Best Personal Loans for Veterans, Plus Other Financial Help

Veterans can use a personal loan to cover a large unexpected expense or to consolidate debt. Other financial resources may be available to eligible veterans.

Jackie Veling
Written by
Last updated on December 14, 2023
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Best Personal Loans for Veterans, Plus Other Financial Help

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Est. APR
Loan amount
Min. credit score
Learn more
Upgrade

Upgrade

Top 3 most visited 🏆
Get rate
on Upgrade's website
on Upgrade's website
View details
Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
Rate discount

8.49-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

5.0
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
Rate discount

8.99-29.99%

$5,000-$100,000

None

Discover

Discover® Personal Loans

Get rate
on Discover's website
on Discover's website
5.0
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
Fast funding

7.99-24.99%

$2,500-$40,000

660

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

See my rates
on NerdWallet's secure website
on NerdWallet's secure website
5.0
/5
Best for Lenders that cater to veterans

7.49-18.00%

$250-$50,000

None

4.5
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
Fast funding
Flexible payments

7.80-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

None

Prosper

Prosper

4.5
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit

8.99-35.99%

$2,000-$50,000

560

Lending Club

LendingClub

4.5
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
Flexible payments

8.98-35.99%

$1,000-$40,000

600

Achieve

Achieve Personal Loans

4.5
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
Rate discount

8.99-35.99%

$5,000-$50,000

620

BestEgg

Best Egg

4.5
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
Secured loans
Wide range of loan amounts

8.99-35.99%

$2,000-$50,000

600

Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
Rate discount

6.99-25.49%

$5,000-$100,000

660

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

4.5
/5
Best for Lenders that cater to veterans

7.99-17.99%

$2,000-$50,000

700

Universal Credit

Universal Credit

4.0
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
Fast funding
Rate discount

11.69-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

4.0
/5
Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
Fast funding
Flexible payments

9.95-35.99%

$2,000-$35,000

550

USAA Personal Loan

USAA Personal Loan

4.0
/5
Best for Lenders that cater to veterans

9.34-17.74%

$1,000-$100,000

None

Our pick for

Loans for veterans with bad credit

These lenders may offer lower rates and more flexible terms for bad-credit borrowers.

Upstart
Get rate
on Upstart's website
on Upstart's website
Upstart

Upstart

4.5
Est. APR

7.80-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None

Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Est. APR

11.69-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Prosper

Prosper

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Upgrade

Upgrade

Est. APR

8.49-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560

Avant

Avant

Est. APR

9.95-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$35,000

Min. credit score

550

Our pick for

Loans for veterans with good credit

Borrowers with good credit can consider these online lenders, which don't specifically cater to veterans, but may offer the best option.

Lending Club

LendingClub

Est. APR

8.98-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600

Achieve

Achieve Personal Loans

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

620

SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan

Est. APR

8.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None

BestEgg

Best Egg

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600

Discover

Discover® Personal Loans

Est. APR

7.99-24.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$40,000

Min. credit score

660

Lightstream

LightStream

Est. APR

6.99-25.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660

Our pick for

Lenders that cater to veterans

These lenders either serve military members only or offer exclusive perks.

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

7.99-17.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

700

USAA Personal Loan

USAA Personal Loan

Est. APR

9.34-17.74%

Loan amount

$1,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

7.49-18.00%

Loan amount

$250-$50,000

Min. credit score

None

» MORE: Compare unsecured loans

How to choose the best personal loan for veterans

There are a few things to consider as you compare personal loans.

Annual percentage rate: The annual percentage rate includes the loan’s interest rate and any fees, and it’s one of the best ways to measure affordability. For example, a two-year $5,000 loan with a 15% APR would cost $818 in interest. The same loan with a 10% APR would cost $537 in interest. The lower the APR, the cheaper it is to borrow the money.

Monthly payments: Consider a personal loan only if you're certain you can afford the monthly payments for the full term. Missing loan payments can lead to costly fees and lower your credit score, so make sure there’s enough room in your budget. Use our personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payment.

Repayment term: Repayment terms on personal loans usually range from two to seven years, though longer terms are available from some lenders. If you choose a longer repayment term, you’ll have lower monthly payments, but you’ll also pay more in interest.

Funding time: Online lenders tend to fund loans faster than banks or credit unions, which can take a few days to a week to deposit the money into your account after you’re approved. Many online lenders promise next- or same-day funding.

Special perks: Lenders will offer other benefits that may appeal to you. For example, if you’re using a loan to consolidate debt, you may want to search for lenders that offer direct payment to creditors, meaning they’ll send the money to your credit card companies so you don’t have to. Other lenders may include free financial education or a free monthly credit report as part of their loan product. Some lenders may offer special perks to active duty or retired military, like a rate discount.

How to qualify for a personal loan for veterans

Qualifying for a personal loan depends on your credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio. Here are the steps to boost your chances of qualifying for a personal loan.

Check your credit: It’s important to know your credit score before you apply for a personal loan since that may determine your loan options. You can get your free credit score at AnnualCreditReport.com or by signing up for a NerdWallet account.

Look for quick ways to improve your score before you apply. This may include disputing errors on your report, paying down your debt (even a small payment can help) and asking for a credit limit increase.

Pre-qualify: Pre-qualifying is one of the best ways to check to see if you qualify for a loan. It gives you access to potential loan terms, including the loan’s interest rate, loan amount and monthly payments, with no harm to your credit score since there’s no hard credit check.

By taking the steps to pre-qualify, ideally with multiple lenders, you have the advantage of comparing loan products to select the most affordable option. Though not all lenders offer pre-qualification, most online lenders do.

If the lender you’re interested in doesn’t offer pre-qualification, consider calling and asking to speak with a loan officer. Express your interest in the loan and ask what their qualification criteria are. You may be able to get information like a minimum credit score that can help you decide whether it’s worth applying.

Explore other loan types: If you have bad credit (629 credit score or lower), you can also boost your chances of qualifying by exploring options like a joint, co-signed or secured loan. Joint loans and co-signed loans involve adding another person — ideally with better credit or a higher income — to your loan application. A secured loan involves tying collateral to the loan, like a car or an investment account.

How to get a personal loan for veterans

Once you’ve pre-qualified with multiple lenders, it’s time to pick one and apply.

Personal loan applications are typically available online. You’ll be asked to provide basic personal information, including your Social Security number, and contact information like a home address, phone number and email address.

You also may be asked to show proof of identification and proof of employment and income.

After submitting your application, approval time can be instantaneous or take a few days, depending on the lender. Funding time also ranges from same-day to one week.

Once your loan is funded, you’ll want to make a plan for managing your payments, so you don’t fall behind on the loan.

Financial assistance, grants and resources for veterans

Veterans seeking personal loans or short-term emergency cash may have other resources such as grants, which provide free money with no repayment required, and financial assistance.

The below options are just a few of the many resources available to veterans. A complete list of veterans service organizations can be found through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Federal benefits

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: The VA’s annual guide to federal benefits for veterans, dependents, survivors and caregivers offers information on disability compensation, housing grants for disabled veterans and educational assistance.

U.S. Government Guide to Military Pay and Benefits: The U.S. Government maintains a webpage dedicated to military pay and retirement benefits (including pensions), plus tuition assistance, health benefits and burial and survivor benefits.

Job training and placement

Blue Star Families: This nonprofit organization has provided free resources and services to more than 1.5 million military families, including long-term job opportunities for military spouses.

Hiring Our Heroes: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched this nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find employment. Hiring Our Heroes hosts hiring fairs and education and networking programs, and offers a corporate fellowship program.

Grants

VFW Unmet Needs Program: The Veterans of Foreign Wars offers this program for military families who have financial difficulties stemming from deployment or other military-related activity or injury. It provides grants up to $2,500 and can be used for eligible expenses, which include household expenses, vehicle expenses, utilities, childcare and medical bills.

American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance Program: This nonprofit veterans organization awards cash grants of up to $1,500 to children of current active duty military or American Legion members to help meet an urgent need like shelter, food and health care costs.

Business grants and resources for veterans: Veterans who are looking to start a business or who are existing business owners can seek financial assistance through the Small Business Administration, which offers funding, training and federal contracting opportunities for veterans, as well as resources for military spouses.

Grants and resources for disabled veterans: The Department of Defense publishes a comprehensive Compensation and Benefits Handbook for wounded, ill and injured service members of the armed forces. It covers medical care, family and caregiver support, Social Security benefits and more.

Last updated on December 14, 2023

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Personal Loans for Veterans, Plus Other Financial Help

  • Upstart: Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
  • Universal Credit: Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
  • Prosper: Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
  • Upgrade: Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
  • Avant: Best for Loans for veterans with bad credit
  • LendingClub: Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
  • Achieve Personal Loans: Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
  • SoFi Personal Loan: Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
  • Best Egg: Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
  • Discover® Personal Loans: Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
  • LightStream: Best for Loans for veterans with good credit
  • PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan: Best for Lenders that cater to veterans
  • USAA Personal Loan: Best for Lenders that cater to veterans
  • Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan: Best for Lenders that cater to veterans
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