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      September 24, 2020

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Upstart 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 Upstart 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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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 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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