To review USAA, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.
USAA loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation, home improvements, vacations and wedding expenses. You must be a member at USAA to apply for a personal loan.
All individuals serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves.
Former military who have either retired or been honorably discharged.
Widows, widowers and former spouses (who have not remarried) of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage, and individuals whose parents joined USAA.
Cadets and midshipmen at U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, and offer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.
Low rates and fees: USAA personal loans carry no application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties. Loan terms range from 12 to 84 months, with annual percentage rates from 6.99% to 17.65% (which includes a 0.25% discount for automatic payments).
You must have excellent credit to qualify for its lowest rates or to get a loan with a repayment term that’s greater than 60 months.
Joint applications: The company does not allow co-signers on loans, but it does take joint applications in which both borrowers have access to the loan proceeds and are responsible for repaying the loan. Generally, having a co-applicant with a stronger credit profile can boost the odds of approval or get a lower rate.
Hard credit pull: Applicants should note that USAA does a hard credit pull on personal loan applications, which may result in a temporary hit to your credit score.
Loan example: For a borrower with excellent credit, a $20,000 personal loan with a repayment term of 36 months at 13.9% APR would carry monthly payments of $683, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.
How USAA compares
Navy Federal is a credit union with similar membership requirements that offers personal loans at slightly higher starting APRs. Navy Federal also offers home improvement loans with repayment terms up to 15 years.
Wells Fargo offers higher loan amounts — up to $100,000 — and a lower starting rate than Navy Federal or USAA. Its loans can be used to consolidate debt or finance costly projects. New customers must apply in person, while existing customers can apply and receive funds online.
How to apply for a USAA loan
USAA has limited branches, so members are encouraged to apply for loans online or over the phone, according to the company. To create an online account with USAA, you’ll need to provide your date of birth, contact information and Social Security number, and details about your or your family member’s military service.
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