BEST OF

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.

By Jackie Veling 

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Veterans transitioning to civilian life often face financial challenges, such as loss of military benefits or difficulty finding a job. They may need to rely on grants or other financial assistance, or perhaps take out a personal loan.

A personal loan — money borrowed from a bank, credit union or online lender that’s paid back in fixed monthly installments — may be an option for veterans looking to cover a large unexpected expense or consolidate high-interest credit card debt.

NerdWallet recommends comparing personal loans from multiple lenders before choosing.

Best Personal Loans for Veterans, Plus Other Financial Help

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

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

6.50-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Universal Credit
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website

Universal Credit

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Universal Credit

Est. APR

11.69-35.93%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Universal Credit's website

OneMain
Get rate

on OneMain Financial's website

OneMain Financial

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
OneMain

Est. APR

18.00-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,500-$20,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on OneMain Financial's website

Upgrade
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

8.49-35.97%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

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
Get rate

on LendingClub's website

LendingClub

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lending Club

Est. APR

8.30-36.00%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600
Get rate

on LendingClub's website

Achieve
Get rate

on Achieve's website

Achieve Personal Loans

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Achieve

Est. APR

7.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

620
Get rate

on Achieve's website

SoFi
Get rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

7.99-23.43%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on SoFi's website

BestEgg
Get rate

on Best Egg's website

Best Egg

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
BestEgg

Est. APR

8.99-35.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

600
Get rate

on Best Egg's website

Our pick for

Lenders that cater to veterans

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

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

7.74-17.99%

Loan amount

$600-$50,000

Min. credit score

700
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

USAA Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

USAA Personal Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
USAA Personal Loan

Est. APR

8.54-17.99%

Loan amount

$2,500-$100,000

Min. credit score

None
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Est. APR

7.49-18.00%

Loan amount

$250-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

How to choose the best personal loan

There are a few things to consider as you compare loan products.

Annual percentage rate: 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, some lenders 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 offer free financial education or a free monthly credit report.

How to pre-qualify for an online personal loan

Pre-qualifying for an online loan gives you access to potential loan terms, including the loan’s interest rate, loan amount and monthly payments. This includes a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit score.

By taking the steps to pre-qualify, you have the advantage of comparing multiple loan products to select the most affordable option.

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.

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 and survivors offers information on disability compensation, housing grants for disabled veterans and educational assistance.

Job training and placement

Blue Star Families: This nonprofit organization provides free resources and services to more than 1.5 million military families each year, 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 opportunities. Hiring Our Heroes hosts in-person and virtual 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 $1,500 and can be used for eligible expenses, which include household expenses, car repairs, 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 or health care costs.

Business grants and resources for veterans: Veterans looking to start a business or 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. The American Association of People with Disabilities also maintains a page for veterans that lists nongovernment and government resources.

Last updated on December 22, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. 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. 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.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. 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