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PenFed Credit Union personal loans
3.6
★★★★★
Finder score
Max. Loan Amount
$50,000
APR
7.99% to 18%
Min. credit score
580

Our verdict

Get a discounted rate from this not-for-profit lender.

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 borrow 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, depending on whether you can get an electronic deposit or need to wait for a paper check. You may also want to look elsewhere if you need a loan on the larger side.

Best for: Borrowers looking for a low loan amount with a competitive interest rate.

Pros

  • Maximum APR of 18%
  • Fair credit OK
  • Loans start at a low $600

Cons

  • May take up to two weeks to fund loan
  • Funding may only be available by check

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product details
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

Details

Product details

Min. Loan Amount $600
Loan Amount $50,000
APR 7.99% to 18%
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. credit score 580
Late Fee $29
Loan term 1 to 5 years
Turnaround Time As soon as the next business day

What makes PenFed personal loans shine?

Credit unions are typically not-for-profit institutions, which allows them to offer lower APRs on their loan products. And that’s true for PenFed, which has a maximum APR of just under 18% — much less than the max rates its competitors offer, which are typically 24% or higher. You can get a smaller loan amount than many other lenders offer. And borrowers with fair credit should still apply, as PenFed doesn’t only use FICO scores to determine eligibility.

Where PenFed personal loans fall short

The biggest drawback in working with PenFed is how its loans are funded. If you live in a state where PenFed is allowed to direct deposit your loan funds into your bank account, it may only take one or two business days to fund the loan. But in some states, PenFed is required to send you a check for the loan, which can take one to two weeks to get to you, plus the time it can take for your bank to process the check.

How to qualify for PenFed personal loans

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?

Eligibility used to be limited to military families and members of certain organizations, but that is no longer the case. To be a member of PenFed Credit Union, you only need to open an account with a $5 deposit.

How to apply

PenFed allows you to apply online, in person or on the phone without a hard credit check. You’ll receive multiple loan offers, either online or through the mail. Once you choose an offer, you can claim it on PenFed’s website. But once you claim an offer, PenFed runs a full credit check as part of the underwriting process.

  1. Apply from the website.
  2. Consider loan offers. You can get offers without a membership, but no offer can be accepted without a PenFed membership, which includes opening an account.
  3. Accept loan terms and establish your membership, if necessary.
  4. Follow repayment plan.

How PenFed personal loans compare to other lenders

PenFed Credit Union personal loans logo

PenFed Credit Union personal loans

★★★★★

Finder rating 3.6 / 5

Go to site


APR

7.99% to 18%


Loan term

1 to 5 years


Loan amount

$600 to $50,000


Min. credit score

580

LightStream personal loans logo

LightStream personal loans

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.8 / 5

Go to site


APR

7.49% to 25.99%


Loan term

24 to 144 months


Loan amount

$5,000 to $100,000


Min. credit score

Good to excellent credit

Upgrade logo

Upgrade

★★★★★

Finder rating 4 / 5

Go to site


APR

8.49% to 35.99%


Loan term

2 to 7 years


Loan amount

$1,000 to $50,000


Min. credit score

620

PenFed Credit Union reviews and complaints

BBB accredited No
BBB rating A+
BBB customer reviews 1.17 out of 5 stars, based on 286 customer reviews
Trustpilot Score 4.4 out of 5 stars, based on 1,466 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of 10 March 2024

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. But these reviews are of PenFed Credit Union as a whole, not about their personal loans specifically. Most complaints seem geared toward issues with the PenFed credit card and car loans. But customer service issues affect every product the credit union offers.

Is PenFed Credit Union legit?

Yes, PenFed is a legit credit union and insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Its website is encrypted to keep your information safe, and its privacy policy covers what personal information is collected and how it is used.

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 the following states:

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia

How can I contact PenFed customer service?

Customer service hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on Monday through Saturday, and you can use the following ways to contact a representative:

  • Phone number: 724-473-6333
  • Email: info@hq.penfed.org
  • Twitter: @PenFed
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PenFed/
  • Fax: 1-800-557-7328
  • Mail: PO Box 1432, Alexandria, VA 22313-2032

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