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Best Personal Loans for Veterans

Personal loans for veterans can help former servicemembers access funds for any purpose. These are unsecured loans that don’t require collateral. When you work with an online lender, you may be approved instantly and may have access to funds the same day or the next day.

Personal Loans for Veterans
Eric Rosenberg
Written by:Eric Rosenberg
Freelance Content Marketing Writer

Personal loans offer quick access to cash for a variety of uses. They’re popular for debt consolidation, home improvement projects, and many other uses. Personal loans for veterans are not good or bad; the question is whether or not the loan is right for your unique financial situation.

If you’re a veteran or military family interested in a personal loan, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked more than 30 online lenders to help you get funded with the ideal loan for your needs.

Our Top Picks Best Personal Loans for Veterans

lightstream._logo
  • Funding as soon as the same day
  • Allows joint applications
  • No origination fee
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not Disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $5K-$100K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 24-240 months
 upgrade_logo
  • Funding as soon as the next day
  • Can be approved with fair credit
  • Variety of discounts on rates
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $1K-$50K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 24 to 84 months
provider_amone-logo
  • Variety of personal and business loans
  • Fast application process
  • Loans are available for borrowers with low credit scores
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 550+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $100-$50K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 12-72 months

How to Choose the Best Personal Loan for Veterans?

Because personal loans can have a big impact on your finances, it’s important to spend a little time reviewing your options to make sure you’re not overpaying. Also, it’s usually worth comparing your rates across multiple lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your credit history and financial situation.

Consider the following factors as you evaluate loan providers and options:

  • Loan Features- The main loan terms, such as payback options and minimum or maximum borrowing amounts, are the first places to look. Also, check any loan limitations to know if your funds are restricted.
  • Interest rates and fees - Next most important is what you’ll pay. Interest rates and fees are displayed as APR. These rates allow you to make an apples-to-apples comparison between multiple loans.
  • Application process - Intrusive applications and immediate hard pulls on your credit report may be less desirable. If you need funds in a hurry, you’ll also want to know how long it takes to get approved and funded.
  • Qualification process - Every lender has its own rules for criteria, including minimum credit score, income, co-signer/joint application options, and membership requirements.
  • Customer support - If you need help, do you have someone to call? Is it easy to reach a human?
  • Online user reviews - Reviews on sites like Trustpilot may be helpful in understanding how other customers have fared in the past.
  • Perks and Bonuses - Payment discounts, easy-to-use apps, bonuses, and discounts could help tip the scales.

Best Personal Loans for Veterans

If you’re looking for a personal loan as a veteran, you have many available options. Depending on your needs, you should be able to find some of the best personal loans for veterans on this list.

Our team ranked lenders based on the above criteria and found the ten best overall personal loans for veterans. We picked the best lenders for personal loans according to loan length, APR, repayment terms, user experience, customer service, credit score history, banking and credit union use, and additional features.

1. LightStream - The Best Lender for Families

For young families, life is full of surprises. Having a lender that can finance a wide range of projects, life events, or emergencies is crucial when there may not be enough money to go around. Lightstream is a good option for military families due to its extensive range of loan services, low APRs, and excellent customer support.
Pros
They have some of the lowest fixed rates on this list.
There are no fees or prepayment penalties.
They offer a wide range of lending options.
You can manage your account on an easy-to-use mobile app.
Cons
There is no pre-approval process.
Applying will likely affect your credit score.
You must have a credit score of 660 or higher to be eligible for a loan.

Lightstream offers personalized loans up to $100,000 for about anything you can think of: car financing, solar panel installation, landscaping, adoption, fertility treatments, pre-K thru 12th-grade school financing, and more. Depending on the type of loan, term lengths can range from three to 20 years. APR is fixed over the term of your loan, ranging from 3.99% to 19.99%, and you can receive a 0.5% rate discount if you sign up for autopay when applying.

With Lightstream, it’s also very easy to manage your loan. The application, payment, and customer service processes happen online through your account page or the Lightstream mobile app.

The Bottom Line

Veterans with families can receive many benefits from Lightstream’s many financing options. While you’ll need pretty good credit to qualify for a loan at Lightstream, their transparency and easy-to-access online management make them an ideal choice for busy families.

Try LightStream

2. Upgrade - The Best Lender For Veterans with Fair Credit

Upgrade is an excellent lender if you’re a veteran with fair credit. They have several types of personal loans to help you achieve your dreams. You can borrow for big purchases, debt consolidation, and more, depending on your financial needs.
Pros
It only takes a few minutes to apply.
You can see your rate with no impact on your credit score.
You can receive your funding in as little as one day after approval.
They offer flexible payment plan options.
There are no pre-payment fees.
You don’t need a perfect credit history to be approved.
There is a 0.5% discount for setting up autopay.
Cons
Upgrade has higher APRs than many of the other options.
All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee.

This loan is great for veterans with a decent credit score above 560. The loan’s terms are flexible; you can have anywhere from 24 to 84 months to pay it off, and there’s no penalty for paying your loan early. Plus, you can borrow up to $50,000 at a fixed rate, meaning it won’t change over the term of your loan. Its 0.5% autopay discount is also a nice perk.

The Bottom Line

Upgrade offers loans that will allow you to refinance your credit cards, consolidate your debt, work on home improvement projects, and make significant purchases. This personal loan is great for veterans because of its versatility and more relaxed credit score requirements compared to other lenders on this list.

Try Upgrade

3. AmOne - The Best Service for Comparing Lenders

If you’re unsure which lender you want to choose from, use a centralized site to compare multiple lenders quickly. It’s a great way to get the information you need efficiently. Veterans can use AmOne to compare the best lenders for their specific needs. AmOne is not a lender; instead, it is a service that gives you quick and easy access to many lenders designed for civilians and veterans alike.
Pros
It offers instant access to valuable information about multiple lenders
Because there are so many lenders, you can compare several types of personal loans to find the perfect fit.
Cons
This is not a lending corporation; it is only a service to find an appropriate lender for you.
There is no guarantee you will be approved for a loan.

Since AmOne is a brokerage site of many different lenders, you should be able to find a loan that matches your financial needs. You can shop for adoption loans, boat loans, debt consolidation loans, and more. It’s a great way to determine which lending company best fits your specific goals.

The Bottom Line

Veterans can use AmOne to compare multiple lenders. They can personalize their shopping criteria and get precisely the lending company needed. While veteran-specific loans usually offer better terms, you may qualify for an even better contract with a company that is not veteran-centered. It’s always a good idea to check all of your options before making any decisions.

Try AmOne

4. Marcus by Goldman Sachs - The Best Option for Smaller Loans

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers the usual personal loans, but what makes them unique from other lenders on this list is their MarcusPay program. With MarcusPay, you can finance bigger purchases into smaller chunks, paying them off in a much shorter period than loan terms typically allow.
Pros
You can make payments in as little as six months with MarcusPay.
There are no fees or deposits required.
Marcus has lower APRs for both its personal loans and MarcusPay
Cons
You need a minimum credit score of 660 to qualify.
Marcus will not accept joint applications.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers up to $40,000 for personal loans at an APR of 6.99% to 19.99%. Customers can choose to pay back their loans in three to seven years. There are no fees, a fixed interest rate, and rewards for making payments on time for a year.

What sets Marcus apart, and why we chose it for this list, is its MarcusPay program. MarcusPay is a way to finance more significant purchases for six to 18 months. The program covers a $300-$10,000 purchase, which you can pay back with a fixed APR between 8.99% to 29.99%. And like the personal loans, MarcusPay comes without any fees.

The Bottom Line

For veterans or service members looking to finance big purchases without being stuck with payments for years, MarcusPay might be the right thing. Sometimes a smaller loan with shorter terms is all that’s needed.

5. PenFed Credit Union - The Best Credit Union for Veterans

PenFed is an excellent credit union for military members who want to borrow personal loans. While you must be a member to receive a loan, anyone can join, and the application process is simple.
Pros
Rates start as low as 5.49% APR.
You can check your rate without affecting your credit score.
There isn’t an origination fee.
You can pay off your loan early without any penalty.
Cons
You may only borrow up to $50,000.
There is a monthly payment minimum of $50.

PenFed personal loans have excellent terms; you can borrow money for as low as 5.49% APR, with payment plans of up to 60 months. The website includes a handy loan calculator that estimates your monthly payments based on your credit score, loan amount, and term length. Unlike other banks and credit unions, there is no origination fee or early payoff penalty. They also pride themselves on having no hidden fees.

The Bottom Line

PenFed also has multiple customer service channels with helpful service, making it easy to reach out for questions or concerns. Because of its upfront, transparent nature, great service, and low rates, PenFed is an excellent credit union for veterans.

6. SoFi - The Best Online Lending Experience

Social Finance, Inc., better known as SoFi, does not have any veteran or military personnel-specific loans or services; however, they still have a lot to offer. Their personal loans are best suited for those with higher credit scores, although anyone with a score of 680 or better can qualify.
Pros
SoFi offers same-day funding.
There are unemployment protection options available.
Their online platform is easy to use with a good user experience interface.
SoFi offers an auto-pay discount.
They offer loans that range from $5,000 to $100,000.
Payoff periods range from 24 to 84 months.
There isn’t an origination fee.
Cons
SoFi reserves the right to modify its products at any time without notice.
They have higher APRs than other lenders on this list.

SoFi offers several benefits, but at the expense of higher APRs, unpredictable service, and product changes. Their APR ranges from 6.99% to 21.28% at a fixed rate. Terms range from two to seven years, and they do not penalize prepayments or early loan payoffs. SoFi loans are unsecured—meaning they don’t require collateral for a customer to receive a loan—which is why they only approve loans for customers with good credit. They may also temporarily pause payments for customers who have lost their jobs.

The Bottom Line

SoFi is the best option for veterans with high credit scores who want more significant personal loans with long payoff timelines. While their APR is higher than other lenders, they don’t have many applicable fees for their loans.

Try SoFi

7. Oportun - The Best Lender for People with Bad Credit

Like SoFi, Oportun does not offer a veteran or military program. Still, this is an accessible option, ideal for people with bad or even no credit scores. Because of their poor credit tolerances, Oportun’s personal loans have the highest APR rates of any others on this list, but that is to be expected.
Pros
Almost anyone can qualify for a loan.
Checking to see if you prequalify will not affect your credit score.
They offer co-sign and limited secured loan options.
Cons
You may have an APR rate of up to 35.99%.
They only offer 12 to 48-month-long repayment terms.
Their personal loans are smaller, ranging from $300 to $10,000.
You cannot change your payment date.

Oportun’s personal loans aren’t the greatest regarding affordability or flexibility, but with no minimum credit score, just about anyone can receive a loan. The APR can be as high as 35.99% for smaller loans ranging from $300 to $10,000. In some states, however, customers can receive thousands more on a secured loan if they put up their car title as collateral.

The Bottom Line

With no credit score minimums, high annual percentage rates are to be expected with this lender. While this isn’t ideal, Oportun is a good option for younger veterans or military members who may not have any credit history or experience yet. After all, it is a better option than payday or higher-interest loans.

Try Oportun

8. Upstart - The Best Choice for Debt Consolidation

Upstart is another lender that doesn’t specifically tailor any of its services or loans to military members. Regardless, they are a quick option that many veterans may find beneficial, especially for debt consolidation.
Pros
Personal loans are funded just one business day after accepting the offer.
You can make direct payments to credit card consolidation loans.
You can choose and change your payment date as needed.
Prequalifying for a loan won’t affect your credit score.
Their minimum credit score is 300.
Cons
An origination fee applies to most borrowers.
Late fees also apply.
They only offer two types of repayment term options.
There isn’t a mobile app that is currently available to users.

Upstart offers personal loans that range from $1,000 to $50,000. Its APR ranges from 5.22% to 35.99%; the better your credit history, the more favorable your APR should be. Upstart only offers three and five-year repayment terms, and they charge origination fees—usually 1% to 8% of the total loan amount—as well as late fees. But, there are no prepayment fees, and their customer service is top-notch, making it easier to accept that they don’t offer a mobile app.

The Bottom Line

While there aren’t specific services for military members, Upstart is a transparent company that is great for veterans or current service members who need to consolidate debt, get access to cash quickly, or don’t have a good, established credit history.

Try Upstart

Best Personal Loans for Veterans - Feature Comparison


Company Name

Est. APR

Min. Credit Score

Loan Amount

Loan term

Lightstream

3.99% to 19.99%

660

$5,000 to $100,000

3 to 20 years

Upgrade

5.44% to 35.47%

560

$1,000 to $50,000

24 to 84 months

AmOne

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

  • 6.99% to 19.99% for personal loans
  • 8.99% to 29.99% for MarcusPay

660

  • $3,500 to $40,000 for personal loans
  • $300 to $10,000 for MarcusPay

  • 36 to 72 months for personal loans
  • 6 to 18 months for MarcusPay

PenFed

5.49% to 17.99%

650

$600 to $50,000

Up to 60 months

SoFi

6.99% to 21.28%

680

$5,000 to $100,000

24 to 84 months

Oportun

Up to 35.95%

None

$300 to $10,000

12 to 48 months

Upstart

5.22% to 35.99%

300

$1,000 to $50,000

36 or 60 months

Usually, military-personnel and veteran-centered loans offer the best terms for personal loans, but there are a few general lenders with competitive loan rates too. No matter your financial need or credit history, check out one of these lenders for a loan that’s right for you.

What is a Veteran Loan?

A veteran loan is a lending product custom-tailored to the unique borrowing needs of veteran and military households. For example, a veteran loan may pause payments during your deployment period if you're ever called up for active duty. In other cases, lenders offer better rates or other features in their veteran loan products. But you shouldn’t discount general personal loans, as veterans may find a better deal with a loan not specifically marketed to them.

Why Do Veterans Need Personal Loans?

While many people can find a way to live without personal loans, some veterans find this type of loan helpful for various reasons. Some of the most common reasons to get a personal loan include debt consolidation, buying a used vehicle, covering emergency medical expenses, or funding a home expansion or remodel.

Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning the lender can’t seize your assets if you don’t pay. That’s very similar to a credit card. But you usually have a fixed monthly payment, like a student or car loan. That combination of features may be a great way to access quick cash. But only apply for this type of loan if you understand the costs and are confident in your ability to repay the loan as agreed.

How to Get a Personal Loan for Veterans

Getting a veteran personal loan usually requires a combination of steps, including a review of your credit history, income and expenses, and other details included in your loan application.

Here is a blueprint you can follow to apply for a personal loan for veterans:

  1. Search for the best lenders: Like any other major purchase, it’s a good idea to shop around to find the lender with the best loan terms and features for your goals and needs. Lenders have different credit requirements, loan limits, repayment periods, and other options that could make one better or worse for you.
  2. Compare your rates and options: When you’ve found your top two or three lenders, it’s time to go ahead and apply. Online applications often take less than 10 minutes when you have your information handy and available. When prequalifying, many lenders use a soft credit check, which doesn’t impact your credit score.
  3. Sign and agree to your desired loan terms: Pick the loan with the terms you want, and follow the steps to sign the loan documents. Again, this is often done online. A loan agreement is a legally binding contract, so don’t sign unless you’re sure you want the loan and are okay with the costs and repayment terms. At this point, the lender may complete the application with a hard check of your credit history, which slightly impacts your credit score for up to two years.
  4. Funds disbursement: If all goes well, you should be quickly approved and get access to funds. If you entered your bank account information during the application process, your funds might be disbursed through direct deposit as soon as the next day.
  5. Repayment period: Now you have the money, but it’s time to start your repayments soon. The first payment is often due around a month after the loan funds are sent to the borrower. Late and missed payments can severely harm your credit score, so consider automatic payments to ensure you always pay on time.

Other Financial Resources for Veterans

Borrowing money isn’t always the right solution to financial problems. Consider other financial resources for veterans that can help you keep your financial footing or avoid major financial challenges.

  • Grants for veterans: Government and nonprofit organizations offer grants to qualifying veterans and their families. An example is the US Cares Emergency Assistance Program, which gives awards averaging $650 to help with monthly living expenses.
  • Financial counseling for veterans: Government and nonprofits offer free and discounted financial counseling to help veterans understand their finances and make better choices. The VA is a good starting point for finding vetted counseling programs.
  • Veteran loans: Veterans may qualify for special loans to start a business, buy a home (VA home loans), or for other needs.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars programs: The local VFW can be a great place to network with other veterans and access grants and other resources to help you deal with financial struggles or improve your financial knowledge.
  • Military benefits: Even after your time in active duty, you may qualify for discounted healthcare, education funding, life insurance, and job training. These programs can be worth tens of thousands of dollars or more to your family.
  • Personal fundraising: Personal fundraising sites like GoFundMe connect you with family and friends who may be willing to help you with a financial contribution during a time of hardship.

Conclusion

Personal loans can help veterans overcome a financial jam, get ahead of debt, or start on a major purchase or project. While personal loans are not suitable for everyone, you may find a personal loan with a low rate and low fees that works well for your goals. In almost all cases, personal loans are better than payday loans.

Consider your goals and needs when shopping for personal loans for veterans. While there is no perfect personal loan for all veterans, there is likely a best personal loan for your needs. This list should help you get started with some of the best lenders on the market today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the minimum credit score for a VA loan?

VA loans are a type of home loan reserved only for veterans. These loans come with backing from the Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) and may offer better interest rates and more favorable qualification requirements. Most lenders require a credit score of at least 620 for a VA loan.

Can active-duty military members get loans?

Active duty military members and their families can qualify for loans. In fact, some lenders offer specialized loans for veterans and their families that include a pause of payments and interest while deployed, among other benefits. Your ability to get a loan depends on your personal credit history, your spouse’s credit history if applying jointly, and other financial information such as your income and monthly recurring expenses.

Are there any grants for disabled veterans?

Disabled veterans have access to a series of programs, including grants, that may help manage life after an injury while serving the United States. The VA, VFW, and other organizations offer many resources to find help for disabled veterans. Also, remember that you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you’re an injured American on permanent disability.

What are military spouse loans?

Military spouse loans are specialized loans for a legal spouse to borrow funds. These loans may require your spouse or partner to be in active military service or on deployment to qualify. There is no legal requirement to offer military spouse loans, so your results may vary widely by lender.

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