Personal Loans » Advice » Universal Credit Vs PenFED: Compare Personal Loan Providers
Advertiser Disclosure This website is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This website does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace. This website may use other proprietary factors to impact card offer listings on the website such as consumer selection or the likelihood of the applicant’s credit approval. This allows us to maintain a full-time, editorial staff and work with finance experts you know and trust. The compensation we receive from advertisers does not influence the recommendations or advice our editorial team provides in our articles or otherwise impacts any of the editorial content on The Smart Investor. While we work hard to provide accurate and up to date information that we think you will find relevant, The Smart Investor does not and cannot guarantee that any information provided is complete and makes no representations or warranties in connection thereto, nor to the accuracy or applicability thereof. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money. All products are presented without warranty.

Universal Credit Vs PenFED: Compare Personal Loan Providers

Universal Credit is ideal for people who have poor credit, while PenFED offers some small loan sizes that are conducive to many borrowers’ needs.
Author: Andrew O'Malley
Andrew O'Malley

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Andrew O’Malley has a BSc in Economics and Finance. He has worked in the finance industry as a risk analyst and is now pursuing a career in writing. In recent years, he has written for a number of leading publications. He studied Economics and Finance and has been fascinated with the financial markets since his teens.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Andrew O'Malley
Andrew O'Malley

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Andrew O’Malley has a BSc in Economics and Finance. He has worked in the finance industry as a risk analyst and is now pursuing a career in writing. In recent years, he has written for a number of leading publications. He studied Economics and Finance and has been fascinated with the financial markets since his teens.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

You can trust the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Transparency is a core value for us, see how we make money.

In this Comparison

There is a huge amount of online lenders that you will come across in this day and age.

This review is going to focus on the offerings that PenFED credit union and Universal Credit, bring to the table.

Universal Credit logo

penfed personal loan
APR Range The annual percentage rate (APR) is the total annual cost of borrowing money. This rate includes the interest rate as well as any additional finance charges. When you take out a personal loan, for example, you may be required to pay loan origination fees.
11.69% – 35.99%
8.49% – 17.99%
Term The term of your loan is the amount of time you have to repay it. For example, if you get a 24 months personal loan, the loan term is 24 months.
36 – 60 months
12 – 60 months
Loan Amount
$1,000 – $50,000
$600 – $50,000
Min Score
560
700

When Universal Credit Shines?

Universal Credit is a lender that deals with people who have poor or fair credit and it is an offshoot of another online lender – Upgrade.

Universal Credit personal loan can be a better choice than PenFED if you:

Universal Credit logo
Universal Credit logo

When PenFED Shines?

PenFED credit union is a leading credit union in the United States that also provides personal loans online. It is best suited to people who want a small loan.

PenFED personal loan can be a better choice than Universal Credit if you: 

penfed personal loan
penfed personal loan

Requirements

You will not find a lender that provides loans of a smaller size than PenFED, as you have the ability to get $500 from PenFED and up to $20,000. Universal Credit also has a relatively low minimum loan size, offering loans of between $1,000 and $50,000. 

PenFED needs you to have a credit score of at least 700, which is pretty high. In contrast, Universal Credit caters to people with poor credit, accepting credit scores of as low as 560. 

PenFED is not transparent when it comes to the debt and income requirements it has in place for applicants. The max debt-to-income (DTI) ratio that you can get a personal loan with Universal Credit is 75%. Each lender does only deal with you if you are at least 18 years old. You also need to be a citizen, resident, or visa holder in the US.

PenFED - Pros & Cons

You are able to get a loan of just $500 with PenFED, which is a lot smaller than what most lenders offer

There is a very good mobile app available with PenFED that allows you to carry out key functions of your personal loan.

You will not get charged any origination fee by PenFED.

Unlike a lot of lenders, you can get a joint loan from PenFED.

You will not be able to get a co-signed loan or a secured loan from PenFED.

PenFED does not allow you to alter your due dates for payments, while there is no way to send payments directly to creditors.

Universal Credit - Pros & Cons

You are able to borrow as little as $1,000 and as much as $50,000 through Universal Credit.

Universal Credit will give you your borrowed funds within one business day after your application has been approved.

You can get an autopay discount of 0.5%, which is larger than most other discounts of this kind.

There is no prepayment penalty in place if you want to pay off your Peerform earlier than you are supposed to.

You will need to pay an origination fee of between 5.25% and 9.99% of your loan size.

There is no way for you to get a joint loan, secured loan, or co-signed loan with Universal Credit.

Repayment Options

PenFED is not very flexible when it comes to repayments, not allowing you to change the due date for your payments and there is no option for you to send creditors direct payments. PenFED will not charge you an early prepayment penalty, while it also does not have any sort of autopayment discount on offer.

You can change your payment dates with Universal Credit, as well as direct payments to creditors if you are consolidating your debt. You also get a very good autopay discount of 0.5% with Universal Credit. Finally, there is no prepayment penalty in place.

Customer Experience

PenFed
Universal Credit
iOS App Score
4.2
N/A
Android App Score
4.5
N/A
BBB Rating
A+
A+
Contact Options
phone/mail
phone/mail
Availability
7 am – 11 pm (ET)
6 am – 6 pm (PT)

PenFED will provide the answer to many possible questions through a wide-ranging FAQ section on its website. You are able to contact the service team seven days of the week and it has a very strong mobile offering for loan management. PenFED does not currently hold a Better Business Bureau rating, but its old score was A+.

Universal Credit has a very efficient online application process and will credit you with your borrowed funds in just one business day. You are given the ability to manage your Universal Credit personal loan through the mobile app, while there is plenty of customer support options on the website. The Better Business Bureau rating for Universal Credit is A+.

Which Personal Loan is The Winner?

Each lender will how its own redeeming qualities. Universal Credit is ideal for people seeking a good autopay discount, have poor credit, and fast time to funding.

Universal Credit logo

penfed personal loan
APR Range The annual percentage rate (APR) is the total annual cost of borrowing money. This rate includes the interest rate as well as any additional finance charges. When you take out a personal loan, for example, you may be required to pay loan origination fees.
11.69% – 35.99%
8.49% – 17.99%
Term The term of your loan is the amount of time you have to repay it. For example, if you get a 24 months personal loan, the loan term is 24 months.
36 – 60 months
12 – 60 months
Loan Amount
$1,000 – $50,000
$600 – $50,000
Learn More
on Credible's website
Learn More
on Credible's website

FAQ

No, it is not possible to add a cosigner to your Universal Credit loan application. This means that you will need to rely on your own credit report to secure your loan.

However, Universal Credit does offer loan deals for those with fair credit. So, even if you haven’t got a good or excellent score, you can still find a loan deal with this lender.

There is no minimum income requirement for a Universal Credit personal loan. However, you do need to provide a verifiable bank account to qualify. Universal Credit may use this information to check your income and determine loan affordability. But, in most cases, you don’t need to supply pay stubs as you may with other lenders.

Universal Credit is a decent option if you’re looking for a debt consolidation loan without having a good credit score. This lender offers competitive rates even if you have a low credit score.

However, what is really good about this lender is that they offer a rate discount if you opt for direct payment to your creditors. This not only makes for a better deal, but it eliminates the hassle of needing to wait for the funds to clear in your bank account before you can start paying off your existing accounts

Yes, there are no prepayment fees, so you can repay your loan before the end of the loan term without any penalties or additional costs. It’s up to you whether you want to make a lump sum payment or make additional payments during the course of your loan to pay down the principle.

PenFED is a credit union, so it is unlikely that you will be able to negotiate the rates when you’re loan shopping or want a settlement figure. Credit unions work for the benefits of their members, so it is unlikely that they will want to receive less from your account, which could impact other members.

PenFED is a credit union, so it offers all the financial products you would associate with a credit union. This includes checking and savings, money market accounts, IRAs, auto loans, mortgages, and even credit cards. So, if you are looking for a lender who can also cater to your day to day financial needs, this could be a good option for you.

PenFED does allow co-borrowers on loan applications. This is a little different to using a co-signer. While both a co-signer and co-borrower can bolster your credit report to increase your chances of qualifying and both have financial responsibility should you fail to make your monthly repayments, a co-borrower can in theory also access the loan funds as a joint account holder.

More Personal Loan Reviews

Compare Alternative Lenders

Each of these lenders prefers to work with borrowers who have good credit. Because there is no origination fee, SoFi is an excellent choice for people looking for low-cost personal loans.

When it comes to repayments, Axos is flexible, whereas PenFED offers some of the smallest loans in the online lending space.

Read Full Comparison: SoFi Vs PenFED Vs Axos: Which Personal Loan Is Best?

Picture of Andrew O'Malley

Andrew O'Malley

Andrew O’Malley has a BSc in Economics and Finance. He has worked in the finance industry as a risk analyst and is now pursuing a career in writing. In recent years, he has written for a number of leading publications. He studied Economics and Finance and has been fascinated with the financial markets since his teens.
Search
Compare Personal Loans

#1 In Banking

Our Newsletter

Get expert advice, insider tips, fresh banking promotions and rate changes on savings accounts and CDs