Review: Navy Federal Credit Union Auto Loan

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

Updated on Monday, August 31, 2020

Are you shopping around for your best auto loan rates before you buy a car? If not, you should be.

It helps to get an idea of the type of loan you could be approved for before you make a trip to the dealership. Plus, credit unions like Navy Federal Credit Union may offer some of the best rates compared to traditional banks. Navy Federal auto loan rates range from 1.79% to 17.99% for those eligible for membership, including active-duty military members, veterans, retirees and their families.

Navy Federal auto loan details

APRs (annual percentage rates) start at 1.79% for terms up to 96 months. Like other lenders, however, some of the lowest Navy Federal auto loan rates go to new-car buyers who choose the shortest terms. The credit union has competitive APRs for used cars, too, particularly late-model vehicles. The maximum loan term for used vehicles is 72 months. Used or new, loan amounts start at $250 — there is no maximum.

Starting APRs for New, Used and Refinance Car Loans
Vehicle AgeUp to 36 months37 - 60 months61 - 72 months73 - 84 months85- 96 months
New, up to 7,499 miles1.79%2.19%2.29%4.69%5.59%
Used, within 3 model years, 7,500-30,000 miles2.29%2.39%3.89%N/AN/A
Used, over 30,000 miles3.89%3.89%4.29%N/AN/A

Long auto loans

We don’t recommend an auto loan longer than 72 months. The longer your term is, the more you’re going to pay over the life of the loan. Navy Federal offers a 96-month auto loan, but no one wants to be paying back a car loan for eight years. Stick to your budget and remember not to focus solely on the monthly payment — take the overall cost of the loan into consideration.

The fine print

There are no additional fees associated with a Navy Federal auto loan. Rates are based on your credit (having a FICO Score over 700 helps) and, as mentioned earlier, the year model of the car you’re looking to finance. You may use Navy Federal auto loans to buy from dealerships and private parties.

How to apply for a Navy Federal auto loan

To apply for a Navy Federal car loan, which is possible to do online, you’ll first need to be a member of the credit union. We’ll talk more in a minute about membership requirements, but here’s what you’ll need to start the auto loan application process.

Information needed to apply for an auto loan

For each person that is to be on the loan (including a cosigner, if there is one), you’ll need to provide their name, address, employer and income. From there, the level of information you need depends on where you are in the car-buying process.

If you’re still shopping for a car and looking for a preapproval, you’ll need:

  • Amount you want to borrow. Leave room for taxes and fees, which usually add up to 8% to 10% of the car’s value, and subtract the down payment you plan to make. If possible, we recommend paying cash for taxes and fees instead of rolling those costs into your loan.
  • Trade-in details. If you have a trade-in vehicle, you’ll need to provide its VIN (vehicle identification number) or year, make, model and trim.
  • Loan term. Preferred number of months for repaying the loan.

If you already know the exact car you want to buy, you’ll need to provide additional information:

  • Details of the car you want. Its exact mileage, VIN, year, make, model and trim.
  • The seller’s information. The name and address of the dealership or private seller.

Navy Federal membership requirements

Those with military connections are eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union. This includes family members of and those who are:

  • Active duty in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard or Space Force
  • A member of the Delayed Entry Program
  • A Department of Defense (DoD) officer candidate or ROTC member
  • DoD Reservists
  • Retirees from any service branch

You may also qualify if you’re:

  • A DoD civilian employee or retiree
  • A federal government employee assigned to a DoD installation
  • A DoD contractor assigned to a federal government installation

Navy Federal defines family members as parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, grandchildren, children (adopted children and stepchildren included) and members of your household.

Pros and cons of a Navy Federal auto loan

Navy Federal auto loan rates are among the lowest we’ve seen, even among fellow credit unions, which tend to have lower APRs than many banks. But membership criteria is stricter than other credit unions, so a Navy Federal car loan won’t work for everyone.

Pros of a Navy Federal auto loan

  • Competitive APRs
  • APR discount: Active-duty and retired military members with direct deposit could get a 0.25 percentage point discount off even the lowest rates.
  • Auto-buying program: Shop for and finance a car, all in one place, through Navy Federal’s auto-buying program. You may be eligible for member-only pricing on new cars. If you’re car shopping while serving overseas, Navy Federal offers a car-buying program for you, too. Delivery is possible stateside or to your overseas duty station.

Cons of a Navy Federal auto loan

  • Strict membership requirements: If you don’t have a connection to the U.S. armed forces, you might not be eligible to join.
  • Not instant: In a world of near-instant gratification on the internet, it seems odd that you have to go to a branch in person or wait to get your auto loan check in the mail. Other lenders will overnight a check to you or arrange for electronic delivery.

Comparable auto loans

If you don’t meet Navy Federal’s membership criteria, there are still great options out there for an auto loan. We encourage you to reach out to your local credit union or take a look at these other top auto lenders listed on our site:

Consumers Credit Union

  • APRs as low as 2.69%
  • Terms up to 84 months
  • Loan amounts up to $250 - $100,000

Capital One

  • APRs as low as 3.39%
  • Terms from 36 to 84 months
  • Loan amounts from $4,000

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Do you have a question?