USAA Personal Loans: 2023 Review
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Pros & Cons
- Wide range of loan amounts.
- Wide variety of repayment term options.
- Fast funding.
- Rate discount for autopay.
- Joint loan option.
- Exclusive to USAA members.
- No option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
- No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
Compare to Other Lenders
Full Review of USAA Personal Loan
USAA Bank provides quickly funded personal loans that can be customized for almost any purpose, thanks to flexible amounts and terms. However, you need to be a USAA member to apply.
To be eligible for membership, you must meet one of the following criteria:
Active duty, guard or reserve military in the U.S. armed forces.
Veterans who have separated or retired with an honorable discharge.
Contracted cadets or midshipmen at U.S. service academies, affiliated academy preparatory schools or advanced ROTC programs, and officer or warrant officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.
Spouses, widowed and former spouses (who have not remarried) of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage, and children of members.
» MORE: Best personal loans for veterans
Table of Contents
USAA personal loans at a glance
Minimum credit score
9.34% - 17.74%.
$1,000 to $100,000.
1 to 7 years, depending on the loan amount.
Time to fund after approval
Within one business day.
Loans available in 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Where USAA personal loans stand out
Wide variety of loan amounts and terms: Members can borrow between $1,000 and $100,000, making USAA a fit for most financing needs. There’s also a wide range of repayment terms — between one and seven years — depending on the amount you borrow.
For 12- to 36-month terms, you must apply for a $1,000 loan or larger. To receive a 48-month term, you must apply for a $5,000 loan or larger. Financing for 60-, 72- and 84-month terms requires a loan amount of at least $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, respectively.
Fast funding: USAA offers a fully online process and can fund a loan through ACH within one business day after an application is approved. Fast funding is common among lenders, but some of USAA’s competitors may require an in-person visit or take a few days to deposit the funds in your account.
» COMPARE: Fast personal loans
Option to add a co-borrower: USAA borrowers can apply for a joint loan by adding a co-borrower — someone who has access to the loan proceeds and is equally responsible for repayments. A co-borrower can help you qualify for the loan and potentially receive a lower rate.
Autopay discount: USAA offers a discount of 0.25 percentage points on its annual percentage rate to borrowers who set up automatic payments. This discount encourages borrowers to pay on time.
» MORE: Best bank loans
Where USAA personal loans fall short
No soft credit check: Unlike most online lenders and some banks, USAA does not offer the option to pre-qualify. Pre-qualifying lets you see your potential loan amounts, rates and terms without affecting your credit score.
No direct payment to creditors: If borrowers want to consolidate credit card or other high-interest debt, they’ll need to send the funds themselves. USAA does not send money directly to creditors, which is a feature offered by some other banks.
» COMPARE: Best debt consolidation loans
Do you qualify for a USAA personal loan?
USAA does not publicly disclose many of its borrower requirements, but USAA members with good and excellent credit scores (690 credit score or higher) will likely qualify for the lowest rates. USAA also considers debt-to-income ratio when making an approval decision.
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. USAA may request proof of income, which can be a W-2 or paystub, 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 USAA personal loan
Here are the steps to apply for a USAA loan.
Apply on USAA’s website. Since USAA doesn’t let you pre-qualify, your first step is to submit a formal personal loan application. This could require documentation, like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements to confirm your information. USAA will also do a hard credit check when you apply, so your credit score could temporarily dip.
Stay on top of your loan payments. USAA reports payments to the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), so on-time payments will help build your credit, 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 USAA to other lenders
Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh your options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.
SoFi and LightStream are two online lenders that offer a wide range loan amounts and repayment terms, similar to USAA.
USAA vs. SoFi
SoFi offers personal loans to borrowers with good and excellent credit. It has no required fees, and it offers multiple rate discounts, which can help borrowers save money on interest. It also offers same-day funding.
» MORE: Read our review of SoFi
USAA vs. LightStream
LightStream accepts borrowers with a minimum credit score of 660. It offers medium and large amounts and has longer terms available for home improvement loans. Like USAA, LightStream does not let borrowers pre-qualify directly on its website, though you can pre-qualify through NerdWallet.
» MORE: Read our review of LightStream
How we rate USAA 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.