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      November 24, 2020

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Upstart vs CARCHEX

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

2020

Auto Loan Reviews

5 stars
Upstart

UPSTART

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BBB Rating:

A+, accredited since 2015

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Taking out a loan shouldn't "break the bank" - your piggy bank or your lender's! Upstart works hard to bridge the gap between borrowers' needs and banks' risk aversion by using more criteria than credit scores to determine whether a loan should be funded. The company was started by former Google employees who wanted to get money into the hands of people who needed it, particularly young professionals and college graduates.

Expanded loan qualifications

How does Upstart do it? Simple: their application process takes into account your college degree and field of study, your work history, and the number of years of credit that you may already have on your record to consider you for a personal loan used to buy a car. It's easy to see how many borrowers who might be turned down by a traditional bank are able to qualify when using Upstart's expanded criteria.

New borrowers welcome

That's not to say that everyone can get a car loan with this platform. In general, your FICO or Vantage score will probably need to be at least 580 (or even 620, depending on the laws in your state). But, don't worry if your credit history isn't "old" enough to have a FICO score: Upstart will still let you apply and determine your eligibility based on the factors mentioned previously. Also, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) will be factored in, and you won't be eligible if your credit report contains bankruptcies or any delinquent accounts.

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No impact on your credit

The application process is straightforward, taking most people between 5-10 minutes to enter details like name, address, and income, but also current employment and educational background. It won't impact your credit score when Upstart runs a "soft" credit check to verify the information you provided.

Loan offers within minutes

You could have loan offers within minutes of submitting your application. Once your auto loan is fully approved and you accept the terms, your funds may be in your bank account by the next business day - freeing you up to go negotiate on the car you've been dreaming of.

Nitty gritty details

Let's talk about the nitty-gritty details. Upstart loans are available in all states except West Virginia and Iowa. For borrowers in the other 48 states, loans can be made ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 - though your state may have minimum/maximum loan amounts that will affect what Upstart can offer. Your loan term will either be three or five years, and at the time of this review your APR will be somewhere between 8.13% and 35.99%. As of our most recent visit to Upstart's site, their average 3-year loan across all borrowers has an APR of 15%. Not only is that a decent interest rate for people who have a hard time getting a loan somewhere else, but their average has dropped from a previous average of 21%.

Other fees

You should also look on your loan details for any origination fees specific to your terms. Upstart charges anywhere from 0% to 8%, and the amount depends on what's allowed in your state of residence. Beyond that, the only other fees are if you make a late payment or bounce a check. On the opposite side, you can pay off your loan early and extra payments are always accepted.

Stellar reputation

Not many providers of auto loans have the stellar reputation that Upstart enjoys. Both "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau, the company has very few complaints on the BBB site. The majority of the negative comments seem to come from people who didn't read the terms and conditions on their loan documents and had second thoughts after the fact.

Happy customers

Plus, in over 6,000 independently-verified reviews from Upstart borrowers, the lender had a near-flawless average of 4.9 out of 5 stars. Some of those ratings came from clients who have used Upstart more than once for the funding they needed, which is always a good sign. Funds are deposited quickly once the loan terms have been accepted by the borrower, and many people even complete the entire process on their smartphones.

Highest rating

Upstart is a trustworthy, reputable source of personal loans for buying a car - or just about any other purpose. They're definitely a lender to consider if you want your employment and educational history taken into account when determining if you're eligible for vehicle financing. This is our preferred provider of auto loans today.

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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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