,000 or more. That's a lot of work to get a higher rate, only to have a spending cap. It's a high cap, but it's still a cap.
It’s worth the added effort to snag the higher rewards rate. But if you settle for that 1.5% cash-back rate, it's still a decent deal. Or you can look to other 2% cash back credit cards that don't require membership.
Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card: Basics
Card type: Cash back.
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: None.
2.5% cash back: Earn this rate on up to $10,000 of eligible purchases per billing cycle if you maintain an average daily balance of $1,000 or more in an Alliant High-Rate Checking account during the previous month.
1.5% cash back: Earn this rate on all other purchases that don’t qualify for the elevated cash-back rate.
You can redeem rewards for statement credit or as a deposit into an Alliant checking or savings account, although you'll need to have accrued a minimum of $50 in cash-back rewards first.
APR: The ongoing APR is 17.24%-27.24% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fee: None.
Balance transfer fee: 3%.
Benefits and perks
Potentially rich rewards
If you can meet the card’s requirements, the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card pays 2.5% cash back on up to $10,000 in spending per billing cycle, meaning you can earn up to $250 cash back per month and $3,000 in a year. That's a significantly higher rewards rate than nearly any other flat-rate card, with or without an annual fee. Other cards tend to top out at 2%.
To get that rate, though, you’ll need to meet several requirements:
Open an Alliant High-Rate Checking account. It's free to open and it doesn't charge a monthly service fee. But you will have to become a member of Alliant Credit Union to qualify.
Opt in to electronic statements.
Have at least one monthly deposit made into the account. (Eligible deposits include direct deposits, payroll deposits, ATM deposits, mobile check deposits or transfers from other financial institutions.)
Maintain an average daily balance of $1,000 or more.
And, if you can’t keep up with those requirements, you’ll still get a decent 1.5% cash-back rate on all purchases.
No categories to remember
Those who value simplicity will appreciate the fact that are no bonus categories to keep track of. Whether you're meeting the requirements to earn the 2.5% cash back rate or you're in the 1.5%-earning tier, all you have to do is spend the way you normally would. You'll earn the same rewards rate on the card no matter what you're buying.
No foreign transaction fees
The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card is one of just a handful of great cash-back cards that don't charge foreign transaction fees, those annoying 3% fees applied to international purchases. That makes it a worthy traveling companion.
Drawbacks and considerations
There's a cap on rewards
Let's be realistic: The average person probably doesn't put $10,000 on a single credit card every month, so most people won't be affected by the rewards cap on the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card.
But if you’re a big spender, you might conceivably bump up against that ceiling. To maximize your earnings, you could pair it with a card that earns elevated rewards on certain categories. For instance, the $0-annual-fee U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card earns 4% back on restaurants, which is a top-notch rate for foodies. You could put all of your dining purchases on the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card and use the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card for everything else.
Credit union membership required
The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card requires an Alliant Credit Union membership, but anyone can qualify. You can become a member if you're a current or retired employee at an organization partnered with the credit union, a relative of a member or a resident living or working in a qualifying Chicago-area community. Or, if you don't meet those requirements, you can join by becoming a member of Foster Care to Success, Alliant's partner charity. If you choose the latter option, Alliant will pay the $5 membership fee to the group on your behalf.
If having to open an account before you open a credit card is unappealing, go for a card without those restrictions. One to look at: The $0-annual-fee Citi Double Cash® Card, which earns 2% back on all purchases — 1% when you make your purchase and another 1% when you pay your bill.
Lots of requirements for elevated rewards
If you want simplicity and the chance to earn a higher rewards rate without all of the requirements that come with the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, the $0-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one to consider. Like this card, it earns a decent ongoing 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Plus, you can get 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% back at restaurants and 3% back on drugstore purchases. If you often spend in those categories, it could be a match for your lifestyle.
You won't earn a sign-up bonus
As long as you meet all the requirements, the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card has one of the highest rewards rates available on any flat-rate card. But depending on how much you spend, you could be better off choosing a card with a lower rewards rate, as long as it has a sign-up bonus. Take the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. You'll earn 2% back on all purchases, and it comes with this welcome offer: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Let's say you spend $1,000 a month. While the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card's higher rewards would earn an extra $60 a year, that's still quite a bit lower than the sign-up bonus you'd get on the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. Once you factor that in, it would take you over three years to earn more with the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card than with the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card.
Unlike the rewards on some cash-back cards, the cash back earned on the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card will expire in December of the fourth calendar year following the year they were earned. So any rewards you earned in 2021 will expire in December 2025.
To see more options, visit our roundup of top credit cards.
Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. Also get 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% back on dining and 3% back on drug store purchases. All other purchases earn 1% back. New cardholders get an intro APR 0% offer: 0% intro APR on purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 20.49%-29.24%, Variable APR. Plus, the card has a sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
How to decide if it's right for you
The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card is an excellent option for cash-back enthusiasts chasing a high rewards rate. If you spend a lot and you're not interested in keeping track of complicated reward structures, its outstanding ongoing rewards rate is worth a little hassle.