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There are a number of factors you have to consider when shopping around for a decent auto loan that isn’t going to sting you with fees, rates and complex fine print. The first is the APR – this rate can vary significantly between different auto loan providers – and this is one box that Alliant Credit Union ticks.
The APR can be as low as 3.24 percent on a new car, although this will go up to as much as 6.49 percent for a vehicle that’s older than 10 years and is currently at 3.49 percent for used vehicle purchasing and refinance.
It’s a lot better than the rates offered by many banks, but you do need to become a member of the credit union in order to qualify for an auto loan. Application and approval at Alliant Credit Union can take as little as one day and the company offers an Alliant Car Buying Service that helps with the process and assures you of a discounted rate on your loan.
Alliant Credit Union offers superb rates that are lower than the industry average, but only within certain parameters. For example, you will only be eligible for the 3.24 percent APR on a 60-month maximum payment term on a new vehicle. It’s also quite tough to find out what the maximum loan amount is before entering into the entire process, which is frustrating, and the FAQs are very poor – you won’t find a lot of information in there.
That said, the company does provide a fast and efficient application process that can net you a car loan within a day, even if you’re not a member. There are two application routes – one for members and one for non-members. You will have to sign up for membership before you can complete the application process so be prepared to fill in forms and commit to the process before you start.
Once you’ve submitted your application – you can do this online or by calling the number at any time of the night and day – you will be pre-approved for your loan. You can use this pre-approval to shop around for the right vehicle or to get the purchase process rolling. It isn’t a final approval, but it does reassure both you and the car dealer and allow you to negotiate the best possible deal.
Once you’ve completed the preapproval process you can use the Alliant Car Buying Service to net yourself a discount of 0.50 percent on the credit union’s rates, and to streamline the rest of the purchase process. Once you’ve settled on the price of the vehicle, you send the purchase agreement through to Alliance Credit Union, the loan documents are finalized online using a digital platform called DocuSign, and your funds are sent directly to you or the dealer.
Alliant Credit Union is not a winner on the customer review frontier. The company has been an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2004 and has an A+ rating. It also has terrible reviews about its customer service on BBB. NerdWallet and Yelp.
There are some customers that rave about the rates, the quality of the services and the overall support from the credit union, but the majority feel that any complaints or customer service requirements they have are unheard and unresolved. The website is also very difficult to navigate as the search function isn’t great – if you want to find out about the types of vehicle financed or the minimum loan amounts, for example, the information isn’t readily available.
Alliant Credit Union has probably got the worst customer reviews of any auto loans companies reviewed but it remains one of the top auto loans lenders because of its rates and approval processes. You may find the customer service lacking but you will appreciate the reduced costs, the ease of application and the fact that it’s not as restrictive as other companies when it comes to car age, type or mileage.
- Low rates compared with the market
- Fast and efficient approval process
- No pre-payment penalties
- Customer reviews highlight poor customer service
- Limited physical branches