Navy Federal vs. SoFi: Which Personal Loan Is Right for You?

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Edited byMargarita Barresi

Updated: July 25, 2023

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The best personal loan varies depending on your requirements and circumstances. However, if you need immediate funds, Navy Federal and SoFi are excellent options. A personal loan from Navy Federal is only available to members of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) who need fast cash for big expenditures, home improvements or debt consolidation. However, if you have good credit and a solid income, SoFi may be your best option.

MoneyGeek provides extensive and up-to-date information to help you compare these two well-known personal loan providers and choose the most suitable option for your needs. We look at their APRs, credit score requirements, loan amounts, repayment terms and more.

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Navy Federal or SoFi: Overview

Although SoFi offers a higher maximum loan amount, Navy Federal does not require a minimum credit score. Nevertheless, your needs and circumstances will determine the best lender for you.

Before making a decision, it is essential to compare Navy Federal vs. SoFi in terms of their APRs, credit score criteria, loan amounts and repayment terms.

Navy Federal

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SoFi

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APR Range

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An annual percentage rate is the amount of yearly interest a borrower must pay on a loan, in addition to any other fees or charges imposed by the lender. Multiple factors, such as your credit score, loan type, loan size and the lender's screening methodology, influence your APR.

In addition, remember that APRs are continually changing. The APR range for SoFi personal loans is between 5.74% and 20.28%. In addition, you need a minimum credit score of 680 to qualify for a SoFi personal loan because the lender uses a soft inquiry to establish your rates. The APR range for Navy Federal is between 7.49% and 18%, which is more favorable. Nevertheless, Navy Federal personal loans are available exclusively to NFCU members.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Navy Federal's maximum APR (18%) is lower than SoFi's (20.28%). The lower the APR, the less borrowers pay in interest and other charges during the loan’s duration. However, don’t restrict your search for a personal loan lender to those with low APRs. Other important factors include the lender’s repayment plan, loan amounts and credit score requirements.

Minimum Credit Score

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Your credit score must be at least 680 to qualify for a SoFi personal loan. On the other hand, Navy Federal personal loans do not require a minimum credit score, so they are good options for those with bad credit. Both lenders conduct a soft credit inquiry that does not affect your credit score.

Your credit score is a numerical representation of how likely you are to pay a loan back based on your financial history. It usually has a significant impact on your loan eligibility and terms. A higher credit score will help you obtain better loan terms, such as a lower APR. Establishing a good credit score takes consistent, long-term action, such as paying off your credit card balance in full every month.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

If you have a good-to-excellent credit score, your chances of getting approved for a SoFi personal loan are very good. The lender also offers higher loan amounts. On the other hand, Navy Federal has no minimum credit score requirement, so it’s the better option for those with poor credit. The lower your credit score, the higher the APR and the less favorable the loan terms. Moreover, Navy Federal only offers personal loans to NFCU members.

Loan applicants should ensure the loan's provisions are reasonable and suitable for their circumstances. In addition to credit score requirements, consider the loan amounts available, APR ranges and repayment terms before deciding.

Loan Amount Range

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Lenders offer different maximum to minimum loan amounts, and you should borrow only the amount you need. SoFi's maximum loan amount is $100,000, double Navy Federal’s. A large SoFi personal loan can fund major, one-time purchases, such as house renovations, debt consolidation, weddings and other unexpected expenses. Nevertheless, Navy Federal's maximum loan amount of $50,000 may be suitable for most borrowers.

Determine how much you need to borrow upfront. It is preferable to take out one larger loan from a single vendor than to have multiple small loans.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

SoFi offers a broad range of personal loan amounts, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, so it’s great for funding larger expenditures. Due to its next-day funding policy, however, Navy Federal may be a better alternative if you urgently require a small amount of funds.

Despite the lender's maximum, the loan amount you’ll qualify for depends on several factors, including your creditworthiness, the loan's repayment period, its purpose and other lender-specific criteria.

Repayment Terms

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The repayment term, often known as the payback period, specifies the amount of time you have to repay the loan. Criteria such as your credit rating can impact the loan terms.

However, remember that extended payback periods have drawbacks. If your APR is low, but you have an extended repayment period, you pay more interest in the long run. Always consider this factor when evaluating a lender's payback period.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

SoFi's more accommodating loan repayment terms allow borrowers to determine the length of their loans. However, your credit score will determine whether you’re able to take advantage of this flexibility.

In addition, consider that paying a higher interest rate over a longer payback period will cost you more money. We recommend a shorter payback time if you can make higher monthly payments.

Time to Receive Funds

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The typical turnaround time for personal loan lending institutions ranges from a few days to several weeks. Navy Federal and SoFi provide financing more quickly than conventional lenders. Navy Federal can disburse personal loan funds the next day of application approval, while SoFi requires a few days.

The ideal lender for you will depend on a variety of other factors, such as the repayment terms, APR and amount of your approved loan, as there is little difference between the two lending firms in terms of the time it takes to get funds.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

If you find yourself in a precarious financial situation, you may need a lender that can quickly put your funds into your hands. Navy Federal can provide funds the next day the loan is approved. Meanwhile, SoFi disburses your loan two business days after signing. While fast loan disbursement can be advantageous, it should not be your sole deciding factor.

Final Thoughts

Although both SoFi and Navy Federal offer personal loans with short funding timeframes, Navy Federal is the preferable lender due to its lower APR range, longer repayment terms and quick fund disbursement. However, it is vital to note that only NFCU members are eligible for Navy Federal personal loans. Consequently, assess each aspect's relative importance based on your circumstances.

MoneyGeek provides a comparison of Navy Federal vs. SoFi personal loans by comparing borrower profiles:

  • A SoFi personal loan is the best solution for borrowers who want to consolidate existing debts.
  • Both lenders will suit consumers who want to avoid origination and prepayment fees.
  • Navy Federal personal loans are best for borrowers with poor credit scores since the lender has no minimum credit score requirement.

In the end, a SoFi personal loan is better suited for borrowers with good-to-excellent credit due to its unique underwriting methodology.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loan Lenders

Examine your options thoroughly before obtaining a personal loan. MoneyGeek answered the following questions about personal loan providers to help you with the application process.

Different lenders may have different requirements for personal loan applications. But most lenders demand a fully completed application form, identification, proof of income and address confirmation.

Contact the credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian — to learn your credit score.

Yes, most lending institutions will perform a hard credit check once you submit your application. Hard credit checks require a comprehensive assessment of your credit record from one of the main credit bureaus and can affect your score.

No, the APR or interest rate you pay is based on criteria that vary from lender to lender. Therefore, evaluating lenders before filing a loan application is essential.

Yes, but charges may vary depending on the lender. Most lenders levy a fee for late payments and an early repayment penalty. Check with your lender to see if it charges additional expenses, including origination, application and returned check fees and payment protection insurance.

Applying for a personal loan online is quick and convenient and can lead to faster approval.

You may prepay the entirety of your loan, but certain lenders may impose a prepayment penalty charge.

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sources
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The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the rates mentioned may have changed. We recommend visiting the lender's website for the most up-to-date information available.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, lender or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.