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First Tech Personal Loans: 2024 Review

Updated on Jan. 1, 2024

At a glance

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Info
4.4
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Availability
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Affordability
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0
Customer Experience
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Transparency
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
3.8

About Bankrate Score

Established in 1952, First Tech is a federal credit union offering a variety of financial products to its members, such as mortgage loans, checking and savings accounts and personal loans. Plus, it offers exclusive financial services to many major tech corporations and their employees, like Google and HP.

Lender Details

Moneybag

Loan amount

$500-$50,000

Rates

APR from

8.94%

Clock Wait

Term lengths

24-84 months

Best for emergency loans

First Tech offers unsecured and secured personal loans that have no origination fees or prepayment fees. Once approved, you can receive your loan funds as soon as the same business day, which means First Tech could be a good match if you need funds fast. This combination of few fees, flexible loan amounts and fast funding makes First Tech’s loans ideal to pay for unexpected expenses.

First Tech pros and cons

PROS

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    Minimal fees

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    Offers secured and unsecured personal loans

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    Wide range of loan amounts offered

CONS

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    Membership required

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    No autopay discount

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    Unclear qualification requirements

Do you qualify?

First Tech doesn’t disclose any specific eligibility requirements other than that you must become a member before applying.

You can qualify for membership if:

  • You work for one of First Tech’s over 900 partner companies.
  • One of your family members or a household member is already a First Tech member.
  • You or a family member works for the State of Oregon or a First Tech partner.
  • You work or live in Lane County, Oregon.
  • You’re a member of the Financial Fitness Association or Computer History Museum.

First Tech states you can join the Financial Fitness Association or Computer History Museum by stopping by one of its physical locations or when submitting an online application. 

What First Tech doesn't allow loan funds to be used for

You can use a First Tech personal loan for nearly any purpose, except funding gambling or illegal activities, post-secondary education expenses or business expenses.

How this lender compares

logo
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4
Bankrate Score
APR from
8.94%
Loan Amount
$500-$50,000
Term Length
24-84 months
Min Credit Score
Not disclosed
logo
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7
Bankrate Score
APR from
7.99%-17.99%
Loan Amount
$600 to $50,000
Term Length
Up to 60 months
Min Credit Score
700
logo
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5
Bankrate Score
APR from
8.98% to 35.99%
Loan Amount
$1,000 to $40,000
Term Length
24 to 60 months
Min Credit Score
600

First Tech vs. PenFed

PenFed offers unsecured personal loans of $600 to $50,000 to its members. Although PenFed has a higher credit score requirement than First Tech, it also offers a lower starting APR of 7.74 percent, making its loans more cost-effective. On the downside, the credit union’s maximum repayment term offered is 60 months, which is shorter than the 84-month repayment term offered by First Tech. This makes the latter a better option if you want to borrow a larger amount and need more wiggle room in your monthly budget.

First Tech vs. LendingClub

Unlike First Tech, LendingClub isn’t a credit union, so you don’t have to become a member to qualify for its personal loans. LendingClub’s minimum credit score required is 660, which is lower than First Tech’s minimum credit score of 695, making it a better option for those with less-than-perfect credit. On the downside, LendingClub does charge an origination fee on its loans — something First Tech doesn’t. LendingClub’s APRs are also higher compared to those of First Tech, so its loans are higher cost.

First Tech: in the details

What we like and what we don’t like

What we like

  • Minimal fees: First Tech doesn't charge origination fees or application fees, which can minimize your borrowing costs. Plus, if you want to repay your loan early, you can do so without worrying about prepayment fees.
  • Offers secured and unsecured personal loans: You can take out an unsecured loan or choose from one of three secured personal loan options: savings-secured, CD-secured and stock-secured. These options all have a lower minimum APR than the unsecured personal loan but put your assets at risk if you default.
  • Wide range of loan amounts offered: First Tech offers unsecured personal loans ranging from as low as $500 to as high as $50,000. This means it could be a good option whether you need to pay for a small car repair bill or a major home improvement project.

What we don’t like

  • Membership required: To qualify for a First Tech personal loan, you have to already be a member or become one. If you don't qualify or want to become a member, you'll have to apply with another lender.
  • No autopay discount: You can get a discount for enrolling in autopay with many lenders, which could help you save some money on interest. Unfortunately, First Tech doesn't offer this common feature.
  • Unclear qualification requirements: First Tech’s website used to list a minimum credit score but no longer does so. This means the only way to learn your eligibility is by prequalifying — which takes time but won’t dent your credit score.

 

How to contact First Tech

First Tech's customer support team can be reached 24 hours a day for general inquiries at 855-855-8805. You can also schedule a virtual or in-person appointment to speak with a representative. First Tech members can send secure messages by logging into their online accounts.

How to apply for a personal loan with First Tech

You can apply for a personal loan through First Tech online or by phone. There are three steps to applying for a First Tech personal loan online.

Features and additional perks

Once approved for a personal loan with First Tech, you can defer your first payment by up to 45 days. This could be a great benefit if you need extra time to make your first payment. But keep in mind that deferring your payment could result in paying more interest over the life of the loan.

Another feature First Tech offers is the ability to manage your loan and make payments via its mobile app, which is available for download on Google Play and the App store.

First Tech also offers a unique optional payment protection plan called DebtSafe. This payment protection plan can help you cover your loan payments in the event of death, disability or involuntary unemployment.

Fees and penalties

If you miss a payment, you might have to pay a late fee. But there's a 10-day grace period, according to a First Tech customer service representative. There is also a $28 returned check fee.

First Tech FAQs

How Bankrate rates First Tech

Score Explanation
Overall score 4.4
Affordability 5.0 First Tech’s minimum APR compares well to competitors and it charges only late fees.
Availability 4.0 First Tech has a low minimum loan amount, and customers may get same-day funding. An undisclosed minimum income slightly lowers this score.
Customer Experience 5.0 First Tech offers a highly rated app and 24-hour customer support by phone.
Transparency 3.8 First Tech outlines some fees and rates.

Methodology

To select the top personal loan lenders, Bankrate considers 20 factors. These factors include credit requirements, APR ranges, fees, loan amounts and flexibility to account for a wide range of credit profiles and budgets. Bankrate reviewed over 30 lenders and gave each a Bankrate rating, which consists of four categories.

  • Availability: What the minimum loan amounts are, its eligibility requirements and loan turnaround are considered in this category.
  • Affordability: The interest rates, penalties and fees are measured in this section of the score. Lower rates and fees and fewer potential penalties result in a higher score.
  • Customer experience: This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.
  • Transparency: This category is measured by how accessible credit requirements, rates and fees are on the lender's page. We also took into account whether prequalification was available, as all these factors are key for consumers to make an informed decision.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.