Are you a current servicemember or a veteran in need of a personal loan to help cover some of your expenses? Whether you need to consolidate debt, fund a home improvement project, or pay off medical bills, you have more options than the average citizen. Several personal loan lenders specialize in offering personal loans for military, some of which offer unique benefits.
But what should you look for in a personal loan? How can you find the best lender for your specific circumstances?
4 factors to consider when shopping for a personal loan
If you decide a personal loan is a right move, here’s what you need to know before purchasing one.
Loan amounts, loan terms, and interest rates
With each lender, you will want to find out the loan amounts, loan terms, and interest rates that are available.
Start by confirming that the maximum and minimum loan amounts offered to suit your needs.
Next, take a look at available loan terms, which vary between lenders. Longer terms can lower your monthly payments and give you more time to pay back the loan, but can also cost you more in interest in the long run. You should pursue the shortest loan term that you can afford without risk of missing any payments.
Interest rates will also vary in amount and type. Lenders may offer fixed rates, variable rates, or both. Fixed rates provide security because your payment amount will always be the same but usually start higher than variable rates. Be sure to check the rate ranges a lender offers and get a free quote (where available) to find out what rate you can get.
These factors will allow you to calculate the base cost of your VA personal loans.
Another important factor to consider is the fees. The four main fees to look out for are those for application, origination, prepayment, and late payments. Most companies no longer charge application or prepayment fees, but you should check to be safe.
Late payment fees are standard. Just confirm that the late fees advertised aren’t exorbitantly higher than those of other lenders.
Origination fees are upfront fees charged by the lender for processing your loan application and can be a game-changer. They range from one to 10% of your loan. They are often bundled in, so you won’t have to pay them out-of-pocket. But they do significantly add to the cost of borrowing.
Beyond the costs, the experience of borrowing money differs from lender to lender.
How easy is their application process? How long does it take to get the money? Can you manage your loan online? How is the customer service? Are there any programs in place if you fall behind on payments?
All of these questions should be asked of potential lenders. You can also learn a lot from reading real-user reviews on loan companies.
One benefit of lenders that specialize in serving military members (both active and retired) is that they can be more flexible with approvals.
The best personal loans for military
Here are the best personal loan lenders for veterans.
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA)
USAA was founded in 1922 by 25 army officers who couldn’t get insurance for their vehicles. It has since grown to provide financial services and insurance to 11.4 million members.
One of its offerings is a personal loan for veterans. It is an unsecured loan, and the proceeds can be used for any purpose.
To apply, you go online and fill out the simple application. There is no application or origination fee and, in most cases, you will get an instant decision with funding available the next day.
Loan amounts start at $2,500 and go as high as $20,000+, with terms ranging from 12 to 84 months. Interests rates are fixed, and there are programs to help you if you fall behind on payments.
Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.
- A large, longstanding company
- Easy application
- Next-day funding
- No origination fee
- Competitive fixed interest rates
- High loan amounts available
- Programs to help if you fall behind on payments
- Only fixed rates available
- Must become a USAA member
- Interest rates can be high depending on credit history, income, etc.
Omni Financial has 45 years of experience providing military loans to members of the Coast Guard, Marines, Army, and Navy. This lender helps active and career-retired individuals get money for whatever they need.
Loan amounts range from $500 to $10,000, and repayment periods range from six to 36 months. If you change your mind after taking out the loan, you can cancel it within 15 days at no cost.
And don’t let bad credit stop you from applying. This lender understands the credit difficulties service members face and will work with you.
Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.
- 45 years of experience
- Flexible with approvals
- 15-day cancellation period
- Money can be directly deposited into your account
- Short maximum repayment period
- The interest rate can be as high as 35.95%, depending on credit
- Origination fee
Beyond personal loans for military
If you only look at the VA personal loans offered through companies that specialize in serving veterans, you may end up paying more than you need to.
Get lenders competing for your business
SuperMoney has made the process quicker and easier with our exclusive personal loan offer engine.
It allows you to get pre-approved for loans without hurting your credit. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and the loan engine will generate a slew of personalized offers from top lenders.
You can also visit our personal loans review page to compare all the lenders side-by-side and read real user reviews.