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Whether you're a veteran or an active-duty military member, a personal loan can be a handy financial tool. You can use them for nearly any purpose, such as paying relocation expenses, covering emergencies or consolidating credit card debt.

There are a few lenders that cater to military members and their family members, and they offer a bevy of discounts on loan products. A variety of other lenders also offer unique perks such as autopay discounts or special features to broader consumers. We'll take a look at some loan options below to help you figure out which one may be the right fit for you.

Ways Active Military & Veterans Can Use Personal Loans 

Veterans and active-duty military may find themselves needing a personal loan for many reasons. For example, they may need funds to consolidate high-interest debt, help them while they're reintegrating into civilian life or cover a variety of planned or unplanned expenses, such as:

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Best Loans for Veterans and Military Members 

If you're on the hunt for a personal loan and not sure where to start, consider these options:

Loan results will vary based on creditworthiness, loan purpose, loan amount, and other factors.

Best for Good Credit: SoFi

SoFi offers personal loans without any fees, competitive rates and loan amounts up to $100,000 to consumers with good to excellent credit. The platform also offers customers unemployment protection and the ability to change their payment due date once a year.

SoFi Personal Loans

  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 84 months
  • APR Range8.99% – 29.49%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    680 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

SoFi's personal loan offering comes with no fees required and a high loan maximum that may be a good fit for those seeking large loans.


SoFi offers a competitive personal loan product that boasts no origination fees, no late fees, and a high maximum loan amount of $100,000. SoFi is one of only a handful of lenders offering loans as large as $100,000. If you need a substantial loan to cover a considerable expense, like a home renovation, SoFi’s high maximum can be a strong option. One standout feature of SoFi is that it offers unemployment protection, which might allow you to pause payments if you lose your job. Same-day funding is also available for qualified borrowers

Read the review


  • No origination fees, no prepayment penalties and no late fees
  • Loans up to $100,000
  • Unemployment protection available
  • Autopay rate discounts
  • Co-borrower allowed
  • Same-day funding available


  • No physical branches
  • High minimum loan amount
  • Good credit likely required

Best for Fast Funding: Prosper

Prosper can provide quick funding for personal loans as soon as the next business day after you're approved. If you're in need of funding fast, Prosper is worth considering.


  • Loan Amounts$2,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 60 months
  • APR Range8.99% – 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    600 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Prosper is an online lending platform offering fast funding for personal loans and the option to apply with a co-borrower if your credit isn't stellar.


Prosper is an online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform offering personal loans and HELOCs. Because it’s P2P, Prosper works slightly differently than other non-P2P lenders. Borrowers sign up and are assigned a Prosper Rating based on their creditworthiness, and investors can choose whether or not to fund them after viewing their loan listing. Borrowers can expect to pay an origination fee depending on their Prosper Rating. Funding can be available as soon as the next business day after approval of the loan, making it a solid option in emergencies. Fortunately, if your credit isn’t stellar, Prosper offers the option to apply with a co-borrower, which could improve your chances of getting a better rate.

Read the review


  • Can change your loan payment date
  • Option to apply with co-borrower
  • Next-day funding available after approval


  • No physical branches
  • Has origination fees
  • Not available in all states

Best for Bad Credit: Avant 

Avant offers personal loans that are accessible to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. The lender also considers income and employment history when qualifying applicants. Plus, active-duty military personnel who qualify through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) may be able to get a much lower interest rate.


  • Loan Amounts$2,000 – $35,000
  • Loan Terms12 – 60 months
  • APR Range9.95% – 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    580 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Avant offers small personal loans that are accessible to borrowers with fair credit, with funding available as soon as the next day.


Avant is known for its personal loans that can be used for a wide range of purposes and are accessible for those with fair credit. Funding can be completed as soon as the next business day once approved. The minimum APRs tend to be higher than competitors, but the maximum APR is comparable to other online lenders. A unique feature offered by Avant is their flexible payment due date, which allows a 10-day grace period without incurring a late fee.


  • Loan terms up to 60 months
  • Low minimum credit score requirement
  • Flexible payment due date
  • Next day funding available


  • No physical locations
  • Origination fee of up to 4.75%
  • Relatively low maximum loan amount ($35,000)
  • High minimum APR
  • No joint applicant or co-signer

Best for Thin Credit Profiles: Upstart

Borrowers with minimal credit history can look to Upstart for personal loans, which considers factors outside of your credit score, like your experience, income, employment, and education.


  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms36 or 60 months
  • APR Range7.8% - 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    300 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Using artificial intelligence to help evaluate borrowers, Upstart is a unique lending platform that looks beyond your credit score for personal loan approval.


Upstart is a first-of-its-kind online lending platform that uses artificial intelligence to help make smarter lending decisions. This means the company considers factors beyond a borrower’s credit score to help determine creditworthiness. Upstart indicates its model has resulted in 43% lower rates for borrowers than traditional credit score models.

Beyond your credit score, Upstart will also look at your employment history, income and level of education when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. The company states that borrowers with credit scores as low as 300 might be able to get approved for a personal loan, though that loan may come with a relatively high APR.

Upstart’s rates are fairly competitive and loan funds are disbursed as soon as one business day after approval. This lender charges origination fees, so it’s important to read the fine print before applying.

Read the review


  • Considers factors beyond your credit score in lending decisions
  • Loans up to $50,000
  • Fast funding time
  • Check rate without affecting credit score
  • Low minimum credit score requirement


  • No physical locations
  • Limited repayment terms
  • Has origination fees
  • High maximum APR
  • Not available in Iowa or West Virginia

Best for Flexible Loan Amounts: USAA Personal Loans

USAA offers personal loans up to $100,000 without any origination fees to veterans, military members, as well as their spouses and children. The lender also offers a variety of banking products and financial advice to all members.

USAA Personal Loans

  • Loan Amounts $1,000 - $100,000
  • Loan Terms12 - 84 months
  • APR RangeUp to 18.51%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    Not disclosed More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

USAA personal loans boast low maximum APRs and borrowing maximums of up to $100,000 for qualifying members.


USAA offers banking and lending products to current and former military members, as well as their qualifying family members. Its personal loans range from $1,000 to $100,000, with repayment terms of 12 to 84 months. This lender’s maximum APR is relatively low compared to some competitors, which could make it a good option if your credit isn’t the best. Borrowers also enjoy no application or early repayment fees, and funding appears in your USAA bank account as soon as 24 hours after closing your loan. A USAA personal loan could be worth looking into if you’re a qualifying service member.


  • Wide range of loan amounts
  • Maximum APR lower than most competitors
  • Repayment terms as long as 84 months
  • Funding as soon as 24 hours after loan closing
  • No origination fees


  • Loans available to members only
  • Membership limited to service members, veterans, and qualifying family members

Best for Debt Consolidation: Happy Money

Happy Money offers personal loans through its partner lenders that are designed to help consumers knock out credit card debt.

Happy Money

  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $40,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 60 months
  • APR Range11.72% – 17.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    640 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Happy Money can help pay off and consolidate credit card debt into one fixed monthly payment.


Happy Money, formerly known as Payoff, offers loans for credit card debt payoffs. Eligibility is clearly stated online, so borrowers will appreciate the transparent criteria. Borrowers have the option to have Happy Money deposit funds directly to their credit cards to help streamline the payoff process. Funding can take between three to six business days, which is longer than other lenders, but still considered a decent turnaround time.

Personal loans are accessible to borrowers with fair credit, and there are no options for co-signers or joint applicants. Unfortunately, the loans are not available in Massachusetts or Nevada, so borrowers will need to look elsewhere for lending options.

Read the review


  • No late fees
  • Direct payment to creditors
  • Prequalification with no hard credit check
  • All loans come with a hardship payment protection plan


  • Most loans can only be used to pay off credit card debt
  • Has origination fees
  • High loan minimum
  • No joint or co-signed loans
  • Not available in all states
  • Funding slower than other lenders

Best for Competitive Rates: LightStream

LightStream's personal loans come with competitive rates and no fees. Repayment terms are also longer than other competitors, ranging from two to 12 years, depending on the purpose of the loan. Military members in need of a quick loan will appreciate LightStream’s ability to offer same-day funding. 


  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 144 months
  • APR Range7.49% – 25.49% (with autopay)
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    660 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

LightStream is a solid online lender offering no fees, high loan maximums and low-rate personal loans for several purposes.


LightStream offers personal loans for several purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvement, weddings, car purchases and more, making this worth considering for those seeking flexibility. The lender offers relatively low rates compared to competitors, including autopay discounts. Its personal loans also have no origination fees or late fees, which can help keep borrowing costs low. However, borrowers will likely need to have good-to-excellent credit in order to be approved for a LightStream personal loan. Overall, it’s a good lender to add to your shortlist if you’re looking for flexible funding, no fees and a low APR. Lightstream may also disburse loans as soon as the same day you’re approved, making this lender a worthy choice if you need fast funding.

Read the review


  • Low minimum APR
  • No origination fees, no late fees
  • High loan maximum of $100,000
  • Autopay discount
  • Joint applications allowed


  • Rates and terms vary by loan purpose
  • No soft pull prequalification
  • Must have good-to-excellent credit
  • No physical branches

How to Choose a Personal Loan as a Veteran or Military Member

Military veteran hands folded


When comparing personal loan options, here are some key factors to consider:

Annual Percentage Rate

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is one of the best ways to compare the cost of a loan since it takes into account interest and any fees a lender might charge. If possible, prequalify with a lender to get an idea of your APR after submitting a loan application. (The Military Lending Act caps the APR on certain consumer loans for military members at 36%.)

Monthly Payment

Before taking out a loan, it's a good idea to review your budget to see if you can afford the monthly payments over the life of the loan. If you cannot repay your loan on time, you may have to pay a late fee, and it can cause significant damage to your credit. Use a personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payment.

Estimate your monthly payments using our loan calculator.

Loan Terms

Repayment terms vary by lender. In general, choosing a shorter loan term can help you save on interest. By contrast, a longer loan term can help you lower your monthly payments, but you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan.

Loan Amounts Offered

Different lenders offer different minimum and maximum loan amounts. When choosing a lender, make sure it offers an amount that matches your borrowing needs so you don't end up overborrowing or underborrowing.

Additional Fees

Some lenders don't charge any fees. Other lenders may charge origination fees for processing your loan application, late fees or returned check fees. Choosing a lender that charges minimal or no fees can help to minimize borrowing costs. The MLA prohibits lenders from charging active-duty servicemembers prepayment penalties. 

Funding Speed

While some lenders can deposit funds as soon as the next business day, other lenders can take up to three days or longer. If you need funds fast, choose a lender known for offering quick funding for emergencies.

Potential Discounts 

Some credit unions that cater to veterans and military members may offer perks and a variety of discounts on products from car insurance to music streaming platforms. When evaluating your options, consider the value of these discounts.

How to Apply for a Personal Loan

Army parachuter


While the loan application process varies by lender, here are the general steps you can expect:

  1. Review your credit score and credit reports. Before you apply for a personal loan, check your credit score to see where you stand. The higher your score, the more likely you will qualify for a personal loan and secure a lender's lowest advertised rates. Also, review your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports for errors that could drop your credit score by visiting
  2. Figure out how much you need to borrow. Write down how much you need to borrow so you’ll know how much money to request. Remember to factor in origination fees (if your lender charges them), as they can account for 1% to 10% of your loan amount.
  3. Shop around. To find the loan option that best fits your needs, compare rates and terms from multiple lenders. Prequalify, if possible, to get estimated rates and terms without affecting your credit.
  4. Submit a loan application. Once you've found the best lender for your unique financial circumstances, submit a loan application. You'll likely need the following information: your birthdate, Social Security number, annual income, desired loan amount and proof of military service (if required for any special rates or perks).
  5. Review your loan agreement before signing. If approved, a lender will send you a loan agreement. Review it carefully to make sure you agree with the terms before signing.
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Additional Financial Resources for Military Members

Although a personal loan can be a valuable tool, exploring all your options could help you pay a lower interest rate or avoid taking on debt altogether. Here are some financial resources and programs to consider.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs 

Veteran homeowners might qualify for a VA-backed cash-out refinance loan that allows them to tap their home's equity to consolidate high-interest debt, pay for home repairs or make other purchases. Since the loan is secured, it may come with lower rates than an unsecured personal loan.

Plus, the VA publishes a list of benefits and financial resources for veterans and their dependents each year.

Military Financial Assistance Programs

Search the National Resource Database for local military financial assistance programs. If you're having trouble paying for rent, food or utilities, you can dial 211 to get help finding organizations that provide help. 


Some organizations offer grants to veterans and military servicemembers. For example, Veterans of Foreign Wars offers grants up to $1,500 through its Unmet Needs program to help veterans cover their basic needs. Unlike a personal loan, a grant doesn't have to be repaid.

Interest-Free Loans

Some not-for-profit organizations offer interest-free loans to veterans. For example, Army Emergency Relief offers interest-free loans to active-duty soldiers and retired soldiers that can be used to pay for housing, food, travel and other expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not offer personal loans. The only type of VA loan eligible veterans can get is a VA direct home loan or a VA-backed home loan from a private lender.

  • Yes, getting a personal loan as a veteran or military member with bad credit is possible. Some lenders offer credit scores to borrowers with credit scores as low as 300. But keep in mind that lenders often charge borrowers with low credit scores higher interest rates and fees.

  • Some lenders offer rate discounts of 0.25% to veterans and active-duty service members. In addition, some credit unions offer discounts on certain products or services, like car insurance, car buying programs and music streaming services. Ask your lender if they have any special perks or discounts for veterans.

  • Active-duty military members can get personal loans from various financial institutions, including banks, credit unions and online lenders. In fact, certain legal protections are in place for active-duty members, their spouses and some of their dependents. For example, the Military Lending Act (MLA) caps the APR on certain consumer loans at 36%.

  • Military eligibility requirements vary by lender. For example, veterans do not qualify for the SCRA or MLA; however, lenders like Avant, Upstart, and USAA work with veterans. Chat with a lender representative to determine options available to veterans and active-duty military members. Veterans may also be eligible for VA loans.


Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown is a personal finance writer and owner of the Peerless Money Mentor blog. He's written for major publications, such as Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, Business Insider, and Rocket Mortgage. Financial products he enjoys covering include credit cards, personal loans, and mortgages.

Awards & Distinctions

Jerry was nominated for the 2020 Plutus Award for Best Social Media for personal finance, where he was also a presenter.