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      September 28, 2020

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CARCHEX vs Instant Car Loan

Best Auto Loans

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

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Auto Loans, please Click Here

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
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".

Best Auto Loans

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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1 star
Instant Car Loan

INSTANT CAR LOAN

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BBB Rating:

D-, not accredited

Instant Car Loan promises that you can request a car loan in seconds. In operation for more than 10 years, this auto loan referral service encourages customers of all credit types to apply, having worked with thousands of people who didn't have perfect credit histories.

Not so instant

To see if you qualify for an auto loan through Instant Car Loan, you start by entering your name, zip code and email address. In step two, you'll have to provide your detailed information: SSN, employer name and gross monthly income, and so on. Your application will be shared with up to five partner lenders, and those partners might run a credit report before contacting you. Instant Car Loan isn't so "instant": they don't fund anything themselves, but rather connect you with their network of auto loan providers.

Serious concerns

However, because of some serious concerns we had with this site, you may not feel comfortable going through the whole process of applying for an auto loan. Why? Here's what we found.

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D- rating

Would you entrust your finances to a lender whose parent company is called "Internet Brands"? That's who owns Instant Car Loan - along with Cars Direct, Groove Job, and several other businesses. Sure, that in itself might not be so bad, but when you consider that Internet Brands has a "D-" rating from the Better Business Bureau, it becomes obvious that you won't want to give this auto loan provider access to your personal information.

Is anyone there?

We came across one customer comment from over a year ago, asking if anyone is actually managing this business. No one ever responded. Plus, the Instant Car Loan site proudly claims an "A+' rating with the BBB: that is definitely not the case.

Cannot recommend

With all that said, we just don't feel that Instant Car Loan is a trustworthy source of funding for your auto loan. We cannot recommend strongly enough that you work with one of the higher-ranked lenders in our review.

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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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