Tips and Advice

PenFed Personal Loan Review 2022: Top Features, Pros & Cons

PenFed offers a variety of banking services. Learn what a PenFed personal loan has to offer to help decide if it's right for you.
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By Rebecca Lake
Updated on: November 11th, 2022
Editor's Rating

There are different reasons for getting a personal loan. You may want to consolidate debt or make home improvements. Or you may need a loan for an unexpected expense.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to choose the right lender when you plan to borrow.

PenFed Credit Union, short for Pentagon Federal Credit Union, is one option you might consider when you need a personal loan.

PenFed offers personal loans of up to $50,000 with low competitive rates for eligible borrowers.

This PenFed review offers a closer look at how loan options work to help you decide if it’s right for you.

What Is PenFed Credit Union?

PenFed Credit Union was established in 1935 and currently serves approximately 2.5 million members.

PenFed operates in all 50 states, with headquarters located in Tysons, Virginia.

The credit union was originally created to serve military members, veterans, and their families but has since expanded its membership to include federal employees as well as those without military affiliation.

Today, PenFed offers personal loans as well as other banking products and services, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages.

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Who Is a PenFed Personal Loan For?

PenFed personal loans are designed for borrowers with good credit and consistent income who need to borrow between $600 and $50,000. You might consider a PenFed personal loan if you:

  • Are already a PenFed member or are interested in joining the credit union
  • Want a personal loan with a low fixed rate
  • Are interested in avoiding prepayment penalties and loan origination fees
  • Need or want to apply with a co-borrower
  • Need up to 60 months to pay back what you borrow
  • Don’t want to have to provide collateral for a loan

These loans are suited for borrowers who want an unsecured loan option with competitive interest rates. If you need to borrow more than $50,000 then a PenFed personal loan may not be the best fit.

Compare PenFed to Other Lenders

PenFed is not the only option for getting a personal loan online. There are other banks, credit unions, and online lenders you might consider. Before choosing a personal loan, it’s helpful to compare rates, terms, and features across different lenders.

Here are three other personal loans you might consider.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers personal loans of up to $40,000, slightly less than what you can borrow with PenFed. Marcus personal loans have no fees and low fixed rates, though the lowest rate is above the lowest rate offered by PenFed.

SoFi

SoFi offers personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, which may be appealing if you need a larger loan amount. Rates are fixed, though the lowest rate is also above the lowest rate offered by PenFed. But eligible borrowers can receive same-day funding.

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union serves military members, veterans, and their families. Loans range from $250 to $50,000 and rates are fixed, though the lowest rate is higher than PenFed’s lowest rate.

What Kinds of Loans Does PenFed Credit Union Offer?

PenFed offers personal loans and personal lines of credit. The main difference between the two is that a personal loan provides you with a lump sum of funding while a line of credit can be drawn against as needed, similar to a credit card.

Some of the options for using PenFed personal loans include:

  • Debt consolidation
  • Home improvement
  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Weddings
  • Vacations
  • Large expenses
  • Other life events

PenFed personal loans are fee-friendly, with no origination fees, prepayment penalties, or hidden fees of any kind.

You can check your rates without affecting your credit. If you decide to move forward with the loan, it’s possible to get next-day funding once you’re approved.

You don’t need to be a PenFed Credit Union member just to apply for a loan.

But if you do decide to borrow with PenFed, you’ll need to complete the membership process and open a PenFed savings account.

You can do this online and it takes just a few minutes. You will need to make a minimum deposit of at least $5 into your PenFed account.

The PenFed personal line of credit allows you to borrow up to $25,000 at low fixed rates. If approved, you can get free checks to use to make withdrawals or purchases against your credit line anywhere you would use a credit card. You only pay interest on the amount of your credit line you use.

Top Features of PenFed Credit Union

If you’ve never belonged to a credit union before, you may not be aware of just what they have to offer to members. Here are some of the top features and benefits associated with PenFed Credit Union.

Access. With some credit unions, membership is limited only to people who work at certain employers or have a military affiliation. PenFed Credit Union allows anyone to join, regardless of whether they’re in the military or belong to a military family.

Great rates. Compared to other personal loan options, PenFed offers some of the most competitive interest rates for personal loans. The better your credit score, the lower your loan rate is likely to be.

Member benefits. PenFed membership includes access to loans but it also comes with other benefits, such as special discounts, expert financial advice, and a financial hardship program if you’re having trouble making loan payments.

Loan limits. With a minimum personal loan amount of $600 and a maximum of $50,000, PenFed offers loans to fit most any financial need. There’s no security or collateral required for a PenFed loan.

No prepayment penalty. Paying off a personal loan early can save you money on interest. Some lenders charge a penalty for paying off your loan early but PenFed won’t penalize you for clearing your debt ahead of schedule.

How to Get Started

The first step in applying for a personal loan with PenFed is checking your rate. You can do this online and it won’t affect your credit scores. You’ll be given a selection of pre-approved loan offers to choose from one. If you see one that fits your needs and budget, you can move forward with the full loan application process.

You’ll need to give PenFed some basic information, including your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • Phone number and email address
  • Annual income
  • Housing payment

You’ll also need to tell PenFed how much you want to borrow, what you need the money for, and your desired repayment term. If you’re applying with a co-borrower you’ll need to provide their personal information as well.

At the time you apply for a personal loan, PenFed will create your membership account. You’ll need to provide a routing number and a bank account number to make your initial $5 deposit into your PenFed savings account.

Once your loan is approved, you can get funding in as little as one to two business days. There’s no application fee or origination fee to get a PenFed personal loan.

Rating the Features

Before committing to any lender, it’s important to understand how it measures up. Here’s more on what you can expect if you decide to borrow with PenFed.

User Experience

Applying for a personal loan with PenFed is easy and you can do so online. You have the option to check your rates first before going ahead with the full loan application. If approved, loan funding is fast if you choose direct deposit. You can also opt for a paper check, which can take five to seven business days. Customer service is available if you need help 24/7.

Fees and Rates

PenFed offers some of the most competitive rates on personal loans among online lenders. In terms of fees, these are minimal. Again, you won’t pay an origination fee or application fee and you won’t be hit with a prepayment penalty if you decide to pay the loan off early.

Transparency

PenFed offers information about its personal loans in a straightforward way. The loan application process walks you through everything you need to provide, step by step, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything along the way. PenFed also saves you the additional trouble of creating a member account by doing it for you at the time you apply for a loan.

Flexibility

You get flexibility with PenFed loans, in that you can use them to meet a variety of financial needs. Whether you need money for a major car repair or just want to get ahead with expenses, you can use a PenFed personal loan for those goals.

Customer Support

You can access your PenFed account online or through the PenFed mobile app. The app is available in the App Store and the Play Store and is free to download. There’s an extensive Help Center if you need answers to questions and you can send a secure message to customer support online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Pros and Cons of PenFed Credit Union

While there are some advantages to getting a personal loan from PenFed, there are some potential drawbacks. Weigh these pros and cons before applying for a loan.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about PenFed. Consider how much you need to borrow and how long you’ll need to pay back your loan. Again, if you need to borrow more than $50,000 or want a loan term longer than five years you may need to consider a different lender.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can anyone get a PenFed loan?

PenFed does not limit personal loans to military members — anyone can apply. But you will need to become a PenFed member before you can be approved for a loan. You can complete your membership application at the same time you complete your loan application.

Is PenFed easy to get approved?

Generally, you’ll need a good to excellent credit score and steady income to get approved for a PenFed personal loan. If you have less than perfect credit, you may still be able to get approved by applying with a co-borrower. A co-borrower could also help you to secure a lower interest rate on a loan.

How long does PenFed approval take?

PenFed’s loan application and approval process are fairly quick. Once you’re approved, it’s possible to get your loan funded within one to two business days via direct deposit. If you prefer a paper check, that may take five to seven business days to arrive after approval.

Does PenFed charge loan fees?

PenFed does not charge an origination fee for its personal loans, something that you might pay with other lenders. You also won’t pay an application fee or a prepayment penalty fee if you repay your loan at an accelerated pace. PenFed, does, however, charge fees for late payments and returned payments.

Bottom Line

PenFed Credit Union could be a good option to consider if you’re looking for a personal loan of up to $50,000 and you want to get a great rate.

If you’re approved, you may also consider opening other accounts with PenFed, such as Free Checking or one of PenFed’s credit cards.

If you’re ready to take the next step, you can check your rates with PenFed and begin your loan application today.