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2022 Navy Federal Credit Union Auto Loan Review

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Navy Federal Credit Union auto loans at a glance

New auto loansUsed auto loansRefinance auto loans
Starting rates4.54%4.54%4.54%
Loan terms36-96 months36-96 months36-96 months
Loan amountsNot disclosedNot disclosedMinimum of $5,000

There’s a reason Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) is by far the largest credit union in the U.S. by assets. It offers some of the most competitive loan rates on the market, features discounts for military members and provides membership benefits like free credit alerts. You don’t have to be in the military to join, though you will need a military connection.

Here’s what you could receive from a Navy Federal auto loan:

  • Military rate discounts: Active-duty, senior enlisted members (E-7 through E-9) can receive a 1% APR discount. All active-duty and retired military members can receive a 0.25% APR discount.
  • Long payment terms: You can choose an auto loan repayment term of up to 85 to 96 months if you borrow a minimum of $30,000.
  • Loans for private purchases: Financing can be used to buy vehicles from both dealerships or private parties.
  • Some details aren’t disclosed: Navy Federal doesn’t disclose some details upfront, including credit score requirements, minimum loan amounts or maximum APRs.
  • Best for military members and families: Navy Federal is a good choice for anyone, but members of the military can receive special discounts.

Navy Federal Credit Union offers many auto loan perks, but you’ll first need to qualify for membership.

ProsCons

 Low starting APR

 Preapproval is good for 90 days

 Discounts available for active and retired military members

 Membership is required

 Maximum APR not disclosed

 Credit requirement is not disclosed

NFCU auto loans have low starting APRs, and members of the military may be able to get even better deals. Plus, loan preapproval is available within seconds.

The biggest drawback, however, is that NFCU requires you to be a member in order to apply, and membership is limited to people with military affiliations. Consumers in the following groups are eligible:

 Active duty, retired service members and veterans

 Immediate family members of NFCU members (parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, children and grandchildren)

 Household members of NFCU members

 Department of Defense civilians

In order to become a member and maintain membership, you’ll be required to open up a Membership Savings Account and keep a $5 minimum balance.

A closer look at Navy Federal auto loans

Navy Federal car loans are available for new and used cars bought from a dealership or a private seller. Refinancing is also available, as long as you aren’t refinancing an NFCU auto loan.

The credit union doesn’t charge a loan application fee, and you can receive a decision within minutes of submitting your application online.

Some other features to note:

  • Loan preapproval is good for 90 days
  • Your payment due date can’t be changed
  • Co-applicants are allowed
  • Member services are available over the phone 24/7

Flexible loan options

Navy Federal Credit Union offers very 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 be charged 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 36-month loan is 3.7%, but that figure jumps to 7.84% 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 on an auto loan 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.

While this limits you to purchasing through dealers, it provides membership pricing so you have less pressure to negotiate. If you ultimately don’t get a Navy Federal auto loan, many other businesses also offer this exact service, including Costco, American Express and AARP.

Additional member 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, including:

  • Free CARFAX vehicle history report on the car you want to buy
  • Discounts on car insurance through Liberty Mutual®
  • Discounts through other NFCU partners, like SiriusXM® and Enterprise Rent-A-Car®
  • Free monthly Vantage credit score, TransUnion® credit report and credit alerts
  • A car-buying service to help members of the military purchase vehicles while stationed overseas

How to get a loan with Navy Federal

You can complete an auto loan application with Navy Federal Credit Union in just a few minutes. Applications are accepted online, over the phone at 1-888-842-6328 or at bank branches. NFCU branches are located in 30 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and abroad. Here’s an overview of the process:

  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

    If you already know which car you plan to buy, NFCU will ask for certain details about the car as well.

  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.

How Navy Federal auto loans compare

If you’re looking for reputable credit unions that cater to the military, you have several other options to choose from, including USAA. PenFed also offers special incentives for military members, but unlike NFCU and USAA Bank, anyone can join.

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 FederalUSAAPenFed
APR4.54% and up4.94%* and up5.24% and up
Terms36-96 months12-84 months36-84 months
AmountNot disclosed$5,000 and up$500-$150,000
Min. Credit ScoreNot disclosedNot disclosedNot disclosed

* Rate includes an autopay discount

Is a Navy Federal loan right for you?

Navy Federal auto loans are great for service members and veterans, since NFCU offers special military discounts. If you don’t have a military affiliation, you’ll need to look elsewhere for an auto loan.

If you are a member of the credit union or you qualify for membership, you should consider NFCU when you shop around for an auto loan. NFCU offers preapproval, so you can get a rate quote and then check to see if any other lender will beat NFCU’s low rates and various perks.

Frequently asked questions

NFCU doesn’t specify the credit score you’ll need to qualify, but Navy Federal car loan rates are lowest for borrowers with high credit scores.

According to Navy Federal, you can have a loan decision within minutes of submitting a complete auto loan application.

You can join Navy Federal Credit Union if you — or a member of your family or household — is a service member or a veteran.

 

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