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Navy Federal Credit Union vs. USAA mortgages

Navy Federal wins for its lower advertised rates, better customer ratings and wider branch availability.

Navy Federal and USAA are both popular VA lenders. But when it comes to a range of important criteria, Navy Federal gets our vote.

Our verdict: Navy Federal wins

Navy Federal and USAA are lenders that focus on VA loans. Unlike other types of mortgages, VA loans require no down payment and no private mortgage insurance (PMI). Instead, you pay an upfront VA funding fee of 2.3%, which can be rolled into your mortgage.

As with any loan, make sure you choose the best VA lender for your needs. We think Navy Federal tops its competitor on a range of important criteria, including:

  • Interest rates. Navy Federal advertised rates are lower than its competitor. While a slight percentage difference may not seem like much, it could save you thousands of dollars in interest over the long run.
  • Customer satisfaction. As of November 2021, Navy Federal earns a solid 4.7 out 5 rating on Trustpilot from 6,741 customers, while USAA only gets a 1.3 out of 5 rating from 1,205 customers.
  • Branch availability. Navy Federal has over 340 branches worldwide. USAA only has around twenty branches located in a handful of states.

Then there’s the issue of complaints. On the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, USAA has received 1,699 complaints compared to Navy Federal’s 910 complaints over the past three years. USAA also has a current BBB alert stating that USAA failed to honor customers’ requests for stop payments and error resolution.

How do Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA compare?

Navy Federal Credit Union logo
USAA logo
  • Choose this lender for 0% down and no PMI loan options, beyond VA or USDA loans.
  • Be wary of a slow approval process.
  • Choose this lender for access to a variety of VA loans
  • Choose another lender if you’re not a USAA member

Loans offered

  • Conventional
  • Refinance
  • Jumbo
  • HELOC
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Conventional
  • Refinance
  • Jumbo
  • HELOC
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA

Minimum credit score

Conventional: 620

Conventional: 620

States available

Available in all states

Available in all states

Pros

  • For those ineligible for VA or USDA loans, additional 0% down, no PMI options available
  • Special benefits for qualifying military service members
  • Fewer fees on select mortgages than other companies
  • Solid customer service
  • Specialized help for military members
  • Simplified mortgage process

Cons

  • Requires NFCU membership
  • Online complaints relate a long approval process and poor support
  • Members only

Customer reviews

Member reviews for Navy Federal Credit Union on Trustpilot are overwhelmingly positive. Reviewers there have rated the credit union 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 4,748 reviews as of July 2021. Most customers commend the credit union for its empathetic, respectful and first-class customer service. Others say they received loans through Navy Federal that they wouldn’t have been approved for elsewhere. Over on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it’s a bit of a different story. Navy Federal Credit Union isn’t accredited, and it’s rated 1.21 out of 5 stars based on 133 reviews. In the last three years, the credit union closed 903 complaints. Negative reviews range from complaints about being denied for personal loans to closing credit cards without notice to long approval processes. All things considered, Navy Federal Credit Union comes out near the top when compared to other lenders. Its customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive, which is more than you can say about some other lenders on the market.
As of November 2021, USAA is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it earns an A+ rating. And with more than 716 reviews left on the site, it earns 1.23 out of 5 stars. Customers largely complained of slow customer response times, poor communication and transparency and issues when filing claims regarding insurance policies. It’s also worth noting that USAA has closed nearly 1,700 customer complaints in the past three years. On Trustpilot, customers rated USAA 1.3 out of 5 stars with 1,154 reviews. Some customers praised its excellent customer service and low fees. However, most customer reviews reported otherwise. A majority of dissatisfied customers describe a poor customer service experience, slow processes and issues with insurance claims. These reviews are for USAA as a whole and not necessarily its mortgage products. Reviewers on Zillow shed a little more light on USAA’s mortgages in particular. Reviews lean positive, with customers rating USAA 3.64 out of 5 stars based on 74 reviews. Complaints regarding USAA’s mortgages center around unresponsive loan officers, a challenging and frustrating loan process and higher mortgage rates compared to other lenders. Other customers say the process was actually smooth, and loan officers were responsive and knowledgeable. For unfiltered feedback, check out USAA’s Member Community online. USAA responds to most inquiries on the forum, even forwarding negative reviews to more senior departments to sort out any issues.

Compare mortgage lenders

Compare top brands by home loan type, state availability and credit score. Select See rates to provide the lender with basic property and financial details for personalized rates.

Name Product Loan products offered State availability Min. credit score
Rocket Mortgage
(NMLS #3030)
Rocket Mortgage
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Refinance
Available in all states
620
Streamline your mortgage from quote to final payment — all from your computer or phone.
AmeriSave
(NMLS #1168)
AmeriSave
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance
Not available in: NY
620
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Veterans United
(NMLS #1907)
Veterans United
Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, Jumbo, Refinance
Available in all states
620
Veterans United stands out from other lenders for its focus on serving the military community.
Better
(NMLS #330511)
Better
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, Refinance
Not available in: HI, MA, MN, NV, NH, VT, VA
620
Online preapproval in minutes and no origination fees with this direct lender.
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