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BECU Personal Loans Review: Small Loans With Lengthy Repayment Periods

Our review of personal loans from BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union) based on interest rates, borrowing amounts, repayment terms, and fees.
(3 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

Personal loans are highly flexible loans that borrowers can use for nearly any purpose.

Whether you’re paying an unexpected bill, funding a home improvement project, or consolidating credit card debt, a personal loan can help you get the funds that you need.

Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) is a credit union that offers personal loans to its members.

If you’re looking for a personal loan, this review will tell you everything you need to know about your options with BECU.

BECU Personal Loans Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Long repayment periods
  • Low borrowing minimum
  • Possible for anyone to become a member
  • APR is higher that market-leading rates
  • Not the best for bigger borrowing amounts

BECU Personal Loan Details

Loan size

BECU offers loans up to $15,000, which is slightly lower than much of the competition, meaning that BECU is only suitable for smaller borrowing needs.

When you apply for a personal loan, there’s a good chance that you have a specific need in mind.

Maybe you have to pay a car repair bill or you’re looking to consolidate some debts.

Regardless of the reason, you should know how much you have to borrow to meet that need. You want to find a lender willing to offer loans of that size. Borrowing too much or too little doesn’t make much sense.

Borrowing period

BECU offers terms as long as six (6) years, making it easy to customize your monthly bill.

Ideally:

You aim to strike a balance between monthly affordability and total cost.

Longer terms result in lower monthly payments but make the loan more expensive overall.

Shorter terms mean higher monthly payments but a loan that is ultimately cheaper.

Interest rates

Unfortunately, BECU’s loans charge slightly higher rates than the competition, making its loan more expensive.

The interest rate of a loan might be the most important aspect of borrowing money.

It directly affects both your monthly payment and the amount that you pay for the loan overall.

Application requirements

BECU doesn’t publish any specific application requirements, beyond membership in the credit union.

Typically, when you apply for a loan, you must be at least 18 years old and have a documented source of income.

If you want to apply for one of BECU’s secured personal loans, which offer much lower interest rates, you also need to have sufficient money in your savings account at BECU.

Fees

BECU does not charge any origination or application fees for its personal loans, so you only have to worry about typical lending fees, like late or missed payment fees.

Fees are another major aspect of personal loans. Origination fees are some of the most common fees that personal lenders charge. These fees are typically a percentage of the amount you borrow and get added to your initial loan balance.

Disbursement

When you apply for a loan, the lender needs some time to consider your application and disburse money to your account.

If you have an urgent need for cash, you want to work with a lender that specializes in quick funding of loans.

BECU doesn’t specify how long it takes to review applications and disburse funds, so you may want to work with another lender if you need money quickly.

Membership Requirements

BECUis a credit union, which means that not everyone can immediately open an account or apply for a loan.

Credit unions can only work with members, and some credit unions have strict membership requirements that you must meet to join.

To join BECU, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Live in Washington State or select counties of Oregon and Idaho
  • Work for BECU or Boeing
  • Be a federal employee stationed at a Boeing plant
  • Be a family member of a BECU or Boeing employee or federal employee stationed at a Boeing plant
  • Work for any credit union
  • Be a family member of an employee at any credit union
  • Be a member, employee, volunteer, or retiree of
    • University of Washington Alumni Association
    • Washington State University Alumni Association
    • NW Credit Union Foundation
    • KEXP

The best part:

Anyone can become a member of KEXP, a non-profit radio station, by making a donation, which means anyone can become eligible to join BECU.

This means anyone can apply for a personal loan from BECU if they’re willing to donate to KEXP.

How to Get Approved for a Personal Loan

When you apply for a personal loan, the lender reviews your application and some information about you.

Possibly the most important thing that influences your chances of getting approved is your credit score. Having good credit makes it easier to qualify for loans and can make loans cheaper by helping you secure lower interest rates.

Some other factors include your assets, annual income, and existing debt.

Typically, the more you make and the less existing debt you have, the better.

When you submit your application, it’s also critical that you fill it out completely and clearly.

The fewer questions that the lender has about you and your application, the better. In the best case, confusion can delay the lending process while the lender asks you for additional information.

In the worst case, the lender may deny the application outright.

Improving Your Chances of Getting Approved for a Personal Loan

There are a few steps you can take to improve your chances of qualifying for a personal loan.

Boost your credit score

Your credit score might be the most important part of your application’s chances, so improving your credit is one of the best ways to increasing your odds of approval.

The biggest factor in determining your credit score is your payment history.

For every timely payment that you make, your score increases.

Missing payments or making late payments both hurt your score, typically by much more than an on-time payment helps.

It can take months of timely bill payments to offset just one missed or late payment, so it’s essential to always pay your bills before their due dates.

Your debt, both in total and in relation to your credit limits, also plays a role in your credit score.

The less you owe and the farther you are from maxing your credit limits, the better. Try to pay down your debt and avoid carrying a balance on your cards when you’re about to apply for a loan.

Finally, every time you apply for a new credit card or loan, it docks your credit score by a few points. If you’re applying for an important loan, avoid applying for new cards or loans in the few months ahead of important loan applications. 

Reduce your debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, while not part of your credit score, is also a major factor in your ability to qualify for loans.

Your DTI ratio measures your income compared to how much debt you have. The lower the ratio, the better.

There are two ways to improve your DTI ratio.

The best way is to pay down your existing debts. This also helps boost your credit score, giving your odds of approval a double boost.

The other option is increasing your income. This may be more difficult to do and doesn’t impact your credit. If you do decide to go this route, make sure that your income has a paper trail. If you find a side job that pays under the table, most lenders won’t consider that income in their decision.

How Does It Compare?

BECU is just one of hundreds of personal lenders on the market.

Whenever you’re applying for a loan, shopping around for the best deal is a good idea, so it’s important to compare BECU to the competition.

Ultimately, BECU isn’t a great choice for most borrowers. Its loans are more expensive than many competitors and the maximum loan amount is noticeably low in comparison to most other banks and personal lenders.

The fact that BECU is a credit union and that most people will have to jump through some hoops to become eligible for membership makes it even harder to justify borrowing from BECU.

The Final Verdict

With its membership requirements that will make most people jump through hoops, relatively high rates, and low maximum loan amounts, BECU isn’t the best personal lender on the market. 

If you already bank with BECU, its loans might be a good choice for simplicity’s sake, but most people can find a better deal from another bank or personal lender.