DCU Personal Loans Review: Enjoy a Skip-a-Payment Option

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You might think that the Massachusetts-based Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) is only an option for customers in that region. But DCU serves more than 700,000 customers across all 50 states.

DCU offers various products, including credit union personal loans. Find out in this DCU personal loans review what the one-stop shop has to offer and if it’s the right lender for you.

DCU personal loans review

DCU has many offerings, including bank accounts, credit cards, insurance plans, and loans for anything from your education to your home.

For its unsecured personal loan, DCU features repayment terms of up to 60 months and competitive fixed interest rates (more on that below). The credit union also offers a 0.50% rate discount for making your monthly payment from a DCU checking account.

Other pros of the product include:

  • No application, origination, or prepayment fees
  • Option of applying with a co-borrower

On the personal loan front, DCU has three options to consider beyond its traditional personal loan, which can be borrowed for any purpose. The options include:

  • Credit Builder: To improve your credit and build an emergency fund, you could borrow between $500 and $3,000 and repay it over 12 or 24 months. The borrowing amount would be deposited into a savings account, and you wouldn’t be able to access it until you’ve paid it off.
  • Debt Consolidation: Consolidate your credit card debt or other debt into one new loan, and repay it over a maximum term of five years.
  • Savings-Secured: Borrow against your existing DCU bank account to score the lowest possible interest rate on a personal loan. You could select a repayment term of up to 10 years. Unlike the unsecured personal loan options above, you put your savings at risk of being seized if your loan repayment goes south.

Like the Savings-Secured option, DCU offers other secured loan products where you put up collateral to guarantee lower interest rates.

For example, you could borrow from the equity you have in your car (via an auto loan) or your home (via a mortgage loan or home equity loan). The downside with these DCU products — and secured personal loans in general — is that you could lose your property if you default during repayment.

An important note: You have to become a member of the credit union to receive a loan. But if you don’t live near a branch, you could apply for a personal loan online or over the phone 24 hours a day. You might even receive an approval while you’re on the line.

DCU also offers a host of loan calculators to help you figure out how much you should borrow and how long it’ll take to repay.

Applying for DCU personal loans

You could apply for a personal loan before or after joining DCU, but the credit union won’t fund the loan until you become a member, according to a customer service representative that I chatted with online.

The online loan application includes three easy steps:

  • Request your loan: Input your borrowing purpose, loan amount, and repayment term.
  • Provide personal information: Enter your gross monthly income, occupation, and other financial information.
  • Review and submit: You agree to allow DCU to pull your credit report to determine your eligibility for a loan.

Like with other lenders, DCU determines your borrowing amount, interest rate, and repayment term options based on your credit score. The better your credit, the more options at your disposal.

Aside from being creditworthy, you’re also required to have a Social Security number and prove your income to be eligible for a personal loan, according to the customer service representative.

How to join and use DCU’s online platform

To join DCU, you can open a new DCU account online. If you’re a new user, you’ll be required to open a primary savings account. You could also choose to open other types of bank accounts at this stage.

You’ll then provide personal information and prove your eligibility. Finally, you’ll fund your account with a minimum $5 deposit and pay your membership fee with a debit or credit card. Membership fees vary depending on your association with DCU.

how to join dcu

Image credit: DCU

Within seven days of joining DCU, you’ll receive your personal identification number (PIN) in the mail. Within two weeks, you’ll receive your ATM or debit card, depending on your initial account selection. The PIN will come in handy when you log into your account online.

There’s also this helpful YouTube video below for logging into DCU via your smartphone or tablet. DCU has iPhone and Android applications.

DCU personal loans review: Interest rates and fees

As of May 4, 2018, DCU advertises a 9.00% APR on its standard personal loan product. For the latest available rates, contact DCU (more information below). You can borrow between $200 and $25,000, according to the customer service representative.

Your actual rate would depend on your credit history and other factors, such as whether you enroll in autopay from a DCU checking account. Plus, DCU doesn’t charge origination and other loan fees, so the interest rate you’ll be quoted also acts as your APR.

The credit union doesn’t provide its range of rates like other lenders. SoFi, for example, advertised its rate range as between 6.26% and 14.87%.

DCU’s three other personal loan products also had fixed interest rates as of May 4, 2018:

  • Credit Builder: Starting at 5.00%.
  • Debt Consolidation: Starting at 9.00%.
  • Savings-Secured: Starting at 3.50%.

If you’re worried about late payment fees, consider that DCU gives you the ability to skip a monthly payment for a $25 processing fee.

You might find lower interest rates from top personal loan companies. When you’re shopping around, make sure to compare offers based on APR. Other lenders charge fees that increase their effective interest rates, or APRs.

If you prefer borrowing from a credit union for more personable service, DCU is an option. It would also allow you to do all your banking and borrowing in one place.

DCU personal loans eligibility requirements

DCU doesn’t provide the minimum credit score or income you need to qualify for its personal loans. The credit union does make it clear that you must be a member to borrow.

You could be eligible to join DCU in one of four ways:

DCU personal loans customer service

Here’s some customer feedback we found during our DCU personal loans review research.

The reviews tab on DCU’s personal loan page shows that 100-plus customers recommend the product, giving it about a 4 out of 5 score. Customers tend to offer mixed reviews of DCU’s service on other websites such as WalletHub.

The credit union provides email, phone and live online support for customers. You could even mail or fax documents to DCU’s hub. Customer service operates from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Saturdays.

You could also learn about the lender via its Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Note: Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to Digital Federal Credit Union personal loans. Digital Federal Credit Union has neither provided nor reviewed the information shared in this article.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 6.990% APR to 14.865% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.255% APR to 12.555% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, 2018 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. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.255% APR assumes current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 4.425% 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.

    To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.See Consumer Licenses.
  2. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  3. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  4. 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 Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 4.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 4.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan of $15,000 with a term of 24 months, and qualify for at least two of the following discounts: (1) add a co-borrower who has sufficient income; (2) use at least fifty percent of the loan proceeds to directly pay off existing debt; or (3) show proof of having at least forty-thousand dollars in retirement savings – contact FreedomPlus for further details.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), 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 us 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, our 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 Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan 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. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

  • Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 15.49% APR to a high of 34.49% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

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 6.16% to 35.89%. 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 time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% and the average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. 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 or longer.


7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Earnest does not lend in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island.

8 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

* 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

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** 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.

7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
6.26% – 14.87%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
6.99% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%2$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
4.99% – 29.99%3$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%4$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%5$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
6.16% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
6.99% – 18.24%7$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%8$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.