USAA Personal Loan Review: Cash and Debt Protection When You Need It

usaa personal loan

With hundreds of lenders vying for your business, finding the right personal loan isn’t always easy.

However, if you’re a USAA member, a USAA personal loan offers decent interest rates and life-saving borrower protections during times of financial hardship.

Before you apply for a personal loan, find out if USAA is the best fit for you.

USAA personal loan review

USAA has provided financial products and services to military members and their families since 1922. Personal loans are just one of the many products the financial services group offers its members.

You can borrow as little as $2,500 with a USAA personal loan, but there’s no maximum loan amount. Repayment terms range from 12 to 84 months, making it possible to keep your monthly payment affordable.

Here are a few ways to determine if a USAA personal loan is the right choice for you:

  • You’re a USAA member. Some USAA products and services are available to the public, but the personal loans require you to be a full-fledged member. Continue reading for eligibility requirements.
  • You have high-interest credit card debt. USAA doesn’t offer the lowest interest rates, but you might qualify for a rate that’s lower than the average credit card APR of 13.61%. As of August 2017, USAA personal loan rates start at 8.99% to 10.99% APR, depending on your creditworthiness and loan term.
  • You foresee financial instability in your future. With USAA Debt Protection, you won’t need to worry about making payments if you become disabled or lose your job. This feature is an add-on product; fees will depend on your monthly payment and coverage level.

How can you use your USAA personal loan?

USAA doesn’t list any restrictions on how you can use USAA personal loans, but that doesn’t mean you should get one without a second thought.

In general, the best use for a personal loan is to pay off high-interest credit card debt. Paying for college, a car, or a vacation might not be worth it over the long run, as you might benefit from a more specialized loan and careful planning.

USAA personal loan fees and interest rates


USAA keeps its fees as low as possible. It charges no application, origination, or prepayment penalty fees.

In contrast, some lenders charge an origination fee between 1 percent and 6 percent of the loan amount. On a $5,000 loan, USAA could save you between $50 and $300.

The lender does charge a late fee of 5 percent of the payment amount. But it offers a 15-day grace period after your payment is due before the fee is assessed.

Interest rates

As of August 2017, USAA personal loan interest rates start at 8.99% or 10.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and loan term. All rates are fixed, so there’s no need to worry about your rate going up over time. Here’s what you’ll see on USAA’s website:

usaa personal loan

Image credit: USAA

If your credit is less than stellar, adding a co-signer can improve your chances of getting approved at a lower rate. Also, you can qualify for a 0.25% interest rate reduction if you sign up for automatic payments.

Requirements for USAA personal loans

To qualify for a USAA personal loan, you must be a member. Membership is open to the following groups:

  • Active, retired, and honorably separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military
  • Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS)
  • Adult children of USAA members
  • Widows, widowers, and former spouses of members who had an established USAA membership while married

USAA doesn’t have any public income or credit requirements for its personal loans. However, you must have excellent credit to qualify for the lowest rates and terms greater than 60 months.

How to apply for a USAA personal loan

You can apply for a loan online or by calling USAA at 800-531-8722. If you choose to apply online, you’ll start on the lender’s personal loans page. From there, you’ll click “Apply Now,” after which you’ll be prompted to log in with your online account credentials.

Since USAA already has your personal information on file, the application process is quick. All you’ll need to add is your current employment and income information as well as how much you want to borrow. Here’s what USAA members will see after they log in:

usaa personal loans

Image credit: USAA

Once you finish and submit the application, USAA will run a hard credit check to determine your creditworthiness. The lender also might ask for supporting documents to verify your employment and income information.

How to contact USAA

If you have any questions before or during the application process, you can call USAA at 800-531-8722. You also can send a message through USAA’s Facebook page or on Twitter.

Should you apply for a USAA personal loan?

USAA offers decent interest rates and low fees on its personal loans. You must have a military connection to join, though, which rules out a lot of people.

If you do qualify for membership, USAA’s debt protection feature can give you peace of mind in case you fall on hard times financially.

Before you apply, check out some other top personal loan companies and compare rates and features. Some lenders, such as SoFi and Earnest, allow you to get a preliminary interest rate without a hard credit check. And if your credit is excellent, you might even qualify for a lower interest rate.

In the end, it’s important to consider both the savings of a lower interest rate and a loan’s features, such as USAA Debt Protection. Thoroughly research several options to make sure you get the best personal loan for your needs.

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. 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 Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 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. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% 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 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. 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 Citizens Bank 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, Citizens Bank 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 Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. 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. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.29% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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