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Home Equity HELOCs

Best HELOCs for Veterans

Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) let you borrow against the equity you have built in your home by extending an ongoing line of credit, similar to how you might use a credit card. However, the rate is often lower since your home equity backs it. You can use a HELOC for many purposes, such as making home improvements or consolidating debt.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doesn’t offer HELOCs, but you still have options if you’re a veteran. Several private lenders understand your unique needs and can help you access your financing. We’ve identified the best lenders for veterans and broken down how these lenders are different.

HELOCs for veterans 

A HELOC can be useful for many purposes, such as making home improvements, consolidating debts, or building an emergency fund. Veterans can experience differences when opening a HELOC compared to civilians.

For instance, the equity requirements may differ for veterans. While all applicants must have enough equity to cover the amount they want to borrow, lenders may be more generous when working with veterans. For instance, they may allow veterans higher loan-to-value (LTV) ratios.

LTV is calculated as the ratio of the loan balance to the home’s value. For instance, if you have a home worth $300,000 and you multiply it by 80%, you would have a loan amount of $240,000. 80% is typically the maximum LTV most lenders will allow, but those that work with veterans may allow higher ratios.

We’ve identified the best HELOCs available to veterans and their family members, which you can find below. Many of them require you to be current or former military. For comparison, we’ve also listed some of the best HELOC lenders, which don’t exclusively serve members of the military.

LenderRates (APR)
Navy Federal Credit Union8.750% – 18.00% variable
Armed Forces Bank6-month intro rate of 5.99% for 6 months, then 8.49% variable
PenFed Credit Union8.625 – 18.00% fixed
Figure8.60%17.25% fixed
Bethpage Federal Credit Union12-month intro rate of 6.99% for VantageScores of 720 and up; then a variable rate

Best HELOCs for veterans

Navy Federal Credit Union – Best for maximum LTV

  • Borrow up to 95% of your home equity
  • Gives you access to your funds with the Home Equity Line Platinum Credit Card
  • Loan amounts of $10,000 – $500,000

Navy Federal Credit Union is a financial institution serving the military and their family members. To become a member, you or your family member must have ties to the armed forces, DoD, or National Guard. We like that the company has competitive rates for its lending products and lets you leverage almost all your home equity.

Navy Federal keeps the fees low, as it charges no application, origination, annual or inactivity fees. It also has an interest-only option, which charges interest only on what you spend. The draw period on its HELOCs lasts 20 years, followed by a 20-year repayment period.

Funding times aren’t as quick as other options on this list, with an average processing time of 45 to 55 calendar days. However, this lender’s convenience and unique loan options make it worth considering.

Armed Forces Bank – Best low intro APR

  • Offers low fixed introductory and regular rates for HELOCs
  • Low or no closing costs
  • Borrow up to 85% of your home’s value

Armed Forces Bank offers active duty and retired military banking and financial services. However, membership is also open to civilians. This bank is our top pick for low introductory APR. Like many lenders available to veterans, it lets you borrow a higher percentage of your home’s value than other banks.

Armed Forces Bank offers HELOCs of up to $200,000 with loan-to-value ratios of up to 85%. It also offers lines of credit of up to $250,000 with LTVs of up to 80%. While these limits are relatively low, it also lets you borrow up to 70% of your home’s value on loans over $250,000 with no specific limit on the loan amount.

The draw period for this HELOC is 10 years. While these loans are available in most states, the lender notes they are unavailable in Texas.

PenFed Credit Union – Best for no restrictions on how you can use your money

LendEDU rating: 4.2 out of 5

  • Expedited closing in as little as 15 days
  • No origination fees
  • Loans from $25,000 to $500,000

PenFed is our top pick for fast funding. It allows you to access your money much sooner than other lenders. We also like the fact that the lender doesn’t require you to use your money for a specific purpose. It mentions using them for purposes like home improvement, Debt consolidation and student loan payoff.

We also like that PenFed lets you keep your current mortgage rate for its HELOC. If you are locked into a lower rate than those available today, it could save you a lot of money. The lender also notes that your interest may be deductible.

The draw period on these loans lasts for 10 years, followed by a 20-year repayment period. During the draw period, PenFed lets you make interest-only payments. You can switch from variable to fixed rates on some or all of your interest payments.

How do standard HELOCs compare to HELOCs for military veterans?

HELOCs for military veterans can differ in several ways from those for civilians. For instance, standard HELOCs typically require a good credit score, stable income, and a large amount of equity in your home. Veteran HELOCs can have more lenient rules with lower credit score requirements and alternate ways to prove income.

Interest rates can also be an important differentiator. These are typically based on market conditions and the borrower’s credit history for standard HELOCs. For veteran HELOCs, rates can be lower. Some lenders that work with the military might also offer lower rates unavailable to civilians.

In addition, HELOCs for veterans may have lower fees and unique features not available with standard HELOCs. For instance, some lenders below offer interest-only HELOCs, which only require you to pay interest on what you spend and not on the entire balance.

Because some lenders have favorable rates exclusively for veterans, rates from the lenders below may be higher. This is especially true if your credit isn’t the best, as veteran-friendly lenders might be willing to overlook a few bumps in your credit report. Still, for some borrowers, these lenders have competitive rates.

Figure – Best HELOC overall

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Apply online with approval in 5 minutes and funding in as little as 5 days
  • Lines of credit up to $400,000
  • Potential for low fixed interest rates depending on creditworthiness

Figure is our top choice for veterans seeking HELOCs due to its exceptional balance of efficiency, accessibility, and customer satisfaction. 

We like the lender’s streamlined online application process and rapid funding capabilities, which are beneficial for veterans who often appreciate straightforward, efficient financial services without unnecessary delays.

Figure supports its clients with flexible options that cater to a wide range of financial needs and circumstances. Its ability to offer significant lines of credit with competitive rates makes it an excellent choice for veterans planning large projects or needing substantial financial resources. 

Figure requires borrowers to withdraw 100% of the credit line (minus fees), with the ability to redraw as they pay down the balance—so it won’t be a fit for you if you don’t plan to use most or all of your HELOC immediately.

Bethpage FCU – Best credit union

LendEDU rating: 4.7 out of 5

  • Competitive rates and terms exclusively for members, including veterans
  • Borrow $10,000 to $1 million
  • No application, origination, or appraisal fees

Bethpage is the go-to for veterans who prefer working with a community-oriented institution that values personal relationships and localized service. 

As a credit union, Bethpage offers more than just financial products; it provides a community-focused approach that often results in better rates and more personalized service. This aspect is beneficial for veterans who appreciate a more tailored banking experience.

Bethpage requires an initial draw of $25,000 from the credit line to qualify for its low introductory rate. The competitive rates and favorable terms are part of the credit union’s commitment to serving its members’ best interests, including those of veterans. 

By choosing Bethpage, veterans can enjoy the benefits of being part of an institution that prioritizes their financial well-being and supports their unique needs. 

What is the best HELOC for veterans? 

Figure is our top choice for veterans. It’s tough to beat this lender’s speed of funding, with funds available in as little as five days. The lender lets you borrow up to $400,000 with a one-time origination fee. Figure’s application process is entirely online and is quick and easy.

Figure is our best choice overall among HELOCs for veterans as it has various options that can work well in various financial situations. The company maintains a high customer satisfaction rate and is ideal for veterans who value customer service.

Navy Federal Credit Union also stands out as one of the best HELOCs for veterans. The lender lets you borrow against almost the entire value of your home, and you can borrow up to $500,000. Rates are also competitive on its HELOCs.

While there are many excellent options for HELOCs, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your priorities and financial needs. If you’re ready to get started, learn how to apply for a HELOC.

Ask the expert

Natalie Slagle


Veterans may face credit score challenges simply because their history may not be as long as a civilian who has had an ongoing credit line since their early 20s. A veteran may also face challenges with their debt-to-income ratio. Now that interest rates are higher, mortgage and HELOC payments are higher as well. Therefore, if a veteran is working on increasing their income and credit score, they may not have the same debt-to-income ratio as a civilian. This could either increase their interest rate offering at a non-veteran bank or simply have them be denied altogether. This is why it is very important to understand each institution’s offerings and how they qualify their borrowers.

What are the best HELOC rates for veterans?

Rates are an important consideration when reviewing HELOC offers. These rates can change frequently, but these lenders offer some of the lowest rates as of May 2024:

  • Fixed APR: Figure (8.60%17.25%)
  • Variable: Armed Forces Bank (8.49%)
  • Introductory APR: Armed Forces Bank (5.99% for 6 months); Bethpage Federal Credit Union (12-month intro rate of 6.99% for VantageScores of 720 and up)

Whether the rate is fixed or variable can also greatly influence how much you pay in the long run. For fixed-rate HELOCs, the rate will stay the same for the entire time the HELOC is open. If you open an account when interest rates are low, a fixed-rate HELOC can be a smart option.

With a variable-rate HELOC, the interest rate changes based on market conditions. This can be a good choice if you open the HELOC when interest rates are high.

When thinking about rates, you should consider your credit score, as it can have a big impact on the rates you receive. Also, think about your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio; if the ratio is already high, your interest rate may be higher. You should also shop around for different rates, as rates may vary significantly from one lender to the next.