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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.
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.
Wednesday, June 23rd
Upstart believes that a credit score isn't the only factor to consider when giving you an auto loan. Their approval process looks not just at your credit history but also at your educational background, employment history and potential future earnings to determine a more thorough financial portrait - making it more likely that you'll be approved. Upstart loans typically fund within a day, and happy customers praise this service for being easy and affordable. Upstart earns our highest recommendation for auto loans.
LendingTree offers personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 that can be used to buy your next car. Their free-to-use service matches you with a variety of lenders who compete for your business. Although LendingTree may have limited auto loans for those with credit scores lower than 640, clients rave about the experience they had when getting financing here.
My Auto Loan can help you get the financing you need for a new or used vehicle, to refinance your current car loan, to buy from a private seller or to buy out your lease. The company has a solid reputation and satisfied customers say that the service connected them with loans they could afford. We wish this loan referral platform offered greater transparency about the four lenders in their network: you won't know until you submit your information what you'll get as an interest rate or which company is offering you financing.
Auto Credit Express works to pair borrowers with their network of partner dealerships who specialize in auto loans for people with bad credit. In other words, you won't get a loan here, but you'll be matched with a local dealership that's willing to work something out. This company actually has an excellent history of making that happen, with thousands of car buyers giving Auto Credit Express high marks. And, because ACE doesn't fund your loan, they won't run your credit report before connecting you with a dealership. Particularly if your credit isn't fantastic, you should see what Auto Credit Express can do for you.
CARCHEX has a very good reputation in the automotive industry, especially for products like service plans and vehicle inspections. For over 15 years they've been helping customers refinance their auto loans. With nearly 100 lenders in their peer-to-peer lending network, they have the ability to connect you with an excellent loan quote. However, if you're looking for a new loan instead of a refinance, you're out of luck.
OneMain Financial has been around for a century, providing personal loans for a wide range of uses - including auto financing. We appreciate their strong reputation and transparency with respect to their fees and interest rates. However, you'll have to visit a local branch to finalize your auto loan, and that won't be possible if you live in one of the six states where OneMain doesn't have a presence. You might also find their interest rates and minimum/maximum loan requirements to be less attractive than some of our higher-ranked sources of car loans.
LendingClub offers vehicle financing in the form of personal loans up to $40,000. They use a peer-to-peer investing/lending model that makes money available to borrowers who might be turned away by traditional banks. This company has taken steps to increase their transparency with respect to fees and rates, but previous issues led to their rating with the BBB being removed. And, customer feedback is a mixed bag - you'll love LendingClub if things are going as expected, but you could have serious problems with the servicing of your loan.
In the past, RoadLoans connected consumers with auto loans for new or used cars, as well as refinancing on already-purchased vehicles. Loans could be approved within a matter of minutes, and the service would even recommend trusted dealerships in the area for using the funds. However, a sharp decline in RoadLoans' reputation with the BBB, plus an application process that now redirects applicants to Chrysler Financial, puts this lender near the bottom of our rankings for auto loans.
Instant Car Loan doesn't directly provide auto loans. They work as a referral service, connecting you with partner lenders in their network. But, the parent company of this business has a "D-" rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we have serious concerns about the security of any personal information (like Social Security numbers) entered when using this site. You'll be much better off getting your auto loan from another lender in our review.
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:
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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