Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Review: Long Terms and Large Loans for Members

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Current members of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) should consider a personal loan from the credit union, especially if they only have average or fair credit. This is because Navy Federal has a maximum interest rate of 18% whereas most other lenders have rates up to 36%. Another thing we like about NFCU is that the credit union allows you to cosign or secure your loan, which can help you qualify for a lower rate. However, for borrowers with great credit, we recommend checking your rate at a few online lenders first to see if you can qualify for a rate below 8.19%, which is the lowest rate at NFCU.

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Review: Should You Apply?

  • on Navy Federal Credit Union's secure website
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While Navy Federal personal loans are only available to its members, we think the credit union is especially great for borrowers with average or fair credit. This is because NFCU has interest rates capped at 18% (most personal loans have rates up to 36%), allows co-signers and offers secured loans.

Good for...Bad for...
  • Existing NFCU members
  • Average credit borrowers who would only get a higher rate elsewhere
  • Non-NFCU members
  • Creditworthy borrowers who can get a better deal elsewhere

Because the interest rate for federal credit unions is capped at 18%, we think Navy Federal is great for borrowers who may only get a higher rate elsewhere. For comparison, most online personal loan companies and even banks may have rates as high as 36%. On a $10,000 three-year loan, you would repay a total of $16,489 with a 36% APR. If your APR were instead 18%, which is the maximum at Navy Federal, you would only repay $13,014, saving over $3,000 in the process. Moreover, many credit unions are known for having more accepting credit requirements and working with borrowers who may be rejected from a bank.

Another option for average to fair credit borrowers is to get a co-signed or secured personal loan from Navy Federal. The rates on secured loans start low at the share or certificate rate plus 2% to 3%. For example, if your CD rate is 1.05%, the lowest rate you can get is 3.05%. And you may be able to borrow more, depending on what you have in your savings or CD account (the loan value is determined by what’s in your account).

For borrowers with great credit, we recommend they check their rate a couple of online lenders to see if they can get a better deal. Online lenders like SoFi, Earnest and LightStream all cater to borrowers with excellent credit. Both SoFi and LightStream also provide unsecured loans up to $100,000 without the term limits that Navy Federal imposes. This advice also holds true if you want a long-term loan as Navy Federal sets a high minimum interest rates for loans with maturities over three years. While longer loans generally come with higher rates, it’s still advisable to shop around for a better deal.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a personal loan from this lender, there are minimum criteria you must meet. We’ve also listed recommended criteria to meet that will improve your chances of getting approved.

  • Must be Navy Federal Credit Union member

Navy Federal Credit Union states that your rate will be based on your creditworthiness, so borrowers with great credit can generally expect lower rates.

Navy Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Terms and Requirements

Navy Federal Credit Union makes both unsecured and secured personal loans with terms up to 15 years.

Unsecured Personal Loan Terms and Requirements

Navy Federal provides unsecured personal loans to its members. These loans come with annual percentage rates between 8.19% and 18% and terms up to 15 years.

Loan Amount Range
  • Up to $50,000 for up to 5 years
  • $25,000 or more for 5 to 7 years
  • $30,000 or more for 7 to 15 years
APR Range
  • 8.19% - 18.00% for up to 3 years
  • 14.59% - 18.00% for 3 to 5 years
  • 15.09% - 18.00% for 5 to 15 years
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: $29
  • NSF/returned payment fee: $29
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan TermsUp to 15 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsNo

Secured Personal Loan Terms and Requirements

Navy Federal also makes secured personal loans, using the value of your Navy Federal savings account or CD to secure the loan. Because the loan is secured, the loan value cannot exceed the amount of money in your account.

Loan Amount Range
  • Shares secured loan: Up to value of savings account
  • Certificate pledged loan: Up to value of CD
APR Range
  • Shares secured loan:
    • Share rate + 2% for up to 5 years
    • Share rate + 3% for 5 to 15 years
  • Certificate pledged loan: Certificate rate + 2%
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: $29
  • NSF/returned payment fee: $29
  • No check processing fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan TermsUp to 15 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsNo

Application Process

You can apply online, by phone or in person for a Navy Federal personal loan. You will need to be a member of Navy Federal to apply. Once you begin the application process, you will need to tell the credit union how much you want to borrow and for how long you would like to repay the loan. You’ll also need to provide your current employment information and annual income, contact and personal information and your Social Security Number.

Application ProcessOnline, by phone or in person
Time to Get Funds3+ days
Credit CheckHard credit check when you apply
Credit ReportingYes
Cosigners/Co-borrowers Allowed?Yes

Navy Federal allows you to apply with a cosigner who is also a member of the credit union. If you choose this route, your cosigner will need to provide his or her date of birth, address, phone number, email, annual income, employer’s name and number, Social Security Number and NFCU access number. In most cosigning situations, the lender will use the higher credit score of your cosigner to determine the loan rate.

How Does Navy Federal Credit Union Compare to Other Lenders?

If you're thinking about getting a personal loan from Navy Federal Credit Union, you may want to shop around first before you apply. We take a look at some of the credit union's competition.

Navy Federal Credit Union vs. Wells Fargo

  • on Wells Fargo's secure website
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We specifically recommend Wells Fargo for existing customers of the bank with high credit scores. Similar to NFCU, Wells Fargo is only available to members of the bank. Rates at Wells Fargo start at 5.49%, but go up to 22.99%. One thing we like about Wells Fargo is that you can borrow up to $100,000 for up to five years without the term or strict APR cutoffs that NFCU imposes, and you can borrow this money as either a personal loan or line of credit. In addition, Wells Fargo provides APR deductions up to 0.50% for borrowers who enroll in the automatic repayment program. Finally, you can choose to apply for a secured personal loan at Wells Fargo, using your savings account or CD to get up to $250,000 in funds. We recommend borrowers have good to excellent credit to improve their chances of qualifying at Wells Fargo.

Navy Federal Credit Union vs. Discover Personal Loans

  • on LendingTree's secure website
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While you don’t need to be a member to apply for a Discover personal loan, the company offers fairly similar rates and terms. You can borrow up to $35,000 with interest rates starting at 6.99% and going up to 24.99%. Terms range from three to seven years. To qualify at Discover, you’ll need at least $25,000 in annual income and good credit. In general, we recommend borrowers have credit scores of 660 if they are thinking of applying to Discover. One perk to like about Discover is that the lender gives a 30-day money-back guarantee on its personal loans. You can return the full loan amount in 30 days for whatever reason and Discover will not charge any interest on the loan.

Navy Federal Credit Union vs. Citizens Bank

  • on LendingTree's secure website
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We recommend Citizens Bank for any borrower with good to excellent credit as the bank doesn’t require you to have an account there to apply. However, you can receive some APR deductions up to 0.50% if you have an account with the bank and enroll in automatic repayment. Citizens Bank makes unsecured personal loans up to $50,000 with rates between 6.8% and 20.91% and terms up to seven years. To qualify at Citizens Bank, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with good credit and annual income of $24,000 or more. In general, good credit is defined as a credit score above 680. One downside to a Citizens Bank personal loan is that you cannot use the loan for home improvement purposes.

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.