Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Updated on Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) offers a personal loan for up to $20,000 with no upfront fees for 6 to 60 months. The loan requires no collateral and PenFed suggests it’s perfect to cover large expenses like a home remodel, wedding or travel abroad (even though we don’t recommend going into debt for your wedding or travel). Because PenFed is a credit union you’ll have to join before applying for the loan. Here we’ll cover how you can sign up to become eligible and go over the loan details.
Basics of the PenFed Personal Loan
PenFed currently offers an APR starting at 6.49% and the minimum you can borrow is $500. The length of your loan term will depend on how much you need to borrow based on the following schedule:
- 12 to 36 months – $500 to $20,000
- 12 to 48 months – $5,000 to $20,000
- 12 to 60 months – $10,000 to $20,000
The online application process is quick and once you’re approved you can get access to funds as soon as the next day. As mentioned if you’re not a member of the PenFed Credit Union you’ll have to sign up first to take out a loan. Fortunately anyone can become qualified for membership by joining the Voices for America’s Troops for $14 in dues or the National Military Family Association for $15 in dues.
PenFed also requires a $5 deposit into a share account to establish membership. In total you’ll spend at least $19 to become eligible if you’re not a member or employee of another affiliated organization. For a full list of qualifying criteria head to the PenFed website and hit “join now”.
Fees and Gotchas
If you borrow from PenFed you can take advantage of None, application fees or early prepayment fees. The returned check fee is $30. You’re given a 5-day grace period to make your monthly payment. Afterwards the late fee is 20% of the amount you pay in interest each month. Late payments aren’t reported to credit agencies until you’re 30 days past due.
Pros and Cons
The pros of this loan are the lack of fees and competitive interest. There’s also no collateral required to secure your loan. Often brick-and-mortar banks require you to pledge assets to back your personal loan in case you don’t repay it. You won’t have to worry about that with a PenFed loan. The loan also offers several terms and a wide range of loan amounts so you have flexibility to choose what works for you.
The con of a PenFed loan is you must take a few extra steps to become a member if you’re not one already. But it won’t cost you very much money and once you’re a member you’ll gain access to other PenFed products, including credit cards, car loans and mortgages.
Starting at 6.49%
6 to 60
on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website
Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) offers personal loans with terms up to five years and maximum loan amounts of $20,000.... Read More
Alternatives to a PenFed Personal Loan
If you don’t qualify for a loan with PenFed or you prefer not to sign up for the credit union there are a few other options you can consider.
LendingClub currently offers interest from 10.68% to 35.89% depending on your creditworthiness and lease term. LendingClub’s minimum credit requirements are not specified. You can borrow for 36 or 60 months. There is an upfront origination fee of 2.00% - 6.00%. The minimum you can borrow is $1,000 and maximum is $40,000. LendingClub is not available in Iowa or West Virginia.
36 or 60
2.00% - 6.00%
on LendingTree’s secure website
LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates.... Read More
Earnest offers personal loans with fixed and variable interest rates. It has terms ranging from 36 to 60 months. You can borrow from $5,000 to $75,000. There’s no upfront fees or other hidden fees. However the loan is only currently offered in select states. After you apply you’ll receive a response to your application within two business days.
Who Will Benefit Most from a PenFed Personal Loan?
Credit cards often come with high and variable interest rates so a personal loan from PenFed is a viable alternative if you need money fast. You’ll pay less in interest than a credit card, plus your interest won’t change during your loan term.
Compared to other personal loan options PenFed offers a similar interest rate. Sites like LendingClub and Earnest do have a lower interest starting point, however these rates are typically reserved for candidates with the very best credit histories and scores.
PenFed doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement. However, according to a representative, PenFed is willing to consider your entire financial situation during the underwriting process to evaluate your loan application.