Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loans Review

Navy Federal offers loans with low APRs and no origination fees to its members

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Navy Federal Credit Union logo
Investopedia’s Rating
4.2

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. However, 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
Pros
  • Broad range of loan amounts

  • Potential for lower-than-average APRs

  • Extended terms available on some loans

Cons
  • Must be a member to qualify for a loan

  • High late fees

  • No loan pre-qualification tool

specifications
APR Range
7.49% - 18.00%
Loan Amount
$250 - $50,000
Loan Terms
36 Months or 180 Months
Recommended Minimum Credit Score
0
Average Origination Fee
0.00% - 0.00%
Late Fee
$29.00
Why Trust Us
38
Lenders reviewed
40
Loan features considered
1,520
Data points analyzed
112
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.

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. 

If you apply for a loan and are approved, you can receive the money in as little as one day, 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: To get a loan from Navy Federal Credit Union, you must be a member. 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 some other lenders charge. 
  • No loan pre-qualification 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. However, that's not an option with Navy Federal. You have to apply and undergo a hard credit check to view your loan options.

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. 

Today, 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. 

Its secured and unsecured personal loans are available to residents of all 50 U.S. states.

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.  

For its secured loans, your collateral can be your Navy Federal savings account or you can opt for a certificate 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. Once approved, you could get your loan funds deposited into your bank account in just 24 hours.

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. With other personal loan lenders, the longest term you can find is usually 84 months or less. 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 

Available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon App Store, Navy Federal has a mobile app exclusively for its members. From the app, you can manage your account, update your information, and make payments with your phone.

Apply for a Navy Federal Loan

To be eligible for a loan from Navy Federal, you must be a qualifying member. If you aren’t a credit union member yet, you’ll have to join. 

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. 

Once you’re a member, you can apply for a personal loan by completing an application online or 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. If you plan to apply with a co-applicant, make sure you have their information handy as well.
  • 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, but once complete, you’ll receive a notification via email. If approved, you’ll be sent an electronic loan agreement to review and sign. 

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

Can You Refinance a Personal Loan With Navy Federal?

Although you can use a Navy Federal loan to consolidate high-interest credit card balances or other debt, it doesn’t offer personal loan refinancing at the time of writing.

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 was not ranked on J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, a study that examined and ranked eight top personal loan lenders based on customer satisfaction. 

However, Navy Federal has positive customer reviews overall. On Trustpilot, it has an “excellent” 4.7 out of five stars rating based on over 6,700 reviews. Customers highlight the lender’s responsive service and easy loan application process.

Account Management

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

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. However, its loans are only available to qualifying members, and not everyone is eligible for membership.

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

Navy Federal vs. First Tech

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

  • While Navy Federal’s maximum loan term for personal loans not used for home improvements is just 60 months, First Tech offers loan terms as long as 84 months for personal loans. 
  • Navy Federal doesn’t have a loan pre-qualification tool, so you have to undergo a hard credit inquiry to review your loan options, which can cause a small dip in your credit score. With First Tech, you can prequalify and view your rates without impacting your credit score. 
  • To join Navy Federal, 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. By contrast, First Tech’s eligibility criteria for membership are much broader; you can join 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 6.70% 
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

If you qualify for membership with Navy Federal Credit Union, it can be a cost-effective choice. It offers a wide range of loan amounts, and there are extended loan terms for home improvement loans. Plus, 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. 

However, not everyone will be eligible for Navy Federal’s loans. And if you have less-than-perfect credit, it’s important to know that there’s no pre-qualification tool, 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 pre-qualification options so you can compare rates without impacting your credit.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. To rate providers, we collected over 25 data points across more than 50 lenders, 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. "Am I Eligible for Membership?"

  3. Navy Federal. "Consumer Loans."

  4. Navy Federal. "2021 Fact Sheet."

  5. J.D. Power. "Pandemic Put Lenders to “Digital Test,” J.D. Power Finds."

  6. Trustpilot. "Navy Federal Credit Union."

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