Credit Cards

Alliant offers a 3% cash-back reward, the best in credit cards

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Mike Kemp/Getty Images

Mike Kemp/Getty Images

We have a new champion of cash-back credit cards.

Alliant Credit Union will offer the top cash-back card on the market when it debuts its Alliant Cash Back Visa Signature card next month. For the first year, cardholders will earn a stunning 3 percent cash back on all purchases, then a still-impressive 2.5 percent thereafter.

The new card outshines other top cash-back reward cards, notably the Citi Double Cash, which pays 2 percent on all purchases and the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, which refunds 6 percent on grocery purchases, but only on the first $6,000 spent annually.

Other highlights of this card include:

  • A $59 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Visa Signature travel perks like travel accident insurance and concierge services.

The annual percentage rate on this card is between 10.74 and 23.74 percent, based on creditworthiness. Some cardholders may qualify for a 0 percent introductory offer for the first 12 months.

How to qualify

Because Alliant is a credit union and doesn’t operate like a traditional bank, you have to become a member to apply for this card. Membership is open to people who live in one of the Illinois communities Alliant serves, relatives of an existing Alliant member or through membership in select organizations.

If none of those criteria apply to you, you can still join by making a $10 minimum donation to Foster Care for Success, a charity that aids teens throughout the United States living in foster care.

Complete your membership by opening a savings account and depositing at least $5.

Other competitive credit cards

If joining a credit union doesn’t appeal to you, consider applying for a different rewards credit card.

The most similar card offer to the Alliant Cash Back Visa Signature is the USAA Limitless Cash Back credit card, which offers 2.5 percent cash back to those who have a minimum monthly deposit of at least $1,000 into their USAA checking account and 1.5 percent cash back to those who don’t meet that minimum amount. You have to meet the USAA eligibility requirements to apply, which means this card is only an option for current and former military members and their families.

A more accessible option might be the Citi Double Cash, which earns 1 percent back when you make a purchase and 1 percent back when you pay your bill. Other cash-back cards, like the Chase Freedom and the Discover it offer rotating bonus categories that pay up to 5 percent, back but these typically have spending caps.

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