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Personal Loans

Personal Loans for Veterans

If you’re a veteran and need to borrow money fast, you want to know your options for a personal loan. Personal loans for veterans are the same as those for any other citizen—they are awarded based on your finances, not your veteran status. 

We have all the details on the best options for personal loans for veterans. We’ve found the top lenders for veterans, available discounts, how they compare with traditional lenders, and what other lending tools veterans have available.  

Personal loans for veterans

In your quest for a personal loan, you might wonder if there’s a program similar to what the VA offers for mortgages. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doesn’t offer personal loans (or guarantee them), but it does allow you to borrow against your life insurance policy. That’s worth checking out (more on that later), but you may also need to turn to a lender who works specifically with veterans, or at the very least, a lender that offers great rates for veterans. 

Remember, even if you find a lender offering a rate discount for veterans, you’ll still want to shop around for the best loan. Some traditional lenders may offer an interest lower than what you’d get with your veteran’s discount.  

At a glance, here are the top lenders we found for personal loans for veterans:

LenderBest for
Navy Federal Credit UnionNo origination fees
USAA Federal Savings BankHigh loan amounts
PenFed Credit UnionLow rates
Armed Forces BankFast funding, limited credit
LightStreamExcellent credit
SoFiGood credit
UpgradeFair credit
*Rates as of April 2024

Best personal loans for veterans

Navy Federal Credit Union: Best for low fees

LendEDU rating: 4.6 out of 5

  • No origination fees
  • Offers .25% APR rate discount on personal loans for active duty and retired military members
  • Same-day funding possible

Navy Federal Credit Union stands out for its competitive interest rates and $0 origination fees. Interest rates range from 8.99% to 18.00% on loan amounts from $250 to $50,000. Since credit union interest rates max out at 18.00%, you may want to take a serious look at personal loans from a credit union if your credit is less than perfect. 

Even lower rates are available for loans secured with a savings account with Navy Federal. Add your 0.25% APR veteran rate discount, and you may find a very affordable loan with Navy Federal.

Navy Federal also can get funds into your account on the same day for some borrowers. Terms go up to 60 months, though you’ll find the best rates when you select a loan term of 36 months or fewer. 

If you have a newer credit history, applying with a co-applicant can improve your approval odds. You must be a member to take advantage of the personal loan.

USAA: Best for large loans

LendEDU rating: 3.9 out of 5

  • Loan amounts up to $100,000
  • Rate discount for autopay
  • Comprehensive services for other financial products

USAA is frequently listed as one of the top lenders for military families. Its commitment to providing military families with competitive products and trusted advice distinguishes it from other lenders. When it comes to a personal loan, rates range from 10.19% to 18.51%, which is on the low end for a bank.  

Funds are typically sent two days after all documentation has been verified. Loan repayment terms range from 12 to 84 months. 

You do need to become a member to apply for a personal loan. There are several ways to qualify, including current or former status as a military member. Family members are also eligible. 

PenFed Credit Union: Best for low rates

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • 7.99% – 17.99% APR
  • No origination fees
  • Prequalification tool checks your rate without a hard credit check

PenFed is one of the top credit unions in the U.S. Though PenFed started as a credit union for members of the military or federal government, membership is now open to anyone. They offer great rates, easy-to-use services, no origination fees for personal loans, and loan amounts up to $50,000. 

Applying with PenFed is very easy and is more in line with online fintech lenders than traditional credit unions. You can check your rate and loan amount with the pre-qualification tool and select a loan with a term that works for you. 

Funding times are quick with PenFed. You’ll receive funds one to two business days after verification. 

Armed Forces Bank: Best for fast funding or limited credit

  • Quick online application and decision
  • Limited credit borrowers encouraged to apply
  • Locations around the world

The Armed Forces Bank has one of the highest APR ranges of any personal loan, but it also allows borrowers with limited credit histories to apply. This can be particularly valuable for someone just starting out. 

Amounts range from $250 to $15,000, and the application process is all online. For existing bank customers with an approval, funds can be deposited as soon as the same day. 

How do standard personal loans compare to personal loans for military veterans?

Standard personal loans and personal loans marketed for veterans offer the same loans, terms, and interest rates based on personal qualifications. 

Though there are lenders whose origins and marketing are geared toward veterans, your personal credit is the top factor in determining approval and what interest rate you’ll get for a personal loan. 

This is different from what you may know about mortgages for veterans—veterans can typically find better rates on mortgages through the VA

There’s no such program for personal loans for veterans, meaning you’ll want to shop around for a personal loan to find one that offers the best terms, even if it’s not specifically marketed to veterans. Below, you’ll find some of the top-rated online personal loan lenders to explore.


If you are deployed, you are protected under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). One of the major provisions is the reduced interest rate on debts incurred before active duty. Interest rates are capped at 6% for any lender you select. 

Credible: Best marketplace

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Compare multiple lenders in one spot
  • No hard credit check to compare offers
  • No fee to use Credible service

Credible empowers veterans to explore various personal loan options without affecting your credit score. Its intuitive interface and seamless process make comparing loans from multiple lenders easy by prequalifying in one go, ensuring you find the best rates and terms suited to your financial situation. 

Credible’s commitment to transparency is beneficial for veterans, offering clear, concise information on loan terms, fees, and eligibility requirements without requiring a hard credit inquiry.

Its user-friendly platform aggregates personalized, prequalified offers from various reputable lenders. This feature is advantageous for veterans who may be navigating the personal loan market for the first time or those seeking to get the most competitive rates without the hassle of visiting multiple lenders or websites. 

Credible’s service is free for users, with the company earning its revenue through referral fees from lenders. This model allows for an unbiased comparison of options, making it a helpful tool for veterans looking to finance big purchases, consolidate debt, or cover unexpected expenses.

LightStream: Best for veterans with excellent credit

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Low interest rates for high-credit borrowers
  • Rate Beat program
  • No prequalification with a soft credit check

LightStream, the online lending division of Truist Bank, caters to veterans with credit scores of 740 or better by offering some of the lowest interest rates in the market. Its Rate Beat Program ensures that if you find a lower rate with another lender, LightStream will beat it by 0.10 percentage points, subject to certain conditions. 

This makes it an appealing option for veterans with a strong credit history and looking to finance major purchases or consolidate debt at the lowest possible cost.

Veterans will appreciate LightStream’s no-fee structure and simple online application process. Once approved, funds can be available as soon as the same day. Its Loan Experience Guarantee also offers $100 to borrowers unsatisfied with their loan experience. 

Because LightStream doesn’t allow you to check rates before undergoing a hard credit check, which affects your credit score, we recommend this lender for veterans with excellent credit who are confident they’ll be approved.

SoFi: Best for good credit

LendEDU rating: 5.0 out of 5

  • Comprehensive member benefits
  • Military benefits
  • No fees required

In addition to offering personal loans, SoFi offers membership to its financial institution with many benefits, making it a top choice for veterans with credit scores at or above 670. 

Beyond competitive rates for those with good credit, SoFi members enjoy access to various perks, including financial planning and referral bonuses. 

The application process is straightforward, with the entire operation conducted online. Once approved, borrowers can manage their loans through SoFi’s user-friendly app.

Upgrade: Best for fair credit

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Caters to borrowers rebuilding credit
  • Offers credit health tools and resources
  • See your rate without a hard credit check

Upgrade provides an excellent opportunity for veterans who may be working to improve their credit scores. Recognizing the challenges individuals with fair credit can face, Upgrade offers competitive rates and terms combined with a suite of tools aimed at helping borrowers monitor and enhance their credit health. 

This focus on credit-building is advantageous for veterans who may have faced financial challenges and are seeking ways to rebuild their financial standing.

One of the hallmarks of Upgrade’s approach is that it provides borrowers with detailed insights into how their financial behaviors affect their credit scores and loan terms. This educational component makes Upgrade a solid choice for veterans looking to consolidate debt, finance a large purchase, or cover unexpected expenses. 

Upgrade’s consideration of factors beyond just credit scores in loan approvals can make it easier for veterans with less-than-perfect credit to qualify for a loan, offering them a pathway to financial stability and growth.

Does the VA provide personal loans to veterans?

The VA does not provide personal loans to veterans, but one option you may have heard about is a loan against your life insurance policy.

Veterans who have had a permanent life insurance plan in place for more than a year in one of the following programs may be eligible for a loan: 

  • National Service Life Insurance (NSLI)
  • Veterans’ Special Life Insurance (VSLI)
  • Service Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI)
  • Veterans Reopened Insurance (VRI)

You can borrow up to 100% of the policy reserve value at an interest rate between 5% and 12%. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. The Instant Loan Approval tool from the VA allows veterans to apply online and see a decision instantly.

Ask the expert

Erin Kinkade


Take a loan from life insurance carefully. Life insurance is intended to be life insurance. The death benefit is reduced if a loan is taken and the veteran passes away before paying back the loan. I recommend using the many services offered to veterans regarding financial health, such as free financial consulting, and doing this before moving forward with a personal loan and other debt. 

Personal loans for disabled veterans

Disabled veterans do not have additional programs for personal loans, as per the summary of benefits for disabled veterans found on the VA website. However, you may be allowed to take out a loan against your permanent life insurance policy, Service Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). 

If this is not an option or you need additional funds, you may want to consider one of the personal loan options from the providers listed above.