A bank that’s better than Ally and IngDirect?

a bank that is better than ally and ingdirect moneycone financeDon’t get me wrong, I like both Ally and IngDirect. I’m a member of both and would gladly recommend these banks over brick and mortar banks. Both have top notch customer service with minimal hidden fees. But when it comes to interest rates, is there anything better out there? Ultimately, you want the maximum return for your money.

Sure there are banks that offer crazy rates, but almost all of them require you to jump through hoops and if you miss one, the penalties would wipe out any accrued savings.

I’m glad to say, I did find one such bank and it passed all my requirements:

Good customer service

You can actually talk to a service rep 24X7

Pleasant online experience

The site is functional, not fancy and easy to navigate

Fast and free ACH

One day ACH transfers! The fastest I know of. Better than Ally’s (IngDirect has the worst ACH times)

No hidden fees

No crazy hidden fees that jumped out

No account minimums

Not entirely true. Their regular savings does have a minimum – $5! I can live with that!

ATM reimbursement

In-network ATM withdrawals are free.

Rates better than Ally and IngDirect

Rates consistently higher than Ally’s and IngDirect

Free checks

First box of checks free. Again, Ally trumps with unlimited free checks

Supplemental accounts

IngDirect has this cool feature of creating sub accounts within the main account. This bank too has this feature

Now here are some benefits that trumps both Ally and IngDirect!

  • eDeposit of checks. You can scan the check to deposit from home
  • Free quarterly credit scores from Experian
  • Unlike Ally and IngDirect, did not receive bailout money
  • It is a credit union

This wonder bank is… Alliant Credit Union.

It is a Chicago based credit union and 7th largest credit union in the country. Alliant Credit Union, formerly United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union, was established on October 26, 1935. Definitely not a new kid in the block.

Rates compared between Alliant, Ally and IngDirect as of this post:

Alliant CU1.50%1.50%Checking account requires 1 monthly deposit and must opt out of paper statements
Ally Bank1.29%0.50%Checking account will earn 1.05% on balances of 15,000 and more
IngDirect1.10%0.25%Checking account will earn 1.20% on balances of 50,000-100,000
This is not a blind review. Having used all three banks, I believe Alliant is as good as Ally or IngDirect and my money works harder at Alliant!

What are your experiences with Alliant? Share your thoughts.

Recommended Read: Between Ally and Ing Direct, which offers better value for your money?

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22 thoughts on “A bank that’s better than Ally and IngDirect?

  1. I haven’t used Alliant, but I’ll look into it.

    Currently we are WAMU transfers to Chase, which I hate, so I’ve been looking around. Thankfully, they don’t get much of our money anyway since we are mainly with ING and use Smarty Pig for our emergency fund money since it’s at 2.01%. We just need a brick and mortar bank to deposit actual checks that we receive…otherwise, I’d be an online-bank only person in a heart beat.


    • For depositing checks, you can do it from home with Alliant! Here’s how it works. Log on to Alliant, scan the check and the money is made available within a day! As simple as that.

  2. A bank that's better than Ally and IngDirect? http://bte.tc/bgVn #RTW

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I just started an account with ING, but I may move it to Alliant. The free checks are a nice touch, in addition to the higher interest rates.

  4. Thanks for this info. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Aliant, but they just might be my new bank — or rather, credit union.

    • You are welcome Kelly! Actually Alliant Credit Union is the 7th largest credit union with assets over $7billion! It’s not a new kid on the block either. ACU was founded in 1935 and was originally called the United Airlines Employees Credit Union. So why not many have heard of this bank? First of all, this is a credit union so they don’t actively run ad campaigns unlike big banks. And for the same reason, there is no incentive for bloggers to promote this CU since they don’t provide affiliate revenue. But ACU is like a little secret only the most financially savvy folks know about! Here’s another article on ACU

  5. i think credit unions can have big bonuses for people. they are small enough that you’re not just a number and you can usually get great rates.

    RT @MoneyCone: A bank that's better than Ally and IngDirect? http://bit.ly/eXgz74

  7. RT @MoneyCone: A bank that's better than Ally and IngDirect? http://bit.ly/eXgz74

  8. Ken Therkelsen says:

    Checking the Alliant website, it seems that the eDeposit, for some reason, still requires that the user mail in the items deposited electronically. Secondly, it looks like it’s only available with PC’s (no smart phone App and an ActiveX control is required, so Mac’s are out) and a scanner. I, too, desperately want to be able to eDeposit checks as I would then be online banking only. But I don’t understand the lack of a smart phone scanning capability nor the need to send in the deposit items. Looks like the only gain with eDeposit is the time spent in the mail. I need better than this, will continue to wait a bit longer for ING. Thanks, though, very good article.

    • I use Alliant to scan and deposit checks instantly all the time.

      By default you get eDeposit which involves mailing. Once you join, you need to request access to eDeposit Plus which allows scanning your check. I didn’t have to ask, once I joined I was automatically given access to eDeposit Plus. But in case you don’t have access, send in a request.

      I don’t use a PC either and this works with Mac. You need to scan the check and use the upload the image of the check into Alliant’s site.

      As far as I know, they don’t have scanning via smart phone yet.

      Hope this helps and thanks for visiting Moneycone!

      • Ken Therkelsen says:

        Thanks for the clarification. Good to see that eDeposit works for Mac. My confusion came from this Alliant website statement regarding eDeposit: “If you wish to use the built-in check scanning software, the first time you use this service the EZTwainX ActiveX Control must be installed on your computer.” Since ActiveX is a uniquely PC functionality, the implication is that this is a PC only capability. Perhaps a website clarification is in order.
        At any rate, I just want to scan a check with my phone and then shred it. Using my home scanner is a step up from mailing a deposit in but it’s not as convenient as using my phone (for example, when out of town, etc.)… I’d be *very* tempted to move to Alliant if they had, for example, an Android App for this.

  9. The primary downfall to CUs is qualifying for membership. While the benefits are attractive, I don’t qualify. :(

    • Sean, which CU are you trying to become a member of? It is not well publicized, but it is easy to join any CU. Usually by donating a one time token amount of $5 or $10 to some charity or non-profit organization.

  10. Bankrate.com gives Alliant a **** rating while both Ally and ING Direct (under Capital One) are *****. Something to think about in these unsettled days.

  11. Alliant has one fatal flaw. They require that you allow them to check your credit reports (hard pulls I believe) before you can open an account. They require the checks to open any account as far as I know, even if you are NOT applying for credit. I have all my credit reports frozen and only allow checks for valid reasons, such as applications for credit. The information contained in my credit reports is none of Alliant’s business (I’m not interested in applying for credit from Alliant.), and I don’t want my credit score damaged because of an unnecessary hard pull. They would not allow me to open an account without thawing my reports, period. I’m disappointed an otherwise seemingly good financial institution would have such an asinine policy.

    The good news for me is I’m very happy with my current financial institution (which doesn’t have such a silly policy), so I don’t really need an account with Alliant.

  12. dazed but not totaly confused says:

    oh hey – i just left a message on the ING vs Ally and now I think I will wait before making any decisions go over the wealth of information you kindly have made available to the rest of us first.

    I can’t thank you enough. How someone even has the desire to even want to do this on top of their 9-5er, is truly amazing.

    • Thanks for the kind words Dazed. Both Alliant and Ally are great banks. I actually joined both and split my savings between both.

      The reason being, though Ally’s rates are slightly lower than ACU, Ally reimburses any and all ATM fees at the end of the month. ACU doesn’t refund fees charged by the ATM owner. This freedom has been a life saver for me.

      Another thing I liked about Ally was free checks for life. ACU offers only the first box for free.

      Consider these points before choosing for saving even more!

      And feel free to post any questions you might have, I’ll be more than happy to help.

  13. Ally now lets you use your scanner to deposit checks. I had my funds show up next day. They ask that you hold on to the paper check for 30 days ( I think) then you can destroy it or what I do is mark it void and put it back in my check box. Was waiting patiently for that feature to show up.

  14. Great Article Moneycone…I’m a huge fan of credit unions as well. The business model of CUs can’t be beat by for-profit banks. Combined with the Shared Branching feature which lets you access your account through other credit unions, it’s just a nice treat knowing that these guys are helping each other to help ALL their customers collectively.

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