Review: Everything You Need to Know About PenFed Credit Union Personal Loans

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

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.

PenFed Credit Union personal loan

There are many personal loan companies out there to help you pay for a dream vacation or consolidate high-interest credit card debt. But if you’re a U.S. military member or government employee, or you’re the family member of one or belong to certain other organizations, you could have another source for funding: Pentagon Federal Credit Union, a financial institution that’s also known as PenFed Credit Union.

Members can get a PenFed Credit Union personal loan for up to $25,000. Unlike a traditional bank, which is run by its shareholders, a credit union is owned by its members. So, the personal loan application process can be individualized.

Here’s everything you should know if you’re interested in borrowing a loan through PenFed Credit Union.

PenFed Credit Union personal loan

In addition to getting discounts on everything from insurance to rental cars, PenFed Credit Union members can quickly get approved for a personal loan. But there are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros of a PenFed Credit Union personal loan

Getting approved for a loan as soon as tomorrow is one major plus of a PenFed Credit Union personal loan. Here are some more:

  • Low interest rates: APRs start as low as 6.49%; that’s better than with lenders such as Discover, which has rates starting at 6.99%. However, these rates are current as of May 1, 2018. Be sure to double-check rates with PenFed Credit Union and, if you’re considering the lender, Discover.

  • No origination fee: While other loans can have origination fees ranging from 1% to 6% or more, PenFed Credit Union charges nothing. That means more money in your bank account.

  • Easy online application process: Being a member of PenFed Credit Union means you already have a lot of your personal information on file. That could help make the personal loan application process faster.

  • Credit card debt consolidation: The average APR of a credit card was 16.15% in November 2017, according to CreditCards.com. With an APR as low as 6.49%, you could consolidate your high-interest credit card debt into a lower monthly payment and pay less over time.

  • Online calculator: You can use PenFed Credit Union’s loan calculator before applying to get an estimate of your monthly payments.

Cons of a PenFed Credit Union personal loan

There are a lot of upsides to a PenFed Credit Union personal loan. But there are some downsides as well:

  • You have to be a member: Personal loans are only available to members of the credit union.

  • Your interest rate could be high: While PenFed Credit Union advertises its loan interest rates, your personal quote is based on your application and credit information. This means you could have a much higher APR. The maximum loan rate is not clearly stated.

PenFed Credit Union personal loan products

Although you can use a personal loan to cover pretty much any expense, PenFed Credit Union highlights a few.

  • Home improvements: Whether it’s an unexpected repair or you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, you can use a PenFed Credit Union personal loan to fund your next home project. Doing so could add value to your home.

  • Car expenses: You can borrow money to make repairs to your vehicle.

  • Vacation: Travel can be pricey if you have to pay for it all upfront. You can use a personal loan to cover the costs now and make payments later. Just remember: You’ll pay interest on the money you borrow. In most cases, it’s better to save up for a vacation than finance it.

If you need to take out a loan to cover college costs, don’t use a personal loan. Instead, research federal and private student loan lenders. If you’ve already taken out student loans, PenFed Credit Union does have a student loan refinancing option.

Using the PenFed Credit Union online system

It’s easy to start the application process as a PenFed Credit Union member; a lot of your personal information is on file. If you’re not a member, you’ll be given the option to become one when you click on the “Apply Now” button on the main personal loan page.

PenFed personal loan application

Image credit: PenFed Credit Union

It’s unclear exactly what the next steps are in the application process since I can’t view it as a nonmember. But most personal loan rates and terms are based on details such as your credit score and history, income, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and loan amount.

PenFed Credit Union personal loan interest rates and fees

PenFed Credit Union personal loan rates are as low as 6.49%. If you took out a $15,000 loan at that rate, you’d pay $459.67 a month over a 36-month term. With a 48-month term, you’d pay $355.66. On a 60-month term, your payment would be $293.42.

The credit union also boasts about not having an origination fee. If you borrowed $10,000, for example, you’d get the full amount in your bank account. With another lender such as Best Egg, you’d have an origination fee of 0.99% to 5.99%. That means you’d only take home $9,401 to $9,901 of your loan amount.

Other loan fees aren’t listed on the PenFed Credit Union website. But the lender claims that it doesn’t have hidden fees.

PenFed Credit Union personal loan eligibility requirements

The PenFed Credit Union website says that you must be a member to apply for a personal loan. Other requirements aren’t made clear. But be prepared to provide information on the following:

  • Credit score

  • Income

  • DTI ratio

  • Loan amount and term

The benefit of using a credit union to take out a personal loan is that the lender might be more lenient when it comes to any negative marks on your credit history.

PenFed Credit Union personal loan customer service

There are several ways you can reach PenFed Credit Union for your personal loan questions.

You can send an email to info@hq.penfed.org. Or you could call the credit union at 800-247-5626 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m ET Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m ET on Saturday, or 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m ET on Sunday.

Note: Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to PenFed Credit Union personal loans. PenFed 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!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.950% APR to 14.740% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.825% APR to 14.365% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of May 18, 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 5.825% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.90% plus 4.175% 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. 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 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.99% – 16.24% (4.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms. 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 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.

* 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 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.83% - 14.74%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.96% - 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% - 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
4.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% - 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% - 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% - 35.99%$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.