If you’re considering applying for a personal loan from a financial lender, whether you’re looking to consolidate debt or fund a new home improvement project, you generally have three options for choosing a lender: a bank, an online lender or a credit union.
What lender you ultimately choose will depend on your own financial background, employment history, credit score, income and, of course, the type of loan you are looking for. However, credit unions can be a viable option. As member-owned and nonprofit institutions, credit unions may offer competitive rates and terms.
In this guide, you will learn more about personal loans you can find from credit unions.
You can use LendingTree to help you figure out the type of loan for which you will qualify. (Disclosure: Student Loan Hero is an affiliate of LendingTree). It could match you with up to five lenders depending on your creditworthiness. Note: LendingTree is not a lender and will match you with banks, online lenders, and credit unions.
UNIFY Financial Credit Union
UNIFY Financial Credit Union offers an impressive 2.99% APR on loans over a 12-month term, as well as some pretty flexible loan options, from $500 to $50,000.
You can get a personal loan for debt consolidation, but the debt consolidation loan will come up with a much higher minimum APR. APRs for debt consolidation loans start at 8.74% as of February 27, 2019.
You can’t use a personal loan from UNIFY for education purposes, but you can use it for personal reasons, like taking a vacation.
You can choose a loan term between 12 to 84 months, but if you choose a loan amount that is $2,500 or more, you must take out a loan that is at least 48 months or longer. The lowest advertised APR of 2.99% also includes a 0.25% discount that is applied only if you’re a UNIFY member with automatic payments.
In order to become a UNIFY member, you have to apply either through an employer or join one of the union’s affiliate organizations, which are free. UNIFY savings accounts require a $5 minimum deposit to maintain, and if you want to earn dividends, you’ll need to keep at least $200 in the account. Its regular savings account also requires a $200 minimum balance to avoid a service fee, but its eSavings and Club Savings accounts do not have a minimum balance, other than the $5 to open.
- Low APR
- Flexible loan terms
- Can borrow from $500 to $50,000
- Can’t use the personal loan for education purposes
- $25 fee if you cancel your loan
- $25 fee if you have a “dishonored payment” on your loan
If you’re looking for at least a one-year loan that won’t be used for education expenses or debt consolidation, UNIFY’s personal loan offers a very competitive APR.
PenFed Credit Union
PenFed Credit Union is a respected and established credit union that is proud of serving customers since 1935. It has over 1.7 million members and $24 billion in assets and customers in all 50 states, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and Okinawa.
As with all credit unions, in order to qualify for a personal loan from PenFed, which stands for Pentagon Federal Credit Union, you must become a member of the credit union.
Compared with other lenders that do not have origination fees, PenFed has a competitive APR of 6.49%. There are loan terms from 36 to 60 months, and you can use your personal loan for debt consolidation, home repairs, auto repair and even travel and vacation. A personal loan can’t be used for education expenses, but the credit union does offer separate student loan financing.
If you miss a loan payment, you will be subject to a 20% finance charge of $5 minimum/$25 maximum.
- No origination fee
- Extensive member discounts once you are a credit union member
- Immediate access to funds once you’re approved
- You will need some kind of military association, either through yourself or a family member, or by joining one of the credit union’s military affiliations
- If you’re looking for a lot of flexibility in your loan term, you may want to look elsewhere, as PenFed only offers repayment terms of 36 to 60 months.
PenFed Credit Union might be an especially smart choice if you or a family member are an active duty member of the military. It offers special services for military members, including resources like dealing with your finances while you are deployed.
Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union offers personal loans for debt consolidation, home expenses and emergencies with very straightforward terms: There is no collateral requirement if you have an unsecured loan, no prepayment penalties, loan terms are from 12 to 60 months with funding amounts from $1,000 and $50,000, and same-day deposit or mailed checks upon approval are available.
You’ll need to become a member of the Alliant Credit Union in order to qualify for a loan and one great option is to open an online high-rate savings account. If you choose e-Statements, your monthly service will be waived. Alliant Credit Union also provides members with the $5 opening deposit for its high-rate savings account.
However, there are requirements in order to be eligible, such as being an employee or member of select organizations; having a family member who is also a member of the credit union; living or working in a qualifying community near the credit union’s Chicago headquarters; or supporting their partnership organization.
- Same-day deposits are available upon loan approval.
- If you choose to have an online savings account with Alliant Credit Union, you can also earn about a 2.00% APR on your money in that account, with an average minimum balance of $100.
- The credit union does offer a debt protection program for an additional fee in the event that something happens to you before you pay off your loan.
- If you don’t choose the automatic payment option from an Alliant account, your loan rate will be 0.4% higher.
- The maximum loan term the credit union offers is five years, so if you’re looking for something more long-term, it might not be the best choice for you.
Alliant Credit Union is user-friendly and upfront about its personal loan process. It’s a great option especially if you’re looking for a credit union that also offers a competitive savings account that could help you pay off your loan faster.
Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU)
Digital Federal Credit Union, commonly known as DCU, is the largest credit union in New England and is among the top 20 credit unions in the country. It offers a wide range of services from banking to credit cards to real estate to loans. One of DCU’s mottos is “People Come First,” with services that try to reflect that vision.
DCU’s APR for a personal loan is advertised as low as 9.00%, which does reflect an included 0.50% discount with electronic payment and qualification for Plus or Relationships benefits with a DCU checking account.
DCU’s free checking account does not require a minimum balance or monthly fee, but if you want to earn interest on your account balance, you’ll have to bump up to the dividend account, which charges a $10 monthly fee.
The maximum loan term is up to 60 months for a personal loan and you can borrow up to $100,000 for your loan, but the exact amount will depend on what you qualify for.
- You can apply for a loan online 24/7
- There is a grace period of 15 days within the loan payment due date
- If you have a one-time situation where you can’t make your loan payment, DCU offers a “Skip a Payment” option that lets you skip a loan payment without affecting your credit score. You’ll have to fill out a form and pay a $25 fee in order to skip a payment, however.
- Compared to some financial institutions, DCU’s APR is rather high at 9.00%.
- DCU does not list a minimum credit score needed to qualify for a loan, so there is no way to know for sure if you qualify or for what terms.
Despite a rather high minimum APR, it is fixed and DCU does offer unique services, such as its Skip-a-Payment option. DCU’s mission is focused on people coming first, and sometimes people do need to miss a loan payment without it ruining their credit, so that’s a refreshing outlook.
First Technology Federal Credit Union
You can use a First Tech Federal Credit Union for a wide variety of reasons, including consolidating debt, paying medical debt or even indulging in your favorite hobby. As a credit union, First Tech primarily serves employees and family members of leading technology companies.
The exact APR that you will have with your personal loan depends on the loan amount as well as the loan term. The lower the loan amount, the lower the APR. For example, if you choose a 24-month loan term, with a minimum loan amount of $500 and a maximum of $35,000, your APR will only be 9.25%. However, if you choose the maximum loan amount of $50,000 and a term of 24 to 84 months, your APR will be as low as 14.75%.
You will need to be an employee or a family member of qualifying technology companies in order to be eligible to become a credit union member, live in Lane County, Oregon or become a member of the Financial Fitness Association or Computer History Museum.
- No prepayment, origination, application or annual fees
- Receive a loan decision within 24 hours
- APRs start at 9.25% and may rise depending on how much you borrow
- $25 late payment fee
First Tech Federal Credit Union offers a longer term than many credit unions, 24 to 84 months, which is a good option if you’re looking to spread out your loan over more time. It also offers the benefit of smaller loan options at a minimum of $500 or larger loans up to $50,000.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2019!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.
†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com
**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.
|5.75% – 16.24%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|7.46% – 35.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|7.99% – 35.89%*||$1,000 - $50,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%2||$5,000 - $35,000|
|5.99% – 29.99%3||$7,500 - $40,000|
|6.79% – 20.89%4||$5,000 - $50,000|
|9.99% – 35.99%5||$2,000 - $25,000|
|6.95% – 35.89%6||$1,000 - $40,000|
|6.99% – 18.24%7||$5,000 - $75,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000|