USAA is a service member-friendly insurance provider and bank that offers unsecured personal loans in addition to its more heavily advertised insurance lines and banking products. Unsecured simply means that USAA will not ask you for collateral to secure the loan. The lender disburses these loans in lump-sum payments, which are repaid according to a predetermined monthly payment schedule. Secured loans use some form of collateral to back the loan. Read our review of the best home equity loans to learn more about secured loans.
Personal loans often come with high annual percentage rates (APRs), making them a risky financial product. However, when used responsibly, personal loans can be a great tool for helping you meet unexpected or overwhelming expenses. In the following guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of taking out a personal loan from USAA, how to apply for a loan and what past customers have to say about the financial services giant.
If you’d like to read more about personal loans, check out our guide to the best personal loans.
USAA personal loans pros and cons
- Ability to access money quickly
- Joint loans available
- Several loan repayment options
- Must be a USAA member to apply
- Hard credit checks only
- Cosigners not permitted
USAA personal loan pros explained
Ability to access money quickly
Once USAA approves your loan, you can expect the money to hit your bank account within 24 hours during regular business days. This funding speed is faster than many other lenders that offer personal loans.
Joint loans available
USAA allows eligible borrowers to jointly sign for a loan with a co-borrower. Co-borrowers differ from cosigners in that they also receive access to the borrowed funds. Like cosigners, they share responsibility for loan repayment. You might choose to co-borrow your loan if you have a weak credit score or if you plan on using the fund jointly, such as if you’re paying for a shared vehicle.
Several loan repayment options
USAA offers more flexible repayment terms than offered by many other lenders. Borrowers can select from a range of repayment schedules with minimum loan amounts for each.
- One to three years: $2,500
- Four years: $5,000
- Five years: $10,000
- Six years: $15,000
- Seven years: $20,000
Remember, these are the minimum loan amounts. If you qualify, you may be approved for up to $100,000, making USAA a great option whether you want a small or large personal loan. Plus, with USAA, you can pay off your loan early without fear of a prepayment penalty.
USAA personal loan cons explained
Must be a USAA member to apply
Only USAA members can apply for personal loans from the financial institution. The following individuals meet USAA membership requirements:
- Military members
- Honorably discharged veterans
- Spouses and children of members
Hard credit checks only
Unlike other lenders, USAA doesn’t offer a prequalification process for personal loans. This means you’ll only receive available loan terms after USAA runs a hard credit check, which will be reflected in your credit report and can lower your credit score. USAA provides a loan repayment calculator on its website. However, without knowing your APR and loan limit, you won’t be able to do more than get a rough idea of what your repayment schedule might look like.
For that reason, you should shop around with other lenders before you apply for a loan with USAA. Getting pre-approved by other lenders will give you an idea of the loan terms USAA might offer you.
Cosigners not permitted
USAA doesn’t allow cosigners. If you’re afraid your poor credit score will prevent you from getting a loan, you can ask someone to sign on as a co-borrower with you. Like cosigners, co-borrowers bear equal responsibility for the loan repayment. However, where cosigners do not have a right to use the loaned money, co-borrowers do.
USAA personal loans plans and offerings
USAA offers its members unsecured personal loans ranging from $2,500 to $100,000. With a term loan, you receive an upfront lump sum payment, which you then pay back according to a set schedule. With the exception of higher education expenses, USAA lets borrowers use their loans for virtually any purpose.
Common reasons for taking out a personal loan include consolidating consumer debt, meeting emergency expenses or conducting remodels or major home repairs. While USAA won’t consolidate your loans for you, you can use the loan funds to personally pay off your outstanding debts.
A personal loan may also be helpful if you’re faced with an emergency expense. Use our best emergency loan review to select the right emergency loan provider for you.
USAA personal loans pricing
USAA offers competitive annual percentage rates (APRs) for personal loans, ranging from 7.85% to 18.27%. These rates include a 0.25% auto-pay discount. While many lenders charge loan origination fees between 1% and 5% of the total loan amount, USAA doesn’t charge loan origination fees. For a $100,000 personal loan, this means you could save around $5,000 in fees compared to other lenders.
Some lenders also charge a prepayment or early payment fee that lets lenders recoup some of the income lost to early loan repayments. USAA doesn’t charge these prepayment penalties so you can pay off your loan early without adding to the overall cost of borrowing. That said, USAA charges a late fee equal to 5% of the missed payment amount.
USAA personal loans financial stability
USAA is in no danger of going under any time soon — at least not according to credit rating agency AM Best. It recently affirmed USAA’s financial strength rating of A++ (Superior). AM Best arrived at its score by examining USAA’s balance sheets, business practices and various other factors related to business longevity.
USAA personal loan accessibility
Applying for a USAA personal line of credit is a relatively straightforward process. In this section, we’ll break down your likelihood of qualifying for a personal loan, USAA contact information and reviews from past borrowers.
USAA only provides personal loans to active USAA members. While USAA doesn’t publish specific criteria for loan eligibility, you should have a credit score of at least 640. USAA may accept lower credit scores, but less-qualified borrowers must pay higher APRs. You may also fail to qualify for the total loan amount you desire. Don’t let a credit score stop you from taking out a personal loan. Use our guide to the best personal loans for bad credit to find the right lender for you.
USAA will also consider your income and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio when evaluating your application. DTI simply divides all of your monthly loan payments by your monthly income. For example, if you make $10,000 a month and your monthly debt payments total $3,000, then you have a DTI of 30%. Lenders typically prefer borrowers who maintain a DTI of less than around 43% when issuing a loan.
Prospective and current USAA borrowers can contact customer support in several ways:
- A virtual agent chatbot
- A customer support line — 210-531-USAA (8722) — between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday
- Snail mail at USAA 9800 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX, 78288
USAA doesn’t list a customer service email on its contact page. However, it maintains social media pages on Facebook and Twitter, both of which are accessible by clicking on the appropriate icons on the bottom right-hand corner of the USAA website.
Applying for a personal loan is a relatively quick and straightforward process. Enter your USAA banking login information into the loan web portal through USAA online and fill out the application form. According to the USAA website, this process should only take a few minutes.
Once your loan application is approved, you’ll be able to see what interest rate you qualify for. If you’re satisfied with the loan terms, accept the loan offer and sign the loan agreement and other documents. You’ll receive the full loan amount in your USAA bank account within 24 business hours of closing on the loan.
USAA personal loans customer satisfaction
Because USAA offers so many products and services, it’s difficult to uncover exactly how satisfied personal loan borrowers are. On Trustpilot, a popular consumer review website, USAA holds a 1.3 out of 5-star average rating based on more than 2,000 reviews. Complaints range from poor customer service and claim denials to cybersecurity issues and fraud.
On the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Website, USAA fares even worse, with a 1.1 out of 5-star average with over 1,200 reviews. Many of these complaints detail unresponsive agents, slow-moving claims processes, wrongfully denied claims and mishandled claims processes.
A general sentiment that USAA has gone downhill in recent years pervades the comments on both websites.
USAA personal loans FAQs
How many personal loans can you get?
How are personal loans calculated?
Lenders look at a variety of factors when calculating interest rates for personal loans. Factors that influence your loan's APR include:
Your credit score: Lenders use credit scores to determine how likely you are to pay your loan back on time and in full.
Your employment status and income: Steady, long-term employment and a healthy income appear favorable to lenders. So does a low debt-to-income ratio — or DTI.
Loan length: Higher interest rates often accompany shorter loans because the lender will have less time to collect interest payments.
The federal fund rate: This is the only factor outside your control. The Federal Reserve can influence interest rates by raising or lowering the rate at which commercial banks lend to each other.
Do personal loans build credit?
How we evaluated USAA personal loans
When evaluating USAA personal loans, we looked at multiple data points. These included:
- Loan APR range
- Approved loan uses
- Maximum loan amount
- Repayment schedule
- Ease of application
- Turn around time
- Various restrictions
- Customer reviews
- Miscellaneous fees
Summary of Money’s USAA personal loans review
Overall, USAA remains a solid choice for current and ex-service members along with their immediate families. While you should be wary of negative customer reviews, USAA’s low APR range, flexible repayment terms, lack of loan origination and early payment fees, high maximum loan amount and quick turnaround time may make it an attractive choice.
If USAA rejected your personal loan application due to a poor credit score, consider working with a lender that specializes in borrowers with bad credit. Use our guide to the best bad credit loans to find the right loan for your needs.