Most Americans face financial challenges as they go through life, but if you’re a veteran or active-duty member of the armed forces, your service entitles you to special resources that could prove to be a big help.
Taking on debt is a big decision that requires careful consideration by veteran and military families. With that in mind, here are the loan options that are a great fit for current and former military personnel.
Best personal loans for veterans and military members
When comparing personal loans for veterans and military personnel, it can be hard to know where to turn first. To give you a head start, we researched options — from military lenders to traditional banks — to find those that meet a variety of needs.
Here are the best military personal loans of 2018.
Strong military service member benefits
Low rates with no origination fees
Affordable peer-to-peer loans
Low credit score requirement
|Navy Federal Credit Union||
Both secured and unsecured loans with longer repayment terms
USAA: Best active-military benefits for personal loans
Many military veterans and service members already bank with USAA, which could make it a great choice for personal loans.
It doesn’t offer the lowest rates out there, but it does allow borrowers to request a range of loan amounts and terms. And while many lenders will increase rates for longer terms, USAA personal loans carry the same base annual percentage rate (APR) on personal loan terms of one to six years.
If you take out a USAA personal loan and then enter active duty, the lender offers an upgraded Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) benefit. Most lenders will lower active-duty servicemembers’ rates to 6.00%. But USAA borrowers who qualify for the SCRA benefit get a 4.00% rate instead.
Here are some additional details for USAA personal loans:
Loan amounts of $2,500 to $20,000 or more
Repayment terms of 12 to 84 months
Personal loan rates starting at 8.99% APR, as of June 8, 2018
- Lower 4.00% rate for borrowers who qualify for the SCRA benefit
No origination or application fees
Citizens Bank: Low-cost personal loans
If you want to get a low-cost personal loan, consider Citizens Bank. It charges no application, origination, or prepayment fees on its personal loans.
Citizens Bank personal loan rates are already some of the most competitive. On top of that, Citizens Bank provides interest rate discounts. You can get your APR lowered by 0.25% if you have an existing account with the bank or enroll in autopay. You could get a 0.50% discount for doing both.
Here’s what else you should know about Citizens Bank loans:
Loan amounts of $5,000 to $50,000
Repayment terms of 36 to 84 months
Personal loan rates of 5.99% to 18.99%
LendingClub: Flexible personal loans for military members
When it comes to flexibility, LendingClub has a few options that can make it a smart choice. This peer-to-peer lending platform will accept loan applicants with FICO scores as low as 600.
Even better is how the lender spells out benefits it offers to military service members and their families. LendingClub personal loans follow all guidelines set by the Military Lending Act.
LendingClub sets a maximum 6.00% rate for military personnel who meet SCRA requirements. Here are some other highlights of LendingClub’s loans:
Loan amounts from $1,000 to $40,000
Repayment terms of 36 or 60 months
Personal loan rates between 5.99% and 35.89%
An origination fee of 1% to 6%
Avant: Apply for a loan with imperfect credit
Avant doesn’t offer the cheapest personal loans for veterans or military members. But if you’re worried about getting denied for a personal loan, consider starting with Avant. The lender considers applicants with credit scores as low as 580, which means that you could get a loan with less-than-perfect credit.
You also don’t have to guess whether you could qualify for an Avant personal loan. Avant can use a soft credit check to give you a preview of your loan options. A soft check won’t affect your credit score.
Avant also offers SCRA loan benefits to active-duty military members.
Here are some additional details about Avant’s loans:
Loan amounts from $2,000 to $35,000
Repayment terms of 24 to 60 months
Personal loan rates between 9.95% and 35.99%
Administration fee of 1.5% to 4.75%
Navy Federal Credit Union: Secured or unsecured loans
While most personal loans are unsecured, Navy Federal Credit Union also offers secured loans guaranteed by a borrower’s asset. These secured loans are easy to qualify for, even with poorer credit.
Navy Federal Credit Union offers low rates on its savings-secured loan. Rates start at 2.25% APR as of June 8, 2018. The credit union offers unsecured loans, too.
The credit union’s loan terms are some of the longest available. That could help you nab more affordable monthly payments. Here are some additional details of Navy Federal Credit Union’s personal loans:
- Loan amounts of up to $50,000
- Repayment terms of up to 180 months
- Personal loan rates of 7.99% to 18.00% APR on unsecured loans, or the deposit rate plus 2.00% for secured loans, as of June 8, 2018. For the latest rates, click here.
Choosing the best military personal loan for you
If you’re considering a personal loan for veterans or service members, you must keep in mind how borrowing will affect your finances both now and in the future.
Here are some key factors to look at when choosing a personal loan.
Creditworthiness: Some lenders will offer personal loans for those with weaker credit scores. Others only provide financing to applicants with excellent credit. If you know your FICO score, you can identify lenders that are a good match and more likely to approve you.
Loan terms: Figure out how much you want to borrow and calculate your personal loan payments to ensure you can afford that amount. Choose a loan term that balances getting out of debt fast with keeping monthly payments affordable.
Military benefits: Ask if the lender offers specific benefits on personal loans for veterans and military members. It should be able to tell you if it has SCRA rate discounts or other help for military personnel.
Interest rates and fees: Lastly, consider what you’ll pay to borrow from each lender. Request and compare personal loan rates from lenders that will provide one using a soft credit check. Watch for other costs such as origination fees.
Not every lender will be perfect for every applicant. A USAA loan might make the most sense for an active-duty service member, for example. Citizens Bank might offer the best deal on a personal loan for a veteran with great credit.
The best way to know whether a lender is a good fit is to compare personal loan options. By doing so, you can find a solution that matches your needs and lifestyle as a military member or veteran.
Note: Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to personal loans. None of the financial institutions mentioned have provided or reviewed the information shared in this article.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Rates (APR)||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
|7.73% – 29.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|6.15% – 15.37%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|6.87% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $50,000||Visit Upgrade|
|8.00% – 25.00%||$5,000 - $35,000|
|4.99% – 29.99%||$10,000 - $35,000||Visit FreedomPlus|
|5.99% – 18.99%2||$5,000 - $50,000||Visit Citizens|
|15.49% – 34.49%||$2,000 - $25,000||Visit LendingPoint|
|5.99% – 35.89%||$1,000 - $40,000||Visit LendingClub|
|5.49% – 18.24%||$5,000 - $75,000||Visit Earnest|
|9.95% – 35.99%||$2,000 - $35,000||Visit Avant|