Best Military Personal Loans in 2024

Personal loans with low rates, flexible terms and perks for military members

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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.
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Best personal loans for military members in 2024

Written by Carol Pope | Edited by Jessica Sain-Baird and Pearly Huang | Reviewed on February 6, 2024
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.
LenderUser ratingsBest for…APR rangeLoan termsLoan amountsCredit score required
Achieve logo
(5,141)
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Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

Joint military loans8.99% - 35.99%24 to 60 months$5,000 - $50,000620See Personalized Results
Discover logo
(1,593)
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Military loans with excellent customer service7.99% - 24.99%36 to 84 months$2,500 - $40,000720See Personalized Results
LightStream logo
(280)
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Large military loans7.49% - 25.49% (with autopay)24 to 144 months$5,000 - $100,000Not specifiedSee Personalized Results
NFCU logoUser ratings coming soonMilitary loans overall8.99% - 18.00%Up to 60 months$250 - $50,000Not specifiedSee Personalized Results
PenFed logo
(14)
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Military loans with flexible repayment options7.99% - 17.99%12 to 60 months$600 - $50,000760See Personalized Results
SoFi logo
(97)
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Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

Quick military loans8.99% - 29.99% (with discounts)*24 to 84 months$5,000 - $100,000680See Personalized Results
Upstart logo
(16,406)
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Ratings and reviews are from real consumers who have used the lending partner’s services.

Bad credit military loans7.80% - 35.99%36 and 60 months$1,000 - $50,000300See Personalized Results
USAA logoUser ratings coming soonBank military loans10.19% - 18.51% (with autopay)12 to 84 months$1,000 - $100,000Not specifiedSee Personalized Results

Military personal loan lenders at a glance

Achieve logo

Achieve: Best for joint military personal loans

APR range8.99% - 35.99%
Loan amounts$5,000 - $50,000
Loan terms24 to 60 months
Origination fee1.99% - 6.99%
Minimum credit score620
ProsCons

  Multiple APR discounts

  Dedicated consultant available for help

  Same-day loan decisions

  High minimum loan amount

  Origination fee required

  Can take up to 72 hours to receive funds

Discover logo

Discover: Best for military personal loans with excellent customer service

APR range7.99% - 24.99%
Loan amounts$2,500 - $40,000
Loan terms36 to 84 months
Origination feeNone
Minimum credit score720
ProsCons

  Three repayment assistance options

  No origination fee

  Extended customer service hours

  Maximum loan size is on the smaller size

  $39 late payment fee

  No co-borrowers

LightStream logo

LightStream: Best for large military personal loans

APR range7.49% - 25.49% (with autopay)
Loan amounts$5,000 - $100,000
Loan terms24 to 144 months
Origination feeNone
Minimum credit scoreNot specified
ProsCons

  Offers loans of up to $100,000

  144-month term available for home improvement loans

  Has a satisfaction guarantee

  High minimum loan amount

  Not available to those with bad or fair credit

  No live chat

Navy Federal logo

Navy Federal Credit Union: Best military personal loans overall

APR range8.99% - 18.00%
Loan amounts$250 - $50,000
Loan termsUp to 60 months
Origination feeNone
Minimum credit scoreNot specified
ProsCons

  Small loans available

  Unique Career Kickoff Loan offers ultra-low APRs

  Extended loan terms and competitive rates

  Cannot apply online

  Doesn’t disclose minimum credit score requirements

  Cannot change payment due dates

PenFed logo

PenFed: Best for military personal loans with repayment assistance options

APR range7.99% - 17.99%
Loan amounts$600 - $50,000
Loan terms12 to 60 months
Origination feeNone
Minimum credit score760
ProsCons

  Offers emergency furlough relief assistance

  Can pay biweekly if paying with a PenFed account

  Joint loans available

  Unable to pay creditors directly

  $29 late payment fee

  Same-day funds not available

SoFi logo

SoFi: Best for quick military personal loans

APR range8.99% - 29.99% (with discounts)*
Loan amounts$5,000 - $100,000
Loan terms24 to 84 months
Origination fee0.00% - 7.00% (optional)
Minimum credit score680
ProsCons

  Likely to get same-day funds if loan offer is signed before 7pm ET on a business day

  Large loans available

  No late payment fees

  High minimum loan amount

  Must have at least good credit to qualify

  Origination fee required to unlock lowest APRs

Upstart logo

Upstart: Best for bad credit military personal loans

APR range7.80% - 35.99% with APR discounts
Loan amounts$1,000 - $50,000
Loan terms36 and 60 months
Origination fee0.00% - 12.00%
Minimum credit score300
ProsCons

  Low minimum credit score requirement

  Competitive minimum APR for excellent credit

  Flexible loan terms

  May have high origination fee

  No physical locations and cannot apply over the phone

  High maximum APR

USAA logo

USAA: Best for bank military personal loans

APR range10.19% - 18.51% (with autopay)
Loan amounts$1,000 - $100,000
Loan terms12 to 84 months
Origination feeNone
Minimum credit scoreNot specified
ProsCons

  Offers many membership perks

  Insurance, banking and investing available

  Flexible loan amounts and terms

  No same-day funds

  No prequalification

  Credit score requirements unclear

What to know about military personal loans

Whether you’re looking to consolidate debt or need cash for an unexpected expense, a personal loan can help you get back on your feet (when used responsibly). A personal loan provides funds in a lump sum that you can use for almost anything. Better yet, they typically come with lower interest rates than a standard credit card.

A military personal loan is the same thing as a standard personal loan. However, some lenders (such as Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA) specialize in serving military members. But no matter the lender you choose, there are some special rules and benefits that apply only to military members and their eligible dependents that you should be aware of.

Military Lending Act (MLA)

The Military Lending Act (MLA) helps protect service members by setting certain restrictions that apply to loans taken out during their service.

Under the MLA, loans offered to active-duty military members, their spouses and certain dependents must not:

  • Have an APR higher than 36%
  • Infringe on certain State and Federal rights, or those granted by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
  • Mandate a military allotment as a stipulation of loan approval
  • Charge prepayment penalties

The MLA applies to all installment loans, including unsecured personal loans (as well as some other financial products). This means that military members are typically not eligible for payday loans or other forms of predatory lending because of their higher-than-average APRs.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

Unlike the MLA, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) applies to loans that military members opened before they joined the armed forces.

Generally, the SCRA can help active-duty military (and, at times, their dependents) by:

  • Reducing interest rates to 6% on most loans taken out pre-service
  • Providing additional protections against default judgment on unpaid loans
  • Prohibiting a mortgage lender from foreclosing on your home without a court order
  • Limiting lenders’ ability to repossess your property
  • Allowing servicemembers to end their residential and car leases without penalty

Each of these situations have a lot of nuance, and this list is just a general guideline. For more information regarding your specific situation, you should contact a legal professional well-versed in military law.

How to apply for loans for military members and veterans

Although the process of applying for a personal loan is similar for military members and veterans, there are a few key differences.

For one, you’ll need to provide proof of service if you’re applying for a lender only open to military members. This may include providing your branch, rank and date of service.

Furthermore, some loans will not be available to you because of MLA restrictions. For instance, many no-credit-check loans come with APRs higher than 36%. That means that your pool of potential lenders may be smaller, depending on the type of loan you’re looking for.

Other than those two points, civilians and military-affiliated borrowers usually follow the same steps to apply for a personal loan.

Review your finances

Personal loans can be helpful, but it’s not a decision to jump into. Before you commit, review your monthly budget to make sure you can stick to your repayment schedule. Just one missed payment can be on your credit report for seven years, and drop your score by as much as 180 points.

Prequalify

After you’ve decided that you need (and can afford) a personal loan, it’s a good idea to prequalify for a handful of loans.

Prequalifying for a personal loan is a low-stakes way of checking your eligibility without hurting your credit score. During this process, the lender will ask for some personal details as well as basic information regarding your income and credit.

You can check your rates for up to five lenders at a time at LendingTree’s personal loan marketplace. Take a few minutes and see what you could qualify for today.

Compare offers

Prequalification is only one piece of the puzzle. To find the loan with the best terms, you must also compare your offers. Pay special attention to APRs, funding timeline and loan amounts to make sure the loan aligns with your needs.

Apply for the loan

Once you’ve chosen your best personal loan offer, you need to formally apply. This step is similar to prequalification, but the lender will ask for more in-depth information regarding your finances. You’ll also probably need to send in documentation such as a copy of your ID, pay stubs or other proof of income.

Receive your funds and enter repayment

Some lenders offer same-day loan decisions. With others, you may need to wait a day or two. After the lender approves you, it’s time to sign your loan agreement (which you may be able to do online).

The lender will also ask how you’d like to receive your funds. The options here are typically direct deposit or paper check. In the case of debt consolidation, the lender may pay your creditors directly.

Your first payment will usually be due 30 days after the lender disburses your loan. Do all that you can to make on-time payments. If you’re falling behind, call your lender immediately to see if they offer repayment assistance.

How to compare personal loans for military members and veterans

If this is your first time taking out a personal loan, it can be hard to figure out whether the offers you’ve received are competitive. The definitions below could help you make sense of things.

APRs: A loan’s APR measures the total cost of your loan, considering its interest rate and fees. The higher the APR, the more expensive the loan. You can use our personal loan calculator to see how different APRs can affect your monthly payment.

Terms: Your term is the length of time you have to pay off your loan. Choosing a term can be a balancing act. A longer loan term means lower monthly payments, but you’ll pay more interest over the life of your loan.

Loan amounts: Minimum and maximum loan amounts vary by lender, so make sure it can provide the amount of money that you need.

Funding timeline: Funding timeline is how long it will take to get your loan. In some cases, you might receive your loan the same day you apply. But some lenders can take several days or even a week to complete the process. If you need money quickly, make sure the lender can accommodate.

Military-focused products: Some lenders offer products and perks that specifically target military members. You’ll usually find these with banks and credit unions that are only open to servicemembers.

Grants for veterans and other financial assistance

The MLA and SCRA may be vital for active-duty military, but they don’t apply to veterans. For that reason, it’s especially important for veterans to ensure they aren’t taking out a loan with predatory rates and terms.

In some instances, a personal loan may not be an option. There are other places that veterans might find help, including non-profit organizations and government programs.

Are you a veteran and unsure of what benefits you may qualify for?

If you think you may be eligible for VA benefits but are having a hard time navigating the system, an appointment with your local Veteran’s Service Officer (VSO) might help. A VSO’s main duty is to help veterans maximize their benefits and minimize claim delays. Best of all, their services are free.

Operation First Response

Open to: Disabled veterans, first responders and their families

Disabled veterans and their families can get financial assistance through Operation First Response. This charity’s Family Assistance Program provides funds for groceries, utility bills, mortgage payments and other everyday items.

USA Cares

Open to: Post-911 military members and their families

USA Cares provides emergency financial assistance for military members who served after 09/11. This organization also focuses on getting veterans set up for a successful post-military life by providing career transition training.

VFW’s Unmet Needs

Open to: Active-duty servicemembers and their families

Active-duty servicemembers experiencing financial hardship due to deployment or military-related injury could qualify for a $2,500 grant through VFW’s Unmet Needs program. These funds can be used for “daily necessities,” which could include mortgage payments, child care, vehicle repairs and other expenses.

HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)

Open to: Homeless veterans and their families

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, otherwise known as HUD-VASH.

HUD-VASH helps homeless veterans and their families by providing housing assistance through a dedicated case manager.

How we chose the best military personal loans

We reviewed more than 29 lenders to determine the overall best eight personal loans. To make our list, lenders must offer personal loans with competitive annual percentage rates (APRs). From there, we prioritize lenders that cater to military members. We also based our ranking decision on the following factors:

  • Accessibility: Lenders are ranked higher if their personal loans are available to more people and require fewer conditions. This may include lower credit requirements, wider geographic availability, faster funding and easier and more transparent prequalification and application processes.
  • Rates and terms: We prioritize lenders with more competitive fixed rates, fewer fees and greater options for repayment terms, loan amounts and APR discounts.
  • Repayment experience: For starters, we consider each lender’s reputation and business practices. We also favor lenders that report to all major credit bureaus, offer reliable customer service and provide any unique perks to customers, like free wealth coaching.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. Veterans, active-duty military and their surviving spouses might qualify for a VA-backed mortgage that could come with perks not typically available to civilians. For example, VA home loans don’t require mortgage insurance, no matter your down payment amount. In fact, some VA home loans don’t require a down payment at all.

Military personal loans are the same as regular personal loans, which are open to anyone who meets a lender’s eligibility requirements. However, some lenders only service military members and veterans. Examples of these are Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA.

Regardless of your military status, the credit score needed for a personal loan varies from lender to lender. Some lenders cater to those with less-than-stellar credit while others (like SoFi) are only attainable if your score is 680 or higher.

*Pricing Disclosure:
Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 29.99% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/2024 and are subject to change without notice. The average of SoFi Personal Loans funded in 2022 was around $30K. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors. Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-7%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. Autopay: 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. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.