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Updated: Jan 05, 2024

Golden 1 Credit Union Personal Loans 2024 Review

Our review of Golden 1 Credit Union personal loans takes a look at the key factors that matter most, especially the interest rates, fees, and borrowing terms.
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Golden 1 Credit Union (Golden 1 CU) was founded as a financial cooperative in 1933 and now operates as a credit union in California with over $18 billion in assets as of 2021.

Anybody who lives and/or regularly works in California is eligible for membership, plus eligible members of credit union members’ households. 

The credit union offers interest rate discounts for those who’ve had an account for six months or more, plus other member benefits. In this review, we’ll focus on their personal loan product so you can determine if this route could work for you.  

Our Verdict

Golden 1 CU is a credit union whose offers are likely best suited for those who already have a relationship with the financial institution. The best rates are for credit union members who’ve had an account for at least six months and those with higher credit scores. 

You’ll enjoy a personal loan with no origination or pre-penalty fees if you're eligible for the best rates. In some cases, you’ll get a loan decision in less than 30 minutes with same-day funding to a Golden 1 CU account. Keep reading to learn more about the credit union’s personal loans.

Golden 1 Credit Union Personal Loans Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • Flexible loan terms up to 60 months
  • Application decisions within 30 minutes and same-day loan funding possible
Cons
  • Lowest APRs are for credit union members who’ve had an account for at least six months
  • Requires credit union membership

Compare Your Personal Loan Options

Find a personal loan that better fits your borrowing needs:

Compared to Other Personal Loans

SoFi

SoFi is known for its flexible underwriting requirements, favorable loan terms, and good rates, which are available to those with better credit profiles and higher incomes. The lender offers loans up to $100,000 as well as assistance for borrowers who’ve lost their jobs (conditions apply.) 

Like Golden 1 CU, SoFi borrowers may apply with a co-signer, which could improve approval odds. SoFi does offer interest rate discounts for autopay, though they are only 0.25% while Golden 1 CU’s discount for 6+ month account holders is 0.75%. SoFi’s loans go up to $100,000, whereas Golden 1 CU’s personal loans cap out at $50,000.

Both lenders seem to extend more favorable terms to borrowers that meet certain conditions—though the main approval criteria and terms will revolve around your credit profile and payment history.  If you don’t plan to move or work in California, then you won’t get the best rates offered by Golden 1 CU. Otherwise, you might choose SoFi if your income and credit score meet their requirements. 

Read the full editorial review of SoFi personal loans.

Lending Club

Lending Club connects individual investors directly with borrowers through an online marketplace platform. Borrowers are assigned a credit grade based on risk profile, determining the interest rate they receive on loans. Investors can choose to fund a portion or all of a loan request and will typically spread their risk out across borrowers with very low levels of risk. 

Lending Club loans start at $1,000 and go up to  $40,000 with repayment periods of three to five years. Lending Club doesn’t fund the loans directly, so the platform charges an origination fee between 1% and 6%, which is deducted from loan amounts.

While having less flexibility and higher fees than banks, Lending Club provides an alternative for subprime borrowers with poor credit and limited options. It could mean better rates and loan terms for you if you’ve got a decent credit score and already have an account with Golden 1 CU.

Read the full editorial review of Lending Club personal loans.

Upgrade 

Upgrade offers loan amounts up to $50,000 for terms as long as 84 months, while Golden 1 CU offers varying term options for up to 60 months. Upgrade personal loans have origination fees from 1.85% to 9.99%, whereas Golden 1 CU has no origination fees. 

An advantage to applying for an Upgrade loan is the ability to check rates without affecting your credit score. Additionally, borrowers can receive their funds in as little as one business day if approved. 

Golden 1 Credit Union also claims to have quick loan funding, with application decisions in as little as 30 minutes in most cases. 

Ultimately, the choice between Upgrade and Golden 1 CU depends on borrowers’ specific needs. If a longer loan term is important, Upgrade may be the way to go. However, if interest savings are a top priority, Golden 1 CU’s shorter loan terms could result in less interest paid over the life of the loan. You also won’t be on the hook for any origination fees with Golden 1 CU.

Read the full review of Upgrade personal loans.

Best Egg

Borrowers can get up to $50,000 from Best Egg with three-year or five-year term options, which may not accommodate those needing terms in between or higher loan amounts. 

Best Egg’s website says applicants earning over $100K annually with a credit score of 700+ qualify for the highest amounts and rates.  A soft credit check allows applicants to preview potential terms without affecting their credit score. 

The online lender charges origination fees between 0.99-5.99%, but Golden 1 CU doesn’t, so there’s the potential to save money on a loan going the credit union route.

Read the editorial review of Best Egg's personal loans.

Interest Rates

Golden 1 CU publishes the best interest rates on its site, available for those with the highest credit scores and a 0.75% discount for members with a Golden 1 CU account open for at least six months before submitting an application. 

The credit union’s site also mentions that personal loan interest rates will change based on the term and your credit history. The site doesn’t mention any discounts for autopay. 

Fees

Golden 1 CU doesn’t charge any origination fees or a pre-penalty penalty for paying off the loan early. The credit union does charge a late payment fee. The late fee is 5% of the past due amount or $15, whichever is greater. The bank also mentions on its site that it reports personal loan payments and information to the credit bureaus, so borrowers should be mindful of making timely payments. 

Borrowing amounts and repayment terms

You can get a loan for up to $50,000 with the credit union. The bank offers a range of terms up to 60 months. The term of the loan is based on the amount borrowed. 

Application process 

Here’s what you need to start the application online:

  • Credit union account number 
  • Name and date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Email address
  • Gross monthly income
  • Employment status

Once the loan application is approved, you can sign the loan agreement digitally via DocuSign.

If you can’t complete the application online, you can visit one of Golden 1 CU’s branches to apply in person.

Approval speed

Golden 1 CU can give you a decision on your application the same day, generally within 30 minutes. Then, the loan can be funded on the same day. Loan funds can be deposited directly to your Golden 1 CU checking or savings account or issued to you via check.