5 Best Personal Loans for Veterans and Active-Duty Military

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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.

From consolidating credit card debt to financing a cross-country move, you might be wondering if personal loans for veterans or military members could help you reach your financial goals.

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.

Lender Best for
USAA
Strong military service member benefits
Citizens Bank
Low rates with no origination fees
LendingClub
Affordable peer-to-peer loans
Avant
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

Visit USAA

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%

Visit Citizens Bank

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 6.16% and 35.89%

  • An origination fee of 1% to 6%

Visit LendingClub

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 personal loans through Avant. 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 loans through Avant:

  • 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 up to 4.75%

Visit Avant

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.
Visit Navy Federal Credit Union

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!
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
5.99% – 24.99%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.