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      September 29, 2020

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LendingTree vs Auto Credit Express

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

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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

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4 stars
Lending Tree

LENDINGTREE

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BBB Rating:

A+, accredited since 2019

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for all kinds of borrowing needs: small business loans, credit cards, auto loans and more. They're also considered a pioneer in the peer-to-peer lending industry, having started matching borrowers and investor-lenders back in 1998 as an alternative to bank-only financing.

Multiple loan offers

When you apply for an auto loan using the LendingTree service, your application is used to generate multiple offers from numerous lenders in their network. LendingTree doesn't spell out how many partners they use - possibly because those relationships are constantly expanding - but we were able to find a long list in their Automotive Lender Reviews section. We love that you can read detailed information, ratings and customer feedback on all of them before you even fill out the online form.

Auto loan providers

Here's a sampling of the auto loan providers you could be matched with:

  • RefiJet
  • Capital One Auto Finance
  • Auto Approve
  • iLendingDirect
  • rateGenius
  • Gravity Lending
  • AUTOPAY
  • LightStream
  • Southeast Financial
  • Tresl

Both buying and refinancing

You've got options for both buying and refinancing a vehicle with LendingTree. You'll have to click on "More Loan Options" to get to the link specific to Auto Loans, and that's where you'll specify if it's a purchase, refinance or lease buy-out. Next, select your preferred loan term (1-7 years). Enter any down payment you'll be making (and, by the way, LendingTree says you'll get a better offer if you do!) and your requested loan amount. You're also asked to provide a tentative idea of the make of the vehicle you're buying, so that you can have manufacturer-specific financing offers too - but you're not locked into it.

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Standard information

The rest of the information is standard: your income, housing situation, address, and just the last four digits of your SSN to verify your identity before getting your list of loan offers.

Compare each loan offer

Once you have the offers in hand, you'll have to compare each auto loan and decide which lender and terms are the best fit. You're under no obligation to choose any of them, and if you allow more than 30 days to pass without selecting one, you'll have to apply again.

Fees and interest rates vary by lender

What about fees and APRs? Because those can vary so widely across LendingTree's partners, they only offer a frequently-updated average so that you can get a general idea. At the time of this review, their clients were seeing rates as low as 3.49% APR on a loan of $20,000 with a three-year term. Those clients usually had a credit score of at least 700, had no down payment, and were charged origination fees up to $100. If you'd like to see the most recent numbers, you'll find those on LendingTree's Disclosures page.

Thousands of 5-star reviews

This loan referral platform is "A+" rated and accredited with the Better Business Bureau, and the company has garnered thousands of five-star reviews from people who've successfully used it to get funding for various purposes. We found very recent comments from clients who got their auto loans through LendingTree and said that not only did they get the lowest rates, they also had their funds deposited the next day.

Few complaints

The only complaints we found described getting too many phone calls, texts and emails from lenders. That seems to be the case with most similar services - after all, you're providing your contact information so that lenders can contact you, and unfortunately they can sometimes be quite persistent.

More success with good credit

It's also important to point out that most LendingTree clients who wind up with funded loans tend to have higher-than-average credit scores. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try and get matched with an auto loan provider here if your credit history isn't the best, but keep in mind that you might need to work with one of the lending services in our review that specifically helps people in your situation.

One of the best

LendingTree is one of the industry's best options if you want competing offers on your auto loan. They give you lots of insight into the lenders in their network, and they make it a breeze to find multiple options with just one online form. All of these reasons have kept LendingTree towards the top of our rankings among providers of car financing.

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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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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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