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Home Equity

USAA Home Equity Loan and HELOC Alternatives

United Services Automobile Association (USAA) offers insurance, banking, investment, and retirement products and services for military members and their families. 

Members used to have access to USAA home equity loans and USAA home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), but these products are no longer available.

We’ve researched the best alternatives for USAA and non-USAA members affiliated with the military.

Military-focused alternatives to USAA home equity loans

If you’re a member of USAA and need to finance a significant expense—say, a home renovation, college tuition, or a medical bill—you may be looking for an alternative to USAA’s no-longer-available home equity products.

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) allow homeowners to borrow against the equity they have in their homes. Many financial institutions offer home equity products, and some cater to military members and their families. 

Below, we’ll dig into several of the best USAA home equity loan and line of credit alternatives.

LenderRates (APR)Prequalification form?
Navy FederalLoans start at 6.64%; HELOC at 8.250%No
Armed Forces Bank7.99% after introductory rate of 4.99%No
HitchStarting at 7.75%Yes
Bethpage FCUIntroductory rate of 7.49%, then 8.00% No
PenFedStart at 8.125%No

Home equity loan rating: 4.1 out of 5

  • No application or origination fees for home equity loans and HELOCs
  • Competitive interest rates on home equity loans and HELOCs
  • 100% maximum loan-to-value ratio

Navy Federal Credit Union tops our list as the best lender for military members. Not only is it the biggest credit union in the country, but it offers low rates, discounts, and specialized services—including HELOCs and home equity loans to military families and veterans. 

Navy Federal Credit Union membership is available to members of the following:

  • Army
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard
  • Space Force 
  • Delayed Entry Program

Department of Defense Officer Candidates and Reservists, veterans, retirees, annuitants, and family members of active duty, retired members, and veterans are also eligible.

Unlike many alternative loan products, Navy Federal Credit Union’s home equity products have no application or origination fees. They offer competitive rates, flexible repayment terms, and a generous loan-to-value ratio. 

It’s also worth noting the 4% maximum interest rate for accounts eligible for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). 

Armed Forces Bank


  • 6-month introductory rate of 4.99%
  • Annual fee waived if you set up autopay
  • Armed Forces Bank charges low to no closing costs

Armed Forces Bank is a full-service bank that’s been in operation since 1907. While this bank serves civilians too, it tailors its services to active-duty and retired military, Department of Defense personnel, and veterans. Along with HELOCs, Armed Forces Bank specializes in VA and personal loans for military clients.

Armed Forces Bank offers a HELOC with a six-month introductory rate of 4.99%, which then jumps to 7.99% for the remainder of the draw period. The maximum loan-to-value ratio is 85%, depending on your loan amount. 

Note that this HELOC comes with a $50 annual fee, which you can waive by enrolling in autopay. Armed Forces Bank’s HELOC isn’t available in Texas. 

Nonmilitary alternatives to USAA home equity loans and HELOCs

Military-focused financial institutions often tailor their services, but it may be worth exploring nonmilitary lenders for your home equity loans or HELOC. Many military lenders offer solid loan products but no home equity products. 

Plenty of banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders offer home equity products with attractive features. They’re worth considering alongside military-affiliated options.

Below, we highlight four of the best nonmilitary alternatives to USAA home equity loans and HELOCs.

Best HELOC: Figure

HELOC rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Get funding in as little as 5 days
  • Application is 100% online
  • Flexible repayment terms and no prepayment penalties

Figure is a new financial technology (fintech) company known for its streamlined funding process. Figure offers a HELOC but no home equity loan. You can apply for a Figure HELOC online in minutes and, if approved, get funding within days.

This product earns the title of “best HELOC” in our rankings, with flexible repayment terms, no prepayment penalties, the option to redraw up to 100%, and a low APR. Borrowers can tack on a discount to their payments when they enroll in autopay. 

One element to note about Figure’s HELOC is you are required to draw 100% of the loan amount at origination.

Best credit union: Bethpage Federal Credit Union

HELOC rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • 12-month 7.49% introductory rate for VantageScores of 720 and up1, then variable
  • No closing costs, application, origination, or appraisal fees
  • Flexible repayment terms

Bethpage Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in New York but serves members nationwide. You must be a member to qualify for a loan product, but anyone can do so to take advantage of its HELOC.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union offers a HELOC of up to $500,000 with fixed or variable terms. Repayment terms are flexible, with a competitive 12-month introductory rate for those who qualify. 

There’s much to love about borrowing from this credit union—including few fees—but speed isn’t its strength. Funding takes 45 days on average. 

Best for fast funding: Hitch

HELOC rating: 4.4 out of 5

  • Flexible terms, fixed and variable rate options
  • Quick online process with live customer service and support
  • 10X faster loan funding than traditional big banks
  • Available in CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, IL, MD, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OR, PA, SC, VA, WA, and DC

Hitch is our pick for a HELOC with fast funding. This digital lender makes the application process quick and easy—blending the efficiency of an online process with the convenience of real, human customer support any time you need it.

With Hitch, you can borrow up to $500,000 or 95% of your home’s value. Rates start at 7.75%, and funding takes 21 days, on average. The draw period is 10 years, and repayment terms are flexible. 


HELOC rating: 4.2 out of 5

  • Switch from a variable to a fixed rate on all or some interest payments
  • History of serving the military community, with anyone eligible to join today
  • Close on a HELOC in 15 days

Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed, was founded in 1935 to serve the military community—but today, anyone can join. PenFed is the country’s second-largest credit union, offering a full range of banking services and products.

PenFed members can access a HELOC for anywhere from $25,000 to $500,000, closing in as little as 15 days. PenFed also offers the ability to switch from a variable to a fixed rate on all or some interest payments. This HELOC has no application or origination fees, but you’ll pay a $99 annual fee.

How to choose the best alternative to a USAA home equity product

The number of loan options can be overwhelming, so you should consider your biggest priorities when it comes to home equity. Ask yourself:

  • Do you need a home equity loan (better for fixed, predictable expenses) or a HELOC (better when you don’t know how much you’ll need)?
  • Which loans can you qualify for with your credit score?
  • Do you need other military-specific loans or financial products only offered at certain institutions?
  • Does the lender operate in your state of residence?
  • Is the speed of funding a priority for you?
  • Can you qualify for a competitive introductory rate?

Consider military- and nonmilitary-affiliated lenders when shopping for a loan. Military lenders often offer special discounts and services tailored to the military community’s needs. However, nonmilitary lenders may have a broader range of products and be able to fund your loan faster. 

Prequalifying for a loan or HELOC can help you get an idea of how much you can borrow and the rates you’ll qualify for—without affecting your credit score. It may be worth getting prequalified for multiple lenders to compare rates and costs. 

However, not all lenders allow you to prequalify. And some may run a hard credit check (which can affect your credit score). Confirm that a lender will only do a soft credit check before allowing it to prequalify you.

Before you move forward, consider how the expected payment will affect your monthly cash flow. Ensure you can afford it without sacrificing necessary lifestyle expenses or saving strategies.

LenderRates (APR)Prequalification form?
Navy FederalLoans start at 6.64%; HELOC at 8.250%No
Armed Forces Bank7.99% after introductory rate of 4.99%No
HitchStarting at 7.75%Yes
Bethpage FCUIntroductory rate of 7.49%, then 8.00% No
PenFedStart at 8.125%No