Navy Federal Personal Loans: 2023 Review - NerdWallet (2023)

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of personal loan amounts and numerous repayment terms to choose from, making it a flexible option for borrowers. Personal loans are available only to existing Navy Federal members, which include military members and their families.

To be eligible for membership at Navy Federal, you must be one of the following:

  • Active duty, retired or a veteran in any branch of the military.

  • Immediate family or a household member of a service member.

  • Department of Defense employee, contractor or retiree.

» MORE: Learn the benefits of credit union loans

Table of Contents

Navy Federal personal loans at a glance

Where Navy Federal personal loans stand out and fall short

How to qualify for a Navy Federal personal loan

How to apply for a Navy Federal personal loan

How Navy Federal personal loans compare

How we rate Navy Federal personal loans

Navy Federal personal loans at a glance

Minimum credit score

Not disclosed.


7.49% - 18.00%.


  • Late fee: $29.

  • Returned payment fee: $29.

Loan amount

$250 to $50,000.

Repayment terms

1 to 5 years. Up to 15 years on home improvement loans.

Time to fund after approval

Funds can be sent the same day you're approved.

Loan availability

Loans available in 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Where Navy Federal personal loans stand out

Wide range of loan amounts: Borrowers can choose loan amounts from $250 to $50,000 when applying for a personal loan at Navy Federal. This is an especially wide range among lenders and could make the loan a fit for a small expense like an emergency repair or something larger like a home improvement project.

Term availability: For most loans, repayment terms range from one to five years, but borrowers funding home improvement projects have more choices. With a $25,000 minimum loan amount, you could qualify for a term from five to seven years. With a $30,000 minimum, you could qualify for a term of up to 15 years.

» MORE: Best home improvement loans

Co-signed, joint and secured loans: Members can add a co-signer or co-borrower to their application. Adding someone with better credit or higher income can help your chances of getting a lower rate or a higher loan amount. While both co-signers and co-borrowers are responsible for missed payments, co-signers do not have access to the funds.

Borrowers can also secure their loan with a Navy Federal savings account or CD, which could help them qualify for a lower rate. Depending on the account you choose, your APR would be your share (savings) rate or certificate rate, plus 2% to 3%.

Rate discount for military members: If you’re active duty or retired military, you can qualify for a 0.25 percentage point discount on your loan’s annual percentage rate, which lowers the interest you’ll pay on the loan. You must apply at a branch or by phone to receive the discount.

Fast funding: According to the lender, most Navy Federal members receive their loan funds the same day they’re approved, making the lender a strong fit for borrowers who need quick cash.

Where Navy Federal personal loans fall short

No option to pre-qualify: Navy Federal does not offer the option to pre-qualify for its loan. Though this is not unusual among credit unions and banks, many online lenders let you check your rates before applying. Pre-qualifying with multiple lenders allows you to compare potential loan offers without affecting your credit score.

» COMPARE: Best online personal loans

No option to choose or change payment date: Navy Federal does not let borrowers choose their payment date before signing the loan agreement or make changes to the date after signing. It is common for a lender to let you do one or the other, and some even allow both. Payment flexibility is helpful for borrowers if their payday or monthly obligations change over the life of the loan.

How to qualify for a Navy Federal personal loan

Navy Federal does not publicly disclose many of its borrower requirements. You must be a member of Navy Federal to apply, and there is no minimum credit score requirement.

Here’s what you need for your application:

  • Desired loan amount and term.

  • Current employment details and income.

  • Contact information, including phone number and email address.

  • Personal details of your co-applicant or co-borrower, if applicable.

Before you apply

  • Check your credit. You can get your free credit report on NerdWallet or at Doing so will help you spot and fix any errors before you apply.

  • Calculate your monthly payments. Use a personal loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you’d need to get a loan with affordable monthly payments.

  • Make a plan to repay the loan. Review your budget to see how the loan’s monthly payments impact your cash flow. If you have to cut other expenses in order to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.

  • Gather your documents. Navy Federal may request proof of income — which can be a W-2 or paystub — as well as photo identification, like a driver’s license or passport. Having these documents handy can speed the application process.

How to apply for a Navy Federal personal loan

  • Apply on Navy Federal’s website. Since Navy Federal doesn’t let you pre-qualify, your first step is to submit a formal personal loan application. This could require documentation, like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements, to confirm your information. Navy Federal will also do a hard credit check when you apply, so your credit score could temporarily dip.

  • Make a plan to repay the loan. Navy Federal reports payments to the three main credit bureaus, so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.


Compare Navy Federal to other lenders

Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh your options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.

Similar to Navy Federal, LightStream and Upgrade have flexible personal loans that can be used to fund small or large expenses.

Navy Federal vs. LightStream

LightSteam offers many loan amounts and repayment terms to choose from, including longer terms for borrowers with good or excellent credit (690 credit score or higher) who want to fund a home improvement project. The lender charges zero fees and has a rate discount for autopay.

» MORE: Read our review of LightStream

Navy Federal vs. Upgrade

Upgrade personal loans are available to borrowers with a minimum credit score of 560. The lender offers multiple rate discounts, secured and joint loan options, and long repayment terms on home improvement loans. However, Upgrade charges an origination fee.

» MORE: Read our review of Upgrade

How we rate Navy Federal personal loans

NerdWallet writers rate lenders against a rubric that changes each year based on how personal loan products evolve. Here’s what we prioritized this year:


Star rating



Loan flexibility

Customer experience


Category definitions


An affordable loan has low rates and fees compared to other similar loans and may offer rate discounts.


A transparent lender makes information about the loan easy to find on its website, including rates, terms and loan amounts. Transparency also means allowing users to pre-qualify online to preview potential loan offers and reporting payment information with the major credit bureaus.

Loan flexibility

A flexible loan is one that lets users customize terms and payments. That means offering a wide range of repayment term options, allowing the borrower to change their payment date, offering loans in most states and funding it quickly.

Customer experience

A good customer experience can include a fully online application process, financial education on the lender’s website and a customer service team that’s available most of the time and can be reached multiple ways.

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