Best personal loans for veterans and military members

Veterans can turn to personal loans to pay for an unexpected expense or large purchase.

Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as "Credible" below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

Looking for a personal loan to address your financial needs? Learn more about personal veteran loans and other resources for veterans. (iStock)

Veterans and service members who need a little financial help to cover an unexpected expense or other expenditure can take advantage of veteran loans. You can typically find this type of personal loan with credit unions and online lenders.

It’s always good practice to compare several lenders before signing for a loan. With that in mind, here are the best personal loans for veterans and military members.

Personal loans for veterans and military members

Veterans and military service members may use a veteran loan for unplanned expenses, debt consolidation, home improvements and other costs. 

Personal loans can be a good option when you need money fast, though you’ll want to make sure the interest rate is manageable and the monthly payment fits within your budget. Not all personal loans are tailored to veterans and military members, but you can opt for any personal loan you qualify for.

Check out Credible to compare personal loan rates from various lenders in minutes.

Best personal loans for veterans and military members with good credit

A "good" FICO credit score generally falls in the range of 670 to 739. The following three lenders are Credible partners that offer personal loans to borrowers with good credit:

Axos

  • Lender highlight: Get your funds as soon as the next business day
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $35,000
  • Minimum credit score: 740

PenFed

  • Lender highlight: Good for small loans
  • Loan amounts: $600 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 670

SoFi

  • Lender highlight: Offers competitive rates for large amounts
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose, but an analysis of a recent batch of $525 million in SoFi loans showed an average FICO score of 753

No matter what your credit score is, you can compare personal loan rates with Credible.

Best personal loans for veterans and military members with fair credit

If your credit score is in the "fair" category, between 580 and 669, you may qualify for a personal loan with these nine Credible partner lenders.

Best Egg

  • Lender highlight: Competitive rates
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 600

Discover

  • Lender highlight: Repayment terms of up to seven years
  • Loan amounts: ​​$2,500 to $35,000
  • Minimum credit score: 660

LendingClub

  • Lender highlight: Being turned down doesn’t hurt your credit score
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Minimum credit score: 660

LendingPoint

  • Lender highlight: Streamlined approval and application process
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $36,500
  • Minimum credit score: 580

LightStream

  • Lender highlight: High loan amounts
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Minimum credit score: 660

Marcus

  • Lender highlight: Can defer one monthly payment interest-free after making 12 consecutive on-time payments
  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 660

Payoff

  • Lender highlight: If you lose your job, Payoff will work with you on payments
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Minimum credit score: 600

Prosper

  • Lender highlight: No minimum income requirement
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Minimum credit score: 640

Upstart

  • Lender highlight: Only have to prove you have income or that you will have income within six months
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 580

Best personal loans for veterans and military members with bad credit 

You can still qualify for a personal loan with bad credit (typically a FICO credit score of 300-579). The following five lenders are Credible partners that offer personal loans to borrowers with bad credit:

Avant

  • Lender highlight: May be a good match for borrowers who don’t qualify elsewhere
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Minimum credit score: 550

FreedomPlus

  • Lender highlight: Quick decision and funding
  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose

OneMain Financial

  • Lender highlight: No minimum credit score
  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Minimum credit score: None

Universal Credit

  • Lender highlight: Free credit score monitoring and educational tools
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 560

Upgrade

  • Lender highlight: Good for fast loan funding
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 560

Other lenders to consider

The following two lenders are not Credible partners, so you won’t be able to easily compare your rates with them on the Credible platform. But they may also be worth considering if you’re looking for a personal loan as a veteran or military member.

Navy Federal Credit Union

  • Lender highlight: No origination or prepayment fees, and same-day funding in most cases
  • Loan amounts: From $250 to $50,000 for personal expense and debt consolidation loans; $25,000 minimum for home improvement loans
  • Minimum credit score: None

USAA

  • Lender highlight: Loan funds within 24 hours Monday through Friday
  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $20,000
  • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose

Methodology

Credible evaluated the best personal loan lenders based on factors such as customer experience, minimum fixed rate, maximum loan amount, funding time, loan terms and fees. Credible’s team of experts gathered information from each lender’s website, customer service department and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was up to date.

How to compare personal loans

Whenever you’re shopping for a new personal loan, it’s best to compare loan offers to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Use these steps to find the right personal loan for your unique financial circumstances.

  • Prequalify with multiple lenders. Prequalify with at least three lenders, but preferably more. The more lenders you compare, the greater the likelihood you’ll find the best loan offer for you.
  • Compare lenders that don’t use hard inquiries. Many lenders who review your credit report will perform a hard credit inquiry, which can stay on your credit report for up to two years. You may want to look into lenders that only perform soft inquiries, which don’t affect your credit.
  • Look for autopay discounts. Many of the top personal loan lenders provide a discount when you set up automatic payments.
  • Compare the total costs, not just the interest rate. When you compare personal loan offers, it’s essential to look at the annual percentage rate, or APR, in addition to the interest rate. That’s because the APR takes fees into account to determine the total rate you’ll pay annually on the loan.
  • Compare the monthly payment. Review the monthly payment of any loan you’re considering to ensure it fits comfortably within your budget. Make sure you’ll have money left over for your other bills and your rent or mortgage payment.

Use Credible to easily compare personal loan rates from different lenders.

Home loans from Veterans Affairs 

Whether you need help covering a permanent change of station, new furniture or appliances, or other expenses, a loan from Veterans Affairs (VA) could provide the money you need.

  • VA home loan — When you’re ready to put down roots, a VA loan can help you purchase a new home. The terms for VA home loans are hard to beat: no down payment required, no private mortgage insurance, relaxed credit requirements and competitive interest rates.
  • Native American Direct Loan —  This program helps veterans who are Native American or have a Native American spouse get a loan to buy, build or improve a home on federal trust land.
  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) — An IRRRL loan may help you free up cash by reducing your monthly mortgage payment with a lower interest rate. You can also use an IRRRL to stabilize your monthly payments by converting a variable-rate loan to a fixed-rate loan.
  • Cash-out refinance loan — With a VA-backed cash-out refinance loan, you can access some of your home equity or refinance a non-VA loan into a VA-insured loan.

Financial assistance and resources for veterans

Many eligible veterans can turn to grants, job training programs and nonprofit organizations for financial relief, including the following:

  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society — This organization provides interest-free loans and grants to current and retired naval service members who need help meeting urgent financial needs.
  • Operation Homefront — Operation Homefront has fulfilled over 49,000 requests from military families with nearly $30 million in assistance. The organization quickly provides relief to eligible veterans who need help paying their mortgage, medical bills and other expenses.
  • Veterans Families United — This all-volunteer organization connects veterans and their families to over 800 resources. The organization provides financial resources with multiple funding options.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Unmet Needs program — Veterans can apply for this program and receive financial aid grants of up to $1,500 to help with basic needs.