USAA Personal Loans: 2022 Review

USAA offers personal loans up to $100,000, flexible terms and minimal fees to active and retired military members and their families.
Nov 16, 2021

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Our Take

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

If you’re a USAA member with good credit, you could get a personal loan that can be funded in one business day.

USAA Personal Loan
Est. APR
7.24-18.26%
Loan amount
$2,500-$100,000
Min. credit score
None
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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No origination or prepayment fee.
  • Rate discount for autopay.
  • Joint loan option.

Cons

  • Must be a USAA member.
  • No option to pre-qualify.

Compare to Other Lenders

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Lending Club
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

5.44-35.47%

Est. APR

6.34-35.89%

Loan term

2 to 7 years

Loan term

3 to 5 years

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

560

Min. credit score

600

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Full Review of USAA Personal Loan

USAA Bank provides personal loans that can be used for almost any purpose. Members can borrow between $2,500 and $100,000. Repayment terms range between one and seven years, depending on the amount you borrow.

For 12- to 36-month terms, you must apply for a $2,500 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.

Membership at USAA is required to apply for a personal loan. USAA says it serves:

  • Anyone serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves.

  • Former military members who have retired or been honorably discharged.

  • Widows, widowers and former spouses (who have not remarried) of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage, and children of members.

  • Cadets and midshipmen at U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, and officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.

USAA is best for borrowers who:

  • Are current or eligible USAA members.

  • Have good credit (690 FICO or higher).

  • Want to add a co-borrower.

USAA at a glance

Affordability

  • APRs are high among similar lenders.

  • No origination or prepayment fees.

  • Rate discount for autopayments.

Loan flexibility

  • Does not allow changes to payment date after signing loan agreement.

  • Funds loans the next business day.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation loans.

  • Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Transparency

  • No pre-qualify option.

  • Rates aren’t listed on the website.

  • Offers FAQ that answers some borrower questions.

Customer experience

  • Offers multiple customer contact channels and seven-day support.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Provides financial education.

Key terms to know about personal loans

Annual percentage rate

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.

Origination fee

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.

Debt-to-income ratio

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.

Soft credit check

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 USAA stands out

Fast funding: USAA offers a fully online process and says it will fund a loan within one business day after an application is approved. Fast funding is common among lenders, but some of USAA’s bank competitors may require an in-person visit to close a loan or take up to a week to deposit the funds in your account.

Option to add a co-borrower: USAA borrowers can add a co-borrower — someone who has access to the loan proceeds and is equally responsible for missed payments. 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 and can be as high as 0.50% for some lenders.

Mobile app: USAA has a mobile app where members can estimate monthly personal loan payments and transfer funds between accounts.

Where USAA falls 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.

What to know about USAA

In October 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency fined USAA Bank $85 million after it failed to provide satisfactory risk management programs and violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Military Lending Act.

According to a 2019 OCC report, USAA failed to provide relevant protections to military reservists, wrongfully repossessed vehicles, filed incorrect affidavits in default judgment cases and used "remotely created checks to collect past due amounts for members who were covered borrowers."

The bank has provided remediation in the form of payments, changed fee structures and corrected disclosures, according to a statement on its website. The lender did not respond to NerdWallet’s inquiries about further steps it has taken to ensure customers are protected.

How to qualify for a USAA loan

USAA does not publicly disclose many of its borrower requirements. USAA members with good and excellent credit scores will likely qualify for the lowest rates.

Loan example: A two-year, $10,000 loan with a 15.5% APR would cost $487 in monthly payments. You’d pay $1,694 in total interest on that loan.

How to get a USAA loan

Apply on USAA

Members can fill out an application on USAA’s website. Pre-qualification is not available for personal loans.

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Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. 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 more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.