Navy Federal Personal Loans: 2021 Review

Navy Federal offers its members a flexible loan product with multiple loan amounts and repayment terms to choose from, plus 24/7 customer support.
Jackie VelingNov 18, 2021

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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Navy Federal’s personal loans are an especially good fit for members with fair credit who want to fund a home improvement project.

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

7.49-18.00%

Loan Amount

$250-$50,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No origination fee.
  • Offers wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms.
  • Able to fund loans the same-day.
  • Offers co-sign, joint and secure loan options.

Cons

  • Exclusive to credit union members.
  • No option to pre-qualify.
  • No rate discount for autopay.
  • No option to change your payment date.

Compare to Other Lenders

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NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

5.94-35.47%

Est. APR

5.38-35.99%

Loan Term

2 to 7 years

Loan Term

3 to 5 years

Loan Amount

$1,000-$50,000

Loan Amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. Credit Score

560

Min. Credit Score

None

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

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Full Review

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of personal loan amounts and numerous repayment terms to choose from, making it a flexible option for borrowers. Personal loans are available only to existing Navy Federal members, which include military members and their families.

To be eligible for membership at Navy Federal, you must be one of the following:

  • Active duty, retired or a veteran in any branch of the military.

  • Immediate family or a household member of a service member.

  • Department of Defense employee, contractor or retiree.

Navy Federal is best for borrowers who:

  • Are Navy Federal members.

  • Want to fund a home improvement project.

  • Are planning to add someone to their loan application or secure the loan.

Navy Federal 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.

  • Does not allow changes to payment due date.

  • Funds loans the same day.

  • No refinancing options.

  • Available in all 50 states.

Transparency

  • No pre-qualify option.

  • Clearly discloses rates and terms on website.

  • No FAQ to answer borrower questions.

Customer experience

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

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Provides financial education.

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 Navy Federal stands out

Wide range of loan amounts: Borrowers can choose loan amounts from $250 to $50,000 when applying for a personal loan at Navy Federal. This is an especially wide range among lenders and could make the loan a fit for a small expense like an emergency repair or something larger like a home improvement project.

Term availability: For most loans, repayment terms range from one to five years, but borrowers funding a home improvement project have more choices. With a $25,000 minimum loan amount, you could qualify for a term from five to seven years. With a $30,000 minimum, you could qualify for a term up to 15 years.

Co-signed, joint and secured loans: Members can add a co-signer or co-borrower to their application. Adding someone with better credit or higher income can help your chances of getting a lower rate or a higher loan amount. While both co-signers and co-borrowers are responsible for missed payments, co-signers do not have access to the funds.

Borrowers can also secure their loan with a Navy Federal savings account or CD, which could help you qualify for a lower rate. Depending on the account you choose, your APR would be your share (savings) rate or certificate rate, plus 2% to 3%.

24/7 customer service: Members have access to 24/7 phone support. Borrowers can also contact Navy Federal through online messaging, chat and social media. Though most lenders offer extended business hours or weekend availability, few offer 24/7 customer service support.

Where Navy Federal falls short

No option to pre-qualify: Navy Federal does not offer the option to pre-qualify for its loan. Though this is not unusual among credit unions and banks, many online lenders let you check your rates before applying. Pre-qualifying with multiple lenders allows you to compare potential loan offers without affecting your credit score.

No rate discount for autopay: The lender does not offer a rate discount for borrowers who set up automatic payments on their personal loan. According to the lender, it does offer an APR discount of 0.25 percentage points for active duty and retired military who have direct deposit. You must apply at a Navy Federal branch or by phone to qualify for the discount.

No option to change payment due date: Navy Federal does not let borrowers choose their payment date before signing the loan agreement or make changes to the date after signing. It is common for a lender to let you do one or the other, and some even allow both. Payment flexibility is helpful for borrowers if their payday or monthly obligations change over the life of the loan.

How to qualify for a Navy Federal loan

Navy Federal does not publicly disclose many of its borrower requirements. According to the lender, there is no minimum credit score. Here’s what you need for your application:

  • Desired loan amount and term.

  • Current employment details and income.

  • Contact information, including phone number and email address.

  • Personal details of your co-applicant or co-borrower, if applicable.

Loan example: A three-year, $15,000 loan with a 15.5% APR would cost $524 in monthly payments. You’d pay $3,864 in total interest on that loan.

How to get a Navy Federal loan

Apply on Navy Federal

To apply for a Navy Federal loan, you need to be a member. Members can apply online, by phone, at a branch or through the lender’s mobile app.

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Select "Check rates on NerdWallet" below to pre-qualify. You may receive personalized rates from multiple lenders that partner with us. Pre-qualifying will not impact your credit score.

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.