First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loans: 2023 Review
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Pros & Cons
- Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
- Co-sign and joint loan options.
- Wide range of loan amounts.
- Wide variety of repayment term options.
- Fast funding.
- Exclusive to credit union members.
- No option to choose or change your payment date.
- No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
- No rate discount.
Compare to Other Lenders
Full Review of First Tech Credit Union Personal Loan
First Tech is a federally insured credit union that serves certain tech companies and their employees.
Its personal loans come in a wide range of amounts and repayment terms. 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 technology-oriented company.
Work for the state of Oregon or live in Lane County, Oregon.
Are a family or household member of a First Tech member.
Are a member of the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association.
» MORE: Benefits of credit union loans
Table of Contents
First Tech personal loans at a glance
Minimum credit score
8.99% - 18.00%.
Late fee: $25.
$500 to $50,000.
2 to 7 years.
Time to fund after approval
Funds can be sent the same day you’re approved.
Loans available in 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Where First Tech personal loans stand out
Option to pre-qualify: You can pre-qualify for a First Tech personal 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 and co-signed loans: First Tech lets you add a co-borrower or co-signer to your loan application, which can help increase your chances of qualifying for a loan or getting a lower rate. In a joint loan, both borrowers have equal access to the loan funds. In a co-signed loan, only the primary borrower has access. Co-borrowers and co-signers are both responsible for missed payments.
Wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms: First Tech loans start at $500 and go to $50,000, meaning borrowers can fund a wide range of expenses, from a small emergency repair to a major home improvement project. Paired with the lender’s terms of two to seven years, loans can be easily customized to fit your needs.
» MORE: Best home improvement loans
Fast approval and funding: First Tech says borrowers should receive an approval decision on the same day they apply. The lender can typically fund the loan the same day you’re approved, though in some cases it may take two to three business days.
» COMPARE: Fast personal loans
Where First Tech personal loans fall short
No direct payment to creditors: If you get a debt consolidation loan from First Tech, the lender won’t send the loan funds directly to your creditors. This isn't required for debt consolidation, but it’s a nice perk that other lenders offer and saves you the step of sending the funds yourself.
» COMPARE: Best debt consolidation loans
No rate discount: Unlike other lenders, First Tech doesn’t offer a rate discount. Rate discounts are usually awarded for setting up autopay and range from 0.25 to 0.5 percentage points off the loan’s annual percentage rate.
No payment date flexibility: First Tech doesn’t let borrowers choose their payment date before signing the loan agreement or change the date after. Most lenders let you do one or the other, and some let you do both. This lack of flexibility can be a challenge if your payday changes over the course of the loan.
Do you qualify for a First Tech personal loan?
To apply for a personal loan from First Tech, you must meet the following requirements:
Be a member of First Tech Federal Credit Union.
Provide Social Security number and driver's license or other state-issued ID.
Provide contact information.
Minimum credit score: 660.
Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50%.
Before you apply
Calculate your monthly payments. Use a personal loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you’d need to get a loan with affordable monthly payments.
Make a plan to repay the loan. Review your budget to see how the loan’s monthly payments impact your cash flow. If you have to cut other expenses in order to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.
Gather your documents. First Tech may require proof of income, which can be a W-2, paystub or tax document, as well as proof of address and a Social Security number. Having these documents handy can speed the application process.
How to apply for a First Tech personal loan
Here are the steps to apply for a First Tech loan.
Pre-qualify on First Tech’s website. First Tech allows prospective borrowers to pre-qualify online. You’ll be asked to provide basic personal information, including your Social Security number. You can then preview potential loan offers. There’s no hard credit pull at this stage.
Preview offers and formally apply. After viewing your loan options, you can submit a formal personal loan application. This could require more documents, like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements to confirm the information you gave during pre-qualification. First Tech will also do a hard credit check when you apply, so your credit score could temporarily dip.
Make a plan to repay the loan. First Tech reports payment to all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.
Compare First Tech with other lenders
Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh other options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.
Achieve and Rocket Loans are two online lenders that accept borrowers similar to First Tech, but since they’re not credit unions, you don’t need to become a member to apply.
First Tech vs. Achieve
Achieve personal loans are available to borrowers with a minimum credit score of 620. Achieve charges an origination fee, but it offers multiple rate discounts which can lower the amount you pay in interest. If you get a debt consolidation loan, Achieve will pay off your creditors directly.
» MORE: Read our review of Achieve
First Tech vs. Rocket Loans
Rocket Loans personal loans are available to borrowers with a minimum credit score of 640. Similar to First Tech, it can approve and fund a personal loan the same day, and you can pre-qualify with a soft credit check. However, you can only choose from two repayment options.
» MORE: Read our review of Rocket Loans
How we rate First Tech personal loans
NerdWallet writers rate lenders against a rubric that changes each year based on how personal loan products evolve. Here’s what we prioritized this year:
- Category definitions
Affordability (30%) An affordable loan has low rates and fees compared to other similar loans and may offer rate discounts.
Underwriting and eligibility (25%) The lender reviews borrowers credit reports and credit history, and tries to understand their ability to repay a loan, before making a final application decision.
Loan flexibility (20%) A flexible loan is one that lets users customize terms and payments. That means offering a wide range of repayment term options, allowing the borrower to change their payment date, offering loans in most states and funding it quickly.
Customer experience (15%) A good customer experience can include a fully online application process, financial education on the lender’s website and a customer service team that’s available most of the time and can be reached multiple ways.
Transparency (10%) A transparent lender makes information about the loan easy to find on its website, including rates, terms and loan amounts. Transparency also means allowing users to pre-qualify online to preview potential loan offers and reporting payment information with the major credit bureaus.
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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.