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Navy Federal Personal Loans: 2024 Review

Updated on June 14, 2024

At a glance

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Info
4.6
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
Caret Down
Availability
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8
Affordability
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5
Customer Experience
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Transparency
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0

About Bankrate Score

Bankrate's Take: Navy Federal personal loans are best for current members of the credit union and borrowers who meet the membership requirements.

Lender Details

Moneybag

Loan amount

$250-$50,000

Rates

APR from

8.99%-18.00%

Clock Wait

Term lengths

Up to 180 months

Best for military members

Former and current service members and their families in need of a personal loan would best benefit from a Navy Federal loan. This is because Navy Federal has fairly tight membership eligibility requirements. It also offers discounts for active duty and retired military service members.

Navy Federal personal loan purposes 

You can use a Navy Federal Credit Union personal loan for nearly every legal expense. However, it does state on its website that you can't use the funds for education-related expenses. 

The specific use requirements may vary depending on the loan type, so read the terms and conditions carefully before accepting your offer. Home improvement loans, for example, are the only type of personal loans from Navy Federal that have terms up to 15 years.

Where Navy Federal personal loans stand out 

  • Small minimum loan amount: Navy Federal's $250 minimum is among the smallest minimum borrowing amount out of the lender's we've reviewed.
  • Joint applications and secured options available: It's a rarity for lenders to offer both unsecured and secured loans options. Plus, the lender allows co-borrowers, which can make your loan more affordable. 
  • Potential rate discounts: Active Duty or retired military members can get a 0.25 percent APR discount on certain loans. As a member of the credit union, you'll also be eligible for exclusive discounts and special offers on a plethora of services and products. 

Where Navy Federal personal loans falls short 

  • Must meet the membership requirements: Applicants must be or have a family or household member who is a retired or active duty service member or has ties to the Department of Defense (DOD) or National Guard.  
  • No prequalification option: Unlike most lenders, Navy Federal doesn't have a prequalification option, so you'll need to apply to see if you're eligible. 
  • Minimum financial requirements not disclosed: The credit union doesn't disclose most of the minimum financial requirements that are needed for approval. 

Navy Federal customer experience 

Customer support

Navy Federal's customer service department is accessible by phone 24/7. You can also get in contact with a representative through its secure messaging system on its website, in-person at one of its brick and mortar locations, through its online chat feature or through social media messaging. 

Digital experience 

Navy Federal's digital app offers an online chat and e-messaging features and is compliant with Android and iOS accessibility features. Its app has an overall rating of 4.9 from over 720,000 reviews on the App Store as of June 13, 2024.

The lender also offers online resources and calculators within its MakingCents feature. Along with offering tools for nearly every financial topic, members can click into folders containing content for those just starting out, individuals looking to balance life and finances and those who are in the process of maximizing their finances. 

What people are saying about Navy Federal 

As of June 13, 2024, Navy Federal Credit Union has over 30,000 customer reviews on Trustpilot and a solid 4.5 out of 5 rating. The average sentiment among reviewers is that the credit union's customer service department is top-notch. One such user said, in part:

"My processor was there whenever I had a question or concern. It was easy to review loan progress and status online. I felt like the information requested of me was fair and reasonable."

- Trustpilot User

Some of the negative reviews note getting a higher APR than they anticipated or difficulty with getting approved. However, the company does leave a personalized comment on every single negative review and has a record of replying in under 24 hours.

Outlinked content may contain views and opinions that do not reflect the views and opinions of Bankrate. Please see the issuer’s website for updated terms and conditions.

How this lender compares

logo
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6
Bankrate Score
APR from
8.99%-18.00%
Loan Amount
$250-$50,000
Term Length
Up to 180 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: 4.3 stars out of 5
4.3
Bankrate Score
APR from
10.34%-18.51%
Loan Amount
$1,000-$100,000
Term Length
12-84 months
Min Credit Score
Not disclosed

Navy Federal vs. PenFed

PenFed is another credit union that offers loans with a similar interest rate range, starting at 8.99 percent. However, PenFed may be easier to qualify for in general, as the membership requirements are more flexible. Both lenders offer similar loan amounts and benefits so the best loan for you could hinge primarily on your military or DOD affiliation.

Read a full review about PenFed

Navy Federal vs. USAA Bank

USAA is a credit union that also requires its members to be affiliated with the U.S. military, but its loans are more expensive than what Navy Federal offers. USAA's APR range starts at 10.34 percent and climbs up to nearly 19 percent. 

Of the two lenders, USAA offers a larger maximum loan amount of $100,000. That being said, a Navy Federal personal loan, while smaller, will likely cost less for the most creditworthy borrowers. 

Read a full review about USAA Bank

Do you qualify for a Navy Federal personal loan? 

Although Navy Federal doesn't disclose its minimum annual income or credit requirements, it does disclose that borrowers must meet the following requirements to qualify for a personal loan. 

  • Have served — or currently serve — in the U.S. armed forces, Department of Defense or have a relative or household member who has. 
  • Be at least 18 years old. 
  • Have an active credit card, bank account or routing number. 
  • Have a valid Social Security number. 
  • Provide your current home address.
  • Provide a U.S. driver's license or a government-issued ID.

How to apply for a personal loan with Navy Federal 

  1. Become a member: Navy Federal doesn't offer a prequalification option for its personal loans and you must first become a member before you can apply. 
  2. Add information and finalize your application: The process is entirely online and takes a few minutes. Its website states that you'll need basic contact, housing and employment information for you and your co-applicant, if you have one.
  3. Review the loan details: After you've finished the application, you'll be given the opportunity to review and sign the loan agreement electronically. Your funds will be automatically deposited into your account in as soon as 24 hours once you sign the agreement. 

How Bankrate rates Navy Federal

Overall Score 4.6 Explanation
Availability 4.8 Same-day approval and co-signers allowed, but no disclosed minimum credit score.
Affordability 4.5 Fairly competitive minimum APR and minimum fees, but there's not too many discounts available.
Customer Experience 5.0 Online application and convenient mobile app, plus 24/7 customer support.
Transparency 4.0 Not all requirements are listed and there's no prequalification option.

Methodology

Bankrate's trusted personal loans industry expertise

57

years in business

30

lenders reviewed

20

loan features weighed

665

data points collected

Bankrate considers 20 factors when reviewing lenders. Credit requirements, APR ranges, fees, loan amounts and flexibility are all taken into account so that ratings are representative of how competitive lenders are for a wide range of credit profiles and budgets. The Bankrate Score for personal loans 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 considered 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.