Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union has come a long way since its humble beginnings. PenFed is currently one of the nation’s most accessible financial institutions with 1.7 million members worldwide and in all 50 states. The credit union holds over $25 billion in assets, and they strive to “shape the future of banking” by offering a wide range of financial products aimed at consumers with various banking needs.
PenFed offers popular checking and savings accounts, mortgage and home equity loans, auto loans, credit cards, and more. However, some of their more notable products include their personal loans and lines of credit — both of which are geared toward consumers with excellent credit.
Before you take out a personal loan, it helps to understand what PenFed has to offer and how their products compare to other options on the market.
Borrow up to $25,000 with no origination fee or hidden fees.
Interest rates on their personal loans can be as low as 6.49% APR for qualified buyers.
Loan terms are available from 12 to 60 months.
Loans are available to PenFed members in all 50 states.
Your credit score must be in the mid-600’s or higher.
You must be a member of PenFed Credit Union to apply.
PenFed Personal Loans: Attractive Funding for PenFed Members with Good Credit
No matter where you live in the United States, it’s possible to find the funding you need with a personal loan from PenFed Credit Union. You do have to become a member of the credit union to qualify, however. Fortunately, there are a few ways to qualify for membership. To become eligible, you can:
Be a member or employee of the U.S. military
Work for the U.S. government
Be a family member of military personnel or a U.S. government employee
Join Voice for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association, both of which are volunteer organizations, and make a minimum donation of $17.
Fortunately, your membership can be completed online once you’ve taken steps to become eligible.
If you can qualify for membership with PenFed Credit Union, you may find their personal loan terms attractive. While they don’t offer a specific minimum credit score requirement, they do maintain that their loans are available to consumers with credit scores in the mid-600’s or higher.
The lowest interest rate PenFed offers on their personal loans — 6.49% APR — will go to those with very good or exceptional credit: consumers with credit scores of 740 or higher. However, even those with less than perfect credit — scores in the mid-600’s –may secure a decent rate. The highest interest rate available on PenFed Credit Union personal loans is only 17.99%. That’s significantly lower than the highest rate at many competitors in the personal loan space — even Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Citizens Bank.
We also like the fact that PenFed Credit Union personal loans come without an origination fee or any hidden fees. This gives them a leg up over competing lenders who do charge origination fees, such as Lending Club, Best Egg, and Prosper.
The bottom line: If you don’t need to borrow more than $25,000, you have good or excellent credit, and you are a member of PenFed Credit Union, you should consider taking out one of their personal loans if you need to borrow money. Not only can you score an interest rate as low as 6.49%, but you won’t pay any loan fees.
As a side note, PenFed also offers a line of credit in amounts up to $25,000. This line of credit comes with a fixed interest rate of 14.65% APR, making it a much more expensive option for borrowers with good credit.
PenFed Credit Union: Where It Comes Up Short
While scoring a loan with a low interest rate and no origination fees is always a good deal, there are a few areas where PenFed Credit Union falls flat. The first problem is that fact that not everyone wants to take the extra steps to join a credit union — especially considering there are so many online lenders that offer personal loans with great rates.
For that reason, these loans are probably best for consumers who already belong to PenFed. Even then, you may need to work with another lender if your borrowing needs are high. PenFed Credit Union only offers personal loans in amounts up to $25,000. If you need to borrow more than that, you’ll need to choose a lender with higher available loan amounts.
The final downside of PenFed is that, unlike many of their competitors, they don’t allow you to get “pre-qualified” for one of their personal loans without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This means you’ll have to submit a full application to see what kind of rates you qualify for, and that’s only after you’ve taken steps to join PenFed if you aren’t a member already. For many borrowers who can easily get a loan elsewhere, the extra steps and hassle may not be worth it.
Who PenFed Credit Union Personal Loans are Best for:
PenFed Credit Union members who need to borrow less than $25,000.
Borrowers with excellent credit who can qualify for their lowest rates.
Anyone who wants a personal loan without an origination fee or any hidden fees.
How We Rate PenFed Credit Union
At The Simple Dollar, we aim to provide a general overview of a lender’s products and services through a standard rating process. After a thorough research and discovery period, here’s how PenFed stacks up:
How to Apply for a Personal Loan from PenFed Credit Union
We already mentioned how you’re required to join PenFed Credit Union if you’re not already a member. If you haven’t taken steps to join just yet, you can access their membership application here.
Once you’re a member, you can apply for a personal loan by completing a full loan application online. Information you’ll need to submit includes:
Your full name
Date of birth
Social Security number
Amount of loan requested
Purpose of loan
Identifying documents such as a driver’s license
After your loan application has been completed, PenFed may be able to approve your loan in a matter of minutes. The lender also claims they can have your funds deposited in your bank account in a matter of a few business days.
The Bottom Line
If you’re thinking of taking out a personal loan to consolidate debt, pay for a major remodeling project, or make a large purchase, the best thing you can do is shop around. Make sure you compare loan rates and terms from at least three lenders. That way, you can gauge the kind of interest rate and loan amount you can qualify for.
PenFed may be a solid option for you if you already belong to the credit union and have a good working relationship. However, don’t be afraid to consider other lenders who may offer rates as low as 5.99% on personal loans with no origination fee — especially if you have excellent credit.
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