Best Auto Loans
The 10 Best Auto Loans to Help You Buy Your Dream Car
Written by: Selina Scott
So you found yourself in the market of shopping for auto loans but have no idea where to start. Trust me, we’ve all been there or refuse to go there. Shopping for a car, let alone a loan to pay for said car, can be daunting for anyone. So now you find yourself with two options: pay with pure hard cash or find a much needed loan. Factors you didn’t even realize existed can make or break your experience. You need to know what type of loan fits your needs, credit, down payments, interest rates/fees and the amount of time the whole application process will take.
Relax, take a breath, and read on to discover all you need to know when looking for the perfect auto loan for you.
Before we even delve into the world of auto loans and lenders, you gotta know the basics of what you should expect. So where do you begin? To even get considered for a loan, lenders look for people with good credit. Why? Credit history shows people your ability and responsibility in paying off debt. “Typically people would be better off establishing some type of credit before they try and get a loan straight up. A credit card of some sort would do to get it started, a lot of banks and lending institutions offer credit cards that cater to college students. Also saving up what at least $1,000 for a down payment typically helps as well. If they don’t have the means to do it by themselves then a co-signer with good credit will help their approval odds. A lot of places also offer first time car buyer programs to help them with a lower interest rate and smaller monthly payments,” said Alex McClenon, a Personal Banker at Wells Fargo. And don’t think that having zero credit is good.
Lenders and banks usually consider no credit the same as bad credit, so if you don’t have any, start small and get a credit card (just don’t go too ham with spending). Luckily for you, many banks give students the option of a college credit card with a set limit to slowly build your credit. If that’s not an option, having a cosigner can really help your loan buying options and lowering your overall rates. Just beware of the interests rates that accompany each loan, knowing that some will be higher than others depending on interest rates (APR), length of time it takes to pay back the loan, the kind of loan you want and how much of a down payment you can make. “When I bought my first car, I decided not to ask my parents to cosign for me, and what a mistake that was. I didn’t realize that the difference between a 6% interest and a 12% interest is like $1,000. I’m still paying it off,” said FSCJ nursing student Odalys Soto. Be aware of the interests rates that accompany each loan, knowing that some will be higher than others depending on interest rates (APR), length of time it takes to pay back the loan, the kind of loan you want and how much of a down payment you can make. The last thing you want to be doing is spending your Starbs budget on your accrued debt.
Best Loans for Good Credit
1. My Auto Loan
Getting a new car is exciting. The process? Not so much. Even seasoned buyers have difficulty when it comes to finding the right auto loan, so using myAutoloan provides you with all the tools you need to figure out your best options. Calculators and estimators on their website allow you to consider the monthly payments, needed loan amounts and your loans interest rate. Figuring out all these extremely important details early in your car buying journey gives you the chance to make an educated decision on how much you can pay up front and what to expect to pay monthly along with interest rates. This is where having good credit comes in handy—your loan rates and amounts depend on your credit score and history. This is where all the summers of working your butt off in the god-awful serving job and saving every tip you get, comes in handy. Just fill out their initial form which takes about two minutes (that’s one Hulu commercial break, people), get matched up to four lenders most suited for you and receive your online certification or check within 24 hours.
Step into the light and find loans for practically anything with LightStream. As the online lending branch of SunTrust Bank, LightStream offers their consumers loans for your car, refinancing (be it old, new, used or classic cars) and loans from both private parties and dealers. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on the type of person you are, they require you to have an excellent credit profile. This means that you should have a minimum of five years of credit history, multiple credit accounts, good history of making timely payments, savings and a stable income. Good credit also affects whether you receive a secure loan, guaranteed to come with lower interest rates, or a unsecured loan if they deem you as a riskier client. For some this may not be the best auto lending option for you, but if you meet the qualifications get ready to enjoy getting financing for any kind of car—no matter the make, model, age and mileage. Your loan can range from as low as $5,000 to $100,000, so set your sights on that Tesla.
Best Loans for Bad Credit
Do you want a new car, but find yourself stressing due to bad or nonexistent credit? CarsDirect exists to ease all your troubles. Be it no credit, good credit, bad credit or past bankruptcy, they can help you figure something out. The no hassle online application process should take about 60 seconds and instantly leads you to numerous offers from lenders you can compare to make sure you got the best deal. Advertising themselves as auto loans for all credit types, aka broke af college students, CarsDirect requires no down payment with a cosigner, no application or processing fees and you can qualify with a $500 weekly income. Don’t let bad credit stop you from getting the car you deserve.
5. Auto Credit Express
Auto Credit Express takes pride in helping students like you with any kind of credit situation you may find yourself in, no matter what your past credit history and profile say about you. Since they don’t actually lend out the loans themselves, Auto Credit Express connects you to lenders and dealers that specialize with bad credit holders and your loan options depend on who you decide to do business with. If everything works out for you, you can even qualify for a $0 down payment (sign us up). Just keep in mind that they require you to show proof of at least a $1,500 steady income, so your part-time job at Taco Bell might not cut it. But keep your eye on the prize. Auto Credit Expresses dedication to their customers will help find you your perfect loan despite the bad credit that previously help you back from your dream car.
Best Loans for Refinancing
There comes a time when you realize the auto loan you have sucks your bank account dry every month. When you find yourself knee deep in loan payments and high interests rates, you might want to consider looking into refinancing your current loan. Auto Approve specializes in auto loan refinancing and strives to help you lower your interest rate, reduce your monthly payment, pay your loan off quicker, dictate the length of your loan and even skip a payment or two if you need to. With such a large connection to various lending partners, including banks and credit unions, they get you your preferred access and options. Life happens sometimes, and luckily Auto Approve has your back. While term and interest rates vary depending on who you decide to go with, but Auto Approve exists to make the process as quick, painless and cost efficient as possible.
With a nationwide network designed to cater to auto loan refinancing, rateGenius can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Let that sink in: what else can you do with a thousand dollars? Take that spring break cruise to Bimini you were talking about, for one. Big savings aren’t the only feature offered, either. This online broker offers you a saving calculator as well as free quotes from more than 150 loan refinancing lenders to make sure you get the best deal. Refinancing your car, truck, motorcycle or SUV can save you up to $89 a month. Do you know how many iced caramel macchiato you can get for that? RateGenius refinances for the same loan term, meaning you can pay off the rest of the debt in the same time frame but get to experience it at a lower interest payment overall. Another perk? They don’t have a credit minimum, but keep in mind the lenders and rates offered to you depend on it.
Best Loans Online
Are you ready to dazzle with your new ride, but scared you might bite off more than you can handle? Browse around on Lending Tree and compare all your loan options. Feel empowered by the possibilities from the nationwide selection of lenders tailored to fit your car buying needs. The online application process is extremely simple, and you can get approved in as little as 24 hours. Get approved before buying your car to know how much you have to pay each month and avoid having to estimate your budget. Lending Trees’ reliable and convenient service requires you to complete and submit a simple form, get various offers and choose an A-1 deal from the security of your home. Standing out due to their ability of having every loan known to man, feel at ease looking for loans for old cars, new cars, used cars, lease buyouts and refinancing. If you want a short payment period and have a high credit, you could find yourself qualifying for a 60-month loan with incredibly low APR of 3.19%. Lending Tree can even help you discover your credit score with their online tools at your disposal. They have everything you need to secure the best loan terms and lowest interest rates before you buy a car.
Best Loans Overall
8. Consumers Credit Union
Packed with a reputation of offering some of the best rates in comparison to banks, credit unions have your back when it comes to auto loans. Credit unions typically offer the lowest financing rates, lowest loan rates, best terms and give you the best auto loans—but the catch is you have to be a member to take advantage of all the perks. “We can usually offer our customers a better rate than the dealership. Also their loan is more flexible with the Credit union. They have a longer grace period, meaning they can pay up to 20 days after payment date and still not get a late fee. People can apply for a skip-a-pay, where they could possibly get their payment deferred a month if they were low on income that month. Credit Unions also offer GAP insurance and an extended warranty that can be applied to the loan,” said Emily Bartilucci, an employee at Community First Credit Union of Florida. Your loan depends on your credit history, employment and steady income. Best part: most credit unions have an online portal that allows you to fill out the application from the comforts of your home, meaning PJ’s or old sweats are totally welcome.
Best Traditional Loans
9. Bank of America
If you find yourself more at ease going to a reputable bank for your auto loan, place your trust in Bank of America. This bank gives you all types of auto loan options, including but not limited to cars you bought from private sellers and lease buyouts. Like with every auto lender, your credit history and income affects the rates you receive, so make sure you’ve got that on lock. If you want a car straight off the lot, you’ll get the lowest rates, but don’t let that deter you from still discovering comparable rates no matter the car you want. Banking with Bank of America offers perks as well—you can enjoy discounts ranging from 0.25% to 0.50%, depending on the level of your membership. An additional bonus with this bank features a 30-day rate lock that allows you the flexibility to shop around for your car without worrying about the interest rate rising. The consistency we need in our life, tbh.
10. US Bank
Different from usual banks, U.S. Bank includes a loan option to finance a car bought from a private seller. New, used or refinanced—they seriously have it all. Finding yourself broke at the moment? Bank of America does not require you to make a down payment, meaning you can breathe until payday. Bank of America fits you if you value the numerous branches that let you handle your business with a person instead of a computer screen and want a loan for an older vehicle with higher–mileage. There is also opportunities for discounts depending on the type of loan you take out. Visit their website to discover the type of financing you can look forward to. Apply in person, online or over the phone—your loan, your car, your decision.