USAA Student Loan Alternatives

Traditional banks offer some of the best student loans on the market. USAA provided competitive students loans too, but they did this through a partnership with Wells Fargo. Unfortunately, the program ceased in December 2016 due to insufficient demand. While existing borrowers can continue to repay their USAA loans for students as before, those interested in new borrowing or refinancing will need to look for alternative providers.

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In this article

    USAA student loans alternatives

    Wells Fargo

    SimpleScore: 3.8/5

    If you’re already a customer of Wells Fargo or are looking for a product resembling the old USAA loans for students, then getting a loan with Wells Fargo makes sense. After all, the USAA loan version was basically the Wells Fargo student loan product with a 0.25% discount.

    Wells Fargo offers a broad range of unsecured student loans including both undergraduate and graduate loans, loans for parents and consolidation student loans. You can get a fixed-rate student loan with APRs as low as 5.64% with a discount or as high as 11.76% without, depending your credit strength and whether you qualify for rate discounts. Variable rates start at 3.21% and are capped at 9.44%.

    [Read: Best Student Loans in 2020]

    However, as of July 1, Wells Fargo is not accepting new student loan customers. You can only apply for a student loan with Wells Fargo if you are an existing student loan customer.

    Read our full Wells Fargo Student Loans Review.


    SimpleScore: 4.6/5

    is a leading online student loan provider and a great alternative to USAA student loans. It boasts an incredible 98% recommendation rate and with SoFi you can refinance federal Parent PLUS loans in your name. What sets SoFi apart is how quick and convenient it is — it takes three minutes to get a quote, compared with 24 hours for Wells Fargo. As SoFi offers pre-qualification, you can see your rates and terms before making a full application without impacting your credit score.

    SoFi offers a good product range including undergraduate, graduate, law and MBA and parent loans that can be fixed or variable.

    Repayment options are flexible, as you can begin payments immediately after funds are disbursed or defer until six months after graduation. You can make partial or interest-only payments during your studies, too. There are no origination fees, late fees or insufficient funds fees. As an additional perk, SoFi offers career services to its customers.

    Read our full SoFi personal loans review.

    Citizens One

    SimpleScore: 3/5

    Citizens One is the lending division of Citizens Bank — a traditional establishment steeped in rich history. Unlike other providers, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to apply for a student loan with Citizens One, and you can also refinance without a degree.

    You’ll receive a 0.25% loyalty discount if you’re an existing customer and a further 0.25% for signing up for autopay. You can prequalify to see your rates and terms without a hard credit check. Like SoFi, you can refinance a parent PLUS loan in your name.

    [More: Best Student Loan Refinance Companies]

    Rates are highly competitive and can be as low as 2.09% APR for variable loans and 2.99% APR for fixed-rate loans. Repayment terms are five, 10 and 15 years, with a maximum loan amount of $100,000.

    Citizens One offers multi-year approval — a feature where you are approved now for further loans in future school years. If approved, you’ll find out how much you can borrow across multiple years of college, then you’ll simply request these funds as the need arises from year two onwards.

    Read our full Citizens Bank student loans review.

    USAA loan options

    Although student loans are off the table for now, there are still plenty of USAA savings, banking, investments, retirement and other loan products on offer. Lending is particularly strong with this provider, as shown in other USAA loans review.


    USAA offers VA loans — a type of mortgage backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Unlike conventional loans, you won’t need to save up for down payment or pay for private mortgage insurance if you’re borrowing less than the conforming loan limit of $510,400. For amounts more than this, you’ll need to take out a VA Jumbo loan and be prepared to offer a down payment.

    You can get 30-year fixed-rate loan at 3.250% APR or 30-year jumbo fixed-rate at 4.396% APR. Your actual rate will depend on your circumstances, but USAA will lend from $50,000 up to $3 million.

    You’ll need to be a member to be eligible for a USAA mortgage. Membership is open to current and former military and their spouses, as well as children of USAA members.

    Personal loans

    USAA offers personal loans of $2,500 to $50,000 to its members. Loans are fixed-rate, with the lowest APR around 7.24%. Though this is competitive, there are better rates on the market with much bigger loan limits. There are no origination, prepayment or application fees. Apart from membership requirements, you’ll need to have excellent credit to receive the lowest rates.

    Check Your Student Loan Rates

    View our top-rated lenders and find the best rates today. It’s quick and easy.


    USAA auto loans are available for members who make a new or used vehicle purchase, refinance an existing loan or want to buy out a lease. You can expect no application or prepayment fees, fast mobile phone application, quick credit decision and a loan offer that remains valid for 45 days.

    Rates can be fantastic if you purchase your vehicle through USAA’s car-buying service and enroll in autopay. The APR for a new car loan can be as low as 2.39%, and for a used car loan, APR starts from 2.79%. Terms of up to 84 months for new car loans are available.

    We welcome your feedback on this article and the student loans we recommend. Contact us at with comments or questions.



    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore™

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best student loans of 2020.

    Max Fixed Rate

    Lenders who offered a lower maximum fixed rate were awarded higher scores.


    We awarded higher scores for lenders that list more perks including services, discounts and special offers for their borrowers.


    Lenders that laid it all bare by publishing important data about products — APR, offered loan amounts, applicable fees and customer support contact links — scored higher for transparency.

    Loan Amount

    Lenders that offered higher loan amounts compared to others received higher scores. 


    We awarded higher scores to lenders that have fewer loan fees for borrowers. 

    Kristie Kwok

    Contributing Writer

    Kristie Kwok is a finance content writer with in-depth knowledge of the banking industry from her previous work experience in banks such as UBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland. She is a qualified accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Accounting and Finance.

    Reviewed by

    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik
      Loans Editor

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to,, and elsewhere.