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Known for high levels of personalized services and competitive rates, credit union personal loans can be considered a great source for financing, and Massachusetts-based Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) is no exception. Although its 22 physical branches are located in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, it has a strong online presence with more than 500,000 members in all 50 states, making it one of the top 20 credit unions in the country.
As you would expect, DCU offers a full range of banking services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, retirement options, auto loans, and personal loans. This DCU Personal Loan review will help you understand what the credit union has to offer when it comes to personal loans.
In this review:
- Applying for a DCU Personal Loan
- DCU Loan Rates, Terms, Fees, and Limits
- Benefits of a DCU Personal Loan
- Downsides of a DCU Personal Loan
Applying for a DCU Personal Loan
DCU’s strong online presence shows in its loan application process. You can apply for a DCU personal loan online and have a decision within one to two business days. If you’d rather speak to someone by phone, you can do that 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit one of the DCU branches in person if you’re in the Massachusetts or New Hampshire area.
If no other documentation is required, funding could take place with three or four days after approval. You don’t have to be a DCU member to apply for a loan, but if you are approved, you’ll have to become a member to receive the loan proceeds. That includes opening a DCU checking account from which electronic payments can be made.
DCU uses a broad range of factors in determining creditworthiness, including your credit score, income, debt-to-income ratio, credit history, and employment. Through some of the FAQs on the website, we were able to determine that borrowers with a credit score lower than 600 would probably not qualify, and borrowers with scores below 640 could qualify at its higher APRs
In one DCU FAQ, it was indicated that borrowers with credit scores of 640 to 674 might qualify for a 13% annual percentage rate. The implication is that its best APR of 9% is reserved for borrowers with scores over 700. Debt consolidation loan borrowers can qualify with lower scores; however, the loan proceeds must only be used to pay off other debt.
DCU Loan Rates, Terms, Fees, and Limits
Repayment terms for DCU personal loans can be as long as 60 months, and all interest rates are fixed. Your estimated payment amount is $20.76 per $1,000 borrowed, so a $10,000 loan would have a monthly payment of about $205, assuming a 9% APR.
DCU doesn’t charge an origination fee or prepayment penalty, but there are late payment fees. If you’re late paying your DCU personal loan, you will be charged a fee for each month that you’re late, leading to potentially exponentially growing fees each month — which is definitely something to watch out for.
Within its personal loan products are specific sub-products for debt consolidation and credit building. The secured personal Credit Builder loan helps you repair or build a solid credit history; the amount you borrow is put into a savings account you cannot access until the loan is paid off, at which time the full amount becomes available to you with no further payments required. The Credit Builder rate is as low as 5.0%.
The Savings Secured loan also helps build credit by letting you borrow against your savings account or certificate of deposit. The rate on that loan starts at even lower, at about 3.5% APR.
The limit on the maximum loan amount for all personal loans is $25,000.
Benefits of a DCU Personal Loan
DCU has a nationwide presence through its website, and because of that, you don’t have to be in the New England area to get a loan with DCU. As a credit union, it also has offers benefits and perks you might not be able to access at a traditional bank. One of those benefits is a highly rated customer service department.
Profit sharing is another benefit of banking with DCU; the members of a credit union are also its owners and shareholders. As a result, you share in the credit union’s profits each year on a sliding scale based upon your relationship with the institution.
In addition, working with a credit union can mean more personable service and a bit of flexibility when it comes to fees. While a huge national bank often sees customers as purely a number or account, credit unions are smaller and often able to put more time and effort into individual customers.
DCU’s internal customer website receives high reviews for its simplicity and ease of use, and customer service representatives are available via phone, email, fax, or even online chat from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern. You can ask questions, share concerns, and get help for anything (with the exception of loan applications, unfortunately).
DCU’s rates are competitive when compared to other lenders, and it offers interest rate discounts for having autopay from a DCU checking account. The discount is a full .5%, as opposed to the .25% most other lenders offer. That checking account will also pay dividends, usually much higher than competitors if you keep at least $2,500 in the account as a daily balance.
>> Read More: Personal Loans for Fair Credit
Downsides of a DCU Personal Loan
The $25,000 loan limit is, unfortunately, a lot lower than other lenders. That can become an issue if you were hoping to pay off multiple credit cards, medical bills, or other debts; depending on how much debt you have, you may not be able to include it all in one loan. If you are interested in a higher loan amount, LightStream is a great option with a $100,000 limit.
Being a member of DCU can help your chances of being approved for a personal loan, but it’s not a guarantee. Having moderate or good credit will help you get approved, but you’ll need a credit score that’s over 700 in order to qualify for the best rates — otherwise, you’ll be paying far more in interest, which translates to a more expensive loan over time. If you have a lower credit score, Upstart might be a good option to consider.
Although DCU has a strong online offering, its website can seem limited in information when it comes to those who are looking to find out more. The website does, however, have an extensive FAQ section that addresses some of the more common questions you might have. If you’re not local to Massachusetts or New Hampshire and prefer to deal with a banker in person, DCU isn’t going to be the right fit for you and your financial needs.
DCU Personal Loan Alternatives
DCU is a decent choice for personal loans, especially if you’re in the New England area or prefer online access to your bank. Its high standards for loan approvals, however, might exclude those with average or even good credit. If you have the credit and need a personal loan, DCU might be a great option.
1The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 15% and 36 monthly payments of $33 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.
Author: Jeanette Perez