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Best Personal Loans for Veterans June 2024

Personal loans for veterans are unsecured loans offered specifically to military veterans to meet their financial needs. Veterans often qualify for reduced interest rates and favorable terms on personal loans.

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Overview

Upgrade is an online lender that has been around since 2016. It caters to the needs of a wide range of people, including people who want to refinance credit cards, make significant purchases, and make improvements to their homes.

It also offers a no-fee checking account that provides cash-back opportunities, as well as a variety of different credit lines. This Upgrade review will look at everything that Upgrade brings to the table.

Key Facts

  • Discounts for Upgrade account owners
  • No prepayment fees
  • Fast funding in 1-4 days

Pros

pros iconOffers a small minimum loan amount

pros iconDeals with credit scores of at least 580

pros iconNo early prepayment fee

pros iconQuick time to funding

pros iconSolid mobile app to manage loans

Cons

cons iconCharges origination fee

cons iconLate fees in place

  • $1K-$50K Loan Amount
  • 580 Min Credit
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Overview

SoFi, or Social Finance, Inc., was founded in 2011 by Stanford business school students. It started as a way to connect recent graduates with alumni in their community.

In 2012, it became the first private company to refinance both private and federal student loans. A couple of years after that, it started offering mortgage loans, personal loans, and more. By 2019, the company had released SoFi Invest (stock trading) and SoFi Money (cash management account).

Along with loans, SoFi also offers credit cards, budgeting tools, and unique benefits to members. Its goal is to become a one-stop shop for all its consumers’ financial needs.

Sofi is a public company: stock ticker NASDAQ: SOFI

Key Facts

  • Competitive rates available for good credit scores and income source
  • Access to financial advisors, private networking events, & unemployment protection
  • Flexible terms & payment options with no fees whatsoever
  • Max Loan Amount: $100K

Pros

pros iconPersonal loan application process is easy and only takes a few minutes to complete

pros iconSoft credit check that doesn’t affect your credit score and gives you personalized rates

pros iconFixed and variable rate loans available ranging from $5,000 to $100,000

pros iconNo late or origination fees required

pros iconExcellent customer support team

pros iconOnline autopay comes with a discount on interest

pros iconExclusive benefits for members (ex. networking events and access to financial advisors)

pros iconUnemployment Protection feature comes with a temporary payment pause (up to 12 months)

pros iconNo prepayment penalties

Cons

cons iconMay take up to 4 days to receive funds after approval (longer than other online lenders)

cons iconHigh eligibility requirements (ex. good credit and sufficient income)

  • $5K-$100K Loan Amount
  • 680 Min Credit
  • 8.99-29.99% APR
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Overview

LightStream is a division of Truist Financial Corporation, acting as its online loans division. LightStream market itself as offering personal loans for practically any purpose, providing loan funding for people with good to excellent credit ratings.

LightStream was founded in 2012 and launched in 2013 as a division of SunTrust Bank. When SunTrust and BB&T merged in 2019, becoming Truist, LightStream came along as part of the deal, and it hasn’t looked back. Another selling point of LightStream’s offering is its same-day loans, where personal loan funding can be in your account on the same day you apply.

Light Stream is a public company: stock ticker NASDAQ: CSCO

Key Facts

  • Good credit gets low rates and zero fees
  • Fast and easy online process
  • $100 Loan Experience Guarantee¹
  • Max Loan Amount: $100K
  • Powered by Credible

Pros

pros iconGet a loan for practically anything

pros iconAutopay discount available

pros iconDedicated app to manage your loan

pros iconLightStream doesn’t charge any fees

Cons

cons iconPersonal loan up to $100K

cons iconRequires steady income

cons icon1-3 Days till funding

  • $5K-$100K Loan Amount
  • 660 Min Credit
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Overview

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) was established in 1935 and has grown to become the third largest credit union in the US. The company boasts over 2.8 million members and caters to individuals in all 50 states, with more than $36 billion of assets under management. PenFed offers a wide range of financial products, including mortgages, personal loans, HELOC, student loans, and student loan refinancing.

Headquartered in Virginia, the company holds valid regulation with the National Credit Union Administration. PenFed is also known for its competitive interest rates and attractive features, such as spousal loan refinancing.

Key Facts

  • Useful mobile app to manage your loan
  • Accepts co-signer and joint applications
  • Wide range of term lengths and amounts

Pros

pros iconFast funding time

pros iconGreat reputation

pros iconLow-fee loans

pros iconWide range of term lengths

Cons

cons iconYou need to be a PenFed Credit Union member to get a loan

cons iconDoesn’t disclose all eligibility requirements

  • $600-$50K Loan Amount
  • 690 Min Credit
  • 8.49-17.99% APR

VA Home Loans

June 2024

Low Rates
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Overview

Founded in 2003 by husband-and-wife team Rick and Patty Arvielo, New American Funding has since grown from a family office to a nationwide force. The prominent direct lender now has offices in 32 states and has issued over $60 billion of home mortgages.

Well-known for its wide range of mortgage options, New American Funding caters to minority communities and provides niche products for borrowers with poor credit histories. The company can help take customers from the starting stages of mortgage qualification to closing the loan, even if they require non-traditional credit evaluation methods.

Pros

pros iconManual underwriting available to evaluate credit

pros iconOne of the few non-bank lenders offering equity lending and reverse mortgages

pros iconCan participate in the entire process online

pros iconEnglish and Spanish-speaking loan officers available

Cons

cons iconNot available in Hawaii or New York

cons iconDoesn’t work with down payment assistance programs in all states

  • check mark Low down payments required ~3%
  • check mark Dedicated to serving minorities
  • check mark Customizable mortgages for a range of credit scores
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Overview

Quicken Loans has grown to become one of the largest mortgage providers in the US. The company has been in operation since 1999, and in the period from 2013 to 2017 closed over $400 billion of mortgages across America. In 2015, Quicken Loans launched Rocket Mortgage, an online-only mortgage provider and the first mortgage provider to close all mortgage deals electronically.

Similarly, on 31 July 2021, Quicken Loans rebranded to Rocket Mortgage, with all mortgages now being issued under the one entity. The Quicken Loans website is still operational, but all traffic is redirected to Rocket Mortgage when you click on any apply now button.

Quicken Loans is a public company: stock ticker NYSE: RKT

 

Pros

pros iconRate Lock

pros iconOnline application process

pros iconGood reputation for customer satisfaction

pros iconPre-approval available

Cons

cons iconFees could potentially be high

cons iconNo physical branches available

  • check mark Start with certainty, close with confidence
  • check mark Apply online for free, anytime

What Are Veteran Personal Loans?

Active-duty service members and their families may also be eligible for VA personal loans. Various financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and online lenders, offer these loans. These loans can achieve multiple financial goals, making qualifying for loans easier.

VA Loans are Designed Specifically:

  • Only available to current or former members of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves, and their spouses.
  • Often comes with more favorable terms and lower interest rates than traditional personal loans.
  • It is easier for veterans to qualify for financing with less strict eligibility requirements.
  • VA personal loan lenders don't typically charge a prepayment penalty if the borrower pays off the loan early.

What Makes Personal Loans for Veterans Special?

There are several unique benefits to veterans' personal loans tailored to their unique needs.

  1. Lower Interest Rates: Many lenders offer reduced interest rates on personal loans for veterans. These lower rates can result in significant savings over the life of the loan, making it more affordable for veterans.
  2. Flexible Terms: Lenders may provide more flexible repayment terms on personal loans for veterans. This flexibility can include longer repayment periods, which can help reduce monthly payments and make the loan more manageable.
  3. Fewer Fees: Some lenders waive or reduce certain fees, such as origination fees or prepayment penalties, for veteran borrowers. This can lower the overall cost of borrowing.
  4. Easier Qualification Criteria: Understanding the unique life circumstances of veterans, some lenders may have more lenient qualification criteria for loan approval, including considerations for credit history and income.
  5. Additional Support Services: Lenders who specialize in loans for veterans often offer additional support services, such as financial counseling and assistance with navigating veterans' benefits.
  6. Specialized for Veteran Needs: These loans can be tailored to meet specific needs, such as debt consolidation, home improvements, or medical expenses, acknowledging the unique challenges that veterans might face.
  7. Veteran-specific Benefits: Some loans are integrated with veteran-specific benefits or programs, ensuring that borrowers can make the most of their military service benefits.
  8. Recognition of Military Service: Lenders who offer these loans often acknowledge and respect the service of veterans, which can translate into a more understanding and accommodating lending process.

Personal Loans for Veterans: Key Terms 

Here are the main terms to know when learning about a personal loan as a veteran:

  • Credit score: Applying for financing can affect your credit score. Taking out a large loan could also increase your credit utilization and cause your score to drop. But with on-time payments, you can start building your credit back up.
  • Requirements: Eligibility varies by lender, so check their criteria. Common requirements include a minimum credit score, steady income or proof of employment, and a maximum debt-to-income ratio.
  • Repayment term & rate: Personal loans usually have a fixed interest rate, meaning your monthly payment will always be the same throughout the life of the loan. Your credit score greatly impacts the rate and term you get. A better credit score and higher income could help you qualify for a lower APR, flexible terms, and higher loan amounts.
  • APR (Annual Percentage Rate): A key financial term used to describe the interest rate on a loan.
  • Total loan cost: When calculating your monthly payment amount, calculate how much the entire loan will cost. Things like origination fees and interest rates can add to the total amount.

How do Personal Loans for Veterans Work?

Personal loans for veterans work similarly to standard personal loans. You can typically get them through banks, credit unions, and private lenders — many of which operate fully online. Once you have the funds, you can use them for nearly anything, including home repairs, debt consolidation, and big-ticket items.

Types of Personal Loans for Veterans

  • Unsecured: An unsecured personal loan doesn’t require collateral. This makes them less risky to the borrower since the lender can’t take your assets if you default on the loan. These loans typically come with stricter credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio requirements. However, VA loans are easier to obtain than regular personal loans.
  • Secured: These loans require you to put up collateral like a house or paid-off vehicle in exchange for funds. Many secured loans come with more lenient requirements than unsecured ones. The lender can take the asset if you fail to make payments.

Personal loans come in two types, requiring regular payments until the balance and interest are fully paid off. Payments are fixed unless you choose a loan with a variable interest rate.

Generally, the better your credit score and financial situation, the better your terms, rates, and approval odds will be. However, getting a personal loan as a veteran is still possible, even with limited income or poor credit. Just know that you could have higher interest rates or less favorable terms.

Average Personal Loan Rates for Veterans

Personal loan rates and terms depend on a few things, including the lender and your credit score. Here are a few of the best lenders that work with veterans:

sofi logo
SoFi

Low Rates. No Fees are Required.

680

Min Credit Score

8.99-29.99%

APR. Fixed Rate

8.99-29.99%

APR. Variable Rate

$5K-$100K

Loan Amount

24 to 84 months

Repayment terms

Yes

Soft Credit Pull

Direct

Lender Type

None

Other Fees

None

Origination Fee

None

Prepayment Fee

Same-day funding if approved before 7:00 PM ET days

Funding Time

Pros & Cons

drop-down-btn
  • con-icon Personal loan application process is easy and only takes a few minutes to complete
  • con-icon Soft credit check that doesn’t affect your credit score and gives you personalized rates
  • con-icon Fixed and variable rate loans available ranging from $5,000 to $100,000
  • con-icon No late or origination fees required
  • con-icon Excellent customer support team
  • con-icon Online autopay comes with a discount on interest
  • con-icon Exclusive benefits for members (ex. networking events and access to financial advisors)
  • con-icon Unemployment Protection feature comes with a temporary payment pause (up to 12 months)
  • con-icon No prepayment penalties
  • con-icon May take up to 4 days to receive funds after approval (longer than other online lenders)
  • con-icon High eligibility requirements (ex. good credit and sufficient income)

Loan Purpose

drop-down-btn
  • Credit Card Refinance
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Home Improvement
  • Major Purchase
  • Medical Expenses
  • Relocation
  • Vacation
  • Wedding

Loan Type

drop-down-btn
  • Unsecured Personal Loans
Upgrade Personal Loans Logo
Upgrade

Flexible Personal Loan Options

580

Min Credit Score

8.49-35.99%

APR. Fixed Rate

$1K-$50K

Loan Amount

24-84 months

Repayment terms

Yes

Soft Credit Pull

Direct

Lender Type

Yes

Other Fees

1.85-9.99%

Origination Fee

None

Prepayment Fee

1 days

Funding Time

Pros & Cons

drop-down-btn
  • con-icon Offers a small minimum loan amount
  • con-icon Deals with credit scores of at least 580
  • con-icon No early prepayment fee
  • con-icon Quick time to funding
  • con-icon Solid mobile app to manage loans
  • con-icon Charges origination fee
  • con-icon Late fees in place

Loan Purpose

drop-down-btn
  • Credit Card Refinance
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Home Improvement
  • Major Purchase

Loan Type

drop-down-btn
  • Secured Personal Loans
  • Unsecured Personal Loans
  • Fixed-Rate Personal Loans

600

Min Credit Score

8.98-35.99%

APR. Fixed Rate

8.98-35.99%

APR. Variable Rate

$1K-$40K

Loan Amount

24-60 months

Repayment terms

Yes

Soft Credit Pull

Marketplace

Lender Type

Yes

Other Fees

3-6%

Origination Fee

None

Prepayment Fee

5 days

Funding Time

Pros & Cons

drop-down-btn
  • con-icon Funding in as few as 4 days
  • con-icon Ability to sign up for automatic payments
  • con-icon No prepayment penalties
  • con-icon Origination fees ranging from 1% - 6%
  • con-icon Social security number is required
  • con-icon Must be U.S. citizen / On a valid long-term visa

Loan Purpose

drop-down-btn
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Home Improvement

Loan Type

drop-down-btn
  • Unsecured Personal Loans

How to Get a Personal Loan for Veterans

Although every lender is a little different, here’s the general process for applying for a personal loan as a veteran:

  1. Determine the Purpose: Understand why you need the loan (e.g., debt consolidation, home improvement, emergency expenses) to decide how much you need and how long.
  2. Check Your Credit Score: Before applying, check your credit score to ensure no errors. Your credit score will influence your eligibility and the interest rate you receive.
  3. Calculate Your Monthly Payments: Use an online loan calculator to determine your monthly payment (estimated)based on your loan amount, interest rate, and terms. 
  4. Compare Multiple Lenders: Look for lenders who cater to veterans, as they would have specific offers for this audience. Some lenders offer better than others, so shop around before choosing one. 
  5. Look for Veteran-specific Benefits: Some lenders may offer lower interest rates, waived fees, or other perks for veterans. Ask potential lenders if they have any special programs or offers.
  6. Consider Prequalification: Prequalifying for a loan lets you compare offers from different lenders without affecting your credit score (make sure they perform a soft credit check).
  7. Complete Application: Once you’ve settled on a lender, it’s time to complete the application. You may need documents like bank statements, government-issued IDs, and W-2s.
  8. Wait for the Decision: After applying, wait for the lender’s decision. They will either approve or deny your application or request additional information. They will also perform a hard credit check, affecting your credit score.
  9. Receive Funds: The time to funding varies by lender. Some lenders offer same-day or next-day funding, while others take a few days or weeks to disburse funds. You’ll typically receive the full loan amount in a lump-sum payment to your bank account.
  10. Set Up Repayment: Understand your repayment terms. Automating payments can help ensure you don't miss any.

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans for Veterans

Pros Cons
Lenders might view you as lower risk than other borrowers, providing better terms and rates. Missing payments or taking on too much debt could hurt your credit score.
You can utilize the funds for various purposes, such as purchasing, consolidating, financing, or renovating. VA loans have limits on the amount that can be borrowed.
Good credit could get you competitive terms and rates. Additional documentation and requirements may be necessary, which can prolong the application and approval process.
More flexible options exist compared to traditional personal loans. VA loans are only available to eligible veterans, service members, and their families.

Alternatives to Personal Loans for Veterans

Looking for something else? Here are a few alternatives:

  • Department of Veteran Affairs: The VA offers veterans benefits, resources, and services. This includes education and training, healthcare, employment assistance, pension programs, and more.
  • Home Equity Loan or HELOC: If you own a home with equity, you may qualify for a Home Equity Loan or HELOC. Both options are secured using your home equity and can be used for things like debt consolidation or home repairs. The main drawback is that you could lose your home if you don’t repay what you borrow.
  • Business loan: If you have a business and want to expand, consider an SBA-backed business loan. These loans often come with competitive rates and flexible terms for veterans.

Conclusion

In conclusion, personal loans for veterans can be a useful resource for those who have served in the military and their families. These loans often come with favorable terms and conditions and reduced interest rates due to the veteran’s service to the country.

VA loans, specifically, are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which can make it easier for veterans to qualify for financing. If you are a veteran considering a personal loan, be sure to shop around and compare multiple lenders, and carefully review the terms and conditions before signing the loan agreement. Overall, personal loans for veterans can be a helpful financial tool to help veterans achieve their goals and meet their financial needs.