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      September 24, 2020

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Upstart vs Road Loans

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

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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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1.5 stars
Road Loans

ROAD LOANS

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BBB Rating:

No Rating, not accredited

RoadLoans has been around since the year 2000 and uses its network of more than 14,000 car dealerships to give customers a direct connection to both financing and vehicles. This service also works in partnership with well-known car-shopping sites like Autotrader and Cars, which can simplify the process of getting an auto loan and buying a new or used car.

Take it right to the dealership

This lending service works with people who have all types of credit, and it can be used both for buying a new car or refinancing a previously-purchased vehicle. There's a three-step process for securing financing with RoadLoans: apply online, get your results (usually within a minute!), and take your approved financing right to the dealership.

Almost instantaneous

A big perk with this service is that their decisions are almost instantaneous: there's no waiting for lending partners to call you back or send you an email requesting more information. And, there are no application fees for using the RoadLoans service; even if you've been approved for an auto loan, you're under no obligation to activate it. Your offer is valid for 30 days.

Eligibility requirements

Be aware that residents of Alaska, Mississippi, Nevada and New Hampshire aren't eligible to apply for an auto loan through RoadLoans. Additionally, you have to be at least 18 years old and have a minimum income of $1,800/month to qualify for a loan.

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Helpful calculators

We recommend that you read through RoadLoan's "Our Auto Loan Process" page. There, you'll find helpful calculators that can give you an estimate of how much you can afford to borrow, including extras like extended warranties and additional costs such as sales tax. It also explains some of the ins and outs of buying a car, from researching vehicles ahead of time to negotiating to get the best deal.

No rating

So far, this sounds like a great place to get an auto loan. Are you wondering why this lender isn't rated higher - and, in fact, dropped in our rankings since our last evaluation? RoadLoans is owned by Santander Consumer USA Inc., a consumer finance company focused on auto loans with more than 2.5 million customers nationwide. At the time of this review, Santander no longer had a rating from the Better Business Bureau, even though it had been an "A+" in the past.

Nearly 2,000 customer complaints

That's not necessarily a red flag, but we weren't encouraged by the descriptions of several government actions against the company over the years. Add that to the nearly 2,000 consumer complaints registered with the BBB during the last three years, and you'll see why RoadLoans fell towards the bottom of our rankings.

Unexpected redirection

There's obviously something going on with RoadLoans - because clicking on the "Apply Now" button gave us a redirect to Chrysler Capital, saying "We're improving this experience". Evidently, RoadLoans isn't actually funding any auto loans for the indefinite future, leaving you to work with Chrysler Capital. That's fine if you want a Dodge, Jeep, Ram or Chrysler, but there's nothing saying you can get a car loan for any of the other major manufacturers.

Better deals elsewhere

RoadLoans used to be a site we could recommend, but with so many issues - not only with the actual application process but also the slew of customer complaints after the fact - we have to think most car-buyers are going to get a better deal somewhere else.

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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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