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Home Equity

Alliant Credit Union Home Equity Review

Updated Feb 13, 2024   |   17-min read

Our take on Alliant Credit Unions HELOC

  • 3.7 out of 5
  • No best-for designation
  • Limited availability—available in 24 states and Washington D.C.

Our rating of Alliant Credit Union’s home equity line of credit reflects a balance of several factors, including its features and limitations. Its accessibility in only certain states and to credit union members may limit its appeal to a broader audience seeking flexible home equity solutions.

In addition, Alliant offers only variable rates, which is the industry standard, but can lead to less predictable payments over time. Meanwhile, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, our top-rated credit union for HELOCs, scores higher partly because of its fixed-rate options.

For individuals looking for a HELOC, Alliant Credit Union might still be a good fit, particularly for those who prefer the benefits of a credit union and reside in the states where its services are available (listed below). Other lenders, such as Bethpage, might be more suitable for those seeking wider availability and fixed-rate options.

About Alliant Credit Union

Established in 1935 to serve United Airlines employees, Alliant Credit Union’s mission is to provide superior financial services to its members. As a not-for-profit, member-owned entity, Alliant focuses on delivering competitive rates and benefits.

Helping homeowners access their home equity, Alliant offers a flexible HELOC product. Ideal for those in its service states seeking cost-effective ways to use home equity, Alliant caters to homeowners preferring a community-focused credit union.

Alliant Credit Union HELOC at a glance

Check out the table below for an overview of the key terms and details of Alliant Credit Union’s HELOC. Keep reading; we’ll explore each aspect in greater detail.

TermsDetails
Eligible propertiesPrimary and secondary residences (no investment properties)
Rates (APR)Variable, 8.75% – 16%; May adjust monthly based on the prime rate plus/minus a margin
Rate discounts0.25% with automatic payment
Loan amountsMinimum $10,000 in most states; Minimum $25,001 in Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin
Draw period10 years
Repayment period20 years
FeesOne-time $1,000 for HELOCs over $250,000; $50 annual fee after year 1 regardless of balance
Unique featuresNo closing costs; No appraisal required for HELOCs up to $250,000

How does an Alliant Credit Union HELOC work?

An Alliant Credit Union HELOC provides a flexible credit line using your home’s equity. 

Eligible properties

Eligible properties for Alliant’s HELOC include primary and secondary residences but not investment properties. So you could use your primary home or vacation home as collateral but not a property you’re renting out. 

Rates

The HELOC has a variable APR, ranging from 8.75% to 16%, which can adjust monthly based on the prime rate. This variable rate means your monthly payments could fluctuate, affecting budget planning. However, you can reduce the rate by 0.25% with automatic payments, offering modest savings.

Loan amounts

The loan amounts start at $10,000, but in Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin, the minimum is $25,001. The draw period, the time you can withdraw funds, is 10 years, followed by a 20-year repayment period. During the draw period, you can access funds up to your credit limit and pay interest only on what you use.

The fees include a one-time $1,000 for HELOCs over $250,000 and a $50 annual fee after the first year, regardless of the balance. No closing costs and no appraisal are required for lines up to $250,000, lowering upfront costs.

You can manage your HELOC with Alliant online, through the mobile app, or over the phone, offering convenience and flexibility.

What role does home equity play?

Your home equity plays a central role in this product. It’s calculated as the difference between your home’s current market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property.  Alliant allows you to borrow up to 80% of the value of your home.

Alliant’s HELOC is for homeowners who need a flexible and accessible way to use their home’s equity, with the convenience of digital management and the potential for lower upfront costs.

Who’s eligible for an Alliant Credit Union HELOC?

Alliant Credit Union HELOC hinges on a set of specific criteria, ensuring that applicants meet the standards for financial stability and property qualifications. 

Applicants must reside in one of the states where Alliant Credit Union operates and have a maximum loan-to-value ratio of 80%, meaning the total you borrow can’t exceed 80% of the home’s value. 

Here is a breakdown of the eligibility details.

RequirementDetails
PropertiesPrimary and secondary residences (no investment properties)
State of residenceArizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.*
Maximum loan-to-value80%
Maximum debt-to-income ratio40%
Minimum credit score620

*Excluded states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

What are the costs and fees of an Alliant Credit Union HELOC?

Several factors, including interest rates and various fees, influence the cost of a HELOC. Understanding these costs is key to determining the product’s affordability.

Interest costs

Alliant’s HELOC features variable interest rates ranging from 8.75% to 16%. These rates are subject to change monthly, based on the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal, plus or minus a margin. 

So the rate you start with may increase or decrease during the loan term, affecting your monthly payments and the total interest you pay over time. Borrowers can obtain a rate discount of 0.25% by setting up automatic payments, slightly reducing the cost of borrowing.

Fees

In addition to interest, Alliant charges two fees:

  • A one-time $1,000 fee for HELOCs greater than $250,000
  • A $50 annual fee after the first year, irrespective of the balance. 

Example

To provide an example of monthly payments, let’s consider the scenario you’ve described:

  • Principal amount ithdrawn: $10,000
  • APR: 9.25% 

Since the borrower is making interest-only payments in the first year, we will calculate the monthly interest on the $10,000 withdrawn.

The monthly interest-only payments for the first year on a $10,000 withdrawal from a $100,000 HELOC at a rate of 9.25% would be approximately $77.08. Keep in mind that this calculation assumes a consistent interest rate and no additional withdrawals or repayments during the year.

This does not include the potential $50 annual fee from the second year onward. However, if the rate increases due to changes in the prime rate, the cost of borrowing will also rise.

How does this compare to other lenders?

Compared to other lenders, Alliant’s rates are within a typical range for HELOCs, but the variable nature means they can be less predictable. Some lenders, like Figure, offer fixed-rate options, which provide more payment stability but might come with higher initial rates. 

The absence of closing costs and appraisal fees is a nice perk that you don’t find with every lender.

For more lender information and comparisons, visit our best HELOC lender page and our list of home equity companies.

How do you repay a HELOC from Alliant Credit Union?

Repaying a HELOC from Alliant Credit Union involves two distinct phases: the draw period and the repayment period.

Draw period

During the 10-year draw period, borrowers can access funds up to their approved limit and are typically required to make payments on the interest only. This feature is a notable difference from a traditional home equity loan or standard loan, where borrowers receive a lump sum upfront and immediately begin paying principal and interest.

Repayment period

After the draw period ends, Alliant’s HELOC enters a 20-year repayment period. During this time, borrowers must pay down the principal and the interest. This shift in payment structure can result in a significant increase in monthly payments as you begin to pay down the loan’s principal in addition to interest.

If you draw the full approved amount, you’ll follow the same repayment structure: interest-only payments during the draw period, followed by principal-and-nterest payments during the repayment period.

Alliant offers various payment options for homeowners, including:

  • Online payments
  • Payments via the mobile app
  • Traditional mail

Prepayment

One of the advantages of Alliant’s HELOC is the absence of an early repayment penalty. This means borrowers can pay off their HELOC earlier than the 20-year term without incurring additional fees, potentially saving on interest costs over the long term.

Overall cost

In terms of overall cost, the ability to make principal payments during the draw period and the option for early payoff can contribute to reducing the total interest paid over the life of the loan.

How does your home’s value affect your terms?

HELOCs are secured by your home. This means the value of your home is crucial in determining your eligibility and the terms of your HELOC. Here is a closer look at your home’s impact. 

Eligibility and borrowing limit

The amount you can borrow through a HELOC largely depends on your home’s value. Alliant allows you to borrow up to 80% of your home’s value minus any mortgage balances. Therefore, a higher home value can mean access to a larger credit line.

Impact of value fluctuations

If your home’s value increases over time, it could increase your borrowing power. A decrease in home value might affect your ability to borrow further, but it won’t change the terms of the amount you already borrowed.

What does Alliant Credit Union’s appraisal process look like?

Understanding how Alliant Credit Union determines the value of your home is essential in the HELOC application process. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Alliant requires an appraisal only for HELOCs greater than $250,000. For lines below this threshold, the process is simpler and quicker because no formal appraisal is needed.
  • When required, the appraisal process assesses the current market value of your property. This is typically conducted in person, though methods can vary. The process can take several weeks, depending on the property and location.
  • If an appraisal is needed, you may need to provide access to your home. You might also need to provide documentation related to your property.

Alliant’s threshold for requiring an appraisal is relatively high compared to some other lenders, which might require appraisals for lower HELOC amounts. This can benefit those seeking smaller lines of credit because it simplifies the application process.

Pros and cons of Alliant Credit Union

Pros

  • Interest-only repayment during draw period

    Alliant allows for interest-only payments in the initial 10 years. This can reduce the monthly financial burden for borrowers during this period.

  • No fees or appraisal for HELOCs under $250,000

    This feature makes Alliant’s HELOC more accessible and cost-effective for those seeking smaller credit lines.

  • Low minimum loan amount

    With a minimum HELOC amount of just $10,000, Alliant caters to a wide range of borrowing needs, from small-scale renovations to more significant investments.

Cons

  • Variable APRs

    The variable rates, ranging from 8.75% to 16%, can lead to uncertainty in monthly payments and total loan cost.

  • Limited state availability

    Alliant’s HELOC is not available in 26 states, restricting its accessibility to a broader audience.

  • Membership requirement

    Borrowers must join the credit union to access the HELOC, adding an extra step to the borrowing process.

Alliant Credit Union’s HELOC offers flexible interest-only repayment option during the draw period and the absence of fees or appraisal requirements for smaller loan amounts. 

However, the variable APRs and limited state availability may challenge potential borrowers. The requirement to be a credit union member, while standard for such institutions, could be a barrier compared to lenders that don’t have such prerequisites.

  • Our top-ranked credit union for a HELOC, Bethpage, offers fixed-rate HELOC options, might be more appealing for those seeking payment stability. 
  • Lenders with a broader state availability and no membership requirement could serve a wider customer base. Figure, our top-ranked HELOC overall, for example, offers HELOCs in 44 states and Washington, D.C., compared to Alliant’s 24 states and Washington, D.C.

Alliant’s low minimum loan amount and favorable conditions for smaller HELOCs are advantageous, but it could improve by offering a fixed-rate option and broadening its geographic reach to enhance its competitiveness.

Is Alliant Credit Union a reputable lender?

Customer reviews are crucial in gauging a lender’s reputation, offering insights into real-world experiences with their products and services.

SourceCustomer ratingNumber of reviews
Trustpilot1.7 out of 540
Better Business Bureau1.12 out of 550
Google2.2 out of 5173

Reviews collected on December 21, 2023.

Alliant Credit Union’s reputation through customer reviews is less than stellar. On Trustpilot, its reviews largely addresses general banking concerns not specific to its HELOC product. Issues cited include potential fraud, high fees or interest rates, and customer service problems.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings paint a similar picture,, though Alliant holds an A+ accreditation. This suggests a level of confidence in its business practices, despite customer dissatisfaction mainly about service and banking processes. 

The reviews on Google reflect a slightly higher rating, highlighting bureaucracy and service issues, but also noting positives, such as favorable card rates.

These platforms are recognized for providing independent customer feedback, which lends credibility to the ratings. 

Does Alliant Credit Union have a customer service team?

Alliant Credit Union’s customer service team provides assistance and support to its members, ranging from general account questions to specific details about products like HELOCs. 

The corporate office is located in Chicago, but this location is not open to the public and doesn’t offer branch or ATM services. Most of Alliant’s customer service operations are conducted remotely, aligning with its largely online financial institution status. 

This approach allows for a wider reach and availability to assist members regardless of their geographic location. The customer service team plays a crucial role in addressing concerns, providing information, and ensuring a smooth experience for all members.

Ways to contact Alliant Credit Union include:

  • Email: Accessible through the Alliant website for various inquiries
  • Phone number: 800-328-1935.
  • Mailing address: Alliant Credit Union, P.O. Box 2387, Des Plaines, IL 60017-2387
  • Chat box: Available on the Alliant website for real-time assistance

Alliant’s contact methods ensure members can reach out in the most convenient way, whether for quick inquiries via chat or more detailed discussions by phone.

How to apply for an Alliant Credit Union HELOC

Applying for a HELOC with Alliant Credit Union mirrors the processes of many other lenders. 

A significant advantage with Alliant is that the initial application process doesn’t affect the applicant’s credit score due to the prequalification feature, allowing potential borrowers to gauge their eligibility without a full credit inquiry. This is a solid benefit for those mindful of their credit health.

Here are the steps to apply:

  1. Visit the website: Begin by clicking “Apply Now” on Alliant’s website.
Alliant Credit Union Apply Now screenshot
  1. Start the application: Even nonmembers can initiate the loan application process. Membership is required later to open the HELOC.
Alliant Credit Union member log in screenshot
  1. Select property and state: Choose the type of property and the state where it’s located.
Screenshot
Allian Credit Union property information application screenshot
  1. Provide loan details: Fill in information about the loan, including the desired amount and purpose.
Alliant Credit union application screenshot
  1. Submit additional information: As the process continues, Alliant will request more detailed information and necessary documents.
  2. Apply for membership (if not a member): Nonmembers will need to apply for Alliant membership as part of the HELOC process.
  3. Final review and approval: Alliant reviews the application for approval after all documents are submitted.

What if I’m denied a HELOC from Alliant Credit Union?

If you face a HELOC denial from Alliant Credit Union, it’s important to understand its reasons and explore potential solutions. Alliant should inform applicants about the cause of denial, allowing for targeted improvements. You can reapply after addressing these issues.

Reason for denialSolution
Low credit scoreWork on improving your credit score through debt reduction, on-time payments, and correcting credit report errors
High debt-to-income ratioAim to lower your debt or increase your income to improve this ratio
Insufficient home equityWait for home value to increase or pay down more of your mortgage
Unstable employment historySecure consistent employment and demonstrate a stable income history

Following these steps can enhance your eligibility for a HELOC. Alliant and financial professionals offer resources to help you understand and improve your financial position. Alternative lending options might also be worth exploring if your circumstances don’t align with Alliant’s requirements.

How do other home equity products compare to Alliant Credit Union?

Alliant Credit Union’s HELOC is one of several options homeowners have to tap into their home equity. Understanding how it compares to other products, such as home equity loans, reverse mortgages, and cash-out refinances, is essential for making an informed decision.

HELOC vs. home equity loan

A home equity loan, similar to a HELOC, allows homeowners to borrow against their home’s equity. The key difference lies in the disbursement and repayment structure. Home equity loans provide a lump sum upfront and typically come with fixed interest rates, leading to consistent monthly payments. 

In contrast, Alliant’s HELOC offers a revolving line of credit with variable rates, offering more flexibility but less predictability in terms of payment amounts.

HELOC vs. reverse mortgage

Reverse mortgages, suitable for older homeowners, enable them to receive funds based on their home’s equity without needing to sell the home. This option differs from Alliant’s HELOC because it doesn’t require monthly payments, but the loan becomes due when the borrower moves out or passes away.

HELOC vs. cash-out refinance

Cash-out refinances involve replacing your mortgage with a new one for a larger amount than you owe on your home, allowing you to take the difference in cash. This differs from Alliant’s HELOC, which is a secondary loan on top of your mortgage and usually has different terms and rates compared to a primary mortgage.

Each of these options serves different needs and financial situations. Alliant’s HELOC stands out for its flexibility and access to funds over time, making it suitable for ongoing projects or expenses. However, those seeking more predictable payments or specific conditions, such as those offered in a reverse mortgage or cash-out refinance, might find other products more aligned with their needs.

Alliant Credit Union HELOC FAQ

How long does it take to receive funds from Alliant Credit Union?

The approval process for an Alliant Credit Union HELOC varies, typically taking several weeks. This includes credit checks, property appraisal, and financial verification. Once approved, getting funds can be quick, often within days to a week.

Do you need to tell Alliant Credit Union what the funds are used for?

Alliant Credit Union may ask about the intended use of HELOC funds during application. This helps assess financial plans but usually doesn’t affect eligibility. Funds are versatile, but we recommend discussing your plans with Alliant.

Are there any insurance requirements?

Homeowners applying for an Alliant HELOC need an active homeowners insurance policy. This policy should cover the home’s value because it secures the credit line. Alliant may have specific coverage requirements, so it’s important to check these during the application.

Can you back out of a HELOC contract?

Canceling an Alliant HELOC depends on the process stage. Withdrawal is possible during application or after approval but before funds disbursement. Once funds are received, cancellation involves closing the account, which can incur costs.

Can you close your HELOC account at any time?

Closing a HELOC with Alliant Credit Union is possible but may involve specific terms. This includes paying off the balance and possibly facing early termination fees. It’s important to understand these terms to avoid unexpected expenses when closing the account.

How we rated Alliant Credit Union

We designed LendEDU’s editorial rating system to help consumers identify companies that offer the best financial products. Our experts spend hours researching these companies each year to ensure our ratings are fresh and accurate.

Our most recent evaluation compared Alliant Credit Union to several HELOC lenders across a number of factors, including rates, loan amounts, customer reviews, repayment details, and eligibility requirements. We weighted, scored, and combined these factors to produce a final editorial rating. This rating is expressed on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score. We round all ratings to the nearest tenth decimal place.

ProductBest forOur rating
HELOCNo best-for designation3.7 out of 5View rates