Best Personal Loans for Veterans

Contributor, Benzinga

People join the armed services for reasons that vary and are often complex and multi-faceted. Your service can secure a better financial future as you contribute to a noble cause. 

But despite best laid plans, many veterans find themselves in need of a financial leg-up. Check out our list of the best personal loans for veterans to get cash in your pocket now.

Best Personal Loans for Veterans

Returning from service can present financial hardship for many veterans. It can be difficult to go from a controlled, high-stress environment to finding your own work. Some flourish here, and some falter. 

And if you were physically injured or suffer from negative mental consequences from your time in the armed services, working and staying afloat can become understandably difficult. Medical bills and debt may pile up faster than you can manage.

For these reasons, many lenders offer veteran-specific loans or loans that have characteristics that make them a perfect match for a veteran. You may also benefit from your veteran status with veteran-only perks like better rates or less rigid credit standards.

APR
Fixed 5.99% – 24.99%.
Loan Amounts
$5,000 – $40,000
APR

Fixed 5.99% – 24.99%.

Origination Fee

0%–5% of the loan amount

Term Lengths

2–5 years

Min Credit Score

550

1 Minute Review

Happy Money offers personal loans that allow you to more efficiently consolidate high interest payments. Happy Money was previously known as Payoff. The company was founded in 2009 and has since helped fund over $3.5 billion in loans. Happy Money is a financial company that works with approved lending partners to fund loans. Happy Money designed its Payoff Loans to provide borrowers with the financial freedom and power to be matched with a lending partner. Benzinga reviews Happy Money Loans as a way for people to consolidate debt with potentially lower APR rates. 

Best For
  • People with lower credit scores
  • Credit card debt consolidation
Pros
  • No prepayment fees
  • Potentially lower APR rates starting around 5.99%
  • Improve credit score
Cons
  • Personal loans only available for credit card debt
pre-apply securely through Figure Personal Loans’s website
APR
Between 5.99% and 15%; autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan Amounts
$5,000 – $50,000
APR

Between 5.99% and 15%; autopay discount of 0.25%

Origination Fee

Between 0% and 5% (dependent on state and local laws)

Term Lengths

Fixed-rate loan terms of 3 or 5 years

Min Credit Score

680

1 Minute Review

Figure’s online personal loan application process eliminates the painstaking process of following up your paperwork to scan or send to the lender. With an entirely online application, you can get your prequalification rate without impacting your credit score. You’ll get approval within a few minutes and await funding in as little as 2 business days — up to $50,000 you can direct toward what matters most.

Figure personal loans come with multiple fixed term options so you can map out your payment schedule so that it doesn’t strain your finances. Figure also offers some perks for spreading the word out to others. You’ll receive a $150 gift card for every friend you refer, and they too will get a $150 gift card when their loan funds.

Figure’s home equity line of credit lets you turn your home equity into up to $250,000 cash in as few as 5 days. Rates start as low as 2.88% APR1, and you can choose among 5-, 10-, 15- and 30-year fixed term options. You can also get up to $500,000 cash-out in mortgage refinance, all with custom rate and payment options.

While you can easily land better rates with a higher credit score, Figure also has options for applicants with less than perfect credit. You may secure a HELOC with a credit score as low as 620 (except in Oklahoma where the minimum is 720).

Best For
  • Online loan application
  • Unsecured loans
  • Affordable loan fees
Pros
  • 100% online application
  • Quick funding
  • Competitive rates
  • Stellar customer service
  • Multiple fixed term loan options
  • A gift card for every referral (personal loan only)
  • Personal loan offered in all 50 states
Cons
  • Products not available in some states
  • Personal loans capped to $50,000
get started securely through SoFi’s website
Disclosure: Fixed rates from 6.99% APR to 21.78% APR. APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 3/24/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
APR
9.95%-35.99%
Loan Amounts
$2,000-$35,000
APR

9.95%-35.99%

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%

Term Lengths

24-60 months.

Min Credit Score

580

1 Minute Review

Established in 2012, Chicago-based Avant helps people obtain personal loans while offering transparent credit. Since its inception, Avant has helped over 1.5 million people receive funding. 

One thing that makes Avant so unique is its background as a financial technology company instead of a traditional bank. Banking needs are addressed by Evolve Bank & Trust, a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). The FDIC insures deposits and protects consumers in case of bank disasters. Benzinga’s review of Avant determined it is a strong option for personal loans because of its reputation for positive customer experiences and fast funding options. 

Best For
  • People with below-average credit scores who need unsecured personal loans
  • People who need fast funding
Pros
  • Quick funding
  • Fixed payments
  • Mobile accessibility
Cons
  • Additional costs such as origination fees
  • No third-party guarantor such as a co-signer on a secured personal loan
Disclosure: *AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Excellent credit required for lowest rate. Rates vary by loan purpose.
APR
3.49%- 19.99%
Loan Amounts
$5,000 – $100,000
APR

3.49%- 19.99%

Origination Fee

$0

Term Lengths

Up to 240 months

Min Credit Score

660

1 Minute Review

LightStream was founded by its parent company Truist Financial. The company offers a wide range of traditional and innovative personal loan benefits and opportunities such as home improvement loans and fertility financing to address a wide range of needs. The company charges APRs between 3.49% and 19.99%. Benzinga offers a review of LightStream’s personal loan options that provide a variety of personal loans while minimizing additional fees and promoting financial flexibility. The company offers diverse loans with varying term lengths, APRs, and uses. For example, Lightstream offers a variety of home improvement loans that are designed to assist with specific needs such as funding for landscaping or solar panels.

Best For
  • Potential borrowers interested in quickly funded unsecured personal loans
  • Same day funds
  • People with stronger credit scores
Pros
  • Doesn’t require collateral
  • No late fees
  • Potential same day funding
  • Self-selected funding dates
  • Offers a mobile application to ease access to loan information
Cons
  • Not recommended for bad credit scores

Types of Personal Loans for Veterans

A personal loan is really a 1-size-fits-all financial solution. Maybe you didn’t have the chance to build your credit during your military career and want to work on it with low-risk installment loans. BadCreditLoans.com lends small chunks of cash up to $10,000 to borrowers with imperfect credit with their personal loan. 

Or maybe you just need a cash infusion to jumpstart your life as a retired serviceperson. A personal loan can help you finance a car or pay for improvements on a fixer-upper home.

There are several kinds of personal loans you can take out depending on your unique financial situation and credit history. Common differences between personal loans are secured vs. unsecured and fixed-rate vs. variable-rate loans. There’s something for almost every situation.

If you’re unsure of what type of loan is best for you, a loan comparison service like Credible can help you shop lenders without risk to your credit score. It can connect you with personal loans that can be used for anything from starting your own business post-service to career advancement.

Secured Loans

A secured loan is backed by some type of collateral like your bank account balance or a vehicle. You may be asked to secure your loan with collateral if you’re requesting a higher loan amount. 

If something on your credit report gives a lender pause when considering your request, you may also be asked to secure the loan. Adding collateral means the lender faces less risk associated with the repayment of the loan.

Unsecured Loans

An unsecured loan is exactly like it sounds. Your creditworthiness is the only thing securing the loan for the lender. 

Unsecured loans are typically smaller or offered to those with stellar credit. Many of us don’t outright own assets that can be used to secure a loan or keep enough money in savings to use as backing for a line of credit. Unsecured loans can make ends meet for those of us who fall into these categories. 

Be careful — just because your loan isn’t secured doesn’t mean it’s a less serious obligation. Even missing 1 payment can mess up your credit score, so be sure you can meet the repayment terms before signing on.

Fixed vs Variable Rate Loans

Many lenders offer both fixed and variable rate loans. You’ll mostly want to look for fixed-rate loans. These provide a solid view of how much the loan will cost you overall. These rates may be higher or come with larger monthly payment plans. 

This reduces risk to the lender and ensures the lending business is profitable. Your rate will stay the same, even if interest rates fall overall.

However, as with unsecured loans, you may be offered a variable rate loan in certain instances. While your rate may be lower initially or allow you to make lower monthly payments, it may end up costing you more than it’s worth.

Personal Loan Requirements and Criteria

Although these criteria vary by lender, most personal loans approval decisions depend on the following:

  • Your FICO credit score
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Deliquicies or negative remarks on your credit report
  • Credit utilization (your credit balance vs. your credit limit)
  • Open accounts with a positive standing (payments being made on time and so forth)

Some veteran-specific loans (like loans offered by Navy Federal Credit Union or Omni Financial) may waive some of these requirements or offer features that make it easier for a veteran to secure a personal loan.

You can also check out this article from Credible to connect with more veteran lending resources like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

Personal Loan Considerations

A personal loan is your solution if you’re a veteran who needs 1 lump sum payment with quick funding you can repay over time. It’s important to understand the terms of your loan. Adhering to them during the course of repayment is important to maintain the integrity of your credit. 

Look out for sketchy lenders online or at nondescript payday lenders. Some try to prey on the most vulnerable in our society, including veterans. 

Try to go through trusted financial institutions. Use a loan comparison service such as Even to connect with vetted lenders and avoid trouble.

Personal Loans vs. Credit Cards

Personal loans and credit cards are both lines of credits, but the differences make them each more beneficial in certain situations.

Personal loans are best when you need 1 lump sum of cash and can meet rigid repayment terms. They allow you to pay for a large purchase or consolidate debt at lower rates.

For example, personal loans through Payoff specialize in debt consolidation and lend you enough to pay off your current credit balances. You’ll receive any remaining funds. And Payoff has transparent criteria and clear-cut terms.

Personal loans make it easy to calculate the exact amount you’ll pay in interest with a fixed-rate loan and be able to budget with monthly installment payments. When the loan is paid off, the account is closed. It’s not a revolving line of credit that you can re-use when you pay it off. 

A credit card also allows you to make purchases on credit, but there are several differences. Credit cards often have lower credit limits than personal loans with variable but sometimes come with high interest rates. 

Credit cards are better to cover smaller purchases that you’ll repay off in a short period of time. You usually have a minimum payment, but these don’t necessarily cover your monthly balance. This means you’ll need to manually adjust your payments to keep your balance low so your credit isn’t adversely affected. 

Get Fast Funding with a Personal Loan

Whether you’ve fallen on hard times or need some extra cash to pay for a large or out of the ordinary purchase, a personal loan can be your solution.

Personal loans can be used for many things, including consolidating debt from medical bills or credit cards. Use a loan comparison service or connect with 1 of the lenders mentioned above to find a loan to fit your needs as a veteran.