Military Loans for Service Members

Explore personalized military loans designed with a deep understanding of the financial challenges faced by military personnel. From unexpected expenses to debt consolidation, flexible loan options aim to provide financial security for active duty servicemen and veterans.
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Updated:
16.07.2024
08:08
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The Legal Status of Military Loans in the USA 

The Military Lending Act (MLA) provides the key legal regulation for military loans in the United States. This law caps the annual percentage rate that can be charged to military personnel and their dependents for certain types of credit at 36 percent, which includes fees in this calculation. Additionally, it provides other protections, such as prohibiting mandatory arbitration clauses and the use of checks or other methods of access to a borrower's bank account.

Military Loans for Service Members

What Are Military Loans?

A military loan is an unsecured personal loan intended for army servants and veterans.

Veterans and military members often face unexpected expenses while serving in the army. They may also have financial problems when returning to civilian life, such as difficulties finding a job or losing military benefits. Military loans allow military members to take out a personal loan or mortgage with a lower interest rate and no down payment.

Types of Military Loans

  1. Military Personnel Loans. This type of loan offers a personal loan for active duty army members and armed forces employees. Personal military loans cover various expenses. For example, a borrower taking such a loan can pay for a vacation, start a business, or pay unexpected expenses. These personal loans have fixed interest rates and a flexible repayment period. Moreover, a borrower with poor credit has the opportunity to get a bad credit military personal loan that requires a credit score below average.
  2. Military Lifestyle Loans. This type of loan is created to cover expenses that come after the return of a military member to civilian life. With this loan, the borrower can take a car or motorcycle funding, pay for a trip or relocation, pay for an engagement or a wedding. Also, the military lifestyle loan allows military members to make debt consolidation on existing high-interest loans. The borrower can combine several credit card payments into one fixed monthly payment.
  3. Military Family Loans. Military family loans help active duty military members get funding for their families. The borrower can use these personal loans to buy a house for their family or finance home improvement. Military personnel spouses also have the option to get a personal loan. A military family loan can be taken to pay for childcare or children's education. The borrower can provide medical and dental financing for themselves and their family with this type of loan.

Loans For Veterans. This category of personal loans includes many credit options for veterans. Veteran military credit allows a veteran borrower to get a personal loan to pay for expenses, such as home improvements or car bills. Also, a military personal loan can be taken by a disabled veteran for the same purposes. A veteran has the opportunity to take out a loan to finance their own business or startup.

The veteran borrower has preferential credit conditions such as a low-interest rate and financial support from the VA. The VA also insures mortgages for veterans. The company doesn't have a requirement for the borrower to make an initial payment and may ask for financial help from the VA if he is unable to make a monthly payment.

  1. Military Lending Act (MLA). The Military Lending Act (MLA) is a federal law that provides special protection for active service members. According to the MLA, the lender does not have the right to set the interest higher than the Military Annual Percentage Rate, which is 36%. This 36% includes not only interest rates but also finance charges, credit insurance premiums, additional credit services that are sold together with the personal loans, and fees such as application fees, participation fees, and debt cancellation fees. This law covers payday loans, vehicle title loans, installment loans, and some military credit cards.
  2. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The Servicemembers, Civil Relief Act is a law that provides active service members with several financial protections at once. The lender has no right to set the interest rate higher than 6% per year if the borrower is eligible for protection under the SCRA. The interest rate cannot rise above 6% during the entire active service of the borrower and within 180 days after its termination. SCRA provides several defenses against default judgment in civil cases. If the suing party cannot provide evidence of whether the defendant is an active servant of the army, then for the court, they automatically are. The court may postpone the hearing for 90 days under certain circumstances. A borrower who took out a mortgage before starting active service in the army cannot be foreclosed on without a court order. This protection is valid during active service and for a year after its termination. If the borrower signed a lease for housing before active duty service or during active duty service and receives a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), then according to the SCRA, they can terminate a housing without penalty.
  3. Veterans Affairs (VA). Veteran Affairs is a government organization providing benefits and bonuses for veterans. In addition to bonuses for healthcare and education, the organization provides several bonuses for personal loans and mortgages for veterans. An eligible borrower, when applying for a mortgage, has the right not to make a down payment and, at the same time, will not have to pay PMI. Also, if there are financial problems that lead to problems with monthly mortgage payments, a veteran can contact the VA for help.

Features

  1. Low-Interest Rates. Military loans often come with competitive interest rates that are lower than those offered for regular consumer loans. Lenders recognize the stability of military income and the reliable payment history associated with military personnel, resulting in more favorable interest rates.
  2. Flexible Repayment Terms. Military loans typically provide flexible repayment options tailored to the unique circumstances of military life. Lenders understand that deployments, transfers, and other military obligations can impact the ability to make regular payments, so they offer options like deferred payments, interest-only payments, or extended repayment periods.
  3. Low or No Credit Requirements. Military loans may have relaxed credit requirements compared to traditional loans. Lenders understand that military members may have limited credit histories or face financial challenges due to their service. As a result, they often consider factors such as military rank, income stability, and overall financial responsibility when evaluating loan applications.
  4. Quick Approval Process. Military loans usually feature a streamlined approval process to accommodate the time-sensitive nature of military needs. Lenders understand that military personnel may require immediate access to funds for various reasons, such as emergency expenses or relocation costs. Consequently, the application and approval process for military loans is often expedited.
  5. Higher Loan Limits. Due to the unique circumstances and financial stability associated with military service, military loans may have higher loan limits compared to regular consumer loans. This allows military borrowers to secure larger loan amounts to meet their specific needs, such as home purchases, vehicle financing, or debt consolidation.
  6. Specialized Military Support. Many lenders specializing in military loans provide personalized customer service and support. They understand the intricacies of military life, including deployments, frequent moves, and the challenges faced by military families. These lenders are often experienced in dealing with the unique circumstances of military personnel and offer tailored assistance throughout the loan process.
  7. Protections Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA provides legal protections to military members, including limitations on interest rates, protection against eviction, and certain debt-related benefits. Military loans are subject to these protections, ensuring that military borrowers are safeguarded from certain financial burdens during their service.

Pros and cons

Pros

Competitive interest rates tailored to military personnel.

Flexible repayment options to accommodate military obligations.

Relaxed credit requirements considering military service.

Streamlined approval process for quick access to funds.

Higher loan limits to meet specific financial needs.

Personalized customer service and support for military borrowers.

Legal protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

Cons

Potential for high-pressure sales tactics targeting military members.

Some lenders may charge excessive fees or hidden costs.

Borrowers may accumulate additional debt if not managed responsibly.

Limited availability of specialized military loans compared to traditional loans.

Failure to repay military loans can result in negative consequences on credit and military career.

Some lenders may exploit the military connection with misleading loan offers.

Dependence on military income can create financial instability upon transition to civilian life.

How to Get a Military Loan?

Apply for a loan

  1. Research Lenders Specializing in Military Loans. Look for reputable lenders that specialize in providing loans to military personnel. Consider factors such as interest rates, loan terms, customer reviews, and the lender's experience in serving the military community.
  2. Gather Necessary Documents. Prepare the required documents to support your loan application. Commonly required documents include proof of military service, identification documents, income verification (pay stubs, tax returns), and any additional documentation specific to the lender's requirements.
  3. Compare Loan Options. Request loan quotes from multiple lenders and compare the terms, interest rates, repayment options, and fees associated with each loan offer. Ensure that you understand the total cost of the loan and any potential hidden charges.
  4. Submit Your Loan Application. Complete the loan application form provided by your chosen lender. Provide accurate information about your military service, income, and personal details. Be prepared to disclose any existing debts or financial obligations.
  5. Review Loan Terms. Carefully review the loan terms and conditions, including interest rates, repayment schedule, any penalties or fees, and the lender's policies regarding late payments or early repayment. Seek clarification on any unclear or confusing aspects before proceeding.
  6. Await Loan Approval. Once you've submitted your application, wait for the lender to review and approve it. The approval process for military loans is often expedited, but it may still take some time. Be patient and ensure you remain reachable for any further inquiries or document requests.
  7. Accept the Loan Offer. If your loan application is approved, carefully review the final loan offer provided by the lender. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before accepting the offer. If there are any concerns or discrepancies, address them with the lender before proceeding.
  8. Receive Funds and Manage Repayments. Upon accepting the loan offer, the funds will be disbursed to your designated account. Create a budget and payment plan to ensure you can comfortably repay the loan. Set up automatic payments if possible to avoid missing any due dates.

Requirements and conditions

The main criterion for obtaining a military-type personal loan is the status of an active member of the army, a veteran, or a military spouse. The borrower is considered eligible for active duty military loans if they serve or have served in any unit of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine corps, and Coast Guard. The borrower must be in the reserve of the US Armed Forces under title 10 or title 32. Career retired military service members must prove that he has served in the ranks of the US armed forces for at least 20 years.

To take personal military loans, the borrowers are recommended to have FICO credit scores of at least 610. Usually, the interest rate is lower for borrowers with a high credit score. To get the best repayment terms, the borrower needs to have a credit score of at least 720. The lender will require the borrower's SSN for a credit check. The credit criteria are highly dependent on the specific credit union. To receive the loan approval, the borrower should get several pre-qualifications from different lenders and compare credit conditions.

A credit union may set an additional requirement for the borrower to provide any of these documents to prove the status of an active member of the army, veteran, retiree, or military spouse:

  • DD Form 214, 215, 256
  • NGB Form 22
  • Military ID card
  • VA issued ID cards for healthcare
  • Veterans ID card
  • Veterans Group Membership Card
  • Veteran designation on driver's license or State Veterans ID card.

At the moment, the potential borrower can obtain a military loan online with the help of online lenders. To get online financing, the borrower needs to access the lender website and start the application procedure by filling out the poem. Next, the borrower must provide personal information such as name, email, credit score, and current duty status. It is also necessary to specify the purpose of the loan and the desired amount.

After that, the borrower needs to enter their contact details, such as a home address, place of residence, and phone number. In the same form, it is necessary to enter the presence of bankruptcies for the last 7 years, the availability of their housing, and the date of birth. Next, the borrower needs to enter his SSN and driver's license number or State ID.

The lender usually asks the borrower to enter information about employment, like the main source of income, the amount of monthly income, and the name of the employer. Also, the borrower will need to enter the details of their bank account to which funds will come after the loan is approved.

The applicants should pay attention to whether a credit union or other financial institution allows them to a get pre-qualification. Pre-qualification implies that the online lender will make a soft credit check that does not affect the borrower's credit score. A hard credit inquiry may negatively affect the credit score in case of a loan refusal.

Best places to get a Military Loan today 22.07.2024

Navy Federal Credit Union

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Navy Federal Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions serving the military community. They offer a range of financial products, including personal loans tailored to military members with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options.Navy Federal Credit Union

USAA

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USAA (United Services Automobile Association) is another well-known financial institution that provides a variety of banking and lending services exclusively to military members and their families. They offer personal loans with favorable terms and benefits for military personnel.USAA

Armed Forces Loans of Nevada

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Armed Forces Loans of Nevada specializes in providing military loans and has been serving the military community for several years. They offer quick loan approvals, competitive interest rates, and flexible repayment options.Armed Forces Loans

Pioneer Military Credit

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Pioneer Military Credit focuses on providing financial services to military members. They offer personal loans with competitive rates and customized repayment plans, considering the unique needs of military personnel.Pioneer Military Credit

Air Force Federal Credit Union

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Air Force Federal Credit Union is a financial institution dedicated to serving the Air Force community. They offer various loan products, including personal loans with competitive rates and flexible terms for military members.Air Force Credit Union

Ways to receive the money

  1. Check Issuance. Some lenders may issue a physical check for the loan amount. You can deposit or cash the check at your bank or a participating financial institution to access the funds.

  2. Electronic Transfer. Certain lenders may provide the option to electronically transfer the loan amount to another account or financial institution. This can be useful if you prefer to have the funds deposited into a specific account other than your primary bank account.

  3. Prepaid Debit Card. Sometimes, lenders may offer a prepaid debit card loaded with the loan amount. This allows you to use the card for purchases or withdrawals at ATMs until the funds are exhausted.

Things to pay attention to

  1. Potential costs associated with personal loans. The main additional payment on personal loans is interest. For excellent credit, it averages 6.49%. However, the APR can reach 35% or higher for a borrower with bad credit. In addition to interest, the borrower still needs to pay some additional fees, such as origination, prepayment, and late fees. Moreover, veterans must pay the VA funding fee.
  2. Origination Fee. The origination fee is a one-time fee deducted from the loan amount. Usually, it costs up to 10% of the loan amount. Some lenders do not take origination fees.
  3. Late Fee. A late fee is a penalty for late loan repayments. Usually, lenders set a fixed amount of this fee in the range of $35 to $40. The borrower can avoid this fee if he installs AutoPay for their loan. AutoPay is an automatic write-off of fixed monthly payments using ACH debit.
  4. Prepayment Penalty. A prepayment fee is a penalty for early repayment of the loan. Most lenders do not charge customers prepayment penalties. However, in case of early repayment, the borrower is obliged to pay the entire loan amount, including interest. If a certain military loan falls under the MLA, then the borrower also does not have to pay the prepayment fee.
  5. VA Funding Fee. VA funding fee is a one-time fee that the borrower pays for a VA-backed or VA-direct home loan. The fee allows us to lower the cost of the loan for US taxpayers since the VA home loan program doesn't require down payments or monthly mortgage insurance.

How to repay a Military Loan?

The main interest of each borrower is the quick repayment of the loan. Repayment terms for military loans are flexible, and every borrower, especially if their credit history is excellent, can negotiate a loan term with a lender. There are several methods of paying off personal loans that can help borrowers close the loan in a short time.

  1. Repayment Plan. There are several preferential repayment plans for active duty service members. For example, military service can cover part of his student debt during active military service with a military bonus. If the borrower enlists for at least 3 years, then in the first year, the army covers 33% of the total amount of debt. Then, every next 2 years, the services cover another third of the loan until it is closed.
  2. Automatic Payments. Automatic monthly payments have several advantages at once. Most lenders encourage this method of making loan payments. Therefore, automatic transactions do not require any fees. This payment method allows the borrower not to follow the payment calendar and not to be late with payments avoiding late fees. Timely loan repayments also positively affect the borrower's credit history.
  3. Refinancing. The borrower is advised to look for refinancing options for an existing loan. Refinancing military loans allows you to reduce interest and thereby reduce monthly payments on the loan.

Alternatives

Apply for a loan

There are several alternatives to military loans that you can consider, depending on your financial needs and circumstances. Here are some common options:

  1. Personal Loans are a versatile borrowing option that can be used for various purposes. They are typically unsecured loans, meaning you don't need collateral, and can offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. You can explore personal loans from banks, credit unions, or online lenders.

  2. Military Credit Cards are specifically designed for military personnel and may offer unique benefits, such as lower interest rates, rewards programs tailored to military needs, and special protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). These cards can be a convenient way to access credit and build a positive credit history.

  3. Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit. If you own a home, you may consider leveraging your home equity through a loan or line of credit. Home equity loans typically provide a lump sum, while lines of credit offer a revolving credit limit. These loans may have lower interest rates compared to other types of credit.

  4. Credit Unions often provide favorable loan options to their members, including military personnel. They may offer lower interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and personalized service. Joining a credit union and exploring their loan offerings can be a beneficial alternative to traditional lenders.

  5. Government Assistance Programs. Depending on your specific situation, you may qualify for government assistance programs that provide financial support to military members. Examples include the Military Emergency Relief Fund (MERF) or programs offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These programs may offer grants, interest-free loans, or other forms of financial assistance.

Editorial opinion

Military loans have become a popular financial resource for military personnel, offering various advantages tailored to their unique needs. These loans provide competitive interest rates, flexible repayment options, and specialized support, which can be beneficial for active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. However, it is essential to approach military loans with caution and fully understand the implications. Here is an opinion on the benefits and considerations of military loans. One of the notable advantages of military loans is the competitive interest rates they often offer. Lenders recognize the stability of military income and the reliable payment history associated with military personnel. This recognition results in more favorable interest rates compared to traditional loans, potentially saving borrowers money over time. The flexibility of repayment options is another appealing aspect of military loans. Military life is known for its uncertainties, including deployments, transfers, and other obligations. Military loans typically provide options such as deferred payments, interest-only payments, or extended repayment periods. These features can help borrowers manage their finances during challenging times and adjust their repayment plans accordingly. Specialized support is another significant benefit of military loans. Lenders specializing in military loans understand the unique circumstances and challenges military personnel and their families face. They offer personalized customer service, tailored assistance throughout the loan process, and a deeper understanding of the military lifestyle. This support can contribute to a smoother borrowing experience and better meet the specific needs of military borrowers. However, it is crucial to approach military loans with careful consideration. While military loans can be advantageous, there are potential drawbacks that borrowers should be aware of. Some unscrupulous lenders may exploit the military connection and target military members with misleading loan offers or high-pressure sales tactics. It is essential to research and choose reputable lenders who adhere to ethical practices and provide transparent loan terms. Additionally, military borrowers must exercise responsible financial management. Taking on debt through military loans should be done with a clear understanding of one's ability to repay. Failure to repay military loans can have severe consequences, including negative impacts on credit and potential damage to a military career. Lastly, military personnel should be mindful of their long-term financial goals. While military loans can provide immediate financial assistance, dependence on them without a comprehensive financial plan may lead to potential financial instability. It is important to consider the impact of loan repayments on overall financial health and long-term financial goals, both during military service and beyond.

Important

Keeping your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio below 30-40% of your monthly income is crucial. This will help you avoid potential financial problems in the future. Additionally, always assess the necessity and feasibility of taking a loan, ensuring you can comfortably manage its repayment.

How to Choose a Lender

  1. Make sure to confirm whether the lender is licensed to operate in your state. You can verify this information with your state regulator or attorney general.
  2. Check if the lender is a member of a reputable association, such as the Community Financial Services Association of America. Membership in such organizations may provide an extra level of reliability.
  3. Carefully review all the terms and conditions of your loan contract.
  4. Thoroughly examine the interest rates and ensure that your contract includes a detailed breakdown of the total cost of the loan.
  5. Take advantage of your right of rescission. Usually, you can rescind the loan within three days after signing the agreement. Alternatively, there is typically a "cooling-off" period, which allows you several days to thoroughly review the contract before making an informed decision to enter into a consumer loan agreement based on the terms specified by the lender.
  6. Choosing a lender is a significant decision that demands careful consideration and a good understanding of how such organizations operate.

Methodology

At Finanso, we've carried out a comprehensive analysis of over 100 lenders, assessing them based on 35 different parameters across six key categories: accessibility of loans, customer relations, quality of service, interest rates, and transparency of conditions.

In each category, we carefully considered the most critical factors in selecting a lender. These factors include the interest rates, available loan amounts, minimum credit score, minimum income, application fees, and the speed at which funds are transferred.

At Finanso, we highly value our users, which is why we also focus on the quality of customer service, user reviews, and additional features that can aid our users in making a well-informed decision.

Our ultimate goal is to provide insightful recommendations and expert advice to assist you in selecting a lender that best caters to your specific needs.

Additional recources

To learn more about loans for military memebers and best practices, check out some of the following resources:

Sources

FAQ

Can military people get loans?

Yes, active duty members, veterans, and military spouses can take special loans. Military loans include student loans, mortgages, car loans, and military credit cards. Military loans differ from other loans of lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms. These personal loans also help US armed forces servants who return to civilian life to cope with financial challenges.

Can I borrow money from the army?

In case of a financial emergency, a military servant or a military spouse can take out a loan through Army Emergency Relief. This nonprofit organization offers financial assistance to active members of the army and their families. An eligible borrower can get a loan without interest and any fees. Moreover, there is no limit on the amount that can be taken.

Can I borrow money from the VA?

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers personal loans and mortgages for US Armed Forces veterans. The borrower pays a one-time VA funding fee for the loan. In the case of a mortgage, the borrower does not need to make a down payment and does not need to pay mortgage insurance. Currently, a VA loan's credit limit is more than $600,000.

Who qualifies for the military Lending Act?

The MLA applies to active duty service members (including active Guard or active Reserve duty), spouses, and certain dependents. This federal law covers military payday loans, student loans, and installment loans.

Is Armed Forces Bank legit?

Yes, Armed Forces Bank is a legitimate financial institution. Armed Forces Bank is a division of Academy Bank, which is a member of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). They have been providing banking and financial services to the military community for many years. As with any financial institution, it is advisable to research and review customer feedback and ratings to ensure they meet your specific needs and requirements.