Personal Loans

5 Military Personal Loans for Veterans, Active Duty

A personal loan can be a valuable financial tool, whether you want to consolidate debt or pay for an emergency expense. If you’re active-duty military or a veteran, there are military loans available that can help you meet your financial needs and wants.

Here’s a breakdown of your military personal loan options, as well as alternatives that can provide support:

Military personal loans: 5 options for veterans, active duty

  1. Omni Financial
  2. Navy Federal Credit Union
  3. USAA
  4. Prosper
  5. LendingClub

1. Omni Financial

Omni Financial personal loans
APR range Minimum not disclosed but advertised as single digits; maximum 35.95%
Loan amount $500 to $10,000
Loan terms 6 to 36 months

 

Las-Vegas based Omni Financial offers military loans with no application fees to:

  • Active-duty service members (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy)
  • Active Guard Reserve members serving full-time duty under Title 10
  • Retired service members who served 20-plus years
  • Past or current Omni civilians

If you’re approved for a loan while stationed overseas, Omni can direct deposit the funds into most U.S. based-banks. Borrowers have a 15-day period (or 30 days for some North Carolina loans) in which they can return the proceeds and have the loan canceled.

Borrowers, who can be approved for Omni military loans in hours, can apply: online, by phone, at a U.S. office location or at a U.S. military installation.

Navy Federal Credit Union personal loans
APR range 7.49% to 18.00%*
Loan amount Up to $50,000 for terms up to 60 months
Loan terms Up to 60 months (up to 180 months for home improvements)
* Does not include 0.25% APR discount for active-duty and retired military members using direct deposit

 

The following groups are eligible for Navy Federal Credit Union personal loans:

  • Active-duty service members (Air Force, Air National Guard, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy)
  • Delayed Entry Program recruits
  • Department of Defense officer candidates/ROTC
  • Department of Defense reservists
  • Veterans, retirees and annuitants

Personal loans between 37 and 60 months start at 14.79% APR (7.49% APR is only possible on loans up to 36 months). You can apply for a Navy Federal personal loan online, but you’ll need to call or visit a branch to use a loan for debt consolidation.

3. USAA Bank

USAA personal loans
APR range 6.99% to 17.75%
Loan amount $2,500 to $50,000
Loan terms 12 to 48 months

 

The following are eligible for USAA personal loans:

  • Active-duty service members (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, Navy and Reserves)
  • Veterans (retired or honorable discharge)
  • Cadets and midshipmen
  • Eligible family members, including widows, widowers and unremarried former spouses of USAA members, as well as children

Completing an application online can take minutes, with instant approval possible. You could receive your funds within one business day. USAA doesn’t offer a debt consolidation loan.

4. Prosper

Prosper personal loans
APR range 7.95% to 35.99%
Loan amount $2,000 to $40,000
Loan terms 36 or 60 months

 

Prosper advertises military loans, though the offering appears to be the same as the company’s baby and adoption loans or its engagement ring financing.

Its military loan comes with an origination fee between 2.41% - 5.00%, but there are no prepayment penalties. You could receive your money in as few as three days after accepting your personal loan offer.

Borrowers can input their information, including their monthly housing payment, employment status and individual yearly income, to see if they qualify. A soft credit check will be performed at this point, so your credit score won’t be affected.

5. LendingClub

LendingClub personal loans
APR range 10.68% to 35.89%
Loan amount $1,000 to $40,000
Loan terms 36 or 60 months

 

Through LendingClub, those who meet Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) eligibility can get an APR of 6.00% or less for debt incurred before active duty.

Eligible groups include:

  • Active-duty service members (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy)
  • Active-duty reservists (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy)
  • Commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Public Health Service on active service
  • Service members who may qualify under certain state laws

To apply for these benefits, visit LendingClub’s service members benefits page.

You can get your LendingClub personal loan funding within four days, and there are no prepayment penalties. You’ll owe an origination fee between 2.00% - 6.00%.

Bad-credit military personal loans: Can you find them?

Yes, you can get an unsecured personal loan geared toward military members if you have bad credit. But each lender or credit bureau has its own definition of bad credit.

FICO considers scores between 300 and 579 to be very poor. Meanwhile, VantageScore considers 500 to 600 to be poor, and 300 to 499 to be very poor.

MLA and SCRA offer unique financial protections

Military Lending Act

The Military Lending Act (MLA) was established in 2006 and is meant to help protect active-duty members of the military from potentially dangerous lending practices. For example, it caps APRs at 36% for qualified individuals. Those include:

  • Active-duty service members
  • Covered dependents
  • Members of the Reserve Component (when activated 30 days and longer)
  • Family members who are in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System

The rate-cap doesn’t mean those individuals should accept a 36% APR, but it may protect them from especially expensive forms of credit.

Another notable MLA protection is that if you sign a credit agreement that is in violation of the law, it will be voided from the start. However, in order to get this protection, you must make sure that your situation qualifies for the MLA. For example, the MLA does not cover mortgages and certain secured loans.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The SCRA is another law that may offer additional support. It’s designed to help members of the military more easily navigate their lives and financial obligations as they enter active duty. The SCRA covers things such as:

  • Rental agreements and security deposits
  • Evictions
  • Installment contracts
  • Credit card interest rates
  • Mortgage interest rates
  • Civil judicial proceedings
  • Automobile leases
  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Income tax payments

And for covered loans, the rate cap is actually 6% — that’s much lower than you would get through the MLA and would save you a considerable amount of money by comparison.

It’s important to keep in mind that both the MLA and the SCRA apply to active-duty military and therefore do not cover veterans. So those individuals will have to be extra careful to make sure that the financial products they get are affordable and do not have unreasonable fees or requirements. Either way, some of the red flags for predatory loans to watch out for include things like: no credit check, guaranteed loans (including guaranteed military loans), unusual and expensive fees, difficulty getting a straight answer about the terms of the loan and feeling pressured to take out the loan.

Where to find financial help for veterans

If a personal loan isn’t an option for you and you’re a veteran, there are other options that can help you meet your financial needs. In fact, there are many programs and organizations that provide financial assistance specifically for veterans, including funding opportunities to help you pay your bills and get out of debt as well as advocacy support, to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.

Here are a few of those kinds of organizations and programs to consider:

If you’re an active-duty service member, or a veteran, you have so many options when it comes to getting financial assistance, whether for an immediate need or a desire to improve your overall finances. But before you move ahead with any financial product, be sure that you know your rights and shop around to find the best option for you and your family.

Devon Delfino contributed to the reporting of this article.

 

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