NerdWallet rating: 5.0 / 5.0
Good for: Debt consolidation
Founded in 1952 by employees from Hewlett-Packard and Tektronix, First Tech Federal Credit Union serves technology-driven 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
- Meet the membership requirements noted in the table below
First Tech rates and terms
|Loan amounts||$500 to $50,000|
|Typical APR||9.0% - 18.0%; 3.00% minimum for secured loans|
|Time to funding||Funds are available within 1 to 2 days|
|Repayments||Monthly or biweekly over 2 to 7 years|
|Soft credit check?||No|
|Minimum loan qualifications||
|First Tech membership requirements||
» MORE: Find debt consolidation loans
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, completed the online loan application process with sample data, 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.
Employees of First Tech’s 830 sponsor companies are eligible for membership with the credit union, but you don’t have to work in tech to become a member. You can also join the Computer History Museum for at least $15 a year or the Financial Fitness Association for $8 a year to be eligible for membership with First Tech.
First Tech also honors the original membership requirement of a credit union it acquired in Lane County, Oregon. Residents who live or work in that county are eligible for membership, as are people who work for the state of Oregon.
First Tech offers unsecured and secured personal loans as well as personal lines of credit. Annual percentage rates start at 9% on unsecured loans, or 3% on secured loans, which can be backed by a First Tech savings account, First Tech share certificates, or stock you own in the company you work for or one listed on the NYSE, Nasdaq or Amex.
You can apply for a loan of as little as $500, making First Tech a good option for borrowers looking for small loans. Payments for unsecured and secured loans are fixed over two to seven years, and you can choose between monthly or biweekly payments.
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.
With First Tech’s personal line of credit you can borrow up to $10,000 at APRs starting at 12.49%. Unlike term loans, you pay interest only on the amount of credit you use. If you have a First Tech checking account, you can set up a personal line of credit as overdraft protection.
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.
Still, for some borrowers, credit unions may offer the best loan options. First Tech is a federal credit union and caps interest rates at 18%. This can benefit poor credit borrowers, who may qualify for a lower rate than they’d receive from an online lender, where rates can be as high as 36%.
Loan example: For a borrower with good credit, a $25,000 personal loan with a repayment term of 24 months at 18% APR would carry monthly payments of $1,248, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.
How First Tech compares
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.
Online lender SoFi offers the potential for slightly better interest rates if you have strong credit. 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.
In any situation, NerdWallet recommends comparing loans from multiple lenders. You can use our tool to compare rates and payments from online lenders with those from the credit union.
Before you shop for a personal loan:
- Learn how personal loans work
- 4 steps to pre-qualify for a personal loan
- Read more personal loan reviews
Personal Loans Ratings Methodology
NerdWallet’s ratings for personal loans awards points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks, no origination fees, payment options, short time to funding, interest rate caps of 36%, and absence of prepayment penalties. Features are considered for their positive impact on consumers’ credit history and financial health. We only review 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.
— Among the very best for consumer-friendly features
— Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features
— Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features
— Good; may not offer something important to you
— Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features
— Poor; proceed with great caution