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      September 24, 2020

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Upstart vs LendingTree

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

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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

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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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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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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