PenFed Credit Union personal loans review
With over 80 years of lending experience, this credit union offers personal loans for a variety of expenses.
finder.com’s rating: 3.9 / 5.0
- Best for veterans and active-duty service members looking for low fixed rates.
- Pick something else if you're in a rush — it can take up to two weeks to get your funds.
How much will this loan cost me?
PenFed offers personal loans of $600 to $35,000. While this may limit the amount you can spend, it can help you avoid overborrowing and can save you money — especially combined with PenFed’s low maximum APR of 17.99%
Terms last anywhere from one to five years, and there are no origination or application fees.
You can use our monthly payment calculator to estimate the total cost of borrowing a loan from PenFed.
Monthly repayments calculator
Calculate how much you could expect to pay each month
|Loan terms (in years)|
How it works
Because PenFed is a federal credit union, its maximum rates are capped at 17.99%. But to qualify for its low 6.49% APR, you’ll need to have excellent credit and strong finances.
What do I need to qualify?
To apply for a personal loan from PenFed, you need to meet these basic criteria:
- PenFed membership
- Good to excellent credit
- US citizen or permanent resident
- At least 18 years old
Am I eligible to be a PenFed member?
Military service isn’t a requirement. However, membership is limited to the following people:
- Active-duty, honorably discharged and retired military members
- Employees of qualified organizations or associations
- Members of qualified organizations or associations
- Employees of the US government
- Residents of eligible locations
To see which organizations, associations and locations qualify, visit the membership page on the PenFed website. You can also join by paying $5 if you don't want to join an organization and don't meet other eligibility criteria.
What information do I need to apply?
PenFed requires you to submit some basic information when you apply, including:
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Annual income
- Monthly housing payment
- Competitive rates as low as 6.49%
- No origination fee
- Fully online application
- Low starting amount of $600
- Funding only available by check
- Low maximum loan amount of $20,000
- Membership required
- Slow turnaround of up to two weeks
What other types of financing does PenFed offer?
PenFed offers two fixed-rate lines of credit to its members:
Personal line of credit
Up to $20,000
Relatively low APR for repeat borrowing
Overdraft line of credit
Starts at $500
Avoiding fees on overdrafts
See other personal loan options
Is PenFed legit?
PenFed reviews and complaints
|BBB customer reviews||1.18 out of 5 stars, based on 84 customer reviews|
|BBB customer complaints||287|
|Trustpilot score||4 out of 5 stars, based on 32 customer reviews|
|App Store score||4.1 out of 5 stars, based on 6,185 customer reviews|
|Google Play score||4.6 out of 5 stars, based on 13,611 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||05 March 2021|
Many of the most recent reviews on PenFed’s BBB page are negative. Customers complain of slow customer support, frequent technical difficulties and an overall less-than-optimal experience.
How do I apply?
To apply online, follow these steps:
- Visit PenFed’s website, navigate to the personal loans page and click Apply now.
- Sign into your PenFed account or apply for a loan and membership.
- Select your loan purpose, preferred term and amount, then enter information about yourself.
- Enter information about your coborrower, if applicable.
- Review your application and click View my loan options.
What happens after I apply?
PenFed will review your application and let you know if you’ve been approved within a few minutes — although in some cases, it may take up to two business days. From here, you can finalize your application and open an account if you aren’t already a member.
Your loan funds will be mailed to you as a check. However, you can choose to pick it up at a PenFed branch or pay for expedited shipping to receive your loan within one business day.
How do repayments work with PenFed?
While monthly payments will depend on your loan amount, interest and term, the base minimum payment is $50. Consider making larger payments to shave off the principal amount faster — you’ll save more money on interest in the long run.
If your payment is late, you may be charged a fee of 20% of the payment amount.
Not sure if PenFed fits what you need? Find out how it stacks up to the competition with our guide to personal loans.
Frequently asked questions
Will a late payment on my loan be reported to a credit agency?
Yes, but you have a 30-day grace period before this happens. A good way to keep your credit in good standing and avoid late fees is to work the cost of the loan into your budget.
Where does PenFed have branches?
PenFed Credit Union has branches in Washington, DC and 13 states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
Personal loan ratings
We analyze top personal loan providers and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: rates and fees, customer reviews, loan amounts, loan processing and borrower experience.
Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.
PenFed is ideal for active-duty service members and veterans — but membership isn’t limited to current and former military members. Because it offers loans as low as $600, PenFed is a good choice for anyone looking to borrower a small amount and avoid the high interest rates that come with short-term loans.
But you’ll want to look elsewhere if you’re in a hurry — it can take one to two weeks to receive your funds after approval. You may also want to look elsewhere if you need a loan on the larger size. PenFed’s $20,000 max is low even for a credit union.
Before you apply for membership, compare your personal loan options.