NerdWallet rating: 3.5 / 5.0
Good for: Good credit
Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in the country, with nearly $90 billion in assets and more than 7 million members. It offers personal loans to its members, who are affiliated with the military or Department of Defense.
A personal loan from Navy Federal is a good fit for those who:
- Have thin credit histories or are first-time borrowers
- Are making home improvements
- Meet the membership requirements noted in the table below
Navy Federal loan rates & terms
|Loan amounts||Up to $50,000|
|Typical APR||7.99% - 18.0%|
|Time to funding||Funds are available within minutes|
|Repayments||Monthly over 12 to 60 months and up to 180 months for home improvement loans|
|Soft credit check?||No|
|Minimum loan qualifications||No minimum qualification requirements|
|Navy Federal membership requirements||
» MORE: Best personal loans for veterans
Navy Federal Credit Union personal loan review
To review Navy 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.
For some borrowers, credit unions may offer the best loan options. Federal credit unions cap interest rates at 18%, making loans for borrowers with poor credit less expensive than one they’d get through an online lender, where rates top out at 36%.
In addition to credit score and debt-to-income ratio, Navy Federal considers a borrower’s history with the credit union and current employment status during the application process. Navy Federal may also lend to borrowers with little or no credit history.
Navy Federal does not perform soft credit checks during the pre-qualification process. A credit inquiry will be reported to credit bureaus, which may result in a temporary ding to your credit score.
Personal loan terms at Navy Federal range from 12 to 60 months, with the lowest starting annual percentage rates reserved for borrowers seeking the shortest loan periods. APRs for loans with 36-month terms start at 7.99%; those with terms between 37 and 60 months start at 14.59%.
If you plan to use your loan for home improvements, you may qualify for extended term lengths up to 15 years, with APRs between 15.09% and 18%. The minimum loan amount for terms of seven years is $25,000; to extend to 15 years, you’ll need to borrow at least $30,000.
In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Navy Federal to pay $28.5 million for misleading consumers about debt-collection practices. A Navy Federal spokesperson says the credit union has since revisited its collections practices, and they “meet or exceed regulatory standards.”
Loan example: For a borrower with good credit, a $35,000 personal loan with a repayment term of 36 months at 18% APR would carry monthly payments of $1,265, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.
How Navy Federal Credit Union compares
Wells Fargo is one of the few large consumer banks to make personal loans. Loan amounts go up to $100,000, making them an option for borrowers looking to finance a home renovation or other costly projects. Banks are not subject to the same interest rate cap as credit unions; the maximum APR at Wells Fargo is 24.24%.
Online lenders like LendingClub are faster alternatives to financing than traditional banks; some can provide financing within hours or days. However, online lenders often lack the personal connection and history that borrowers may have with their credit unions, making it more difficult for those with poor credit to qualify.
How to apply for a Navy Federal personal loan
If you’re a Navy Federal member and you can withstand a temporary hit to your credit score, the credit union may offer a cheaper loan. Loans specifically for debt consolidation or home improvement require an in-branch visit or phone call; otherwise, you can apply online.
In any situation, NerdWallet recommends comparing loans from multiple lenders. You can use our tool to compare rates and payments from online lenders.
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