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If you're considering a car title loan, chances are good that you've come across some unexpected bills. Maybe your car broke down and you need it fixed quickly to keep your job. Or your roof started to leak after a storm and you can't wait on your insurance adjuster to take months to get the claim paid. Many Americans find themselves in trouble and don't have many options for getting money fast. That's where car title loans come in.
How does this type of loan work? If you own a vehicle free and clear, you can use its title as collateral to secure a short-term loan. The good thing is, you don't have to stop using your car: continue to drive it as you usually would, until the loan is repaid in full and you get the title returned to you.
Sunday, September 19th
Max Cash Title Loans works hard to find the right car title loan for you. It's the only company in our reviews that operates in almost every single state and that goes through an extensive network of lenders to find the right fit for your needs.
Competitive interest rates and loan amounts
While there's a maximum of $25,000 for car title loans through Max Cash, most of their loans are between $500 and $5000. Within their lending network, you can expect loans with interest rates ranging from 30-200% APR, but with no prepayment penalties if you pay it off in advance (and save yourself some money in interest by doing it).
Simple online application
To get started with Max Cash, you'll fill out a short form to get prequalified. You'll need your car's year, make, model and body style, as well as its approximate current mileage. Next, you'll enter your contact information, your monthly income, whether or not you own your vehicle free and clear, and if you agree to the site's terms and conditions. (We love that, on that last part, you can select "Yes, I agree, but do not text me" !)
Different requirements depending on the lender
Once you submit the form, you'll be shown how much you prequalified to borrow - but look fast, because that screen quickly disappears and takes you to the online form to talk with an agent. That may be different depending on where you live: some of Max Cash's lending partners let you do the entire process online, even submitting photos of the car and of the title instead of bringing it in person, while some states still require you to go in person. From there, you'll work with a Max Cash representative to choose the right car title loan available to you.
Excellent customer service team
Max Cash does an excellent job when it comes to customer service. When we went onto the site to find a live chat to ask questions, we were connected right away to an agent at a call center in Houston, Texas. He was able to tell us everything we needed to know about how car title loans work when using Max Cash, and even gave us a link to tons of helpful information we hadn't found on our own (it's the How Car Title Loans Work page, and we encourage you to look for it too!).
Big compliments from clients
One of the questions we asked the agent was about Max Cash's listing with the BBB: a graphic on the site said that Max Cash has an "A+" , but we weren't able to click to go to the corresponding page on the BBB site. He told us that Max Cash is owned by TMG Loan Processing - and while we couldn't find a BBB listing for them either, we did find a lot of praise from their clients elsewhere. We appreciate that Max Cash seems to go the extra mile to find the ideal car title loan (and other types of loans) for their customers: people describe their experience as fast, friendly and uncomplicated. That's what we like to hear!
Best choice for car title loans
Who would have thought that there'd be a company that could make it almost fun to get a car title loan? Max Cash somehow manages to do it. As with any loan, you need to make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions when you sign up, especially since Max Cash will be transferring you to a lender that services your area and not funding your loan themselves. But, all things point to this provider being the best choice for car title loans no matter where you live.
LoanMart got its start as a pawn shop in Sherman Oaks, California all the way back in 1999. Since then, more than 250,000 people have used the lender to get a car title loan with no hassles and from a team with great customer service.
Use calculator to determine loan amount and interest rate
LoanMart doesn't come right out and tell you how much you can borrow against your vehicle's title. You'll have to use their loan calculator to find that out, if you want an estimate before you submit an application. For example, a 2020 Toyota Corolla in Utah with under 15,000 miles was eligible for a loan of up to $15,130, while a 2013 Honda Civic in Alabama with 125,000 miles prequalified for a title loan of $7530 or less. LoanMart is also transparent with their interest rates, which range from 80% to 204% APR.
Documents can be submitted online or via phone
A huge perk offered by LoanMart is the ability to submit all relevant documents electronically: no need to go into a location near you to drop off your car title. That's amazing! Whether you scan them and send via email or fax, or you take photos with your smartphone or tablet, the documents you'll submit are usually the vehicle's title in your name, a government-issued ID (like a driver's license), proof of income like paycheck stubs or bank account statements, and proof of residence with something like a utility bill.
Many options for receiving loan money
Your payments are equally easy to get. You can choose to have them deposited electronically, mailed as a check, or through a participating network partner - including MoneyGram locations at a local Walmart! That's why, despite having only eight states where they offer car title loans, this provider gets such a high score from us: it's super convenient!
Plenty of positive feedback from customers
Another big plus for LoanMart is their "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. There are plenty of clients who say that this lender is easy to work with and who give it a perfect five-star rating.
Excellent option for residents in eligible states
The only thing stopping LoanMart from earning our top recommendation is that so few people will be eligible to apply for a car title loan based on where they live. We'd love to see this lender expand their business into more states, so that more individuals would be able to use them to get a hassle-free title loan. On the other hand, if you're fortunate enough to live in one of the states where LoanMart operates, we highly encourage you to use them for your car title loan.
Loan Center is one of two car title loan services, along with 1 800 Car Title, operated by Wilshire Commercial Capital: an "A+" rated company with the BBB. No matter which one you choose, you'll have to be a resident of Arizona, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico, Utah or Idaho to get a car title loan here.
Personal loans also available
One difference between the two sites is that Loan Center also makes personal loans available to their customers. These don't have to be secured with your vehicle's title, and you may want to consider looking at your options for that type of borrowing in addition to a car title loan.
Phone call required, but docs can be submitted online
The process for getting a car title loan here, compared with other lenders, is both easier and more complicated. On the one hand, you'll have to talk with a Loan Center loan officer over the phone before you can be approved: you'll submit your initial application online and then talk with a rep to finalize the loan. Many of Loan Center's rivals don't have that phone call requirement. On the other hand, all of your documents can be submitted electronically, saving you from having to go to a physical location near you to turn in your car title.
A+ from the BBB
Loan Center's parent company gets an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau, which isn't always easy to come by when you're talking about car title lenders. The BBB showed 25 complaints registered there in the year leading up to this evaluation, and Wilshire Commercial Capital responded quickly and appropriately to each one. Customer feedback elsewhere is harder to find. There are a handful of testimonials on the 1 800 Car Title sister site, but they're hand-selected by the company. We found very few independently-verified ratings from verified clients of Loan Center or 1 800 Car Title.
Good customer service
We had a decent experience with Loan Center's customer service team via live chat. While we had one question that never got a response, the representative we got was helpful in answering our other questions.
More loan info, please
What went unanswered? We wanted to get an overall idea of how much we'd be able to borrow and what our interest rate would be, but there's nowhere on the site that lets you look it up state by state. The FAQ says to expect a loan amount from $2000 to $30,000 and with interest fees ranging from 35.5% to 199.99%. We'd like to see that information given more freely, instead of borrowers having to dig it up deep in the FAQ. The car title loan page also says that people can borrow up to $50,000: that's a lot more than what the FAQ says, and we're not sure which amount is correct without requesting a loan for each state where Loan Center works.
Expect an origination fee
We also found, in our digging, that Loan Center charges an origination fee of up to 5% on car title loans. Keep that in mind as you're calculating the cost of borrowing money through this provider.
Not a bad choice if you're eligible
Loan Center is a pretty solid option among car title loan providers. Their interest rates are competitive, their customer service team is helpful, and the company has a good reputation with the BBB. The limited number of states where they operate keeps Loan Center from ranking higher, but you shouldn't have trouble getting a car title loan here if you live in one of those locations.
American Auto Title Loan starts out strong, with an easy-to-understand website and a company history that dates back to 2010. While there's no BBB listing for the lender, we were excited to see that there were more than 400 customer reviews elsewhere with an impressive 4.9 out of 5-star average.
Instant quote or just apply
On their main page, American Auto Title Loan advertises two ways to get a loan: instant quote or 100% online application. Our experience with the instant quote was, well, less than instant. We filled in the information about our car's year, make and model, and then we got a message saying we had been preapproved. Great! We're not entirely sure how that could be, given that the form didn't even ask where we live. Unfortunately, it also said we had to wait to get a call from a loan officer to get a loan.
Extremely detailed information required
If you want a faster response, try the 100% online approach. You'll fill in your personal information in much more detail, like your name and address, whether you rent or own, your birthdate, SSN and driver's license number, and so forth. The second page asks for the specifics of the car, and you'll need to have the VIN, title number, license plate number and expiration date, and how much you'd like to borrow. The final page asks for uploaded photos of documents, including the front and back of your car title.
Lots of glitches
But, the process didn't get any better with the online application. We weren't given the ability to choose a vehicle model year after 2019. Thinking that was a glitch of some kind, we called the toll-free number to ask. That took us to some music (without even telling us what company we had reached), and then asked us to leave a message. We're not sure who'd be receiving that message!
Anybody home? Try somewhere else first
We give American Title Loans a 2-star rating mostly because they don't seem to be a scam or actively trying to take your money. But can you actually get a car title loan here? The jury's still out.
TitleMax got its start in 1998 in Georgia and has expanded to include more than 1000 locations in 15 states. With respect to car title loans, 14 of those states are eligible and include Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
No surprises in the online application
The online application for a TitleMax loan only takes a few minutes. You'll have to provide information about your car, your income, and how much cash you hope to borrow. Once you're approved for a loan, you'll have to bring your title into a location near you. After that, your funds will either be given to you as a check or as a deposit to a Universe Silver Deposit Account that you can sign up for through TitleMax.
Can't borrow as much money here
Depending on the specifics of your car (age, mileage, make and model, and so forth) and your current income, you could be eligible to borrow up to $10,000. That's a lot lower than many of TitleMax's competitors.
Need more info about fees and interest
And how much will it cost you to borrow that much? We'd sure like to know, because their FAQ only makes this vague statement: "While some title lenders do charge high interest rates, TitleMax charges very competitive interest rates, and will develop a personalized payment plan that's manageable for your lifestyle." When most car title loan providers tell you straight up what you should expect to pay in interest, usually in the fine print at the bottom of the page at a bare minimum, this comes across as much less than forthcoming.
Bad reputation = not a good choice
TitleMax comes in towards the bottom of our rankings among providers of car title loans. This is largely due to their bad reputation, which includes an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. That rating was given for TitleMax's nearly 300 complaints registered with the BBB and government action taken against the business - like the one by the state of California that forbids from originating any new loans there. Not a good look, Title Max. You'll want to choose a higher-rated lender for your car title loan.
If you want to get a car title loan from Auto Cash USA, you'll need to make sure you have a location near you: you'll have to bring in your driver's license, lien-free vehicle title, and the vehicle itself for inspection. Assuming you have a location near you and you have all of the appropriate documentation, you could have the payment from your loan in just 30 minutes.
Only available in some states
It's hard to know upfront which states are eligible for car title loans through this service. We had to scroll through the "Locations" tab to see that Auto Cash USA only offers loans in the following states: Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Delaware, Texas, Maryland, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, California.
Horrible customer service, "F" from the BBB
When we entered our information to get a title loan in Florida, we were told that our "selected store location is over 100 miles away" and we were asked if we wanted to use a different website to get a title loan, Title and Payday Loans. This turned out to be one of nearly two dozen services all under a single banner: Community Loans of America, Inc. Why is that important? CLA has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. Customers have filed nearly 100 complaints over the last three years - and those are just the ones who were able to sleuth out that CLA is behind the car title loan provider they used. These complaints described delays of a month or longer in getting titles returned after loans were paid in full, rude representatives, and cars being repossessed even though payments were being made.
Don't use this service for a car title loan
Auto Cash USA isn't available in a lot of places, and their reputation is horrible. Car title loans are tricky enough as it is, but there are companies who manage to get a great rating from the Better Business Bureau. This isn't one of them. Run, don't walk, away from Auto Cash USA and get your loan from a more trustworthy lender.
Car title loans are also attractive because they rarely require you to have a great credit history: you're guaranteeing that you'll repay the loan by borrowing against your car's value, so credit isn't really a factor. Of course, that's one of the downsides too: if you don't pay the loan back, you stand to lose your transportation, and you can't borrow more than your car is worth. That's cool if you're driving a Porsche, but if you drive a 20-year-old beater you might not get much out of a title loan.
Another thing to keep in mind is that car title loans usually have really high interest rates: in the triple digits isn't unheard of. You'd be wise to see if other, lower-interest rate personal loans are a possibility before you turn to a car title loan for your cash needs.
So, all that being said, how can you tell which car title loan provider to use? There are a lot of them out there, and some of them are less-than-reputable in the way they treat customers. Here are a couple of factors to check out before you commit to a car title loan:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options among providers of car title loans today. We're confident that this information will help you get the money you need with loan terms you can afford!
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