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      September 23, 2020

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LendingClub vs Road Loans

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

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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 stars
LendingClub

LENDINGCLUB

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BBB Rating:

No Rating, accredited since 2008

LendingClub takes care of financing the purchase of a car through personal loans up to $40,000 - in other words, once you get the money, you can use it however you like. This peer-to-peer lending platform has served more than three million customers, with over $50 billion borrowed since LendingClub got its start in 2007.

Browse the resources

If taking out a loan is new to you, it's a good idea to browse the Resources link on the LendingClub site. There, you'll find articles on borrowing, debt, and many other relevant subjects; calculators to help you determine your credit utilization; plus, you'll even get some guidance regarding leasing vs. buying your car.

Getting started

Let's say you decide to go for it and apply for a personal loan for your vehicle purchase. First, you'll enter the purpose of your loan and enter the amount you plan to borrow. You won't find "buy a car" on the list, so you might want to select "Buy something special". From there, you'll be asked to indicate if you're including a co-applicant, your birthdate, individual income, name, address, and phone number.

Won't impact your credit score

That information won't impact your credit score, but you'll have to enter your Social Security number if the details you gave aren't enough for LendingClub to find your credit report. Once you've finished answering these questions, you'll be able to see the loans being offered (if any). If you choose one and complete the loan acceptance process, you could have the money deposited to your bank account in as little as four days.

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Transparent fee disclosures

In the past, LendingClub had been taken to task for not openly disclosing their fees and interest rates. We were glad to see that's no longer the case: you can easily find that information on their site. At the time of this review, for example, their rates ranged from 10.68% to 35.89% APR, with one-time origination fees between 2-4% of your total loan amount. But, we did see two different ranges for those origination fees: 2-4% at the top of the site, and 1-6% further down in the FAQ. All loans through LendingClub have terms of at least 36 months, and in some states you'll have minimum/maximum loan requirements.

Refinancing requirements

If the purpose of your auto loan is to refinance your current terms, you'll find some slight differences. First, there's no origination fee charged by LendingClub. Second, unlike a personal loan used for buying a car, a refinance loan has some extra requirements; you may be asked to send in documents about your car. Finally, your current loan has to meet their eligibility requirements. These include an outstanding balance of $5,000 to $50,000 with at least 24 payments remaining, on a car that is for personal use only, 10 years old or newer and under 120,000 miles.

Pending government action

LendingClub has a "No Rating" status with the Better Business Bureau. Although this financial service has accreditation from the BBB, a pending government action (related to LendingClub's previous issues with not openly disclosing fees) keeps the company from having an actual rating there. We also weren't thrilled to read through some of the hundreds of complaints filed with the BBB, many of which had legitimate concerns about payments not being recorded properly (and the subsequent negative impact on borrowers' credit scores), inaccurate payoff information being given by LendingClub representatives, and so on.

Many happy customers

However, when we looked beyond the BBB site - since people rarely go there to leave compliments, right? - we found not just thousands but tens of thousands of reviews from very happy clients. Some of those customers have used this platform multiple times for loans and appreciate getting funding when other personal and auto loan companies have turned them down.

Caution advised

We would advise some caution when using LendingClub for your auto financing. It seems like when everything goes as expected, they're a great service - but when there are problems, customers often have a hard time getting a quick, complete resolution. There are other sources of auto loans out there that work similarly to LendingClub, so you might want to look there first before committing to this company.

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1.5 stars
Road Loans

ROAD LOANS

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BBB Rating:

No Rating, not accredited

RoadLoans has been around since the year 2000 and uses its network of more than 14,000 car dealerships to give customers a direct connection to both financing and vehicles. This service also works in partnership with well-known car-shopping sites like Autotrader and Cars, which can simplify the process of getting an auto loan and buying a new or used car.

Take it right to the dealership

This lending service works with people who have all types of credit, and it can be used both for buying a new car or refinancing a previously-purchased vehicle. There's a three-step process for securing financing with RoadLoans: apply online, get your results (usually within a minute!), and take your approved financing right to the dealership.

Almost instantaneous

A big perk with this service is that their decisions are almost instantaneous: there's no waiting for lending partners to call you back or send you an email requesting more information. And, there are no application fees for using the RoadLoans service; even if you've been approved for an auto loan, you're under no obligation to activate it. Your offer is valid for 30 days.

Eligibility requirements

Be aware that residents of Alaska, Mississippi, Nevada and New Hampshire aren't eligible to apply for an auto loan through RoadLoans. Additionally, you have to be at least 18 years old and have a minimum income of $1,800/month to qualify for a loan.

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Helpful calculators

We recommend that you read through RoadLoan's "Our Auto Loan Process" page. There, you'll find helpful calculators that can give you an estimate of how much you can afford to borrow, including extras like extended warranties and additional costs such as sales tax. It also explains some of the ins and outs of buying a car, from researching vehicles ahead of time to negotiating to get the best deal.

No rating

So far, this sounds like a great place to get an auto loan. Are you wondering why this lender isn't rated higher - and, in fact, dropped in our rankings since our last evaluation? RoadLoans is owned by Santander Consumer USA Inc., a consumer finance company focused on auto loans with more than 2.5 million customers nationwide. At the time of this review, Santander no longer had a rating from the Better Business Bureau, even though it had been an "A+" in the past.

Nearly 2,000 customer complaints

That's not necessarily a red flag, but we weren't encouraged by the descriptions of several government actions against the company over the years. Add that to the nearly 2,000 consumer complaints registered with the BBB during the last three years, and you'll see why RoadLoans fell towards the bottom of our rankings.

Unexpected redirection

There's obviously something going on with RoadLoans - because clicking on the "Apply Now" button gave us a redirect to Chrysler Capital, saying "We're improving this experience". Evidently, RoadLoans isn't actually funding any auto loans for the indefinite future, leaving you to work with Chrysler Capital. That's fine if you want a Dodge, Jeep, Ram or Chrysler, but there's nothing saying you can get a car loan for any of the other major manufacturers.

Better deals elsewhere

RoadLoans used to be a site we could recommend, but with so many issues - not only with the actual application process but also the slew of customer complaints after the fact - we have to think most car-buyers are going to get a better deal somewhere else.

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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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