USAA Personal Loans Review

As a trusted banking partner for those in the military, veterans, and their families, USAA offers many high-quality lending products, including personal loans with rates between 6.99% and 17.65%. While people who want to borrow small amounts will be out of luck, anything larger than $2,500  can be accommodated even with less-than-great credit scores. Overall, USAA is a quality lending partner that has an emphasis on customer service and reliability. 

Pros

  • Borrowed funds may be available same-day
  • No application fees
  • Applying takes only five minutes

Cons

  • Only available to military service members and their families
  • Must join USAA to apply
  • Longer repayment terms only for excellent credit

USAA by the numbers

  • APR range: 6.99% to 17.65%
  • Loan range: Starting at $2,500 
  • Repayment term range: 12 to 84 months
  • Minimum credit score: Needs improvement
  • Minimum gross income: Not listed
  • Customer satisfaction: Among the Best (5/5 from J.D. Power)

Fees

  • Application fee: $0
  • Repayment fee: $0

Restrictions

  • Does not cover higher education expenses
  • Must be a member of USAA to apply for a personal loan

Who should consider USAA personal loans?

First, you need to qualify to be a USAA member to gain access to the company’s loan products. This means you either need to be in a brand of the armed services or be a family member of someone who is. Customers that qualify for membership (or already are members) are eligible for these personal loans. If you’re looking for funding over $2,500, USAA could be a good fit.

The company has very few limitations on what you can use the loans for, so it should be a good fit for a lot of different needs. While the loans are technically not designated for debt consolidation, the company mentions directly that you can use a loan to consolidate your debt. The only difference here is that you’ll handle all the leg work and will need to run the calculations to ensure it’s a move that saves.

If you’re someone interested in paying back your loan early to save on interest payments, USAA is accommodating. The company charges no prepayment penalties, which means you’ll only pay interest for the time that you have the loan. While prepayment is not required, it can offer a way to save if your financial situation changes in the future.

USAA members with credit scores that need improvement should also consider getting a personal loan through this lender. While rates are high for the “needs improvement” category, the company does show it’s willing to lend to those with less-than-great credit. With no application fee, you should apply if you’re interested in a loan to see what you can be approved for. Through the company’s website, you’ll have an answer and a rate in minutes.

Who should avoid USAA personal loans?

First, there are the more obvious reasons a USAA personal loan might not be for you. If you’re not in the military, a veteran, or a family member of someone who meets one of those criteria, you can’t apply. Additionally, you will need to join USAA to apply for a personal loan. 

Additionally, your credit profile could be an issue. According to the USAA website, there are posted rates for those people with credit profiles labeled as “Needs Improvement,” which signals a willingness to work with less-than-great credit. However, the rates for all loans in this category are 17.65% APR, which is quite high. As you move into the “Fair” category, these rates only drop to 16.79% APR. 

How to apply for a USAA personal loan

While it’s becoming more commonplace industry-wide, we still give credit to companies that have streamlined the loan application process. USAA allows prospective borrowers to apply online in minutes. 

  1. Begin by logging into your USAA account. You will need to be a member of USAA in order to apply for a personal loan.
  2. Navigate to the products page and click the apply now button.
  3. Fill out all the information on the application form. You will need the amount you want to borrow, how the funds will be used, your employer’s information and proof of all sources of income. 
  4. If you are instantly approved, you’ll get to see your rate and terms right away. If it’s Monday through Friday, you should get your funds transferred into your USAA account within 24 hours. Those interested in applying can do so with a $0 application fee.

Alternatives to USAA

LightStream personal loans

LightStream may be a great option for those with better credit scores as the company’s lowest personal loan rates clock in at 5.95% for two to three years between $10,000 and $24,999. LightStream also mentions that the maximum rate they will charge on a personal loan is 17.29%.  

One thing to note about the company is the rates may change based on what you are trying to fund. USAA does not appear to take much stock in what you are looking to pay for. LightStream, though, advertises different starting rates based on your intended use of the funds. For example, the rate you see when applying to finance a home improvement project may be different than funds intended for a wedding.

Marcus personal loans

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers personal loans up to $40,000 with APRs as low as 6.99%. Additionally, the company boasts no sign-up fees, no prepayment fees, no late fees, and no other fees ever.

For people who want to consolidate debt, Marcus offers assistance doing just that through its personal loans. While USAA just mentions that you can do it on your own, Marcus offers it as a dedicated product where it will pay off your debts directly — effectively taking the heavy lifting off your plate.

Upstart personal loans

People who may be looking for a company that considers more than their credit score could look into Upstart personal loans. Instead of just looking at your score, the company also looks at your job history, your education, what you’re studying, and years of credit. The idea is that this paints a more complete picture of your borrowing reliability. Loans with Upstart are between $1,000 and $50,000, have APR rates from 6.53% to 35.99%, and can be paid in either three years or five years. 

Jason Wesley

Contributing Writer

Jason Wesley is a seasoned writer with a passion for writing about banking, tech, personal growth, and personal finance. As a Las Vegas local and area business owner for a decade, he knows the ins and outs of the city better than anyone.