Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) personal loans review | finder.com

Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) personal loans review

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Open-ended personal loans tailored to your needs with APRs from 9%–18% with autopay.

You might have heard of Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) as a New England credit union, but you can live anywhere in the US to qualify for its personal loans. In fact, it’s one of the easiest credit unions to borrow from, since you don’t even have to be a member to start your application.

Its personal loans are tailored to your specific needs and financial situation, so it doesn’t come with any hard minimum or maximum amounts. We break down what DCU has to offer to help you decide if it’s a good option for your financial needs.

Product Name Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) personal loans
Min Loan Amount$200
Max. Loan Amount$100,000
APR9–18%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Maximum Loan Term5 years
RequirementsMust be a current or former employee of a participating employer; a member of a participating organization, community or condo association; or a relative of an existing member.
Application Fee$0
  • Work or have worked for a company that’s listed as a participating employer.
  • Be a member of a participating organization, community or condo association.
  • Be related to an existing member.

What’s a DCU personal loan?

Digital Federal Credit Union offers unsecured personal loans to qualified applicants. How much you can borrow depends on your creditworthiness, though you’ll get an APR between 9% and 18% with a 0.5% discount . The lowest rates go to borrowers with excellent credit scores. Loan terms can be as long as 60 months, and you can always pay it back early.

You can apply online, over the phone or in person at a branch — though its branches are only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Typically, it takes at least a day from start to finish, depending on how quickly you can provide the required documents.

What makes DCU personal loans unique?

For a credit union loan, the application process is relatively simple. You don’t need to join before you apply and it doesn’t have any hard credit or income requirements that you need to meet — though it still takes these things into consideration when determining what loan amount and rate you’re eligible for.

Your loan amounts are tailored to your needs and ability to repay, so there’s also no hard minimum or maximum. There also aren’t any restrictions on how you spend your funds, meaning you could use this option as a student loan alternative

What other loans does DCU offer?

DCU offers three other types of personal loans that include:

  • Credit builder loans. Typically small-dollar loans, credit builder loans are designed to help borrowers build their credit history while helping you build up personal savings. DCU deposits up to $3,000 into a savings account, which you can’t touch until you’ve repaid the loan in full, plus interest starting at 5% over 12 to 24 months.
  • Debt consolidation loans. This option comes with the same rates and terms as a personal loan, but you can only use it to move all of your debt into one place. It gets rid of the hassle of multiple repayments and could help you save on interest if you’re paying off credit card debt.
  • Savings-secured loans. Here, you can borrow against either your savings or certificate account balance. Rates start at a low 3.5% and are designed to help you rebuild your credit. Savings account loans come with terms as long as 120 months. Certificate-backed loans are good for 60 months or before the account’s maturity date. Both loans come with a $200 minimum.

DCU also offers auto and home equity loans, which allow you to borrow against the value of your vehicle or house.

What are the benefits of a DCU personal loan?

  • Student loan alternative. Unlike some personal loan providers, DCU doesn’t have restrictions on how you use your funds — meaning that you can use it to pay for college or grad school.
  • Accepts cosigners. Not sure your credit or income is good enough? DCU is one of the few personal loan providers that allow you to apply with a cosigner.
  • No fees. You won’t pay anything to apply for or maintain your DCU personal loan. In fact, the only fees it charges are late and returned payment fees between $25 to $35.
  • Easy to apply. You don’t need to be a member to start your application and you can get started online. It also requires minimal documentation.

What to watch out for

  • Not much information before you apply. One of the drawbacks of a personal loan so dependent on your personal information is that it’s difficult to get an idea of how much you can qualify for before you start your application.
  • Rates start relatively high. While DCU’s cutoff interest rate of 18% is lower than what a lot of other personal loan providers offer, high-earners with excellent credit might be able to qualify for more competitive rates with a different lender.
  • You have to join DCU. While you don’t necessarily need to be a DCU member before you start your application, you’ll need to apply after — which involves opening a checking account.
  • No cutoffs doesn’t mean you’ll get approved. While no minimum credit score or income might sound like an open invitation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to qualify for the amount you need — or at all.

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Rates last updated December 11th, 2018

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What do customers say about DCU personal loans?

DCU’s online reputation isn’t great, though it doesn’t have all that many customer reviews out there. As of June 2018, it isn’t accredited, nor is it rated by the Better Business Bureau. Nearly 90% of its customer reviews are negative and a total of 61 customers have filed a complaint against it.

It gets a meaningless 7.4 out of 10 score from Trustpilot, based on one five-star review. It appears that more customers have turned to Yelp — it has 99 reviews and a low 2.5 star rating. While at least one customer was pleased that they could complete their application without having to visit a branch in person, most were not so happy.

Many pointed to customer service as the root of the problem. More than one reviewer said they’d been treated rudely and several others complained that DCU simply hadn’t been clear about how some of their loans work.

Am I eligible?

DCU doesn’t have many hard eligibility requirements to apply for a personal loan. You just need to live in the USand be willing to join DCU before or after you apply. To be eligible for membership, you must meet one of the three following criteria:

  • Work or have worked for a company that’s listed as a participating employer.
  • Be a member of a participating organization, community or condo association.
  • Be related to an existing member.

You can find a list of eligible employers, organizations, communities and condo associations on DCU’s website. At the bottom of the main page, click Site Index under Resources. Select Am I eligible to join DCU? under Top Choices. Then click on the Field of Membership tab and select which type of eligibility you’d like to learn more about.

Don’t meet any of these requirements? The easiest way to become eligible is by joining an eligible organization — the least expensive membership fee is a $10 donation to Reach Out For Schools, a nonprofit that raises money for Massachusetts public education.

You can apply to join either before or after you complete your application by filling out a quick online form and setting up a bank account.

How do I apply?

You can apply online, over the phone or in person at your local branch. Here’s how to start your online application:

  1. Go to the DCU website and hover over Loans & Credit Cards in the main navigation bar. Click Personal Loans.
  2. Click Apply Now under Personal Loan.
  3. Follow the directions to complete the online form with your personal information.
  4. Select either Continue with Co-Applicant or Continue without Co-Applicant, depending on whether or not you’re applying with a cosigner. If you are, either have your cosigner complete the section or complete it yourself with their information.
  5. Review and submit your application, making sure you’re aware of all terms and conditions.
  6. Wait for DCU to reach out to you with an offer and request documentation — typically within 24 hours.
  7. Follow DCU’s directions to submit your documentation.
  8. Review and sign your loan documents.

I got the DCU personal loan. Now what?

DCU personal loans come with monthly repayments, which you can make several different ways. However, DCU recommends that you make electronic repayments from a DCU account online, through a DCU ATM or by setting up automatic transfers. That way, you can qualify for the 0.5% discount on interest.

You might want to consider signing up for automatic repayments — it’s one less thing you have to worry about each month and can help you avoid late repayments because you just forgot. Watch your bank account and your loan balance to make sure everything is running smoothly — sometimes machines make mistakes, too. If you notice anything off, reach out to DCU customer service by calling 800-328-8797, visiting your local branch or using the live chat feature on its website.

Bottom line

DCU’s personal loans might not come with a lot of requirements, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a shoo-in. You’ll likely qualify for the most competitive rates if you have good to excellent credit, a steady job and low debt obligations compared to your monthly income. And while it processes its loans relatively fast for a credit union, you can get quicker funds by applying with an online lender.

Want to learn about more lenders? Check out our credit union loans guide or visit our personal loans page to learn more about how borrowing works in general.

Interested in getting a credit card from Digital Federal Credit Union? Check out the DCU Visa® Platinum Credit Card.

Frequently asked questions

Anna Serio

Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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