Best Personal Loans for Veterans

Nicole DowJackie Veling
Written by
and
Last updated on July 9, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Compare the best personal loans for veterans

NerdWallet reviewed more than 35 financial institutions to find the best personal loans for veterans. These are our top picks.

Best for veterans with bad credit

Upstart
4.5
Read full review
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Upstart
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Est. APR7.80-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.
  • Fast funding.
  • Option to change your payment date.
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Seven-day customer service availability.
Cons
  • May charge origination fee.
  • No joint or co-signed loans.
  • No direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.
Upstart personal loans offer fast funding and may be an option for borrowers with low credit scores or thin credit histories. Upstart is a solid financing choice for large purchases.
  • Uses nontraditional underwriting that may approve more applicants.
  • Wide range of available loan amounts, from small to large loans.

Best for veterans with bad credit

Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Est. APR11.69-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
Repayment terms3 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • Fast funding.
  • Offers multiple rate discounts.
  • Offers free credit score access.
Cons
  • Charges origination fee.
  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.
A Universal Credit loan is a sound option for bad-credit borrowers looking to build credit, but rates are high compared to similar lenders.
  • No minimum income requirement.
  • Loan funds may be sent within one business day after approval.

Best for veterans with bad credit

Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Est. APR8.49-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Loan amount$1K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Secured and joint loans.
  • Multiple rate discounts.
  • Mobile app to manage loan payments.
  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.
Cons
  • Origination fee.
  • No option to choose your payment date.
Upgrade personal loans offer multiple rate discounts and direct payment to creditors. A low minimum credit score requirement makes the perks stand out even more.
  • Borrowers may receive rate discounts for autopay, direct payment to creditors and using multiple Upgrade products.
  • Offers rare seven-year repayment term for home improvement loans.

Best for veterans with bad credit

Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Min. credit score550
Min. credit score550
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Est. APR9.95-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Loan amount$2K-$35K
Min. credit score550
Min. credit score550
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Fast funding.
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.
  • Wide range of repayment term options.
  • Seven-day customer service availability.
Cons
  • May charge an origination fee.
  • No co-signed, joint or secured loans.
  • No direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans.
Avant personal loans are an option for fair- and bad-credit borrowers who need fast funding, but it lacks features that help you build credit or consolidate debt.
  • Avant's minimum credit score requirement is one of the lowest among online lenders.
  • Loan applications may be approved within one day and funds deposited the next day.

Best for veterans with fair credit

Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Min. credit score560
Min. credit score560
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Instant approval.
  • Joint loan option.
  • Hardship program for borrowers in need.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.
Cons
  • No rate discount.
  • Charges origination and late fees.
  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
Prosper accepts borrowers across the credit spectrum and offers competitive rates and fees, plus instant approval.
  • Allows two borrowers to apply together as joint applicants who share responsibility for the loan.
  • Offers hardship relief program that may reduce monthly payments or extend the loan term.

Best for veterans with good credit

Est. APR8.98-35.99%
Est. APR8.98-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$40K
Loan amount$1K-$40K
Min. credit score600
Min. credit score600
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR8.98-35.99%
Est. APR8.98-35.99%
Loan amount$1K-$40K
Loan amount$1K-$40K
Min. credit score600
Min. credit score600
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Joint loan option.
  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Option to change your payment date.
  • Fast funding.
Cons
  • Origination fee.
  • No mobile app to manage loan.
  • Limited term lengths.
LendingClub personal loans are a solid option for good-credit borrowers looking to consolidate debt and build their credit.
  • Borrowers using a loan to consolidate debt may receive a rate discount.
  • Member Center benefits include free credit score and insights into credit usage and debt-to-income ratio.

Best for veterans with good credit

Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Loan amount$5K-$50K
Loan amount$5K-$50K
Min. credit score620
Min. credit score620
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Est. APR8.99-35.99%
Loan amount$5K-$50K
Loan amount$5K-$50K
Min. credit score620
Min. credit score620
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
Repayment terms2 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Multiple rate discounts.
  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • Joint loan options.
Cons
  • Charges origination fee.
  • Not available in all states.
  • No mobile app to manage loan.
  • High minimum loan amount.
Achieve is a strong option for debt consolidation loans. Borrowers can have funds paid directly to creditors and benefit from multiple rate discounts.
  • Borrowers who apply for a joint loan with a co-borrower may receive a rate discount up to six percentage points.
  • Rate discount also available for debt consolidation loans sent directly to creditors.

Best for veterans with good credit

Est. APR8.99-29.99%
Est. APR8.99-29.99%
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR8.99-29.99%
Est. APR8.99-29.99%
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Joint loan option.
  • Multiple rate discounts.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.
Cons
  • No option to choose initial payment date.
  • High minimum loan amount.
SoFi offers online personal loans with consumer-friendly features for good- and excellent-credit borrowers.
  • Borrowers may pay no fees and receive multiple rate discounts.
  • Borrowers have access to free financial planning and networking events.

Best for veterans with excellent credit

Est. APR7.99-24.99%
Est. APR7.99-24.99%
Loan amount$2.5K-$40K
Loan amount$2.5K-$40K
Min. credit score660
Min. credit score660
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR7.99-24.99%
Est. APR7.99-24.99%
Loan amount$2.5K-$40K
Loan amount$2.5K-$40K
Min. credit score660
Min. credit score660
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
Repayment terms3 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • No origination fee.
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Fast funding.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.
Cons
  • May charge late fee.
  • No co-sign or joint loan option.
  • No rate discount.
With competitive rates and no orgination fees, Discover personal loans are good options for borrowers with good and excellent credit.
  • No origination fees mean borrowers receive the full approved loan amount.
  • Offers fast payoff of creditors on debt consolidation loans.

Best for veterans with excellent credit

Est. APR6.99-25.49%
Est. APR6.99-25.49%
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Min. credit score660
Min. credit score660
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR6.99-25.49%
Est. APR6.99-25.49%
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Loan amount$5K-$100K
Min. credit score660
Min. credit score660
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
Repayment terms2 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • No fees.
  • Rate discount for autopay.
  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.
  • Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.
Cons
  • No option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check on its website.
  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • High minimum loan amount.
LightStream targets strong-credit borrowers with no fees and low rates that vary based on loan purpose.
  • Charges no origination fees and offers a rate discount for autopay.
  • Offers loan terms up to 12 years and delayed funding on home improvement loans.

Best for lenders that cater to veterans

Est. APR7.99-17.99%
Est. APR7.99-17.99%
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Min. credit score700
Min. credit score700
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR7.99-17.99%
Est. APR7.99-17.99%
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Loan amount$2K-$50K
Min. credit score700
Min. credit score700
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Co-sign and joint loan options.
  • Can fund loans within one week.
  • Wide range of loan amounts.
Cons
  • No rate discount.
  • Reports payments to only one of the three major credit bureaus.
  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
PenFed’s personal loans are best for good- to excellent-credit borrowers looking for a wide range of loan amounts and terms to choose from.
  • Open to all borrowers with a small deposit into a savings account.
  • Borrowers can add a co-signer to improve their chances of approval.

Best for lenders that cater to veterans

Est. APR9.34-17.74%
Est. APR9.34-17.74%
Loan amount$1K-$100K
Loan amount$1K-$100K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms1 to 7 years
Repayment terms1 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR9.34-17.74%
Est. APR9.34-17.74%
Loan amount$1K-$100K
Loan amount$1K-$100K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms1 to 7 years
Repayment terms1 to 7 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Wide range of loan amounts.
  • Wide variety of repayment term options.
  • Fast funding.
  • Rate discount for autopay.
  • Joint loan option.
Cons
  • Exclusive to USAA members.
  • No option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
USAA offers fast personal loans to members and includes a wide range of loan amounts and terms to choose from.
  • Offers very wide range of loan amounts and loan terms.
  • Fully online loan process means borrowers don't need to visit a branch to close a loan.

Best for lenders that cater to veterans

Est. APR7.49-18.00%
Est. APR7.49-18.00%
Loan amount$250-$50K
Loan amount$250-$50K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Est. APR7.49-18.00%
Est. APR7.49-18.00%
Loan amount$250-$50K
Loan amount$250-$50K
Min. credit scoreNone
Min. credit scoreNone
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
Repayment terms1 to 5 years
on NerdWallet
Pros
  • Wide range of loan amounts.
  • Fast funding.
  • Rate discount for some customers.
  • Co-sign, joint and secured loan options.
  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
Cons
  • Exclusive to credit union members.
  • No option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • No option to choose or change your payment date.
Navy Federal personal loans may be a good fit for most members, thanks to flexible amounts, consumer-friendly features and quick funding time.
  • Wide range of loan amounts — starting at $250 — and loan terms — up to 15 years on larger loans.
  • Offers co-signed, joint and secured loans.

» MORE: Compare unsecured loans

When to consider a personal loan as a veteran

The best reason to use a personal loan is when it’s the least costly method of borrowing and it helps you realize a financial goal, such as consolidating your debt at a lower rate or increasing the value of your home with a home improvement project.

Lenders that cater to veterans or offer rate discounts to those who’ve served in the military can make getting a personal loan enticing. Be sure to compare multiple financing offers to find the best deal and check your budget to ensure you’re comfortably able to repay the loan as scheduled.

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. 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 up 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 might offer other benefits that may appeal to you. For example, if you’re using a loan to consolidate debt, search for lenders that will pay your creditors directly 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.

What veterans need to qualify for a personal loan

Eligibility requirements

Lenders consider these to determine your eligibility for a personal loan:

  • Credit score and history.

  • Income.

  • Existing debts.

A loan applicant with good to excellent credit (a score of 690 or higher) is most likely to qualify for a personal loan with a low rate.

Not all lenders publish income requirements, but they ask about your income on loan applications to ensure you earn enough to make the monthly payments. Include all sources of income in your application, such as disability benefits or rental income.

Lenders also review your debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your monthly income that goes toward debt payments. A DTI below 36% is ideal for many lenders, but some accept borrowers with more debt.

How to boost your chances of qualifying

If you have bad credit (629 credit score or lower), low income or a high debt-to-income ratio, you can boost your chances of qualifying for a personal loan with a joint, co-signed or secured loan.

Joint loans and co-signed loans involve adding another person — ideally with better credit or more income — to your loan application. A secured loan involves tying collateral to the loan, like a car or an investment account.

» MORE: Learn more about personal loan requirements

How to get a personal loan for veterans

  1. Check your credit: You can get your free credit score at AnnualCreditReport.com or by signing up for a NerdWallet account. If you have time before applying, look for quick ways to build your score, such as disputing errors on your report, paying down your debt and asking for a credit limit increase.

  2. Pre-qualify: Pre-qualifying is one of the best ways to determine whether a personal loan is the right choice. The process lets you preview potential loan terms, including APR, loan amount and monthly payments, without impacting your credit score. Pre-qualify with multiple lenders to find the most affordable offer.

  3. Complete a formal application: Once you’ve chosen an offer, it’s time to 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 include 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. Expect your loan to be funded within a week. Many lenders say they can fund a loan the same- or next day after approval.

Other financial 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.

These 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 helps connect military families with free resources and services, 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 July 9, 2024

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

  • 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
  • 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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