USAA Personal Loans: 2021 Review

USAA offers medium loans, flexible terms and minimal fees to active and retired military members and their families.
Jackie VelingJul 27, 2021

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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: If you’re a USAA member with good credit, you may be able to get a personal loan at a competitive rate that can be funded in one business day.

USAA Personal Loan

USAA Personal Loan

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

6.49 - 17.15%

Loan Amount

$2,500 - $20,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Competitive rates among good-credit lenders.

  • No origination or prepayment fee.

  • Existing customers can get a .25% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Option to include a co-signer.

Cons

  • Must be a USAA member.

  • No option to pre-qualify.

  • Charges late fee.

  • Offers a small range of loan amounts.

Compare to Other Lenders

Upgrade
Lending Club
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

5.94 - 35.47%

Est. APR

7.04 - 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

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review

To review USAA’s personal loans, NerdWallet collected more than 40 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, confirmed information with customer service representatives and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

USAA Bank provides personal loans at competitive rates that can be used for almost any purpose. Members can borrow between $2,500 and $20,000, and 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-month, 72-month and 84-month terms requires a financed amount of at least $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, respectively.

Membership at USAA is required to apply for a personal loan. Here’s who 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).

  • Would like to add a co-signer.

  • Want fast funding.

USAA at a glance

Credit building

  • No pre-qualify option.

  • Reports payments to three credit bureaus.

Affordability

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

  • No origination or prepayment fees.

  • Rate discount for autopayments.

Loan flexibility

  • Offers a small range of loan amounts.

  • Allows changes to payment date.

  • 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

  • Rates aren’t listed on website.

  • Offers FAQ that answers some borrower questions.

Customer experience

  • Offers limited customer contact channels and hours.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

  • Provides financial education.

» 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-signer: Borrowers can add a co-signer to their application to help them qualify for the loan and potentially receive a lower rate. Though a co-signer does not have access to the loan proceeds, that person can be held responsible for missed payments.

Autopay discount: USAA offers a discount of 0.25% 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.

Limited range of loan amounts: USAA offers only medium-sized loans. This could leave out borrowers on both sides, including applicants who need a smaller loan for an emergency repair or applicants who need a larger loan to cover a home improvement project.

Limited customer service hours: Customer service support for personal loans is available only Monday through Friday during business hours. Though few lenders offer 24-hour assistance to customers, most offer extended hours of some kind, whether it’s more weekday hours or additional support on the weekends.

No direct payment to creditors: If borrowers want to consolidate credit card or other high-interest debt, they will 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 recently released 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 is now working on providing 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. Borrowers with good and excellent credit scores will likely qualify for the lowest rates.

Loan example: A two-year, $10,000 loan with a 17.4% APR would cost $496 in monthly payments. You’d pay $1,904 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.

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify and receive a personalized rate from lenders that partner with NerdWallet.

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.