Navy Federal Personal Loans Review 2023

Low APRs and No Origination Fees for Members

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Navy Federal Credit Union logo
Investopedia’s Rating

Those eligible for membership to the Navy Federal Credit Union could qualify for secured and unsecured personal loans with lower-than-average APRs, no origination fees, and extended repayment terms. But membership isn’t open to the general public.

  • Navy Federal Credit Union has 11 million members worldwide and has issued over $92.8 billion in consumer loans.
  • Navy Federal’s personal loans can be used for debt consolidation, vacations, medical expenses, or other major purchases.
  • The credit union also offers banking services, including checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, and money market accounts.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union members are eligible for additional benefits and discounts on car insurance, rental cars, and more.
  • Pros & Cons
  • specifications
Pros & Cons
  • Broad range of loan amounts

  • Potential for lower-than-average APRs

  • Extended terms available on some loans

  • Must be a member to qualify for a loan

  • High late fees

  • No loan prequalification tool

APR Range
7.49% - 18.00%
Loan Amount
$250 - $50,000
Loan Terms
6 months - 180 months
Recommended Minimum Credit Score
Average Origination Fee
Late Fee
Why Trust Us
Lenders reviewed
Loan features considered
Data points analyzed
Primary data sources used
Investopedia collected key data points from several lenders to identify the most important factors to borrowers. We used this data to review each lender for fees, accessibility, repayment terms, and other features to provide unbiased, comprehensive reviews to ensure our readers make the right borrowing decision for their needs.

Company Overview

Navy Federal Credit Union was created near the end of the Great Depression. It was designed to provide loans and financial products with affordable rates and excellent service to military service members, veterans, and their families.

The credit union has issued billions in loans. Its products are available online, but Navy Federal also offers in-person assistance at its branches. The credit union has 350 branches worldwide, with nearly 200 branches near military installations. 

Navy Federal Credit Union serves millions of customers worldwide. Its members include members of the U.S. armed forces, military veterans, Department of Defense personnel, and their immediate family members. The credit union provides a range of banking services, including personal loans. Its loans can be secured or unsecured, with repayment terms determined by the loan’s use and the borrower’s credit profile.

Its secured and unsecured personal loans are available to residents of all 50 U.S. states. You can receive the money in as little as one day if you apply for a loan and you're approved, making Navy Federal a good option when you need cash fast.

Pros Explained

  • Broad range of loan amounts: Navy Federal issues loans ranging between $250 and $50,000, so you can borrow as little or as much as you need.
  • Potential for lower-than-average APRs: Navy Federal’s interest rates start at 7.49%, which is lower than the average APR for all personal loans with a 24-month term.
  • Extended terms available on some loans: Depending on the type of loan you apply for, you could take advantage of extended loan terms. Unsecured home improvement loans have terms as long as 180 months, giving you more manageable monthly payments.

Cons Explained

  • Must be a member to qualify for a loan: You must be a member to get a loan from Navy Federal Credit Union. Unfortunately, membership isn't open to the public. You must be a military veteran, current service member, Department of Defense personnel, or have immediate family that are members. 
  • High late fees: Several personal loan lenders don't charge any late fees, which is why Navy Federal Credit Union's fees are surprising. Its late fee is $29, higher than what some other lenders charge. 
  • No loan prequalification tool: Most lenders allow you to check your rates and loan options with just a soft credit inquiry, which doesn't impact your credit score. But that's not an option with Navy Federal. You have to apply and undergo a hard credit check to view your loan options.

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal’s personal loans can be secured or unsecured. Its unsecured loans can be used for personal expenses or home improvements. Home improvement loans can have repayment terms as long as 180 months, but you’ll pay a higher APR for the longer terms.  

Your collateral can be your Navy Federal savings account or you can opt for a certificate secured loan if you take out a secured loan. All Navy Federal loans have fixed interest rates, and the credit union doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties.

Time to Receive Funds

Navy Federal Credit Union boasts quick loan disbursements. You could have your loan funds deposited into your bank account in just 24 hours once you're approved.

Navy Federal Personal Loan Features

Navy Federal Credit Union stands out from other personal loan lenders due to the following features:

Loan Terms

Depending on the intended use of your loan, you could have as long as 180 months to repay it. The longest term you can find is usually 84 months or less with other personal loan lenders. Navy Federal’s longer terms could give you a lower monthly payment than you might get with another lender.

Although a longer loan term will give you a lower monthly payment, you’ll pay more in interest charges due to a higher APR and because interest has more time to accrue. Choose the shortest loan term you can afford to minimize interest charges.

Joint Applications

Adding a co-applicant to your loan application may improve your odds of getting approved for a loan, or it could help you qualify for a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own. Navy Federal allows you to add co-applicants that share responsibility for the loan’s repayment.

Mobile App 

Navy Federal has a mobile app exclusively for its members. It's available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore. You can manage your account from the app, update your information, and make payments with your phone.

Apply for a Navy Federal Loan

You must be a qualifying member to be eligible for a loan from Navy Federal. You'll have to join if you aren’t a credit union member yet.

You can join online in just 10 minutes, but you must be a member of the U.S. armed forces, a military veteran, Department of Defense personnel, or immediate family member of a qualifying individual.

You can apply for a personal loan by completing an application online once you're a member, or you can apply in person at a local branch. Follow these steps: 

  • Gather documentation: You’ll be asked for information about your employer and income, so you may need to provide pay stubs or recent tax returns. Make sure you have the other individual's information handy as well if you plan to apply with a co-applicant.
  • Fill out the application: The application takes just a few minutes to complete. It will prompt you for the loan amount you want and its intended use.
  • Wait for a response: Navy Federal will review your application and determine whether to approve you for a loan. The process can take several minutes. You’ll receive a notification via email once it's complete. You’ll be sent an electronic loan agreement to review and sign if you're approved.

Navy Federal will disburse the loan after you've signed the agreement. You could receive the requested amount in as little as 24 hours.

Can You Refinance a Personal Loan With Navy Federal?

You can use a Navy Federal loan to consolidate high-interest credit card balances or other debt, but it doesn’t offer personal loan refinancing as of early 2023.

Customer Service

Unlike many lenders that only offer customer support during business hours, Navy Federal Credit Union has customer support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can reach customer service by phone, secure message, online chat, or in person at a local branch.

  • Phone: 1-888-842-6328
  • Email: Sign in to your account to send a secure message
  • Branch: Use the locator tool to find a branch near you. 

Customer Satisfaction

Navy Federal received a score of 806 on J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, a study that examined and ranked top personal loan lenders based on customer satisfaction. 

Navy Federal does have positive customer reviews overall, however. It has an “excellent” 4.6 out of five stars rating based on over 16,000 reviews on Trustpilot as of March 2023. Customers highlight the lender’s responsive service and easy loan application process.

Account Management

You can create an account and manage your loans through Navy Federal’s secure digital banking platform. You can make payments, download statements, and update your contact information once you sign in.

How Navy Federal Compares to Other Personal Loan Companies

As a credit union, Navy Federal returns any surplus funds to its members through lower interest rates and fewer fees. But its loans are only available to qualifying members, and not everyone is eligible for membership.

Here’s how Navy Federal compares to First Tech Credit Union, another leading lender, if you’re looking for a personal loan and are interested in joining a credit union.

Navy Federal vs. First Tech

Like Navy Federal, First Tech Federal Credit Union offers both secured and unsecured personal loans. But there are three key differences between the two lenders:

  • Navy Federal’s maximum loan term for personal loans that aren't used for home improvements is just 60 months, but First Tech offers loan terms as long as 84 months for personal loans. 
  • Navy Federal doesn’t have a loan prequalification tool so you have to undergo a hard credit inquiry to review your loan options. This can cause a small dip in your credit score. You can prequalify with First Tech and view your rates without impacting your credit score. 
  • You must be a member of the U.S. armed forces, a veteran, Department of Defense personnel, or an immediate family member of a qualifying individual to join Navy Federal. First Tech’s eligibility criteria for membership are much broader. You can join simply by supporting partner organizations online.
  Navy Federal First Tech 
Loan Amounts $250 to $50,000 $500 to $50,000
Loan Terms  2 to 7 years  2 to 7 years 
APR  7.49% to 18.00%  As low as 8.99% 
Origination Fee  $0  $0 
Late Fee  $29  $25 
Unemployment Protection Available  No  Yes 

Read our full First Tech Federal Credit Union personal loans review.

Final Verdict

It can be a cost-effective choice if you qualify for membership with Navy Federal Credit Union. It offers a wide range of loan amounts, and there are extended loan terms for home improvement loans. Its interest rates are competitive and it doesn’t charge origination fees, so you might save money borrowing through Navy Federal Credit Union rather than another lender. 

But not everyone will be eligible for Navy Federal’s loans. And there's no prequalification tool if you have less-than-perfect credit so there’s no way to find out if you’re eligible for a loan without undergoing a credit check. It may be wise to shop around and get quotes from other leading personal loan lenders offering prequalification options so you can compare rates without impacting your credit score.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to get a personal loan with Navy Federal?

It's probably more difficult to qualify for a Navy Federal membership than it is to get a personal loan from this lender, and loans are restricted to members. You must be an active member or veteran of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Space Force, although Department of Defense Officer Candidates and Reservists qualify, too.

Those in the Delayed Entry Program are eligible, as are family members and retirees, but all these options still represent a limited percentage of the population.

What credit score is needed to get a loan with Navy Federal?

Navy Federal doesn't impose a carved-in-stone minimum credit score for qualifying for a personal loan. It will evaluate your entire credit history rather than look at just that one three-digit number, but this doesn't mean that a higher score isn't better. A score in the upper 600s or higher will earn you a lesser interest rate and improve your chances of qualifying.

How long does Navy Federal take to approve a loan?

You can be approved within minutes if you apply online, and you should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours. But this is just the application process itself. It could take you some time to get ready to apply, gathering the required documentation such as pay stubs and tax returns. The timing can vary if you apply in person at a branch location.

Can anyone get a loan from Navy Federal Credit Union?

Only members of Navy Federal Credit Union can get a loan from this institution. Again, this means being a member of the military, a reservist, or employed by the government in a few capacities. But the list of acceptable family members is rather extensive, including parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and even siblings. And household members qualify, too.


Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. We collected over 25 data points across more than 50 lenders to rate providers, including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their borrowing needs.  

Our full personal loans methodology, including our data collection process and weighted data points, is available for review.

Article Sources
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  2. Navy Federal. "Personal Loans."

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  4. Navy Federal. "Consumer Loans."

  5. J.D. Power. "Personal Loans Emerge as Critical Financial Lifeline in Challenging Economy, J.D. Power Finds," Page 3.

  6. Trustpilot. "Navy Federal Credit Union."

  7. First Tech Federal Credit Union. "Rates & Fees."

  8. First Tech Credit Union. "Become a Member."