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Best Personal Loans for Military and Veterans

Frequent moves occasioned by permanent change of station, deployments, and uncovered medical bills can take a toll on the financial health of military officers on active duty. Similarly, the loss of benefits or incomes when transitioning to civilian life can leave most veterans in financial struggles.


But there are a lot of military and military-friendly financial institutions offering personal loans for military/veterans. Let us look at some of these lenders and their rates in the table below. 


We’ll, later on, help you understand how military loans work, as well as how to pick the right lender for you. As a bonus, we will let you in on some “secret tips” to help you easily qualify for these loans. 

  • Approx. Rates
  • Credit Score
  • Max Loan Limit
  • 6.99% - 17.65%
  • None
  • $5,000
Navy Federal CU
  • 7.49% - 18.00%
  • None
  • $50,000
  • 6.49% - 17.99%
  • None
  • $20,000
  • Approx. Rates
  • Credit Score
  • Max Loan Limit
  • 5.99% - 18.25%
  • 680
  • $100,000
  • 7.95% - 35.99%
  • 640
  • $40,000
  • 9.95% - 35.99%
  • 580
  • $35,000
  • APR range
  • Fees
  • Terms
  • Amounth
  • Unemployment protection
Bank 1
  • 6.95%–35.89%
  • Up to 5% transfer fee
  • 3–5 years
  • $1,000–$40,000
  • No
Bank 2
  • 6.95%–35.89%
  • Up to 5% transfer fee
  • 3–5 years
  • $1,000–$40,000
  • No
Bank 3
  • 6.95%–35.89%
  • Up to 5% transfer fee
  • 3–5 years
  • $1,000–$40,000
  • No

Table of Contents

How do military and veteran personal loans work

Emergency personal loans for veterans aren’t much different from ordinary personal loans.  However, military personnel on active duty and veterans get to enjoy slightly better loan terms. These may range from a lower loan APR, flexible qualification requirements, or extended repayment periods. 


And like any other personal loan, they can be used to address a wide array of financial challenges. That includes funding a vacation – though not recommended, consolidating debt, sorting medical emergencies, or virtually any other financial problem.


They are typically unsecured and highly versatile. How much loan you can access, and the repayment terms are mostly dependent on your creditworthiness. The factors lenders may consider when assessing your creditworthiness are your credit score, your borrowing history, and debt-to-income. 


A good number of the military-specific and military-friendly lending institutions will leave the credit score out of their qualification requirements. Others are willing to advance “veterans’ personal loans” to individuals with average and bad scores.

Requirements to qualify

  • Military or eligible member: You must have served in the military or are an active service member to qualify for a military personal loan. Some banks like USAA and credit Unions like Navy Federal take this a step further by ensuring that only military service members and other eligible parties open an account with them. That includes spouses, children, and qualified national guard or reserve members.


  • Credit score: Most military-specific banks and credit unions like USAA and Navy Federal don’t check your credit score when vetting your eligibility. On the other hand, other military-friendly lenders like Avant are willing to advance loans to individuals with relatively low credit scores.


  • Low debt to income ratio: The income to debt ratio plays a crucial role in determining your credit score. Most lenders will also refer to it when assessing your ability to repay the loan. Some of these lenders will either avoid borrowers with a high debt to income ratio or lower the maximum borrowing limit. This is especially if you aren’t using the loan for debt consolidation.


  • Stable income source: The ultimate proof of your ability to repay the loan is a stable income source. These include salaries for active members and grants or other benefits for veterans.


Requirements to qualify for active-duty military personal loans

Active service member: If you are applying for a military personal loan, you must be an active service member. That extends beyond individual military servicemen and women. Spouses, children, and beneficiaries of the active-duty members can as well apply.


Requirements to qualify for veteran personal loans

Retiree or honorably discharged servicemen: Veterans’ personal loan applicants must be individuals who served in a war zone for 90 days or 180 days during periods of relative peace. Other individuals grouped into the veterans’ category are members of the National Guard and reservists who served for more than six years. Their spouses and children may also qualify to apply for emergency personal loans for veterans.

Hot Tip:

Disclosing your extra source of income like employment or property incomes in addition to the government grants will help boost your loan limits and give you access to lower APRS.

What do you need to know?

They attract relatively lower loan APRs: Veterans and active-duty military officers enjoy relatively low-interest rates on emergency personal loans. This is especially if the loan was borrowed from a military-friendly bank or credit union like Navy Federal. And you can push this rate even further down by agreeing to automated loan repayments.


Extended repayment: Most military personal loan providers will also offer extended loan repayment periods. At Navy Federal credit union, for instance, you’ll have up to 5 years to repay their maximum loan limit of $50,000. USAA bank, on the other hand, allows you up to 7 years to pay back their maximum $5,000 personal loan offer.


Most have a satisfaction guarantee: The difference between ordinary loans and emergency personal loans for veterans is that the latter is often accompanied by the satisfaction guarantee. Almost all the military personal loan providers we’ve tabled above provide you with a 15-day grace period. During this time, you can return the full loan amount. You’ll not be charged interest or other fees if you aren’t satisfied with the lender’s levels of service.


Highly flexible: The personal loans for people on “disability benefits” can also be used to address multiple financial challenges. These low-rate personal loans for veterans can be used to clear medical bills. They can also help, furnish a house, facilitate relocation to a new station, or ease their transition to civilian life.

Hot Tip:

You can push the military loans rate even further down by agreeing to automated loan repayments.

Difference between active-duty and veteran personal loans

The primary difference between active duty and veteran personal loans is that lenders will look at factors like the service member’s annual income when assessing their creditworthiness. In the case of veterans, the lender considers factors like grants and other post-service benefits and their frequency.

Types of military personal loans

  • Unsecured personal loans for veterans: You don’t need a physical asset like a car or property to use as collateral. All of the lenders listed above will be willing to advance unsecured personal loans to both active-duty and veterans military officers. You also get to benefit from highly competitive loan APRs.


  • Bad credit loans: You will need a good credit score to qualify for these emergency personal loans for veterans. Most military personal loan lenders are willing to advance credit facilities to both active duty and veterans with a low credit score. Others, like the Navy Federal, don’t have a minimum credit score requirement. Thus making it a perfect option for veterans with poor borrowing history.


  • Cosigned loans: When applying for a bad credit personal loan for veterans, you don’t get competitive loan APR rates like borrowers with a higher score. You can, however, correct this and bring down the loan costs by having an individual with a higher credit score cosign the loan for you.


  • Debt consolidation loans: A consumer credit survey recently reported that 91% of military families have at least one credit card. And about 27% have more than $10,000 in debt. If you are in this category or feel pressured by equally expensive loans, you can always consider taking a debt consolidation personal loan. It brings interest rates down and extends the loan repayment period.

How much can you borrow?

Today, most lending institutions allow you to borrow anything between $100 and $100,000. However, various lenders maintain different maximum loan offer limits. For instance, USAA will only lend veterans between $2,500 and $5,000. However, SoFi Loans lends you up to $100,000. How much you qualify for is determined by such factors as your credit score, your income levels, and the ability to repay.


How much can active duty military personnel borrow?

Salaried service members can qualify for higher loan amounts. If you apply with a military allied credit union like Navy Federal, you can borrow up to $50,000. You can also qualify for up to $100,000 when you borrow from SoFi online lender. To get the highest maximum limit, however, you need a stellar credit score, a good borrowing history, and a low income-debt ratio.

How much can a veteran borrow?

Veterans who have either retired or have been honorably discharged from the service can also access attractive personal loans for veterans. Credit Unions like Navy Federal don’t have minimum qualification requirements for veterans and can lend them up to $50,000. 

Emergency personal loans for Veterans

Military veterans who suffered injuries while in service and were discharged honorably also qualify for personal loans for people on disability benefits. Most lenders consider this a viable income source. Hence they allow you to borrow personal loans against federal government checks. You can also increase the loan limit available to you and lower the interest rates. You do that by ensuring your credit score and borrowing history are in order, having a lower debt to income ratio, and agreeing to automated loan repayments.


Armed forces loan guarantee

Whether you are salaried on active duty or a veteran living on grants or disability benefits, you can still apply for a loan confidently with approval guaranteed. There is an unlimited number of both military-specific and military-friendly banks willing to help you. 


Many credit unions and online lending platforms are also willing to advance your military personal loans at very friendly rates. A majority of these lenders ask for minimal loan qualification requirements. Others, like the USAA bank and Navy Federal credit union, don’t even have qualification requirements for military personnel. They evaluate applications on a case-to-case basis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, military personal loans are available to both active-duty personnel and veterans. In most cases, the lender only needs proof of a stable income and ability to pay.

Yes, you can apply for personal loans for people living on disability benefits. Most lenders consider this to be a legit source of income and proof of your ability to repay the loan. You might, however, consider applying with military-centered credit unions and banks to take advantage of lower interest rates.

You must have served for 90 days in a time of war or 181 days in periods of peace or six years in the national guard/reservist to be called a veteran. Different lenders have varied rules when it comes to in-service military personnel. Navy Federal credit union, for instance, recently relaxed its membership rules and now allows membership and loan applications from persons serving in the military, civilians working in the Department of Defense, their spouse, or immediate family member.

Yes, numerous lenders are offering bad credit personal loans for military veterans. Some like Navy Federal credit union doesn’t even list a credit score as a loan qualification requirement.

Before borrowing a loan, look at the maximum loan offer provided by the lender and only go for lenders who are within your acceptable loan margin. For instance, you may consider approaching USAA Bank for small loans (maximum $5,000) or SoFi and Navy Federal (maximum $100,000 and $50,000 respectively) for higher loans. To increase chances of qualifying for higher loan limits, ask for loan offers from multiple lenders, work on improving your credit score, and lower the debt-income ratio.

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