Municipal Credit Union is a better choice for personal loans if you’re a New York City resident who prefers in-person service. PenFed does business nationwide, making it a good choice for personal loans no matter where you live.

PenFed is also Bankrate’s best good credit loan winner and offers loan amounts as low as $600. That is less than the $1,000 minimum required at Municipal Credit Union.

As long as you qualify for membership and meet the lending requirements, you may be able to borrow up to $50,000 with either lender.

Municipal Credit Union vs. PenFed at a glance

Both Municipal Credit Union and PenFed have good terms and identical competitive rates. PenFed offers the option to add a co-borrower, but Municipal offers a wider range of repayment terms.

Municipal Credit Union PenFed
Bankrate Score 4.4 4.7
Better for Longer terms Joint applications
Loan amounts $1,000-$50,000 $600-$50,000
APRs 7.99%-17.99% (with autopay) 7.99%-17.99%
Loan term lengths 12-72 months Up to 60 months
Fees Late payment fees Late payment and nonsufficient funds fees
Minimum credit score Not specified 700
Time to funding Not specified As soon as next business day

Municipal Credit Union personal loans

Best for: Longer terms

Bankrate’s view

Municipal Credit Union was founded in 1916 to serve the banking needs of New York City residents. Its membership is open to those who live in New York City, New York state or federal employees or family members of existing members.

The personal loans offered by Municipal Credit Union allow customers to borrow up to $50,000 with terms as short as 12 months or as long as 72 months.

Unfortunately, the site doesn’t provide much information about what it takes to qualify for a personal loan beyond noting that a paystub and credit card information may be needed for debt consolidation.

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  • Autopay discount.
  • Longer loan terms than PenFed.
  • Competitive APRs.
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  • Funding timeline isn’t disclosed
  • Unclear eligibility criteria.
  • Limited to residents of New York.

PenFed personal loans

Best for: Adding a co-borrower

Bankrate’s view

PenFed offers personal loans to its members nationwide and also serves Guam, Puerto Rico and Okinawa. Membership is required to access PenFed’s financial products. Fortunately, membership is open to nearly anyone in the U.S.

PenFed allows joint applications, which is a plus if you need to borrow more than you qualify for on your own. There are no origination fees, and you can borrow as little as $600. The maximum term is 60 months, less than the 72 month repayment term offered by Municipal Credit Union. The small minimum loan amount and short term make it a good option for small expenses.

If you have credit history issues you may not meet PenFed’s credit score requirement. Its minimum score, 700, falls in the good credit range.

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  • Joint applications.
  • Lower minimum loan amount than Municipal Credit Union.
  • Competitive APR.
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  • Unclear eligibility criteria.
  • Late and NSF fees.
  • Minimum credit score of 700.

How to choose between Municipal Credit Union and PenFed

Because they’re both credit unions, Municipal Credit Union and PenFed offer similar APRs, loan amounts and products. But PenFed is the clear choice for non-NYC residents since membership is open to anyone across the U.S. Municipal Credit Union has a slightly more competitive range of repayment terms if you live within its serviced region.

Municipal Credit Union has longer repayment terms

Municipal Credit Union offers members terms as long as 72 months, which could result in a significantly lower payment than you’d pay with PenFed’s 60-month maximum term.

MCU doesn’t publish a minimum credit score or other details about how to qualify. You may qualify with a lower score than PenFed’s 700 minimum, but since there’s no prequalification, you will need to undergo a hard credit check to find out.

Municipal Credit Union also doesn’t state how long it takes to fund a personal loan. Be sure to ask about the timeline for funding when you apply.

PenFed offers joint applications

If you need personal loan choices outside of the New York area, PenFed’s personal loans are available in all U.S. states and territories. They advertise next-day funding, giving you more certainty over when you’ll receive your funds compared to Municipal Credit Union.

You can also qualify with someone else, which makes it easier to afford the higher payment that comes with PenFed’s minimum 60-month term.

Compare lenders before applying

Credit unions are a good choice for personal loans if you prefer to have all your banking products under one roof. They offer regular banking products like checking and savings accounts, in addition to loan products that include personal loans, auto loans and even mortgages. You will need to open an account to become a member and qualify, but both Municipal Credit Union and PenFed allow you to apply for membership easily online.

Always compare personal loan rates from other sources to make sure you’re getting the best loans and the lowest rates and best terms for your financial goals.