Navy Federal Personal Loan Review

Learn about Navy Federal personal loan rates and more

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Navy Federal 

overall rating
3.7

A Navy Federal Credit Union personal loan will appeal to people who need funds quickly and want a longer repayment term. Navy Federal Credit Union offers low-interest rates, even for people with the lowest credit scores. The highest interest rate available is 18.00%, which is impressive considering other lenders list significantly higher rates for borrowers with poor credit. 

The catch? To be eligible to borrow from Navy Federal, you need to qualify for membership.

  • Product Specifications
  • Pros and Cons
  • Fees
  • Company Overview
Product Specifications
  • APR Range 7.49% to 18.00%
  • Loan Amounts $250 to $50,000
  • Loan Terms 6 to 60 months
  • Recommended Min Credit Score 580
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Low interest rate

  • Small loans available

  • No origination or prepayment fees

Cons
  • Must meet membership eligibility criteria to apply

  • No prequalification option

  • Interest rates increase significantly for longer-term loans

  • High late-payment fee

Fees
  • Origination fee: No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: $29
  • Returned payment fee: $29
Company Overview

Navy Federal Credit Union began in 1933 and now has more than 9 million members. To join, you or one of your family members has to meet a set of service-related membership criteria. In addition to personal loans, the credit union offers checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and more.

Top Rated For

Pros of Navy Federal

  • Low-interest rate: Navy Federal Credit Union’s highest annual percentage rate (APR) of 18.00% is significantly lower than those of many other personal loan lenders. That’s because credit union APRs are capped at 18.00%. Some lenders that approve borrowers with poor credit have interest rates that go as high as 35.99%—nearly double that of Navy Federal.
  • Small loans available: Personal loans start at just $250, which is lower than all other major personal loan lenders. If you don’t need to borrow much, a Navy Federal personal loan is a great alternative to payday loans, which usually have high fees on small loan amounts.
  • No origination or prepayment fees: Navy Federal isn’t the only personal loan lender to skip these fees, but it’s a definite perk—especially when considered along with the lower interest rates.

Cons of Navy Federal

  • Must meet membership eligibility criteria to apply: To get a loan, you need to be a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union. And to join, you or a family member need to be a member of the armed forces or a related department. This requirement might prevent many potential borrowers from applying for a Navy Federal personal loan.
  • No prequalification option: A prequalification option lets you see if you’re eligible for a personal loan without hurting your credit score. However, Navy Federal doesn’t offer that option, which means your credit score may drop after you apply due to the hard credit pull. If you don’t have strong enough credit to all but guarantee a loan, this factor might keep you from deciding to apply.
  • Interest rates increase for longer-term loans: If you take out a loan for up to 36 months, the lowest APR is 7.49%. For loans of 37 to 60 months, the lowest possible rate jumps to 14.79%. The increase for the lowest rate on longer loans isn’t nearly as steep with some other lenders, such as Lightstream.
  • High late-payment fee: The $29 fee is almost twice as much as you’d pay for some of the top lenders that charge late fees on personal loans. Typical late fees tend to be around $15, and some lenders, like SoFi and Marcus, don’t charge any at all.

Navy Federal Personal Loan Rates & Terms

The credit union offers the same rates no matter what you use the loan for. The rates vary, though, based on the length of repayment:

  • Personal, debt consolidation, and home improvement loans from six to 36 months: 7.49% to 18.00% APR
  • Personal, debt consolidation, and home improvement loans from 37 to 60 months: 14.79% to 18.00% APR
  • Home improvement loans from 61 to 180 months: 15.29% to 18.00% APR

Your interest rate is based on your creditworthiness, but Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t list a minimum credit score requirement.

Navy Federal also offers secured personal loans that use a savings account or certificate of deposit (CD) as collateral.

How Much Can You Borrow With Navy Federal?

For personal expenses and debt consolidation loans, you can borrow from $250 to $50,000, with repayment terms of up to five years.

There’s a $25,000 minimum for home improvement loans with repayment between 61 and 84 months. If you’re looking for an even longer repayment period, there’s a $30,000 minimum for home improvement loans between 85 and 180 months.

Navy Federal Personal Loan Fees

Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge origination or prepayment fees. However, you’ll pay a $29 fee if your payment is returned or you pay it late.

How to Get a Personal Loan From Navy Federal

If you’re already a member, you can apply by logging into your Navy Federal account. There’s no prequalification option, so when you apply, your credit score may drop slightly because the credit union will do a hard inquiry to assess your creditworthiness.

If you’re not a member yet but meet the eligibility criteria, you’ll need to become a member first.

Final Verdict

Navy Federal Credit Union’s personal loans have good interest rates if you don’t have great credit, with a relatively low maximum APR at 18%. And for borrowers who only need a small amount of money and want to pay it back quickly, Navy Federal is a good option compared to payday loans.

However, membership is a big hurdle for potential borrowers. If you don’t qualify for membership through your own military service or a relative’s service, you can’t access Navy Federal personal loans. You may want to look at other credit unions—even those that require membership—to take advantage of similar low interest rates. But if you need a personal loan right away, consider applying with a lender that doesn’t have a membership requirement.

Methodology

We look at 40 data points from dozens of financial institutions to evaluate lenders for our personal loan reviews. Because a loan’s APR can dramatically impact the total cost you pay, we weight that features the heaviest. But since a great APR usually requires at least a good credit score, we also give points to lenders who may have a higher potential APR but offer loans to people with less-than-perfect credit scores.

Along those lines, we favor lenders who allow you to see if you prequalify before applying for a loan, so you won’t harm your credit score just by applying. Origination, prepayment, and late fees all get counted in our assessment. And lastly, we deduct points from the ratings of lenders with restricted access—for instance, those who require you to first have another type of account with them or to join a nonprofit organization.  

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. National Credit Union Administration. "Can a Credit Union Charge Any Interest Rate It Wants on Loans?" Accessed Oct. 15, 2020.

  2. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Personal Loans," see "Personal Loan Options." Accessed Oct. 15, 2020. 

  3. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Become a Member," see "Who Can Join?" Accessed Oct. 15, 2020. 

  4. Navy Federal. "Fees and Charges," see "Consumer Loan Fees." Accessed Oct. 15, 2020.

  5. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Personal Loans." Accessed Oct. 15, 2020.