Best Personal Loans for Excellent Credit

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Active-duty service members may face financial challenges as they transition to civilian life, but personal loans for veterans can help. Although the Department of Veterans Affairs provides many benefits and services to support veterans and their families, these are not always enough.

Loans for veterans can be a critical source of additional financial support. But before you borrow, make sure you understand how to choose the best loan for you.

What you’ll learn here:

  • How can veterans select personal loans?
  • Where can veterans get personal loans?
  • What other financial resources for veterans are available?

Best Personal Loans for Veterans

Discover
6.99% to 24.99% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

Peerform
5.99% to 29.99% APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
600 Min. Credit Score

Upstart
6.18% to 35.99% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
620 Min. Credit Score

U.S. Bank
Not disclosed APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
Varies Min. Credit Score

Lender

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6.99% to 24.99% APR
$35,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
5.99% to 29.99% APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
600 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
6.18% to 35.99% APR
$50,000 Max. Loan Amount
620 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
Not disclosed APR
$25,000 Max. Loan Amount
Varies Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More

APR

Max. Loan Amount

Min. Credit Score

3.49% to 16.79% $100,000 660

5.98% to 35.89% $40,000 600

6.99% to 24.99% $35,000 660

5.99% to 29.99% $25,000 600

6.18% to 35.99% $50,000 620

6.99% to 28.99% $40,000 Not disclosed

7.99% to 29.99% $40,000 620

Not disclosed $25,000 Varies

7.16% to 29.99% $45,000 620

6.49% to 17.99% $20,000 Not disclosed

Best for low interest

LightStream is the national online consumer lending division of SunTrust Bank, which last year merged with BB&T to become Truist. LightStream’s online personal loans may allow you to borrow up to $100,000 and use the money for nearly any reason. Borrowers in every state can access these personal loans.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 660
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Offers more than 30 different loan uses

  • Approves loans of up to $100,000

  • Charges no origination, prepayment or late fees

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Best for fair credit

LendingClub has processed more than $44 billion in loans since 2007. Borrowers with fair to excellent credit in 49 states can access LendingClub loans from $1,000 to $40,000.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 600
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: not rated

Best Features

  • Provides loans of at least $1,000

  • Accepts joint applications

  • Accommodates borrowers with fair to excellent credit

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Best for low costs

Discover may be known for credit cards but also offers fixed-rate personal loans of up to $35,000 to borrowers in every state. The lender boasts no fees as long as you pay on time.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 660
  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 84 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Offers customizable loan terms from 36 to 84 months

  • Provides borrowers free access to their FICO credit score

See full profile

Best for poor credit

Peerform is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects borrowers nationwide with investors who finance loans. Borrowers with credit scores of 600 or higher may qualify for loans of up to $25,000.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 600
  • Loan amounts: $4,000 to $25,000
  • Repayment terms: undisclosed
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Makes loans to some fair-credit borrowers

  • Allows borrowers to complete the entire loan process online

  • Delivers good customer service

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Best for customer service

Upstart is a national online lender that uses artificial intelligence to automate more than two-thirds of its lending decisions. Borrowers with fair to excellent credit can connect with investors willing to make loans of up to $50,000. Upstart has originated more than 500,000 loans since its founding in 2012.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Sometimes accepts applicants with fair or no credit history, using artificial intelligence to quantify risk

  • Offers loans for as little as $1,000

  • Provides a financial fitness dashboard that allows borrowers to modify payment dates and view credit score updates

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Best for no origination fee

Marcus, the online consumer banking and lending arm of Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, offers personal loans for up to $40,000. When you pay your loan on time and in full for at least 12 consecutive months, you can skip one payment. Interest will not accrue, and the lender will simply extend your loan for one month.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 72 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Charges no fees on personal loans

  • Allows borrowers to skip one payment and accrue no interest after making at least 12 consecutive on-time payments

See full profile

Best for fair credit

FreedomPlus is an online lender making personal loans from $7,500 to $40,000. Loans are available to qualified borrowers with a minimum FICO credit score of 620.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $40,000
  • Repayment terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: unrated

Best Features

  • Makes loans to some borrowers with fair credit

  • Provides loans of up to $40,000

  • Offers same-day loan approval and funding in as little as 48 hours

See full profile

Best for short-term loans

U.S. Bank offers short- and long-term personal loans of up to $25,000 with fixed interest rates. The lender accepts co-signers and charges no origination fee.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Loan amounts: $100 to $25,000
  • Repayment terms: three to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • Pays out loan funds relatively quickly

  • Charges no origination fee

See full profile

Best for online service

Rocket Loans, a national online lender, makes personal loans of up to $45,000 for people with fair to excellent credit in all 50 states. Borrowers can use the loans to consolidate debts, to complete home improvements, to pay medical bills, and to fund business operations or other needs.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $45,000
  • Repayment terms: 36 to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Provides same-day funding for loans of up to $25,000

  • Applies no prepayment penalties

  • Offers an online application process

See full profile

Best for no minimum loan amount

You don’t have to be a part of the military to join PenFed Credit Union, although the financial institution serves members of that community. Eligible members and co-borrowers in every state can apply for personal loans.

Before You Apply

  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Loan amounts: up to $20,000
  • Repayment terms: up to 60 months
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Offers terms of up to 60 months

  • Charges no origination fees

  • Provides borrowers immediate access to funds upon loan approval

See full profile

Why Do Veterans Need Personal Loans?

Veterans take out personal loans for a variety of needs, ranging from paying off credit card debt to managing moving expenses or making large purchases.

“Personal loans can be helpful as a means to pay down high-interest debt more efficiently,” says Nancy DeRusso, senior vice president and head of coaching at Ayco, a financial counseling company.

Veterans might want to use a personal loan to pay off credit card debt for a few reasons. First, transferring high-interest credit card debt to a lower-interest personal loan can help you pay off your debt faster than making minimum card payments and save on interest.

Second, a personal loan may also provide a more structured repayment plan than credit cards. And third, a low-interest personal loan can be a valuable way to make a large purchase without tying up your cash or other assets, DeRusso says.

But as useful as personal loans for veterans can be, they are still obligations, warns Richard Delgado Jr., director of military affairs at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

“I would really caution veterans about the importance of avoiding the temptation to take out more than they might need in the form of a personal loan,” Delgado says. “They should only take out what they really need in order to avoid going more deeply into debt, which is never a good idea.”

Where Can Veterans Get Personal Loans?

For personal loans, veterans must use the same types of lending institutions as civilian borrowers, DeRusso says.

Veterans might scour the web for VA personal loans, but they won’t find any. The VA does not give out personal loans for veterans.

Delgado says credit unions and institutions that serve veterans can be a smart first stop when loan shopping.

“Credit unions often do a lot of work both with active military and with veterans,” he says. “If you’re transitioning from active duty to civilian life, the credit union will be more understanding about your specific circumstances than a traditional lender. ”

A military credit union will grasp the ramifications of deployment, the transition home and the circumstances that might cause a late payment, Delgado says. USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, are known for helping service members, veterans and their families.

How Veterans Can Choose Personal Loans

The most important step when seeking a personal loan for veterans is to do your homework. You’ll need to evaluate your budget and each lender you’re considering.

“In today’s low-interest-rate environment, it is very easy to justify borrowing because debt is cheap,” says Anne Anderson, Weatherford chair of finance at Middleton Tennessee State University and U.S. Army veteran. “However, without a sound financial plan to include a budget, any debt, no matter the cost, can lead to financial problems if not managed well.”

Compare personal loans, looking at eligibility requirements, interest rates, maximum loan amounts, and repayment terms and fees, DeRusso says. “As with any personal loan, making sure the loan and rate work for you is the most important factor,” she says.

Generally, the longer the term, the smaller the payment, but you will pay more in interest over the life of the loan, Delgado says.

Once you are certain the loan fits into your budget, Anderson says to ask the lender questions. Do not sign anything that you do not understand.

Other Financial Options for Veterans

A personal loan is not your only option if you’re a veteran who needs extra cash. Veterans can access many financial resources, including benefits and grants that do not have to be repaid, DeRusso says.

If you need to borrow, some options could have lower interest rates and better repayment terms than personal loans, she says. Compared with a personal loan, a VA home refinance loan may be more accessible to certain borrowers with lower credit scores.

Many nonprofits and certain government agencies can provide other financial resources for veterans. The National Veterans Foundation helps veterans write and submit benefit claims to the VA, and the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes may be able to assist with certain expenses, DeRusso says.

Veterans who want to start businesses can even get help: The Small Business Administration offers guaranteed Veterans Advantage Loans with SBA fee relief.

“Veterans should make sure they are aware of the various resources and benefits available to them before taking out a personal loan,” DeRusso says. “The VA publishes an annual guide highlighting the federal benefits available.”

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where offers appear on the site but do not affect any editorial decisions,
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