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      September 24, 2020

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Auto Credit Express vs CARCHEX

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To help you find the Best Auto Loans, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Auto Credit Express and CARCHEX.

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Where can you get the best auto loans? You're right if you suspect that the answer to that question is "not necessarily at the dealership".

You might initially be lured in by a dealership's attractive 0% financing offers - but unless you've got extremely good credit, you're not going to qualify. And, in the excitement of getting your new (or new-to-you) car, you could wind up with interest rates on your car loan that are even higher than what you'd get elsewhere.

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2020

Auto Loan Reviews

3.5 stars
Auto Credit Express

AUTO CREDIT EXPRESS

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BBB Rating:

A+, accredited since 2004

If you're trying to buy a car and your credit history is less-than-perfect, you might want to check out Auto Credit Express. This service has a good reputation: an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, with very few complaints over more than 20 years in operation. In other words, if you've got bad credit, this is a good option to have!

Quick & easy application

The online application process only has a few steps: fill in your name, address, birthdate, living situation (rent, own, live with family) and monthly payments, employment information, Social Security number and contact information. Your application will be given to Auto Credit Express' network of dealerships for approval.

Car dealer partners

It's important to note that, if your auto loan is approved, it can only be used to buy a car from one of their "authorized licensed car dealer partners". At the time of our review, there were more than 1,000 active dealerships nationwide in their network; you can click on the big purple box towards the bottom of the page and browse them to see if there are any in your area. It will be the dealership that gives you the funding, not Auto Credit Express, so your credit report will not be checked when you fill in the application on this site.

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Specialize in bad credit

This service specializes in auto loans for people with bad credit, so there are some basic eligibility requirements you'll need to meet if this applies to you:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Minimum gross monthly income of $1500 if your credit score is less than 625
  • No auto loan repossessions within the last year (unless they were included as part of a bankruptcy)
  • Completed 341 meeting of creditors if there's a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Authorization to Incur Debt required from trustee for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Helpful information

You can also check out some of the resources at the bottom of the Auto Credit Express site. There, you'll find a car loan estimator and details on how to get your free credit score, as well as information on loan options like $500 down, military financing, and more.

Smooth transactions

We were pretty impressed with the number of recent customer reviews saying that they had an excellent experience using this service to get the auto loan they needed. People frequently mentioned low down payments, fantastic customer service at the partner dealerships, and a smooth transaction overall.

Solid track record

While you may have to give up some options if you get your auto loan with Auto Credit Express (because of the requirement to get the funding through one of their partner dealerships), it might be a good idea to see what they come up with - especially if your credit history is a little shaky. This lending referral service has a solid track record with thousands of satisfied car shoppers, earning them a better-than-average rating among sources of auto loans.

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3.5 stars
CARCHEX

CARCHEX

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BBB Rating:

A+, accredited since 2009

You've probably heard of CARCHEX as a source of vehicle protection plans, inspections, and even roadside assistance coverage. They also offer auto loans as a referral service, taking your application and passing it along to different lenders to give you financing.

Exceptional reputation

CARCHEX overall has an exceptional reputation, shown by their "A+" rating and more than 10 years of accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. They bring a strong service to compete for your business – if you're looking to refinance your existing auto loan.

Some confusion

You may get a little confused when starting on their Auto Finance page. It appears that both new loans and refinance loans are available with CARCHEX – in fact, they quote low rates for New Autos, Used Autos, and Refinance loans. Further down the page, they list some good points for obtaining a loan for a new or used car before you buy.

Refinance loans only

However, their loan application deals strictly with refinance loans. When filling out the online application, you need to provide the VIN number for the car you're interested in – which you wouldn't have if you were seeking a pre-approval. Also, they ask you to Select your Loan Type on the application, but they only give you one option – refinancing your current vehicle. In fact, they even refer to their online loan form as their "auto refi application".

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Nearly 100 lenders

Putting that aside, how does CARCHEX stack up when it comes to refinancing your auto loan? They actually do pretty well. After submitting your loan application, CARCHEX scours their database of nearly 100 lenders to find the best programs for your specific criteria. Within minutes, you'll be contacted with quotes from up to 4 different lenders. And if you have bad credit, it's not a problem – they have both prime and subprime lenders in their network.

No obligation

Once you've received your loan offers, you'll need to compare the offers yourself and follow up with the lenders and loan offers that you like the best. The CARCHEX service is free, and you're not under any obligation to pursue any of the loan offers if you don't like them.

Can't predict your loan rate

What type of fees and loan rates can you expect? Since CARCHEX deals with so many different lenders, and accepts applications from all different credit types, it's impossible for them to give an expected rate until you apply yourself. At the time of our review, they posted rates as low as 1/99% for new, used, and refinance loans, but these rates may only apply to select borrowers with the highest of credit ratings.

Who are the lenders?

We tried to find a list of the lenders that CARCHEX works with, but came up empty. In this age of increasing identity theft, many customers hesitate to put their personal information out into the void (especially their SSN) without knowing anything about where it's going. We wish CARCHEX was a little more transparent about who they're working with.

Wealth of information

You will find a wealth of information on the site about how auto refinancing works, whether it affects your credit rating, and many other related topics. These are good resources to browse whether you decide to obtain a loan through CARCHEX or not.

Good choice for refinance-only loans

CARCHEX provides a strong peer-to-peer lending platform for auto refinance loans. We do wish they were a little more forthcoming on who their lending partners are. Also, if you're looking for a new or used car loan, you won't find it here. Still, if you're just looking to refinancing an existing car loan, CARCHEX has a solid reputation and provides a good service, for free.

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Continued from above

Savvy consumers know that the best way to get truly competitive rates on auto loans is by comparison shopping with online lenders. Even if you're just starting the research process, it only takes a few minutes to find out how much you're qualified to borrow and with what loan terms. With that information in hand, perhaps with a preapproval letter too, you'll be much more confident walking into the dealership and negotiating the best possible deal on the car itself.

Some providers of auto loans specialize in helping customers with less-than-perfect credit. These lenders can work with you to get a loan that you can afford, and they take into account your whole financial picture - not just your low credit score, previous late payments, or a bankruptcy in your past. Of course, if your credit history is excellent, shopping around for your auto loan online will likely turn up dozens of offers to choose from.

It's important to carefully consider several criteria when evaluating different online lenders. These factors include the following:

  • Reputation. A seemingly-great auto loan is a bad deal if the lender isn't trustworthy. What does the Better Business Bureau say about the company? Have other car shoppers had a good experience?
  • Functionality. How easy does the auto loan site make the borrowing process, from information-gathering to funding? Can you work through the steps of securing your loan quickly and intuitively?
  • Options. To whom does the lender cater (e.g. people with good/bad credit? New/used car shoppers?)? Do you have a wide range of loans to choose from, both with respect to interest rates and length of the loan period? Are there any perks or penalties in the fine print?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best auto loan providers available today. We hope this information helps you get the right financing for your next vehicle purchase or refinance!

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