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      September 29, 2020

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LendingTree vs OneMain Financial

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

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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 stars
OneMain Financial

ONEMAIN FINANCIAL

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BBB Rating:

A+, accredited since 1985

OneMain Financial is a lender with a very long history - more than 100 years! They have in-person branches in 1,500+ locations throughout the country offering personalized service.

Loans from $1,500 to $20,000

When it comes to financing, this company provides personal loans that can be used for whatever purpose you choose - including the purchase of a vehicle. Their loan amounts range from $1,500 to $20,000, so you might be out of luck if you're hoping for a brand-new Porsche or Tesla and need an auto loan to do it.

No risk

It's easy to see if you qualify to borrow money from OneMain. Start by entering the desired loan amount and click on "Check For Offers". On the next page, you'll fill out the usual details: name, contact information and address, last four digits of your SSN (to verify your identity), monthly net income and source, and if you currently own a vehicle. Checking for a pre-qualified offer won't affect your credit score, so there's no risk to seeing what OneMain has available for your auto loan.

Less convenient

Although we didn't find this information stated explicitly in the site's fine print, OneMain only provides auto loans in 44 states (according to the Better Business Bureau). Unfortunately, that may mean it's trial-and-error for you to determine if you live in one of the 6 states that isn't served by this company. You also have to go to a OneMain branch in person, if you decide to accept their loan offer. That makes this service a lot less convenient when compared with online-only auto loan providers.

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Where do you live?

Where you live may also impact the size of the auto loan you qualify for. You've got minimum loan sizes ranging from $2,100 to $3,100 in Alabama, California, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia. On the other end of the spectrum, unsecured loans have limits ranging from $7,500 to $14,000 in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Texas and West Virginia.

Collateral needed for large loans

For the largest loans, you'll be required to provide collateral to secure them. OneMain will put a first lien on a car you already own: it has to be no more than 10 years old, meet certain value requirements, be titled in your name and have valid insurance. That could be a problem if the whole reason you need an auto loan is to get a car, let alone a second car. But, we appreciate that this lender is upfront with that kind of information: many of their rivals also have requirements and limits, but you'll have a hard time finding them until you're well into the application process.

Pay attention to your loan details

Speaking of disclosure, OneMain Financial charges origination fees that also depend on where you live. Expect to pay a flat fee ranging from $25 to $400, or a percentage of your total loan ranging from 1% to 10%. You'll find your specific fees on the Loan Agreement and Disclosure Statement. While your auto loan terms will vary, OneMain publishes that their APR typically ranges from 18.00% to 35.99%, with term lengths of 24, 36, 48 or 60 months. Those interest rates are really high, compared with some of the other companies in our review - if your credit history is good. Just be sure to read your disclosure statement very carefully, and don't be afraid to shop around to get a lower rate.

Customer complaints

As a big corporation with a history spanning a century, OneMain can be expected to have its fair share of customer complaints. We were a little surprised to see more than 700 on the BBB site alone, as well as over 1,300 customer reviews that were mostly negative. On the other hand, OneMain Financial has an "A+" rating and accreditation from the BBB, and you can read for yourself the responses to those complaints from company reps. That's a good sign when negative comments receive a prompt, professional reply, and it shows OneMain's commitment to their customers.

Thousands of 5-star ratings

You'll see that commitment and customer satisfaction reflected in reviews beyond the BBB site. We found more than 20,000 5-star ratings for OneMain from clients who praised this lender for being fast, fair, and easy to work with, particularly giving kudos to the people working in the branches where the auto loans are finalized.

Strong reputation

OneMain Financial has some things going for them with respect to auto loans. Their reputation is strong, they've been in business for a long time, and they go to great lengths to be transparent with the fees and interest rates borrows can expect. On the other hand, you may have more limits - geographic and financial - when trying to borrow money for your car here, and their interest rates aren't what we would call "competitive". If you get an initial auto loan quote from OneMain, we suggest making some comparisons with other options before signing on the dotted line at your local branch.

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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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