What you need to know about personal loans from a credit union
Credit Union Personal Loans

Credit union personal loans

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Apply for a personal loan through a credit union for competitive interest rates

You may need extra money for consolidating your debt, going on a vacation, repairing your home or relocating. You can take out a personal loan to cover all of these costs. These loans are usually unsecured, but some lenders provide deposit-secured personal loans.

You can get a personal loan from a traditional bank, online lender, peer-to-peer lender or a credit union. Choosing credit union may save you money. This guide will tell you how.

What is a credit union?

Credit unions are financial institutions that offer the same products as traditional banks, but differ in the sense that they are nonprofit organizations owned by all of its members and not just a small group of owners. Credit unions have a strong focus on their community of members and use a democratic approach.

Members get to elect a board of directors who provide general oversight of keeping the best interest for the credit union’s members. Because credit unions are nonprofit, the earnings are put back into the members pockets in the form of lower interest rates, reduced fees and typically better terms for their offered financial products.

Compare personal loans from some of the largest credit unions

Use this table to compare loan amounts, interest rates and eligibility requirements of top credit unions.

Credit unionWho’s eligibleStarting APRMax loan amountOther loan types offered
Navy Federal Credit UnionYou must be 18 years or older, have a photo ID, provide income verification, show proof of residency and must have been affiliated with the Armed Forces, Department of Defense Coast Guard or National Guard. Immediate family members are eligible as well.6.99%$50,000Mortgages, home equity loans, auto loans, leisure vehicle loans and student loans
PenFed Credit UnionYou must be 18 years or older, have a photo ID, provide income verification, show proof of residency and must have been in any branch of the US Military or an employee of the Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security or be affiliated with an eligible military association.9.99%$25,000Mortgages, home equity loans, auto loans, leisure vehicle loans and student loans.
San Diego County Credit UnionYou must be 18 years or older, have a photo ID, provide income verification and show proof of residency in San Diego, Riverside or Orange County in California. If you don’t live in these areas, you can still apply through the Financial Fitness Association.5%$20,000Mortgages, home equity loans and auto loans.
Teachers Federal Credit UnionYou must be 18 years or older, have a photo ID, provide income verification and show proof of residency in Nassau County or Suffolk County in New York.5%$20,000Mortgages, home equity loans, auto loans, leisure vehicle loans and student loans.
State Employees Federal Credit UnionYou must be 18 years or older, have a photo ID, provide income verification and show proof of residency in select areas of New York6.24%$30,000Mortgages, home equity loans, auto loans, leisure vehicle loans and student loans.

What sets credit union personal loans apart?

The main difference between a credit union and most other kinds of lending institutions is that a credit union are nonprofits. That means their end game isn’t making profits for its shareholders, but providing its members with more competitive services.

Before you get a personal loan from a credit union you’ll have to become a member. Some credit unions offer membership to limited groups of people, so be sure to check if you qualify.

Credit unions vs. banks

Credit unions are a lot closer to banks than other types of lenders — they offer a wide range of financial services including checking and savings accounts, CDs, retirement funds and loans. Both typically are more involved applications than online lenders and can take at least a couple weeks to process.

One key difference between credit unions and banks is credit unions tend to have less strict eligibility requirements, especially compared to international brands. They can also have more information available online, often providing tables, calculators and other tools allowing you to calculate your potential monthly repayments before you apply.

Credit unions vs. online lenders

Credit unions and online lenders typically have more flexible requirements than banks. Both are also typically more friendly to online customers.

Online lenders beat credit unions on two fronts: Turnaround time and ease of application. Online lenders can sometimes get you funds in as little as one business day. And you don’t have to become a member and open a new bank account to be eligible. Credit unions often offer more competitive rates, however.

How do I compare personal loans from credit unions?

Many credit unions across the US provide personal loans to their members. These loans can vary across different parameters, such as:

  • Interest rates. Your credit score has an effect on the annual percentage rate (APR) you’ll pay on the money you borrow. This rate will vary at across lenders. The APR has a major effect how much you end up repaying, especially if you borrow a significant amount.
  • Fees. Credit Unions tend to keep their fees to a minimum. However, this does not mean that they don’t charge any fees. Take time to review how much you’ll have to pay if you make late payments or if payments fail to go through because of insufficient funds in your account.
  • Loan amount and term. The minimum and maximum amount you can borrow can vary from one credit union to the next. This also holds true when it comes to the loan term.
  • Extra repayments. By making extra repayments or repaying your loan early you can save on interest charges. In some cases you may have to pay additional fees or penalties, so be sure to check with your lender before making extra payments.

Want a loan from an online provider instead? Compare these top options

Rates last updated August 18th, 2018

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Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Credible Personal Loans
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
Good to excellent credit
$50,000
4.99%–36% (fixed)
LendingClub Personal Loan
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
660
$40,000
6.16%–35.89% (fixed)
SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
680
$100,000
7.075%–15.365% (fixed)
Even Financial Personal Loans
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
580
$100,000
4.99%–35.99% (fixed)
NetCredit Personal Loan
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
550
$10,000
34%–155% (Varies by state) (fixed)
Best Egg Personal Loans
A prime lender with multiple repayment methods.
640 FICO®
$35,000
5.99%–29.99% (fixed)
Monevo Personal Loans
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit score.
580
$100,000
3.09%–35.99% (fixed)
FreedomPlus Personal Loans
Consolidate debt and more with these low-interest loans. Cosigners welcome.
640
$35,000
4.99%–29.99% (fixed)
OppLoans Installment Loans
Installment loans with competitive rates from a top-rated direct lender.
Bad credit accepted
$5,000
99%–199% (fixed)
OneMain Financial Personal and Auto Loans
An established online and in-store lender with quick turnaround times. Poor credit is OK.
Varies
$30,000
16.05%–35.99%* (fixed)

Compare up to 4 providers

Pros and cons of credit union personal loans

  • Competitive rates. Since credit unions don’t operate with the motive of generating profits, they’re able offer competitive interest rates. Credit unions also charge lower fees in comparison to conventional banks.
  • Use funds for any purpose. What you do with the funds you get through a credit union personal loan is basically up to you, provided you use the money for legitimate purposes.
  • Bad credit loans. Some credit loans offer personal loans to individuals with poor credit. Applying for such loans may require that you apply with a qualified co-borrower or that you to provide some kind of collateral.
  • Nonprofit. Credit unions are not-for-profit institutions. Unlike banks, any earnings a credit union sees are redistributed to its members in the form of small dividends, low interest rates, smaller fees and other perks.
  • Membership. Applying for a personal loan through a credit union requires that you start by becoming a member. You may have to pay a nominal minimum deposit along with a membership fee.
  • Less choice. You have less choice if you limit your selection to only personal loans from credit unions.
  • Slow turnaround. It can take a couple weeks to get your funds — or even longer.
  • Limited services. Many local credit unions only have a handful of ATMs and locations. While this might not affect your loan necessarily, you could have trouble accessing your checking or savings account if you move — which you’re required to open to become a member.

Consider these factors before applying

The APRs on personal loans are often higher than secured loan rates. If you’re able to provide some kind of collateral you may want to consider getting a secured loan. Your creditworthiness affects the APR you are offered, so if you have a poor credit rating you may want to postpone your plan of getting a loan until you repair your credit.

If you feel you might have problems in making timely repayments, it’s important to consider how a personal loan would fit into your budget. Making late payments will have you paying additional fees and can damage your credit.

What do I need to apply for a credit union personal loan?

To get a personal loan from a credit union, you first need to become a member. Each credit union has different stipulations for joining, this is called the field of membership. Eligibility can be determined by many factors – where you live, your employer, your family and any sort of activity within the community where the credit union operates. Once you’re a member, there will be certain requirements when applying for a personal loan, such as:

  • Personal identification. Driver’s license, state identification card, Social Security card or passport.
  • Personal details. Verification of address with either a copy of a lease or any recent utility or credit card bills. Also, proof of past or current income with W-2s, recent pay stubs or bank statements.

Frequently asked questions

Aliyyah Camp

Aliyyah Camp is a publisher for finder.com helping folks compare personal, student, car and business loans. When she's not helping people with their personal finances, you can find her going for runs outdoors.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LisaAugust 14, 2018

    I was approved for a short term loan from my credit union the manager said the funds were in my account I didn’t check while I was there but when I got home later that day it was showing that the funds were not put in my account it was saying actual balance instead of available what did the credit union do wrong cannot contact them until the next business day

    • finder Customer Care
      johnbasanesAugust 14, 2018Staff

      HI Lisa,

      Thanks for leaving a question.

      Generally, the process of moving the funds into your account depends on a couple of things. 1. The mode of payment that the credit union would use. 2. If the funds would go through a bank before it reaches your account, you may also need to consider the bank’s processing time. You may want to directly contact your credit union for you to see where in the process your approved loan is and how long before it would reflect on your account. Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    LilmaApril 2, 2018

    Will doctor bill that was sent to collection stop u from obtain a personal loan .

    • finder Customer Care
      MayApril 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Lilma,

      Thank you for your question.

      Even if you have a bill for collection, but you meet the all the eligibility criteria of the loan you’re applying, you should be okay. If you like to apply for a loan with a credit union, make sure you are member or part of that CU and also meet other eligibility requirements.

      In case you are looking for a other loans in the market, you can check this out.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

  3. Default Gravatar
    Peedub47February 1, 2018

    If i pay off all my debt will i be able to qualify for a loan from a credit union?

    • finder Customer Care
      ArnoldFebruary 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Peedub47,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      Qualifying for a personal loan from a credit union will depend on factors such as the state you are located at, your affiliation to organizations such as the Armed Forces, Department of Defense Coast Guard or National Guard. being debt free will definitely increase your chances of getting approved for a loan. On the page you have opened, please answer a few questions to filter the options suited for you. Of course, if you pay off your debt, you’ll have a bigger chance of approval since paying off your debt will add a good mark on your credit history.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  4. Default Gravatar
    DallasNovember 20, 2017

    How can I get a small loan with no bank account and work for cash but can have the people I work to verify for me just trying to get on my feet and pay back a small loan and build credit?

    • finder Customer Care
      RenchNovember 20, 2017Staff

      Hi Dallas,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Please note that we are not affiliated with any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      There are lenders that will still consider you without a bank account, meaning you can still get a short-term loan. Comparing these lenders is the best way to find a deal that matches your needs. You may go to this page.

      You can also have a look on this page for helpful tips on how to improve your credit score.

      Hope this information helped.

      Best regards,
      Rench

US Personal Loans Offers

Important Information*
Even Financial Personal Loans

Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.

Prosper Personal Loans

Borrow only what you need for debt consolidation, home improvements and more — with APRs based on overall creditworthiness.

LendingClub Personal Loan

A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.

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