2023 Navy Federal Personal Loan Review
Personal loan rating: 4.5/5
- Accessibility: 3.8/5
- Rates and terms: 4.8/5
- Repayment experience: 5.0/5
Personal loan details
- APR range: 8.99% – 18.00%
- Loan terms: Up to 180 months
- Loan amount: $250 to $50,000
- Minimum credit score: Not specified
Seven U.S. Navy employees formed Navy Federal Credit Union during the Great Depression. This credit union offers a variety of financial products, including personal loans.
- Must have military affiliation: Navy Federal’s personal loan products are exclusive to those with connections to the military. This includes anyone who has previously or currently serves in the military, plus their families and household members.
- Quick funding: Navy Federal can provide your funds the same day you close on your loan agreement.
- Low APRs: Credit union personal loans have a maximum annual percentage rate (APR) cap of 18.00%; in contrast, banks and online lenders typically have APRs up to 36.00%.
- Long repayment terms: For home improvement loans, Navy Federal offers repayment terms as long as 180 months. Loans for other purposes go up to 60 months.
- Co-applications available: If you have a low credit score, then you may want to consider applying for a Navy Federal loan with a second person. Getting a personal loan with a cosigner can help you secure lower APRs. The other person is equally responsible for making sure the loan gets repaid.
- Best for small loan amounts: At $250, Navy Federal offers one of the smallest loan amounts on the market, compared to the minimum $1,000 to $2,000 that other lenders often provide.
Navy Federal pros and cons
While there aren’t many downsides to taking out a Navy Federal personal loan, they’re still worth considering before you apply.
APRs are under 18.00%
Same-day funding available
Option to submit co-application
Exclusive to those with military connection
Must become a Navy Federal Credit Union member
Rates and terms depend on loan use
Since Navy Federal’s APR only goes as high as 18.00%, borrowers may receive lower rates than they would with a bank or online lender, especially if they have bad credit. Borrowers may also be eligible for same-day funding and can use a co-applicant if they don’t qualify for a loan with Navy Federal otherwise.
On the downside, getting a loan from a credit union like Navy Federal means you’ll have to become a member first. Membership is only available to those with past or current military connections.
Keep in mind your rates and terms are limited, depending on why you’d need the money.
|Navy Federal loan type||APR||Loan terms||Loan amounts|
|Personal expense loan||8.99%-18.00%||Up to 180 months||$250 to $50,000|
|Debt consolidation||7.49%-18.00%||Up to 60 months||$250 to $50,000|
|Home improvement||8.99%-18.00%||Up to 180 months||$25,000 or $30,000 minimum (depends on terms)|
Navy Federal requirements
To get a loan, Navy Federal requires that you become a member first. This credit union lender is specific when it comes to who qualifies for membership.
|Minimum credit score||Not specified|
|Military member requirements|| |
|Military member family requirements|| |
|Other requirements|| |
While Navy Federal does allow borrowers to use its funding for a variety of purposes, there are certain expenses you cannot put the money toward.
|Navy Federal loans CAN be used for…||Navy Federal loans CANNOT be used for…|
Home improvement projects
If Navy Federal’s loan options won’t work for your borrowing needs, be sure to shop around for a lender that helps you meet your financial goals and can offer you the best-fitting rates, terms and amounts.
How to get a loan with Navy Federal
Since you have to be a Navy Federal member to get a loan, this lender’s application process is slightly more involved.
Apply for membership
To become a member of Navy Federal, you’ll need to specify your military connection. If you are a current or former service member, you’ll need to divulge the branch you served in, your rank and when you served.
You’ll also need to provide your personal information, including your Social Security number, citizenship status and whether someone referred you to Navy Federal.
Fill out an application
Once you’re approved to become a member, you’ll be eligible to apply for a personal loan. During this process, you’ll need to share and verify information such as your income, employment status and credit score.
Unfortunately, Navy Federal doesn’t provide the option to prequalify for a loan. Prequalification services allow you to see what potential rates and terms you may be eligible for without any impact to your credit score.
When you submit your application, Navy Federal will run a hard credit inquiry. This will allow Navy Federal to see your credit reports and can cause your credit score to go down temporarily by several points.
Close on loan
If Navy Federal approves you for a loan, you’ll need to sign your personal loan contract. Once you accept your loan, Navy Federal can deposit your funds that same day.
If you’re not approved for a Navy Federal personal loan, consider ways to boost your chances — things like using a co-applicant, improving your credit score and checking your credit reports for any errors.
How Navy Federal compares to other personal loan companies
Even if you believe Navy Federal aligns with what you’re looking for in a personal loan, it never hurts to shop around and compare other lenders. Here’s how Navy Federal stacks up against similar personal loan lenders.
|Lender||Navy Federal Credit Union||PenFed Credit Union||SoFi|
|LendingTree’s rating||4.5/5||4.5/5 (Read review)||4.6/5 (Read review)|
|Minimum credit score||Not specified||700||680|
|APRs||8.99% - 18.00%||8.49% - 17.99%||8.99% - 25.81% (includes autopay)|
|Loan amount||$250 to $50,000||$600 to $50,000||$5,000 to $100,000|
|Repayment term||Up to 180 months||12 to 60 months||24 to 84 months|
|Origination fee||None||None||0.00% - 6.00%|
|Funding timeline||Receive funds on the same day||Receive funds within one to two business days||Receive funds on the same day|
|Bottom line||Navy Federal Credit Union’s narrow eligibility requirements make it difficult for many consumers to qualify. However, for those who do, it offers competitive features such as low APRs, no origination fees and long terms.||PenFed Credit Union has several similar features to Navy Federal, though you don’t have to have a military connection to qualify. However, it does have a high minimum credit score and less flexible terms than Navy Federal.||SoFi charges slightly higher APRs, but it offers much more flexible loan amounts to its customers. This lender also offers unique features that Navy Federal does not, such as unemployment protection.|
How we rated Navy Federal
To determine our star rating for personal loan companies, LendingTree considered 22 data points across three categories:
- Accessibility: We paid attention to whether lenders offered loans to nontraditional borrowers, as well as those without excellent credit scores. We also checked if lenders offered soft credit pulls, and whether they were transparent about eligibility criteria other than credit scores.
- Rates and terms: We wanted to know if lender rates, terms, amounts and fees were not only transparent, but also competitive.
- Repayment experience: We based this category on lenders’ reputations, customer support availability and unique benefits.
The data points reflect every step of the process to shop and apply for, borrow and repay personal loans. A five-star lender, for instance, has flexible eligibility requirements, offers you the chance to prequalify without commitment and supports you in zeroing your balance.
The 22 data points, culled from the lenders themselves, determine the overall rating. We score lenders consistently, sometimes awarding partial points, so that you can make apples-to-apples comparisons when shopping around.
LendingTree isn’t paid for conducting these reviews, and lenders don’t have control over their content. With our reviews and ratings, we aim to give our users the objective and exhaustive information they need to make the best possible decisions.