Digital Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Review: Competitive Rates for Member-Qualifying Borrowers

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Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) offers personal loans with no credit score minimum—making it a good option for borrowers with low to average credit who qualify for membership. To become a member, you'll need to be related to a DCU member, part of an eligible organization or company, or live in certain areas of Massachusetts and Georgia. Approval can take as little as one day but DCU performs a hard credit check upon receiving an application, so we recommend shopping around for other personal loans with pre-qualification and soft credit checks before applying, especially if you have good credit history. If you are unsatisfied with the other offers, DCU is still a competitive choice with comparable rates, no origination fee and no prepayment penalty.

Digital Federal Credit Union Review: Should You Apply?

  • on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website
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We recommend applying for a personal loan at Digital Federal Credit Union if you are eligible for membership and you are unable to qualify for other low interest rate options. DCU's interest rates are competitive and include no origination fee or prepayment penalty, but because they perform a hard credit check without a pre-qualification offer and require you to open a savings account, you should consider looking around for lower rates before applying to DCU.

  • Can apply for a loan at any time online or by phone.
  • No credit score requirement.
  • Competitive interest rates.
  • No origination fee or prepayment penalty.
  • Over 5,000 CO-OP shared branches available around the United States and abroad.
  • Brick-and-mortar locations only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
  • Hard credit check upon receiving application.
  • Required to open a $5.00 savings account with DCU.

Digital Federal Credit Union offers member-qualifying borrowers competitive annual percentage rates (APRs) for both secured and unsecured loans. You are able to apply for a loan before signing up as a member to see the rates that you qualify for, and there is no credit score minimum requirement to apply, which is uncommon with banks and alternative lenders. Instead, DCU reviews all of your financial history to determine whether you're eligible. Compared to other lenders, DCU is very competitive in terms of interest rates and servicing. Personal loan interest rates from traditional and alternative lenders can be as high as 36%. In contrast, federal credit unions can legally only charge up to 18% on loans, which makes them a better option for borrowers who wouldn't qualify for 18% or below elsewhere.

DCU allows borrowers to apply for a loan at any time online or by phone and can sometimes even give a decision for your loan request while you’re on the call. Unlike many other lenders that charge an origination fee or prepayment penalty, there are no fees besides a late fee of 4% of the loan amount, which is applied 15 days after the due date. Additionally, with a DCU member number and photo ID, borrowers are able to make loan payments at any DCU branch or any of the 5,000 participating CO-OP shared branches throughout the U.S. and abroad.

For borrowers that have good to excellent credit, DCU can still be a good option, but we recommend shopping around for lower rates first. DCU's rates start at 8% for personal loans, while several alternative lender rates can be as low as 6% for borrowers with excellent credit history. DCU does not allow you to check your rate without a hard credit check, which temporarily lowers your credit score, making it harder to qualify for other loans if you aren't satisfied with the loan terms offered by DCU. Many other lenders will first show the rates you qualify for with a soft credit check and only if you accept the offer, will they perform the hard credit check. Also, in order to be a member, you must open a savings account with DCU with a minimum deposit of $5.00, which can be off-putting for those who don't want to open another bank account. And if you prefer to apply for a loan in person but you don't live in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, DCU won't be the best option.

Eligibility Criteria

Digital Federal Credit Union personal loans are available in all states, but the lender only has brick-and-mortar locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. However, DCU has CO-OP shared branch locations throughout the U.S. and abroad where you can make deposits and withdrawals. To qualify for a DCU personal loan, you should meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a Digital Federal Credit Union member.

To become a DCU member, you must either be part of an eligible organization or community, be related to a current member, or you must live in certain areas of Massachusetts or Georgia. You can check whether you are eligible here. Each loan application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. DCU doesn't have set credit score or income requirements for becoming a member, but it will base your eligibility and rate on these items, in addition to your debt to income ratio. You may apply for a DCU personal loan if you are not a member, but upon acceptance you will have to apply for membership and be approved to receive funds.

Digital Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Rates, Terms and Fees

Digital Federal Credit Union provides unsecured personal loans, savings secured loans and certificate secured loans. The lender also offers specific loans for debt consolidation and building credit.

Unsecured Personal Loans

If you need an unsecured personal loan, DCU offers loans with no origination fee or prepayment penalty up to $25,000 and interest rates between 8% and 18%, if you sign up for electronic payments and relationship benefits.

Loan Amount Range$300 - $25,000
APR Range8.00% - 18.00% with discounts
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: 4% of monthly past due
  • No NSF/returned payment fee
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan Terms1 to 5 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsYes

Savings Secured Personal Loans

In order to become a member, you'll need to open a DCU savings account with a minimum balance of $5.00, which enables you to qualify for a savings secured loan where you borrow against the value of your savings account.

Loan Amount Range$200 - up to value of account
APR Range3.50%
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: 4% of monthly past due
  • No NSF/returned payment fee
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan TermsUp to 10 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsYes

Application Process

Digital Federal Credit Union allows member-qualifying borrowers to apply at any time by offering a 24-hour loan call center and online application. You can also apply for a personal loan at any DCU branch. Approval is quick and in some cases, DCU is able to approve your application the same day.

Application ProcessOnline, by phone or in person
Time to Get Funds1 - 2 days
Credit CheckHard credit check when you apply
Credit ReportingYes
Cosigners/Co-borrowers Allowed?Yes

If you apply online, you'll need to select the purpose for your loan, loan amount and loan term in months. You then need to enter personal information including your name, address, phone number and employment details. If applying over the phone or in person, you'll also need to have these details ready. To apply for a personal loan from DCU online, in person or on the phone, you should be prepared with:

  • Your DCU member number (if applicable)
  • Social Security number
  • Gross annual income before taxes
  • Approximate monthly cost for:
    • Rent or house payment
    • Car loan payments
    • Minimum credit card payments
    • Other monthly debt payments
    • Alimony/child support
  • If applying with a joint applicant, you'll need his/her:
    • Social Security number
    • Birth year
    • Gross annual income

After receiving your application, DCU will perform a hard credit inquiry, which can temporarily lower your credit score. Depending on your information, DCU will send you a decision within one to two business days. And after accepting the loan offer, the funds will be transferred to you within two days, sometimes it is possible to get funding on the same day of approval.

How Does Digital Federal Credit Union Compare to Other Financing Options?

Before committing to a lender for a personal loan, we recommend exploring a variety of options. Below, we have provided a comparison for alternative credit union lenders.

Digital Federal Credit Union vs Alliant Credit Union

  • on Alliant Credit Union's secure website
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Alliant has fewer branch locations than DCU, and most of the application process takes place online or by phone. DCU and Alliant are quite similar in terms of fees, types of loans and application process. To become a member, you'll need to live or work in certain areas of Chicago, be part of an eligible organization or be related to a current member. If you are eligible for membership, we recommend applying to Alliant for the secured personal loan, which has interest rates starting at 3.11 for loan terms up to 49 months. That said, if you need a secured loan for more than 49 months, an unsecured loan or want multiple branch locations, DCU might be the best option with up to 10-year term lengths for secured loans, lower interest rates for unsecured loans and branches throughout Massachusetts, parts of New Hampshire and CO-OP locations.

Highlights (unsecured personal loan)

  • APR: 6.49% - 10.49% with AutoPay
  • Amount: $1,000 - $50,000
  • Terms: 1 to 5 years
  • Repayment: Monthly

Digital Federal Credit Union vs Pentagon Federal Credit Union

  • on PenFed's secure website
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Unlike DCU, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) membership is open to everyone. In order to qualify for membership, you must either serve in the military or uniformed services, be an employee of the U.S. government, be related to a member-qualifying person, or join qualifying organization that provides support to American troops. PenFed and DCU are quite similar in terms of rates, credit score requirements, loan amounts and fees. However, the late fee for PenFed is 20% of your interest amount for the month in contrast to DCU's rate of 4%. If you are unable to qualify for DCU, consider applying Pentagon Federal, especially if you have average to low credit.

Highlights (unsecured personal loan)

  • APR: Starting at 6.49%
  • Amount: $500 - $25,000
  • Terms: 6 months to 5 years
  • Repayment: Monthly

Madison is a former Research Analyst at ValuePenguin who focused on student loans and personal loans. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Financial Economics with a double minor in Business and Psychology.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.