Military members, just like the rest of the population, often require the use of money they don’t have. If you are a military member and you find yourself in need of a loan, there are several options available for you.
Interest-free emergency loans
The Force Aid Society, Society and the Society offer loans to military service members who find themselves in emergency situations. These organizations can provide interest-free loans for emergency travel, basic living expenses, child care, medical, funeral, vehicle and miscellaneous expenses to active-duty, reserve and retired military members, as well as spouses and children of deceased military members. You can apply for these services at your military installation. Applications are also available on their websites.
Military bank loans
Most military installations have on-base banks. You can apply to obtain a loan through one of these military credit unions. For example, the Armed Forces Bank is available at several Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine installations across the continental United States in New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, and many other states. They offer purchase loans, unsecured consumer loans and home loans.
With a VA home loan you can use your military benefits to purchase or refinance a home. To apply or for more information, visit Military.com.
While there are many legitimate means for military service members to obtain loans, there are also many scams. If you are unsure whether or not a loan is a scam, contact your local Area of Defense Council or the Department of Defense Police. Here are a couple scams you should avoid:
Payday loans, or cash advance loans, offer cash based on your most recent check stub. It may sound like a great idea if you are in a pinch, however, Military One Source warns service members against using this service. You will get your money, sure, but you will have to pay insane fees in order to use the service. In the end, you will pay more than what you got. Things could get really out of hand if you are unable to pay it back immediately because the interest adds up.
You may need a new washer and dryer, TV or computer. Oftentimes, rent-to-own centers seem like the most affordable option due to the low weekly or monthly payments and the offer of being able to take the item home immediately. However, a large percentage of your payment will be interest. In many cases, by the time you completely own the item you will have paid as much as double what you would have paid had you set aside the funds and simply saved up for it.
Before you apply for a loan, make sure you do your research. Are the interest rates affordable? Are you being scammed? If you have any questions about applying for a loan for military service members, your first sergeant should be able to guide you in the right direction.