If you’re affiliated with the military and in search of a personal loan, you might consider USAA Bank. Serving over 12.8 million members, USAA is one of the largest military-affiliated financial service companies in the nation. The bank offers competitive rates and fast funding on personal loans for everything from managing bills to emergencies.

You must be a member in order to get a personal loan from USAA. Membership at the bank is open to active or former members of the military and their eligible family members. Cadets and midshipman may also join.

Is a USAA personal loan right for you?

Personal loans at USAA Bank can be used for a wide range of purposes. Here’s the profile of someone who might be a good fit for a USAA personal loan:

  • Active or former military and their family members. You must be affiliated with the military in order to join USAA.
  • Those who want quick access to cash. USAA often provides funding the same day after approval.
  • Someone interested in an online process. Borrowers can fill out an application online in just a few minutes.
  • Anyone interested in flexible loan uses and terms. Personal loans from the bank can be used for paying off bills to building a pool. Terms range from 12 months to 84 months. Longer 84-month terms require financing of $20,000 or greater.

Lending terms

USAA offers personal loans that range from $2,500 to $50,000. Fixed-rate loans from this bank range from 9.49 percent up to 17.65 percent, depending on term length and creditworthiness. These interest rates are based on a 0.25 percent reduction for automatic payments.

Everything from excellent credit to poor credit is accepted at the bank. But borrowers need excellent credit in order to qualify for loan terms greater than 60 months.

After approval for a loan, USAA Bank typically deposits the money on the same day.

How USAA Bank Compares

USAA Bank Navy Federal Credit Union
Loan amounts Up to $50,000 Up to $50,000
APR range 9.49% – 17.65% (With AutoPay) 8.19% – 18.00%
Origination fee None None
Minimum credit score None None
Time to funding Same day Same day
Soft credit check with application? No (Hard pull) No (Hard pull)

Fees and penalties

One of the perks of getting a loan through USAA as a member is that the bank charges very few fees. There are no application or origination fees. And it doesn’t charge a penalty for paying off your loan early.

USAA, however, does charge a late fee of 5 percent of the amount due.

While it’s not unheard of to find a fee-free lender — SoFi, for example, offers fee-free loans — it is uncommon.

How to apply

The quickest way to apply for a personal loan through USAA Bank is through its online process. You can also apply over the phone. It has a limited number of branches, so it encourages members to use those two methods.

Members of the bank applying for a loan will be asked standard questions like their name, address, Social Security number, income and employer information. Additional documentation may be required.

In many cases, according to USAA, you’ll get your rate right away once approved. When approved, the money is typically deposited into your account within the same day.

Remember that before you settle on a bank it’s important to check personal loan rates based on your loan amount, credit score, location, income and reason for the loan.

What to do if you’re turned down

If USAA Bank rejects your application and you think there’s been a mistake, start by asking for some clarification. You may need to take steps to correct an error on your credit report or build credit in order to get a personal loan from USAA. It could also be a simple processing error on the lender’s end.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of lenders willing to compete for your business. For example, if you have a below-average credit score, consider shopping for a personal loan at OneMain Financial, NetCredit or Avant, which all cater to borrowers with credit in need of improvement.

Credit Unions, which tend to be more lenient with their members, can also be a good alternative to online lenders.

A brief history of USAA

Founded in 1922 by a group of Army officers, USAA Bank aims to be the provider of choice for the military community. Nearly a quarter of its employees are veterans or military spouses. And it’s been named as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. As of September 2018 it was the 29th largest bank based on deposits.

In addition to personal loans, USAA offers a range of insurance options, banking services, retirement and investing products, mortgages and even health insurance. Members also receive shopping perks and discounts. If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all of your financial needs, USAA Bank might be worth a look.