Military Loans

Updated November 11, 2018

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2018 Military Loan Rankings

Military loans are loans targeted at members of the US Armed Forces. Lenders specializing in military loans can be more familiar with the financial demands preparing for deployment, Permanent Change of Station moves around the world, or other situation unique to military families. In many cases these lenders have adapted their application process to the military. Changes such as using military pay grades for pre-approval or using a Leave and Earnings Statement to demonstrate income can streamline the application process.

Lenders making military loans range from regulated, established banks to unregulated, off-shore entities. This means prices and lending practices vary widely from great to predatory. The Military Lending Act prohibits typical payday loans to members of the military but not all military loans are covered by the Act so as with any financial product do your own due diligence before taking a loan. Do not immediately trust the lender because they have customized their process to the military. Short-term, emergency loans are best taken only when completely necessary and where a clear path to paying the loan off exists.

The Payday Hound reviews short-term lenders and ranks them according to our Sniff Test (reputation), costs, and licensing. Being included on our list is not endorsement or certification. The list is a ranking and is designed to help borrowers rate and judge the quality of lenders. This means it may include lenders we believe to be honest as well as those we would deem to be predatory. To see lenders who provide military loans in your state select your state from the table above.

The lenders listed below include both civilian installment loan lenders and those specializing in military loans. Those who specialize in military installment loans are noted in the description.

Company Name Description Costs* Sniff Rating
Ace Cash Express
Large online established lender. A+ BBB Score.
Multiple loan options. Physical store fronts too.
Governing Law: TX
APR: 398%
Amount: $200-$2K
Payments: 1-5
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $31 - $1K
Great
CashNetUSA
Large, publicly traded online lender.
Use promo code: NEWCASH25 to save 25%
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 388.93%
Amount: $300-$2,000
Payments: 7-15
Freq: monthly
Cost: $492 - $7.9K
Great
Net Credit
Rates based on amount and eligibility. Bad credit OK.
Build credit with timely payments. $1k-$10K.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 35% - 210%
Amount: $1k - $10K
Payments: 36 - 130
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $300 - $11K
Great
Cash Central
Discounts for repeat customers. Live chat.
B BBB rating. Bad credit okay.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 150% - 240%
Amount: $1K-$5K
Payments: 39-52
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $3K - $11K
Great
OppLoans
Competitive rates based on amount and eligibility.
Loans from $1K-$10K. Bad Credit is OK.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 59% - 199%
Amount: $1K-$10K
Payments: 9-36
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $4,742-$10,237
Great
RISE
Military members not eligible.
Money back guarantee.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 125% - 364%
Amount: $100 - $5K
Payments: 8 - 50
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $72 - $13.2k
Great
Avant
Charges upfront admin fee.
Reports to credit bureaus.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: varies
Amount: varies
Payments: varies
Freq: monthly
Cost: varies by state
Great
Jora
New lender with experienced team.
Loans up to $2,600. No or bad credit ok.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 165%-349%
Amount: $500-$3K
Payments: 16-60
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $736-$8,684
Great
Check 'n Go
State licensed lender.
A+ BBB rating. Has physical storefronts.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR:
Amount:
Payments:
Freq:
Cost:
Great
USAA
Full service bank focusing on military.
Requires good credit. Not a short-term lender
Governing Law: Federally Chartered Bank
APR: 0.10
Amount: 2500.00
Payments: 12.0
Freq: 30.0
Cost: 144.32
Great
Speedy Cash
State licensed lender. Pricing shown is based on TX rates.
Pricing appears high. They have store fronts
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 610%
Amount: $750
Payments: 12
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $1,539
Great
Cash Store
State Lic lender only. Pricing shown is based on TX rates.
Must go to store to complete application.
Governing Law: State Lic.
APR: 583%
Amount: $1,000
Payments: 12
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $1,946
Great
NFCU
Large credit union. Serves DOD.
Provide traditional personal loans. Good credit needed.
Governing Law: Unclear if exporting state laws.
APR: 0.13
Amount: 2500.00
Payments: 24.0
Freq: 31.0
Cost: 334.40
Great
Blue Trust Loans
Offers loans up to $2,000 in 39 states.
Bad credit OK. Minimum Income Required: $850/mth.
Governing Law: Tribal
APR: 782%
Amount: $1K
Payments: 1
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $290.50
Fair
MaxLend
Offers loans up to $2,000. F BBB rating.
Bad Credit OK. Minimum Income Required: $850/mth.
Governing Law: Tribal
APR: 782%
Amount: $1000
Payments: 1
Freq: 14
Cost: $290.50
Bad
Great Plains Lending
Clear, informative site.
Tribal based lender
Governing Law: Tribe
APR: 350%
Amount: $1,000
Payments: 24
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $2,387
Fair
Cash Advance Now
Tribal lender. Upfront disclosures and pricing.
Purchased name and domain in Sept 2012.
Governing Law: Tribe
APR: 695%
Amount: $300
Payments: 34
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $1,842
Fair
Just Military Loans
Specialize in Military Loans. Pricing not listed.
15 day cancellation policy. Full refund of fees.
Governing Law: Delaware
APR: 0.00
Amount: 0.00
Payments: 0.0
Freq: 0.0
Cost: 0.00
Fair
Plain Green Loans
Early player in online lending
Tribal based lender
Governing Law: Tribe
APR: 300%
Amount: $1,000
Payments: 24
Freq: bi-weekly
Cost: $1,980
Fair
Mobiloans
Tribal Lender. Line of credit product
Rates similar to payday loans
Governing Law: Tribe
APR: 279%
Amount: $500
Payments: 20
Freq: 14
Cost: $730
Bad
American Web Loan
Tribal Lender based in Oklahoma.
Very little information provided on their site
Governing Law: Tribal
APR: ?
Amount: ?
Payments: ?
Freq: ?
Cost: ?
Bad

* Costs vary by state. Cost shown are based on pricing for Delaware residents when available. Check each lender's website for updated information. Some lenders will not provide pricing data until an application is completed.

What Are Military Loans

Military loans generally refer to a short-term loan targeted at members of the military. Typically these loans are available to individuals with poor credit, are generally unsecured, and tied to your pay date. They are very easy to qualify for and, as they focus on military members, being overseas is usually not a problem. The trade-off is the cost of these installment loans can be very high and are best used to meet unavoidable emergency expenses like utility bills or medical bills.

Military loans are a type of more general loan called installment loans. Fixed-rate mortgages, auto loans, and student loans are other examples of installment loans. These loans are paid back over multiple periods with a set payment amount. The payment amount includes interest and principal meaning by the last payment the entire loan is paid off. This differs from revolving loans like credit cards where a set payment is not calculated and payments only cover interest and a portion of principal. The payment amount for installment loans is calculated based on the interest rate, payment periods, and loan amount.

These loans are also referred to as military installment loans, no credit check military loans, and military lenders.

How Are Military Loans Different

The difference between military loans and other installment loans is that they are generally low dollar amounts and for shorter terms. They also typically have high interest rates and fees. These loans can be very expensive and should be used with caution and only when truly necessary. See Borrow Money Options for other ideas if you need additional money.

Military loans also stand out from other short term borrowing options such as payday loans by targeting active duty military members. The lenders making these loans understand that you are paid by the US Government so are more willing to make loans based on your future income than they would for civilians. In addition, many lenders have developed processes to work with the military payment infrastructure. For example, some lenders pre-approve borrowers based on rank. This is not so difficult to do as based your rank lenders can quickly estimate your base pay. Other lenders will make underwriting decisions based on an upload of your Leave and Earning Statement. This makes it much easier than sorting out tax returns and other items other traditional lenders may require. Another feature we've seen is that lenders require being paid via a discretionary allotment. In all cases lenders making military loans try to make the application process as easy as possible for you but also make the repayment process as reliable as possible for them.

Please be careful when working with any lender. Although they may be familiar with a military member's needs and work through official processes like allotment this does not necessarily make them trustworthy. For example, lenders using the allotment process are not screened or monitored by the military. Predatory lenders to the military can and do exist.

Military Lending Act (MLA)

In the Department of Defense (DOD) August 2006 report , the DOD found that, "predatory lending undermines military readiness, harms the morale of troops and their families, and adds to the cost of fielding an all volunteer fighting force." In response to the report an amendment was added to the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. The bill was enacted in October 2006 and the amendment became known as the Military Lending Act. In 2012, Congress gave the Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) the authority to enforce it.

In 2013 the CFPB released Guidelines for Protecting Servicemembers in the Payday Lending Market. In it the CFSB states it will scrutinizing short-term, small-dollar lenders to make sure that they follow MLA requirements. Specifically, lenders must follow the law for all closed-end loans of $2,000 or less and with terms of 91 days or less. These requirements include:

  • Capped interest rates at 36% APR

    Traditional payday loans have interest rates far in excess of 36% APR. Loans to service members must be capped. Payday loans are one payment loans based on your payday. Today most payday lenders no longer make loans to service members.

  • No Rolling Over of Loans

    Typical payday loans offer a renewal if borrowers cannot pay. These renewals bring on additional fees. The Act bans lenders from rolling over loans for servicemembers, unless the new transaction results in more favorable terms for the servicemember.

  • No Signing Away of Servicemember Rights

    The MLA prohibits lenders from making servicemembers waive their rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or other state or federal laws that provide critical consumer protections. The MLA also prohibits lenders from requiring servicemembers to waive their right to seek resolution of any legal claims in court. In the past in order to get a loan many lenders would require service members to waive these rights.

  • Repayment via Allotment is Not Required

    The MLA bans lenders from requiring military members to pay by the allotment system. Many lenders still strongly encourage payment by allotment but a borrower is not required to repay by allotment.

The MLA was very effective in stopping traditional payday lenders. Most, if not all, payday lenders stopped making loans to service member. This is why a separate box exists on most payday loan application asking if you are in the military. It is unclear if it was effective in protecting service members from predatory lenders. Many lenders focusing on military members created products that fall outside of the MLA.

Military Loans Are NOT Covered by the MLA

Military loans are not covered by the MLA and as such do not provide the protections listed above. This makes military loans more susceptible to predatory lending practices. Regulations covering the lenders will vary from FDIC regulated banks to unregulated offshore entities. In addition, enforcement varies even more. All this means that borrowers must take precautions when taking out loans. Just because a lender seems to understand your needs and seems very official it does not always mean they are being trustworthy.

Military loans are ideally regulated by both federal and state laws. State licensed lenders are regulated and monitored by the state so are more closely regulated than lenders not licensed by your state. Unlicensed lenders operate in states under the assumption they can export laws from their state or tribe (Indian Tribes are generally treated as federal entities) into other states. The Payday Hound believes licensed lenders are a safer choice for borrowers and would avoid unlicensed lenders. For more information see Payday Loan Laws or Installment Loan Lenders

Find Loan Lenders by State

Military loans are state regulated so not all lenders make loans in all states. To find the best rates that are available in your state select your state below.