First Tech Credit Union personal loan review: Multiple loan types and no origination fees

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In a Nutshell

First Tech Credit Union offers personal loans with competitive rates to qualified applicants. But you'll need to become a member to apply.
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Pros

  • No prepayment penalties, application fees or origination fees
  • Secured and unsecured personal loans
  • Wide range of loan amounts

Cons

  • Membership required 
  • No APR discount for enrolling in autopay

What you need to know about a First Tech Credit Union personal loan

Founded in 1952, First Tech Credit Union is a federal credit union that provides financial services to tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft and their employees. First Tech offers a variety of financial products, including personal loans, credit cards and home loans.

You can use a First Tech Credit Union personal loan for various purposes, such as debt consolidation, wedding expenses or vacations. Loan terms range from two to seven years, and you can borrow as little as $500.

Offers secured and unsecured loans

First Tech offers multiple types of personal loans. You can choose an unsecured personal loan or from three secured loan options: savings-secured, certificate-secured and stock-secured.

Wide range of loan amounts available

First Tech personal loan amounts for secured or unsecured loans start at just $500 — which may be helpful if  you need a small personal loan for something like a minor car repair or other unexpected expense.

But much larger loans are available, too. The maximum amount for an unsecured personal loan is $50,000, and $1 million for a stock-secured personal loan. Certificate- and savings-secured loans top out at $500,000.

Must be a credit union member

Before you submit a loan application, you must become a First Tech member. You can qualify if:

  • Someone in your family or household is a First Tech member.
  • You live or work in Lane County, Oregon.
  • You or someone in your family works for the State of Oregon or a First Tech partner.
  • You’re a member of the Financial Fitness Association or the Computer History Museum.

If none of these options apply, First Tech says you should call or stop by a branch to discuss your situation with a representative.

A closer look at a First Tech Credit Union personal loan 

If you’re interested in a First Tech Credit Union personal loan, here are more details to keep in mind.

  • Joint and co-applicant loans — If you have less-than-stellar credit, you can try applying with a co-signer who has better credit. This may help you qualify and potentially get a lower interest rate. You can also apply with a co-borrower who agrees to be equally responsible for the loan.
  • Late fees — If you’re late on a loan payment, you may have to pay a late fee. But according to a First Tech customer service representative, there’s a 10-day grace period.
  • Check your rate without harming your credit — First Tech allows you to prequalify online with a soft credit inquiry, which doesn’t affect your credit and can give you an idea of the rate you might get if approved. Just remember that prequalifying doesn’t guarantee your approval or estimated rate. If you decide to move forward with an official loan application, you’ll have to submit to a hard credit inquiry and provide more info before getting any final offer.
  • Defer your first payment — You can choose to defer your first monthly payment by up to 45 days. This can be handy if a financial emergency pops up right after you take out a loan. Remember, though, that deferring your payment could lead to paying more interest over the life of the loan.
  • Mobile app available — You can download First Tech Credit Union’s mobile app from Google Play or the App Store and use it to manage your loan, view your loan balance or make payments.
  • Available in all 50 states — You can get a personal loan from First Tech wherever you live in the U.S. since it offers loans in all 50 states.

Who is a First Tech Credit Union loan good for?

First Tech could be a solid loan option for existing members or people who can become a member. First Tech doesn’t charge application fees, origination fees or penalty fees for early loan payoff, which helps minimize borrowing costs. And First Tech’s starting APRS  — which are listed on its website — are competitive.

People looking to borrow larger amounts of money might appreciate First Tech’s higher loan maximums, topping out at $50,000 for unsecured loans and secured loans of up to $500,000 or $1 million. But keep in mind that a secured loan requires you to put up collateral — such as stock or savings accounts — which can be taken by the lender if you don’t pay the loan back as promised.

How to apply with First Tech Credit Union

You can start the loan application process by checking your estimated rate online. First Tech Credit Union will ask you to provide personal information, such as your:

  • Name, email and address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number or tax ID

If you prequalify and want to proceed, you’ll then complete a loan application, agree to a hard credit check and provide additional information, such as your gross annual income and monthly housing payment. First Tech will then make a final decision on approval and terms  of the loan.

You can also apply for a personal loan over the phone by contacting customer support. To check the status of your First Tech loan application, you can reach out to a customer service rep by phone or email.

Not sure if First Tech Credit Union is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • PenFed: Like First Tech, PenFed is a federal credit union that offers personal loans with competitive rates to qualified applicants.
  • Avant: A personal loan from Avant might be a solid option if you have less-than-perfect credit — though its best interest rates may not be as low as some other lenders.

About the author: Jerry Brown is a freelance personal finance writer and owner of the Peerless Money Mentor blog. He has written articles for major publications, such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, and Investopedia. When he's not writing… Read more.