First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loans: 2021 Review

First Tech personal loans offer flexible features and reasonable rates for credit union members.

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

First Tech’s personal loans are a sound option for members who want a customizable debt consolidation loan with fast funding.

First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

6.70-18.00%

Loan Amount

$500-$50,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No origination or prepayment fees.
  • Offers co-sign, joint and secure loan options.
  • Able to fund loans within one business day.
  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • Offers wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms.

Cons

  • Exclusive to credit union members.
  • Reports payments to only one of the three major credit bureaus.
  • No rate discount for autopay.

Compare to Other Lenders

Upgrade
Lightstream
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

5.94-35.47%

Est. APR

4.49-20.49%

Loan Term

2 to 7 years

Loan Term

2 to 7 years

Loan Amount

$1,000-$50,000

Loan Amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. Credit Score

560

Min. Credit Score

660

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review

First Tech is a federally insured credit union that serves certain tech companies and their employees.

Its personal loans range from $500 to $50,000 with repayment terms between two and seven years, leaving room for you to customize the loan to your budget. Borrowers can pre-qualify to see their potential rates, though you have to meet membership criteria to be eligible for a loan.

One of the following is required for First Tech membership:

  • Work for a qualifying tech or telecom company.

  • Work for the state of Oregon or live in Lane County, Oregon.

  • Be an immediate family member of a First Tech member.

  • Be a member of the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association.

First Tech is best for borrowers who:

  • Are credit union members.

  • Want to choose from a variety of repayment terms and loan amounts.

  • Want to add a co-signer, co-borrower or collateral.

First Tech at a glance

Affordability

  • APRs are low among lenders targeting fair-credit borrowers.

  • No origination or prepayment fees.

  • No rate discount for autopayments.

Loan flexibility

  • Offers multiple loan types.

  • Allows borrowers to choose their payment date.

  • Funds loans within one business day.

  • Offers refinancing option.

  • Available in all 50 states.

Transparency

  • Soft credit check to pre-qualify.

  • Reports payments to only one credit bureau.

  • Rates aren’t clear on website.

  • FAQ answers key borrower questions.

Customer experience

  • Offers multiple customer contact channels and 24/7 support.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

Key terms to know about personal loans

Annual percentage rate is the interest rate on your loan plus all fees, calculated on an annual basis and expressed as a percentage. Use the APR to compare loan costs from multiple lenders.

An origination fee is a one-time, upfront fee that some lenders charge for processing a loan. The fee can range from 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and lenders typically deduct it from your loan proceeds.

The debt-to-income ratio divides your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income, giving you a percentage. Lenders use DTI — along with credit history and other factors — to evaluate a borrower's financial ability to repay a loan.

Lenders that offer pre-qualification typically do so using a soft credit check, which allows you to see rates and terms you qualify for without affecting your credit score. If you accept the loan offer, the lender will perform a hard check to confirm your information. Hard checks knock a few points off your credit score.

» COMPARE: Best bank loans

Where First Tech stands out

Option to pre-qualify: You can pre-qualify for a First Tech loan, which lets you see potential loan offers without affecting your credit score. Pre-qualification is common with online lenders, but rarer among banks and credit unions.

Joint, co-signed and secured loans: First Tech lets borrowers add a co-signer or co-borrower to their loan application. Borrowers can also secure a loan with a CD, savings account or stocks. Any of these options can help increase your chances of qualifying for a loan or getting a lower rate.

Direct payment to creditors: For debt consolidation loans, this lender will directly pay off any credit cards or other unsecured debt once you sign the loan agreement, leaving you with just one monthly payment. This feature isn’t uncommon, but it’s a perk you won’t find with all lenders.

Fast funding: First Tech says borrowers should receive an approval decision on the same day they apply. Then, the lender can typically fund the loan the day you’re approved. If you’re a new member, you may not receive funds until the next business day.

Where First Tech falls short

Reports to only one credit bureau: First Tech does not report payments to the three major credit bureaus, which is rare among lenders. It reports payments only to Experian. This means if your credit report were pulled from TransUnion or Equifax, it wouldn't show a history of on-time payments on your personal loan, which could have helped build your score.

No rate discount for automatic payments: Like many banks and credit unions, First Tech doesn’t offer a rate discount for setting up automatic payments. This rate discount is usually between 0.25 and 0.5 percentage points and encourages on-time payments.

However, members with a qualifying checking account at First Tech could receive 0.25% cash back on their minimum loan payments, up to $15 per month.

How to qualify for a First Tech loan

First Tech doesn’t make many of its borrower requirements public, but the lender says applicants need a minimum credit score of 660.

Loan example: A four-year, $13,000 loan with a 15.5% APR would cost $365 in monthly payments. You’d pay $4,520 in total interest on that loan.

How to get a First Tech loan

Apply on First Tech

To apply for a First Tech loan, you need to be a member. Members can apply online.

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

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Personal Loans Rating Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 30 lenders. 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 our editorial guidelines.