5 Best Credit Union Personal Loans of 2018

credit union personal loan

Online lenders are making it easier to get a low-interest personal loan. But if you’re looking for the best service, you’ll usually find it at a credit union.

A credit union personal loan might not offer the best interest rate. However, credit unions are community-oriented and not-for-profit associations, so they focus on meeting your needs instead of making money.

Most credit unions are regional, which means not just anyone can join. But some don’t require that you live near a branch to get a personal loan. Here are the best credit union personal loans anyone can get.

At a glance: The best credit union personal loans

Here’s a quick summary of the best credit union personal loans by their interest rates. Read on to learn more about why these loans and credit unions stand above the rest.

First Tech Credit Union

Offering the lowest interest rate of the bunch, First Tech Credit Union allows you to choose a repayment term between 24 and 84 months.

You can borrow between $500 and $50,000 at as low as 8.50% APR. The credit union charges no application, origination, or prepayment penalty fees.

Other perks of joining First Tech Credit Union include:

  • Earn up to 1.58% APY on its Dividend Rewards checking account
  • Unlimited ATM fee rebates
  • Earn up to 1.00% APY on its HSA checking account
  • Credit card interest rates as low as 10.99% APR
  • 24/7 customer service

To join, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Live in Lane County, Oregon
  • Work in Lane County or for the state of Oregon or for a participating employer
  • Be an immediate family member of an existing First Tech member
  • Be a member of the Financial Fitness Association ($8 membership fee) or the Computer History Museum ($15 membership fee minimum)

Digital Federal Credit Union

With Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU), you can borrow between $500 and $25,000 at as low as 8.75% APR. Repayment terms range from 36 to 60 months. There are no application, origination, or prepayment penalty fees.

What’s more, your interest rate will be discounted by 0.50% if you pay electronically and have an eligible DCU checking account.

Other perks of joining Digital Federal Credit Union include:

  • Credit card interest rates as low as 9.50% APR
  • Free access to your FICO credit score
  • Online live chat

To join, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be related to a current DCU member
  • Work for or be related to someone who works for a qualifying employer
  • Live, work, worship, or attend school in a participating community in Massachusetts or Georgia
  • Belong to or be related to someone who belongs to a participating organization (memberships start at $15)

PenFed Credit Union

With PenFed Credit Union, you can borrow between $500 and $25,000 with an APR as low as 9.99%.

Repayment terms range from 36 to 60 months, and you won’t pay any application, origination, or prepayment penalty fees.

Other perks of joining PenFed include:

  • Member discounts on auto, home, retail, and more
  • Credit cards offering as much as 2 percent cash back on everything and APRs as low as 8.99%
  • Free access to your FICO credit score

To join, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be an active or retired member of the U.S. Military and Uniformed Services
  • Work for the U.S. government or another qualifying employer
  • Live or work in an eligible community
  • Belong to a qualifying association or organization (for example, Voices for America’s Troops charges a membership fee of $17)
  • Be related to someone who qualifies

NASA Federal Credit Union

With NASA Federal Credit Union, you can borrow between $1,000 and $30,000. Repayment terms vary between 12 and 84 months, and the APR can be as low as 11.15%.

The credit union charges no origination, application, or prepayment penalty fees.

Other perks of joining NASA Federal Credit Union include:

  • Credit card interest rates as low as 10.90% APR
  • Zero-down mortgages with no private mortgage insurance
  • Online live chat

To join, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be an employee or retiree of NASA Headquarters, any NASA center or facility, or NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division (NAS)
  • Be an employee or a member of a qualifying company or association
  • Be a relative or household member of a current NASA Federal Credit Union member
  • Be a member of the National Space Society (no cost)

Alliant Credit Union

Although Alliant Credit Union offers the highest APR in this roundup at 12.15%, its repayment terms offer a lot of flexibility. You can choose a term of anywhere between one month and five years.

You can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000, and there are no application, origination, or prepayment penalty fees.

Other perks of joining Alliant Credit Union include:

  • Earn a 0.65% APY on its checking account.
  • Receive up to $20 per month in ATM fee rebates for out-of-network ATM transactions
  • Earn a 1.11% APY on its savings account
  • Credit cards offering 0% APR promotions, after which interest rates are as low as 9.99% APR

To join, you must meet one of the following requirements:

    • Be an employee or retiree of a qualifying employer
    • Be a member of a participating organization
    • Live or work in a qualifying community in the Chicago metropolitan area
    • Be related to an existing Alliant member
    • Become a member of Foster Care to Success by making a $10 minimum charitable donation

    How to get the best rate on a credit union personal loan

    When you apply for a loan, credit unions look at a few factors to determine your rate, including your credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and loan term.

    A high credit score will get you the best personal loan interest rates possible. But if your credit score isn’t perfect, you can have a co-signer apply with you to boost your chances of getting a low rate.

    When it comes to your DTI ratio, lower is better. This ratio is calculated by dividing your monthly debt payments by your monthly gross income. If you have a high DTI, it might signal that you can’t feasibly take on more debt without risking default.

    Lastly, the shorter your repayment period, the lower your interest rate. Shorter repayment periods come with higher monthly payments, though, so do the math to make sure you can make that payment every month.

    Should you apply for a credit union personal loan?

    On its own, a credit union personal loan won’t offer the lowest interest rate. Online lenders like SoFi and Earnest can offer interest rates closer to 5.00% APR.

    Since credit unions generally offer great products and services in other areas, though, it might be wise to consider joining one for a personal loan.

    Also, keep in mind that local credit unions might offer lower interest rates than these ones. Check out your local credit unions to see what they have to offer. The more you shop around, the more likely it is that you’ll find the best choice for you.

    Interested in a personal loan?

    Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
    LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
    1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

    SoFi Disclosures

    1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
    2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

    2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

    Citizens Bank Disclosures

    1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
    2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with Citizens Bank at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, Citizens Bank checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
    3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
    7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
    5.29% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
    8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
    5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
    5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
    5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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