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

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Edited byScott Strandberg
Edited byScott Strandberg

Updated: July 25, 2023

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Choosing a personal loan may be quite challenging since there are a lot of lenders that offer competitive rates and terms. To help you with this process, MoneyGeek gathered information about two of the most reputable companies in the U.S. — Navy Federal and Upstart. Both companies have great offers, especially for borrowers with poor credit.

In an effort to guide you in making the right decision, MoneyGeek continues to make sure that the information we provide is updated and relevant to your needs. This way, we can remain a trusted source of information for comparing the most prominent personal loan lenders in the country.

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Navy Federal or Upstart: Overview

Navy Federal provides personal loans to military personnel who join the credit union. It offers good deals when it comes to credit score standards, loan amount ranges, repayment terms and disbursement time.

Upstart personal loans, on the other hand, are available to anyone as long as they meet the credit requirements. They feature favorable rates, adequate repayment term options and quick funding.

Both lenders may be great for borrowers with poor credit. Remember, though, that poor credit may lead to higher APRs and can affect your loan approval.

Navy Federal

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Upstart

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APR Range

Lender
APR Range

Navy Federal

7.49% to 18%

Upstart

3.22% to 35.99%

The amount you will pay for your loan every year is represented as the annual percentage rate (APR). It takes into account the costs, fees and interest rate included in your loan. Because of the Truth in Lending Act, the APR must be disclosed by lenders, so you are informed of the exact costs of your loan. Your APR is influenced by your credit score, loan conditions, payment history and other financial considerations.

The APR range for Navy Federal is 7.49% to 18%, but the APR range for Upstart ranges from 3.22% to 35.99%. Although Navy Federal may have a higher minimum APR, its maximum APR is substantially lower.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

For borrowers with strong credit, Upstart’s lower minimum APR is a big advantage. However, if you have poor credit, it’s highly likely that Navy Federal’s maximum 18% APR can save you some money over Upstart’s significantly higher 35.99% rate.

A low APR helps you pay less on your loan during your repayment term. Several factors, like your credit score, can affect your APR. Therefore, it’s important to consider all possible variables when looking for a personal loan.

Minimum Credit Score

Lender
Credit Score

Navy Federal

None

Upstart

300

Both companies are great for borrowers with poor credit. Navy Federal does not have a minimum credit score requirement, while Upstart only requires a very low credit score of at least 300 (which is essentially the same as not having a minimum). Take note, however, that there might be other qualification requirements that you will need to meet.

Your credit score tells lenders about how responsible you are with your finances and indicates your financial stability. Your credit history, existing debts, income and other factors affect your creditworthiness.

When deciding whether to approve or deny your loan application, lenders consider your credit profile. Compared to borrowers with poor credit, people with strong credit scores are more likely to be approved for a loan and get lower rates.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Both Upstart and Navy Federal can cater to borrowers with bad credit. Even though Navy Federal doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, the 300 minimum score required by Upstart is as low as FICO Scores can possibly go. Therefore, these companies are essentially identical in this area.

Regardless of your chosen lender, those with good credit pay lower rates and those with bad credit pay higher rates. Credit scores are also used by lenders to determine the loan amounts and repayment terms you are eligible for. Don’t forget to take all loan-related factors into account when choosing a lender.

Loan Amount Range

Lender
Loan Amount Range

Navy Federal

$250 to $50,000

Upstart

$1,000 to $50,000

The maximum personal loan amount is $50,000 for both Navy Federal and Upstart. However, Navy Federal offers smaller loans that begin at $250, while Upstart offers loans that begin at $1,000. Navy Federal might be an excellent choice for you if you need a small loan.

It’s important to consider this range because it tells you whether the lender can meet your financial needs. For instance, these lenders might not be able to cater to your needs if you need a loan of more than $50,000. It's best to understand how much money you'll need before taking out a loan.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Due to its lower minimum loan amount, Navy Federal can give more flexible loan amounts. Lenders with higher loan amount limits can meet your needs if you have bigger goals and vice versa.

You should know why you're taking out a loan and how much money you need before applying for one. It's best to take all relevant factors into account when finding the best personal loan that suits your needs.

Repayment Terms

Lender
Repayment Terms

Navy Federal

12 to 180 months

Upstart

36 or 60 months

Navy Federal’s repayment terms last from 12 to 180 months. Upstart, on the other hand, only has repayment terms of either 36 or 60 months.

The length of time you have to pay back your loan is determined by your repayment terms. Your lender can give you a repayment option depending on your credit score, loan amount, ability to pay off your installments and many other factors.

It also signifies the number of monthly installments you will have over the course of your loan. Your terms influence your rates and the overall cost of your loan. Therefore, consider your ability to meet your monthly dues when comparing loan offers with varying repayment terms.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Navy Federal provides more accommodating repayment terms that are suitable for both short- and long-term loans. Consider your ability to pay your monthly dues when choosing a term because it affects how much your monthly payments will cost.

For instance, a 12-month payback period would result in larger installments because your debt is not spread out over a longer period. Your repayment term is only one piece of the puzzle, so it’s best to consider all relevant factors when choosing a lender.

Time to Receive Funds

Lender
Time to Receive Funds

Navy Federal

Next day

Upstart

Next day

With Navy Federal and Upstart, borrowers will have to wait until the next day to receive their funds.

The disbursement times are based on the majority of the cases experienced by lenders. This means that not all loans can be released within these timeframes.

There might be cases where disbursement may be delayed. Applications submitted online may be approved quickly, so the release of funds can be a bit quicker. Some lenders may also take a few more days to process the disbursement of funds directly to creditors if the borrower is using the loan for debt consolidation.

The time it takes to release funds is important, depending on the urgency of the situation. Therefore, take note of the number of days required when applying for a loan.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Both Navy Federal and Upstart disburse funds quickly, as you can receive them a day after your loan approval. It’s best to pay attention to the disbursement time of your lender when you need personal funds as soon as possible. This factor is crucial in emergency situations. Consider looking into other factors as you shop around for personal loans, as many factors come into play when choosing the best one for you.

Final Thoughts

Navy Federal may be the better option for borrowers in terms of loan amount range, repayment terms and time to receive funds. It also has a low maximum APR. However, Navy Federal personal loans are only available to its credit union members. If you’re not an active member of the military, a veteran or their qualified family members, Navy Federal personal loans are not accessible to you.

Upstart personal loans can be your go-to loan in case you’re not an NFCU member. It has competitive rates, especially if you have excellent credit, as its minimum APR is noticeably lower than Navy Federal.

The best personal loan in the market depends on your individual circumstances. For instance, even though Upstart has a low credit score requirement, having bad credit can get you a high APR. These factors affect every borrower differently, so it’s always recommended to consider all features before taking out a personal loan.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loan Lenders

MoneyGeek answered frequently asked questions to help you learn more about personal loans and lenders.

What documents do I need to provide to personal loan lenders?
How do I know what my credit score is?
Do lenders conduct a hard inquiry?
Are interest rates on personal loans the same for all lenders?
Do lenders charge fees for personal loans?
What are the advantages of applying for a personal loan online?
Is prepayment allowed on personal loans?
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.