July 3, 2022

Best Personal Loans for Veterans

Active-duty service members may face financial challenges as they transition to civilian life, but personal loans for veterans can help. Although the Department of Veterans Affairs provides many benefits and services to support veterans and their families, these are not always enough.

Loans for veterans can be a critical source of additional financial support. But before you borrow, make sure you understand how to choose the best loan for you.

What you’ll learn here:

  • How can veterans select personal loans?
  • Where can veterans get personal loans?
  • What other financial resources for veterans are available?

Best Personal Loans for Veterans

LightStream

2.49% to 19.99% APR
$100,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

Upstart

8.69% to 35.99% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
620 Min. Credit Score

Payoff

5.99% to 24.99% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
640 Min. Credit Score

Rocket Loans

7.16% to 29.99% APR
$45,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Avant

9.95% to 35.95% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
550 Min. Credit Score

SoFi

5.99% to 18.28% APR
$100,000 Max. Loan Amount
680 Min. Credit Score

Best Egg

4.99% to 29.99% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
640 Min. Credit Score

LendingClub

10.68% to 35.89% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
600 Min. Credit Score

Peerform

5.99% to 29.99% APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
600 Min. Credit Score

Upgrade

7.99% to 35.97% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Discover

6.99% to 24.99% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

Axos Bank

6.49% to 29.99% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
720 Min. Credit Score

FreedomPlus

7.99% to 29.99% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
620 Min. Credit Score

Prosper

7.95% to 35.99% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
640 Min. Credit Score

U.S. Bank

6.49% to 16.99% APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
680 Min. Credit Score

Lender

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2.49% to 19.99% APR
$100,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
8.69% to 35.99% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
620 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
5.99% to 24.99% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
640 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
7.16% to 29.99% APR
$45,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
9.95% to 35.95% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
550 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
5.99% to 18.28% APR
$100,000 Max. Loan Amount
680 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
4.99% to 29.99% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
640 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
10.68% to 35.89% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
600 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
5.99% to 29.99% APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
600 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
7.99% to 35.97% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
6.99% to 24.99% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
6.49% to 29.99% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
720 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
7.99% to 29.99% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
620 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
7.95% to 35.99% APR
$40,000 Max. Loan Amount
640 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
6.49% to 16.99% APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
680 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More

APR

Max. Loan Amount

Min. Credit Score

2.49% to 19.99% $100,000 660

6.49% to 17.99% $20,000 Not disclosed

8.69% to 35.99% $50,000 620

5.99% to 24.99% $40,000 640

7.16% to 29.99% $45,000 Not disclosed

9.95% to 35.95% $35,000 550

6.99% to 19.99% $40,000 660

5.99% to 18.28% $100,000 680

4.99% to 29.99% $50,000 640

10.68% to 35.89% $40,000 600

5.99% to 29.99% $25,000 600

7.99% to 35.97% $50,000 Not disclosed

9.99% to 35.99% $25,000 600

6.99% to 24.99% $35,000 660

6.49% to 29.99% $35,000 720

7.99% to 29.99% $40,000 620

7.95% to 35.99% $40,000 640

6.49% to 16.99% $25,000 680

18% to 35.99% $20,000 Not disclosed

Best for low interest

LightStream is the national online consumer lending division of SunTrust Bank, which in 2019 became Truist after merging with BB&T. The key feature of LightStream’s online personal loans is that they can be up to $100,000 and used for nearly any reason, outside of refinancing existing LightStream loans. Personal loans are available to borrowers with good to excellent credit in all 50 states.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 660
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • A variety of loan uses are available.

  • Loans of up to $100,000 are available.

See full profile

Best for low minimum loan amounts

PenFed Credit Union serves members of the Armed Forces, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, military associations, eligible veterans and retirees, and their families. However, military association is not required to apply for a loan or become a credit union member. The credit union offers personal loans for eligible members and eligible co-borrowers in all 50 states.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Loan amounts: $500 to $20,000
  • Repayment terms: up to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Terms of up to 60 months.

  • There are no origination fees.

  • Borrowers can get access to funds as early as the day after approval.

See full profile

Best for borrowers with no credit or poor credit

Upstart is an online marketplace lender that connects borrowers and investors to originate personal loans. It offers loans of up to $50,000 to borrowers with fair to excellent credit nationwide, with the exception of Iowa and West Virginia residents. Since it was established in 2012, more than $7 billion in loans have been originated. Many loan decisions made through the platform are automated and use artificial intelligence.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Upstart may accept applicants with fair credit or even those with no credit history, using artificial intelligence to quantify risk.

  • Upstart loans as low as $1,000 are available in most states.

  • The lender’s credit dashboard allows borrowers to see the impact of loan repayments and to modify payment dates.

See full profile

Best for debt consolidation

Payoff offers personal loans designed to consolidate credit card and other high-interest debt. It operates in most states and provides loans of up to $40,000.

Payoff is not a bank; instead, it works with lending partners that originate loans. The company, which considers itself a financial wellness firm, is based in California.

In 2017, Payoff launched a sister company called Happy Money, which takes a psychological approach to money matters. Today, Payoff is a service under the Happy Money umbrella.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 640
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Borrowers don’t face prepayment or late fees.

  • Borrowers can get preapproved with no hard credit check.

  • Some borrowers with fair credit may be eligible.

See full profile

Best for digital customer care

Rocket Loans offers personal loans to qualified borrowers in all U.S. states except Iowa, West Virginia and Nevada. These loans are designed for people with fair to excellent credit who need to borrow up to $45,000 for debt consolidation, home improvements, medical expenses and business or other expenses.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $45,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Same-day loan funding is available in some cases.

  • No prepayment penalties apply.

  • An online application process is available.

See full profile

Best for risky borrowers

Since 2012, Avant has provided access to personal loans to more than 800,000 borrowers nationwide. Borrowers may qualify with fair to excellent credit and can borrow from $2,000 to $35,000.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 550
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • Loans as low as $2,000 are available.

  • Funding can happen as early as the next business day after approval.

See full profile

Best for no origination fee

Marcus is the consumer bank and lending arm of investment bank Goldman Sachs. Established in 2016, the lender offers personal loans of up to $40,000.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 660
  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 72 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Marcus does not charge any fees on its personal loans.

  • Borrowers can adjust their payment due date.

See full profile

Best for loans of up to $100,000 with no fees

SoFi, short for Social Finance, offers personal loans of up to $100,000 to borrowers with very good to excellent credit. The lender operates nationwide, but does not offer personal loans in Mississippi, and is known for offering loans with no fees. In addition to personal loans, SoFi offers student loans, student loan refinancing, home loans and small business financing.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 680
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • SoFi offers no-fee loans, including no late fees.

  • Loans of up to $100,000 are available.

  • Co-borrowers are accepted.

See full profile

Best for bad credit

Best Egg is a national online lender offering personal loans starting at $2,000 for a variety of purposes. Loans can be funded in as little as one business day.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 640
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Loan funding typically takes one to three business days upon approval.

  • The minimum loan amount is $2,000 in most states.

  • Borrowers incur no prepayment penalty.

See full profile

Best for fair credit

LendingClub is an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors through its network of lending partners. LendingClub initially launched on Facebook and has evolved into an extensive peer-to-peer lender. Borrowers in all U.S. states except Iowa and U.S. territories who have fair to excellent credit can get $1,000 to $40,000 loans with LendingClub.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 600
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: not rated

Best Features

  • Loans of $1,000 or more are available.

  • Joint applications are accepted.

  • Borrowers can qualify with fair to excellent credit.

See full profile

Why Do Veterans Need Personal Loans?

Veterans take out personal loans for a variety of needs, ranging from paying off credit card debt to managing moving expenses or making large purchases.

“Personal loans can be helpful as a means to pay down high-interest debt more efficiently,” says Nancy DeRusso, senior vice president and head of coaching at Ayco, a financial counseling company.

Veterans might want to use a personal loan to pay off credit card debt for a few reasons. First, transferring high-interest credit card debt to a lower-interest personal loan can help you pay off your debt faster than making minimum card payments and save on interest.

Second, a personal loan may also provide a more structured repayment plan than credit cards. And third, a low-interest personal loan can be a valuable way to make a large purchase without tying up your cash or other assets, DeRusso says.

But as useful as personal loans for veterans can be, they are still obligations, warns Richard Delgado Jr., director of military affairs at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

“I would really caution veterans about the importance of avoiding the temptation to take out more than they might need in the form of a personal loan,” Delgado says. “They should only take out what they really need in order to avoid going more deeply into debt, which is never a good idea.”

Where Can Veterans Get Personal Loans?

For personal loans, veterans must use the same types of lending institutions as civilian borrowers, DeRusso says.

Veterans might scour the web for VA personal loans, but they won’t find any. The VA does not give out personal loans for veterans.

Delgado says credit unions and institutions that serve veterans can be a smart first stop when loan shopping.

“Credit unions often do a lot of work both with active military and with veterans,” he says. “If you’re transitioning from active duty to civilian life, the credit union will be more understanding about your specific circumstances than a traditional lender. ”

A military credit union will grasp the ramifications of deployment, the transition home and the circumstances that might cause a late payment, Delgado says. USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, are known for helping service members, veterans and their families.

How Veterans Can Choose Personal Loans

The most important step when seeking a personal loan for veterans is to do your homework. You’ll need to evaluate your budget and each lender you’re considering.

“In today’s low-interest-rate environment, it is very easy to justify borrowing because debt is cheap,” says Anne Anderson, Weatherford chair of finance at Middleton Tennessee State University and U.S. Army veteran. “However, without a sound financial plan to include a budget, any debt, no matter the cost, can lead to financial problems if not managed well.”

Compare personal loans, looking at eligibility requirements, interest rates, maximum loan amounts, and repayment terms and fees, DeRusso says. “As with any personal loan, making sure the loan and rate work for you is the most important factor,” she says.

Generally, the longer the term, the smaller the payment, but you will pay more in interest over the life of the loan, Delgado says.

Once you are certain the loan fits into your budget, Anderson says to ask the lender questions. Do not sign anything that you do not understand.

Other Financial Options for Veterans

A personal loan is not your only option if you’re a veteran who needs extra cash. Veterans can access many financial resources, including benefits and grants that do not have to be repaid, DeRusso says.

If you need to borrow, some options could have lower interest rates and better repayment terms than personal loans, she says. Compared with a personal loan, a VA home refinance loan may be more accessible to certain borrowers with lower credit scores.

Many nonprofits and certain government agencies can provide other financial resources for veterans. The National Veterans Foundation helps veterans write and submit benefit claims to the VA, and the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes may be able to assist with certain expenses, DeRusso says.

Veterans who want to start businesses can even get help: The Small Business Administration offers guaranteed Veterans Advantage Loans with SBA fee relief.

“Veterans should make sure they are aware of the various resources and benefits available to them before taking out a personal loan,” DeRusso says. “The VA publishes an annual guide highlighting the federal benefits available.”

View More Best Personal Loans for Veterans

Best for peer-to-peer loans of up to $25,000

Peerform is a marketplace lending platform that connects borrowers nationwide with investors. Borrowers with a credit score of 600 or higher may qualify for loans of up to $25,000.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 600
  • Loan amounts: $4,000 to $25,000
  • Repayment terms: undisclosed
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • Some borrowers with fair credit may qualify.

  • Borrowers can complete the entire loan process online.

See full profile

Best for loan amounts of up to $50,000

Upgrade is an online lender that offers personal loans and lines of credits nationwide. Borrowers can qualify for up to $50,000 in financing.

Lender Highlights

  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Loans and lines of credit are available up to $50,000.

  • Borrowers can complete the entire loan process online.

See full profile

Best for FICO scores between 580 and 669

LendingPoint, which specializes in loans for borrowers with fair credit, has offered online personal loans since 2014. The lender, operating in 49 states and the District of Columbia, provides loans as large as $25,000.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 600
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $25,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 48 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Loan funds are available as soon as one day after approval.

  • Borrowers with fair credit may qualify.

See full profile

Best for low costs

Discover is a digital bank and payment services company known for its credit cards. But Discover also offers other products including fixed-rate personal loans of up to $35,000 to borrowers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The lender boasts no fees as long as you pay on time.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 660
  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 84 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Discover has no fees other than a late fee.

  • Customizable loan terms from 36 to 84 months.

  • Borrowers get free access to their FICO credit score.

See full profile

Best for flexible loan terms

Axos Bank launched in 2000 and is owned by San Diego-based Axos Financial. You won’t find any brick-and-mortar branches, but the bank has offices throughout the country. Aside from personal loans, Axos Bank offers CDs, plus checking, savings, money market and retirement accounts.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 720
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $35,000
  • Repayment terms: 12 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • The loan application process is completely digital because Axos Bank is online only.

  • Flexible loan terms are one to five years.

  • You can borrow between $5,000 and $35,000.

See full profile

Best for below-average credit

FreedomPlus is an online lender offering personal loans ranging from $7,500 to $40,000. Loans are available to qualified borrowers with a minimum FICO credit score of 620.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Borrowers with fair credit may qualify for a loan.

  • Loans of up to $40,000 are available.

  • Same-day approval is available, with loans funded in as little as 48 hours.

See full profile

Best for post-sales support

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that allows borrowers to apply online for fixed-rate, fixed-term loans. Prosper matches borrowers with partner investors including Sequoia Capital, Francisco Partners, Institutional Venture Partners and Credit Suisse Fund. Since its founding in 2005, Prosper has expedited more than $18 billion in loans. Prosper lends to borrowers with fair to excellent credit with a minimum 640 FICO score.

Lender Highlights

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 640
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Prosper offers preapproval with a soft credit check.

  • Small-dollar loans of $2,000 or more are available.

  • Joint personal loans are available.

See full profile

Best for short-term loans

U.S. Bank offers both short- and long-term personal loans with fixed interest rates.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 680
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $25,000
  • Repayment terms: three to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Loan funds are paid out relatively quickly.

  • U.S. Bank doesn’t charge an origination fee.

See full profile

Best for small loan amounts

OneMain Financial offers secured and unsecured personal loans through its nationwide network of branches. The lender provides loans of up to $20,000.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed
  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Secured and unsecured options are available.

  • Borrowers can prequalify with a soft credit check.

See full profile

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