Good for: Debt consolidation
Founded in 1952 by employees from Hewlett-Packard and Tektronix, First Tech Federal Credit Union serves technology companies and industries. The company offers both secured and unsecured personal loans and lines of credit.
First Tech is a good fit for borrowers who:
- Need a small loan. Personal loans and lines of credit start at $500.
- Want to consolidate debt. First Tech offers direct payment to creditors, which makes debt consolidation easier.
- Work for a tech or telecom sponsor company, or meet one of the other membership requirements listed in the table below.
First Tech loan rates and terms
|Loan amounts||$500 to $50,000|
|Typical APRs||9.0% - 18.0% for personal loans
3.05% minimum for secured loans
12.99% minimum for lines of credit
Late payment: Up to $25
Returned payment: $28
|Time to funding||Funds are available within 1 to 2 days|
|Repayments||Monthly or biweekly over 2 to 7 years for unsecured personal loans
5, 8 or 12 years for stock-secured loans
|Soft credit check?||No|
|Minimum loan qualifications||
|First Tech membership requirements|
First Tech personal loan review
To review First Tech Federal Credit Union, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.
Only members of First Tech Federal Credit Union can apply for its personal loans, but you don’t have to work in tech to become a member. You can also join the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association to be eligible for membership.
Small loans: First Tech offers small personal loans starting at $500. Payments are fixed over two to seven years, and you can choose between monthly or biweekly payments.
Low rates: First Tech is a federal credit union and caps interest rates at 18%. This can benefit borrowers with bad credit, who may qualify for lower rates than they’d receive from an online lender, where rates can be as high as 36%.
Annual percentage rates at First Tech start at 9% on unsecured loans and 3% on secured loans, which can be backed by a First Tech savings account, share certificates or stocks you own.
Direct payment of creditors: If you choose a First Tech personal loan to consolidate debt, the credit union sends the funds directly to your creditors, helping to streamline the process of paying off your old debts. Not all online lenders offer direct payment to creditors.
Line of credit option: With First Tech’s personal line of credit you can borrow up to $10,000 at APRs starting at 12.99%. Lines of credit can be useful if your income is irregular or to cover unexpected emergency costs.
Hard credit check: Like many credit unions, First Tech performs a hard credit pull during the application process, which can temporarily ding your credit score. Many online lenders offer a pre-qualification process that involves a soft credit pull.
Loan example: For a borrower with excellent credit, a $1,000 personal loan with a repayment term of 24 months at 13.9% APR would carry monthly payments of $48, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.
How First Tech compares
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As a federal credit union, Navy Federal also caps interest rates at 18%, but no minimum credit score or credit history requirements can make it a better option for new borrowers with ties to the military. Like First Tech, Navy Federal does not perform soft credit checks.
Online lender SoFi offers the potential for slightly better interest rates if you have strong credit and income. The company also performs soft credit checks, so you can see what interest rates and terms you’ll qualify for without impacting your credit score.
How to apply for a First Tech personal loan
If you’re already a member and you can withstand a temporary hit to your credit score, a credit union may get you the cheapest loan. You can apply for a First Tech personal loan online, over the phone or in person. According to the company, most loans can be processed within 24 hours.
Check rates from other lenders
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Before you shop for a personal loan:
- Learn how personal loans work
- Boost your chances of getting approved
- 4 steps to pre-qualify for a personal loan
NerdWallet’s ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus, and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.