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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Auto Loan Review

Updated on:
Content was accurate at the time of publication.

Navy Federal Credit Union logo #1New auto loansUsed auto loansRefinance auto loans
Starting annual percentage rate (APR)4.54%5.44%4.54%
Loan termsUp to 96 monthsUp to 72 monthsUp to 96 months
Loan amountsNot disclosedNot disclosedMinimum of $5,000
See Auto Loan RatesSee Auto Loan RatesSee Refinance Rates

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) has come a long way since its inception. In 1933, seven Navy Department employees banded together to form the credit union. Today, NFCU has more than 28 million members, making it the largest credit union in the United States.

NFCU restricts its membership to active-duty military, veterans, Department of Defense (DoD) employees and their family members. If you fall under that umbrella and are willing to join a credit union, here’s what you should know:

  • Low minimum APRs: Navy Federal auto loan rates are competitive. If you’re active duty or retired, you can save even more through an APR discount.
  • Long loan terms: You could opt for a 96-month loan term if you’re purchasing or refinancing a car.
  • Unique member benefits: Navy Federal Credit Union members gain exclusive access to discounts on insurance, rental cars and more.
  • Easy application process: There’s no need to head to a branch to apply for an auto loan. Instead, you can get it done in just a few minutes using Navy Fed’s website or mobile app.
  • Best for military members and families: From auto loans to personal loans to banking and investing, Navy Federal might help you meet your financial goals. That is, if you’re eligible to join.

Every lender — even one as popular as NFCU — has drawbacks as well as benefits. Take a look at the big picture before committing.

ProsCons

 Co-borrowers allowed

 Unique member benefits

 APR discounts for active-duty and retired military

 Must have military affiliation

 Does not disclose minimum credit score requirements

 Maximum loan amounts not specified

Low average rates are just the tip of the iceberg at Navy Federal. Members save on Liberty Mutual® insurance, Sirius XM® radio, Enterprise Rent-A-Car® and other products and services.

You can get a preapproved car loan from NFCU online, and get a decision within minutes. Before you apply, however, you’ll need to make sure you meet its membership requirements. Those in the following groups are eligible:

  • Active-duty and retired military members
  • Veterans
  • Immediate family members of NFCU members (parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, children and grandchildren)
  • Household members of NFCU members
  • DoD civilians

You must also open a Membership Savings Account with a $5 minimum deposit to maintain membership.

You can get a Navy Federal car loan whether you’re buying from a dealership or a private-party seller. Auto loan refinancing is also available, unless your car loan is already with NFCU. If you borrow from Navy Federal, you could take advantage of:

Flexible loan options

Navy Federal Credit Union offers flexible loan terms and amounts. Borrowers can get 100% financing and choose a repayment term as long as 96 months (eight years).

Just beware that both of these options make borrowing more expensive in the long run. The more money you borrow and the longer you take to pay it back, the more interest you’ll pay overall. Plus, if you finance your entire purchase, you risk being upside down on your auto loan.

The lowest Navy Federal auto loan rates are reserved for shorter-term payment periods. For example, the starting APR for a new car with a 36-month term is 4.54%. That figure jumps to 8.09% if you choose a loan repayment term of 85 months or more.

Military discounts

For members of the military, an NFCU auto loan can be a great deal. That’s because Navy Federal offers several discount programs based on military affiliation. Here’s an overview:

  • Loan discounts for active-duty and retired military: Qualified applicants can get a 0.25% APR discount when they apply in person or by phone, and set up direct deposit.
  • Senior Enlisted Reward Program: NFCU offers a 1% rate discount exclusively for Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves E-7 through E-9. Note that it can’t be combined with other discounts.

Car-buying service

Finding the right car in addition to the right loan can be a challenge, so Navy Federal partners with a car-buying service. TrueCar helps you filter and search for the right car, then connects you with dealerships that have that vehicle.

Navy Federal provides membership pricing, so you have less pressure to negotiate. If you don’t choose a Navy Federal auto loan, many other businesses also offer similar car-buying services, including American Express and PenFed.

Other membership benefits

Low APRs and rate discounts aren’t the only reasons to join NFCU. Members get additional benefits that can be useful when buying a car. This includes free FICO scores (but only if you also have a Navy Federal credit card).

Navy Federal auto loans also come with a free CARFAX report on used vehicles. Once you have your eye on a used car, you can order your CARFAX report to see its ownership, accident and service history.

You must join NFCU before you can take out a loan. If you aren’t already a member, your first step is to open a Membership Savings Account with a minimum deposit of $5.

After you join, you can complete an auto loan application with Navy Federal Credit Union in just a few minutes. Apply online, over the phone at 1-888-842-6328 or at a branch. NFCU has branches in 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as overseas. Here’s an overview of how to get a loan with Navy Federal Credit Union:

  1. Sign in. Log into your NFCU account either online or through the mobile app.
  2. Answer a few questions. Be prepared to provide the following information for yourself and your co-applicant, if you have one:
    • Phone number and email address
    • Housing, employment and income details
    • How much you expect to borrow
    • Length (term) of the loan you want
    • Information about the car you plan to buy (if you know)
  3. Keep an eye out for communication. If NFCU needs more information to make a loan decision, you’ll receive a follow-up email or text.
  4. Receive the check. If you’re approved, you’ll receive a check at your home address or you can pick it up at a local branch.
  5. Complete the paperwork. You’ll need to sign a small stack of forms with the dealer or private seller to officially buy the car and start the loan.

Once your loan is finalized, your first payment will be due within 30 to 60 days.

Navy Federal isn’t the only bank or credit union car loan that caters to the military. Be sure to shop around and compare offers. Comparing may be the best way to find an auto loan with the features you need at an APR you can afford.

Please note that the table below illustrates rates and terms for new vehicle loans.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
Navy Federal Credit UnionUSAAPenFed Credit Union
Starting APR4.54%5.99% with autopay5.44%
Loan termsUp to 96 months12 to 84 months36 to 84 months
Loan amountsNot disclosed$5,000 and upUp to $150,000
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosedNot disclosedNot disclosed

At PenFed, you can borrow up to 125% of your vehicle’s value to cover taxes, registration fees and other related expenses. And while USAA is a bank, it provides a host of membership benefits similar to a credit union, including discounts on car care and travel.

Navy Federal auto loans could be great for borrowers who are already members or borrowers that are eligible (and willing) to join. Depending on your military status, you could save up to 1.00% on your APR through the lender’s discount programs.

However, in the same way you wouldn’t buy the first car you test drive, you shouldn’t take out the first loan you prequalify for. Check out Navy Federal auto loan rates, but continue to shop around to find the loan that best aligns with your goals.

Navy Fed doesn’t publicly disclose its minimum credit score requirements. Credit unions do sometimes have higher credit requirements than online lenders, though. Although you might not qualify if you have rocky credit, you can add a creditworthy co-borrower to boost your odds of approval.

Every car buyer (or refinancer) has different needs. Some want to pay the least amount of interest. For others, a low monthly payment may be just as important as customer service. If cost is your main concern, however, Navy Fed’s auto loan rates tend to be competitive.

Navy Fed’s auto loan preapprovals are valid for 90 days from the day you applied.