Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loans Review

This lender offers competitive maximum interest rates and minimal fees

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Navy Federal Credit Union personal loan review
overall rating
3.7

Navy Federal Credit Union, established in 1933, offers numerous financial services to more than 9 million members, including personal loans. Members of the credit union may qualify to borrow up to $50,000. 

If you have a fair credit rating and are a member (or eligible to join), it’s worth finding out if you qualify for a personal loan. Navy Federal’s maximum annual percentage rate (APR) for personal loans is 18%—considerably lower than the maximum APR many other lenders charge. 

  • Product Specifications
  • Pros & Cons
  • Fees
Product Specifications
  • APR Range 7.49% to 18%
  • Loan Amounts $250 to $50,000
  • Loan Terms 6 to 60 months
  • Recommended Minimum Credit Score 580
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lengthy repayment terms available

  • Wide range of loan amounts

  • Potentially access funds the same day

  • Minimal fees

Cons
  • Must be a member of the credit union to qualify

  • No prequalification feature

  • Higher minimum APRs on lengthier loan terms

Fees
  • Origination fee: none
  • Prepayment penalty: none
  • Late Fee: $29
  • Returned Payment Fee: $29
  • Federal Express Fee: $5.65
  • Certified Mail Fee: $5.83

Pros Explained

  • Lengthy repayment terms available You may have up to 180 months to repay the money you borrow, depending on the type of personal loan. Home improvement loans and the “Shares Secured Loan” options both offer up to 180-month repayment terms. Other types of personal loans, such as those for personal expenses or debt consolidation, may allow you to stretch your payments out over a timeframe as long as 60 months. 
  • Wide range of loan amounts – Navy Federal offers loan amounts between $250 to $50,000 to help their members with a wide variety of borrowing needs. With certain secured loan products, the maximum loan amount available may be even higher. 
  • Potentially access funds the same day – If you need to use the money you borrow quickly, a personal loan from Navy Federal could help. Most eligible applicants are able to enjoy same-day funding.
  • Minimal fees -- Navy Federal doesn't charge origination fees or prepayment penalties. This means you may be able to receive a competitive rate and pay back your loan at anytime without incurring additional charges. 

Cons Explained

  • Must be a member of the credit union to qualify Membership in Navy Federal Credit Union is only available to certain individuals. The credit union defines those who are eligible for membership as someone who fits into one of the following categories: active duty members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Air National Guard, Delayed Entry Program (DEP), DoD Officer Candidates/ROTC, DoD Reservists, DoD civilian employees, veterans, retirees, and annuitants. Immediate family members of those who are eligible for membership may also qualify.  
  • No prequalification feature Unlike many other personal loan lenders, Navy Federal does not offer a prequalification option online. As a result, you must be a member of the credit union and complete an actual loan application to discover if you qualify and what rate and terms you will be offered. 
  • Higher minimum APRs on lengthier loan terms Although Navy Federal is generous with its repayment terms, longer loan terms come with higher minimum APRs. For example, home improvement loans with 61- to 180-month terms start at 15.29%.

COVID-19 Assistance 

Navy Federal Credit Union is offering a variety of options to members who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Those who are eligible for assistance may be able to take advantage of loan extensions, payment deferment, pandemic relief loans, and more. Those who want to learn if they are eligible for loan extensions and deferments, including new members, should call for more details.

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal allows its members to use the personal loan funds they borrow for a variety of purposes. Loans are available for planned and unplanned personal expenses such as:

  • Major purchases
  • Auto repairs
  • Relocation expenses
  • Vacations 
  • Home improvement projects 
  • Medical expenses
  • Debt consolidation

Time to Receive Funds

Borrowers may be able to access the funds they borrow from Navy Federal Credit Union quickly. Same-day funding occurs with most approved loans.

Other Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Features

  • Loan Discounts Eligible active duty and retired military members can qualify for a 0.25% APR discount on certain loans with Navy Federal Credit Union. You must sign up for direct deposit to qualify for the discount, and mortgage loans are excluded. Additionally, you must apply either online or in person at a branch to take advantage of the loan discount offer. 
  • Joint Applications – Navy Federal allows you to apply for a personal loan with a co-signer. If you have credit problems or no established credit at all, adding a joint applicant with a better credit standing may benefit you. Just remember that co-borrowers are equally liable for the debt. So, in the event you can’t keep up with your payments, you might damage the credit ratings of both yourself and your joint applicant. 
  • Partner Perks and Discounts – As a member of Navy Federal Credit Union, you can enjoy a number of benefits and discounts. From lower rates on car rentals to better insurance premiums, there are many special perks you can take advantage of if you wish.
  • Mobile App – Navy Federal Credit Union offers an app members can use across multiple mobile devices, including Apple, Android, and Kindle products. Personal loan borrowers can use the app to manage their accounts.

Apply For a Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan

Navy Federal Credit Union might offer you a better deal than other online lenders, but you must first become a member of the credit union before you can apply for financing. You can discover if you are eligible for membership and join the credit union online, via phone, or at a branch. 

You can’t check your loan eligibility or your rate with a soft initial credit check. Therefore, you’ll need to complete an official application to discover whether you qualify for a personal loan and, if you do, the rate and terms the credit union will offer you. That will trigger a hard credit inquiry that will affect your credit score temporarily.

Members can apply for personal expense loans online. However, if you want to see if you are eligible for a home improvement loan, debt consolidation loan, shares secured loan, or certificate secured loan, you will need to call the credit union or visit a branch in person. 

You should be prepared to provide the following information with your application: 

  • Desired loan amount
  • Preferred loan term
  • Income information
  • Current employer information
  • Personal information (such as name, phone number, and email address)
  • Co-applicant information (if applicable)

Can I Refinance a Personal Loan With Navy Federal Credit Union? 

Navy Federal Credit Union allows its members to refinance certain types of loans from an outside lender with a new loan through the credit union.   However, its website gives no indication that it is possible to refinance existing Navy Federal Credit Union personal loans.

Verdict

There are a number of reasons you might need to take out a personal loan. Unplanned expenses, home improvement projects, and high-interest debt consolidation are just a few examples of times when a personal loan might be a good idea

Still, it’s wise to be sure you’re borrowing to improve your situation and not simply taking on debt that you could avoid. A personal loan should leave you in a better financial position, not a worse one. 


Available nationwide, Navy Federal Credit Union offers its members competitive rates (especially for fair-credit borrowers given the low minimum credit score requirement) and minimal fees (no origination fees or prepayment penalties). That makes it an option worth considering if you need a personal loan. Plus, with a wide range of loan amounts and terms offered, Navy Federal can be a great contender if you're looking for a personal loan for a myriad of reasons.

Unfortunately, there are membership requirements to join the credit union and there is no prequalification option. If this is a concern (or you can't meet the requirements), there are plenty of other competitors offering similar rates and terms.

As with any lender, it’s wise to compare the loan offer you receive from Navy Federal with other lenders. Shopping around for the best deal on a personal loan could potentially save you a considerable amount of money over the life of your loan.

Methodology

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—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their needs.

Article Sources

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  2. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Am I Eligible for Membership?" Accessed May 8, 2020.

  3. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Personal and Home Improvement Loans: Secure the Money You Need." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  4. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Loan Discounts for Active Duty and Retired Military Members." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  5. Navy Federal Credit Union. "The Ins and Outs of Co-signing a Loan." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  6. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Member Offers & Discounts." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  7. Navy Federal Credit Union. "MOBILE BANKING: Your Mobile Experience, Reimagined." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  8. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Personal and Home Improvement Loans: Application Checklist." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  9. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Mortgage Refinancing." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  10. Navy Federal Credit Union. "How to Refinance a Car Loan." Accessed May 8, 2020.

  11. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Student Loans Refinance." Accessed May 8, 2020.