The 7 Best Auto Loan Rates of 2019

Make sure you're getting the best rate possible

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Finding a great new car, truck, or van can be an exciting time. Comparing features, going on test drives, and taking in that new-car smell help you visualize life in a new car. However, when it comes time to pay for your shiny car, things can get a lot less fun. Many buyers are so ready to drive their new car home that they sign the first loan that they can get their hands on.

While a process like this may get you behind the wheel quickly, it could set you back financially. In fact, if you don’t find the right loan, you could overpay by thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Whether you’re buying a brand new ride, something new-to-you, or refinancing an existing loan, it's essential to find the best terms possible. The following lenders and brokers offer low rates and other benefits for every type of buyer.

Best Overall Rates: Consumers Credit Union

Credit unions generally have better reputations than banks and for a good reason. These financial institutions can give you better interest rates than banks ever could. That's because everyone who has an account at a credit union is part-owner. As such, institutions like Consumers Credit Union (CCU) can give their members incredible deals instead of paying a few top bankers enormous salaries.

Many credit unions have membership qualifications, such as being part of a military branch, an alumnus from a specific school, or resident of a particular state. However, CCU requires you to pay a fee of five dollars and keep at least that much in a savings account. In return, you can get auto loan rates as low as 2.99 percent. These loans include fixed rates, mechanical repair coverage, and a simple interest method that allows you to pay less over the length of the loan.

The potential downside to CCU loans is that not everyone will get approval. You should have at least a credit score of 640 to get approval. CCU requires a hard credit check with each application, so it’s important to apply only if you’re serious about buying a car.

Best for Bad Credit: SpringboardAuto

SpringboardAuto
Courtesy of SpringboardAuto

Having less-than-perfect credit shouldn’t keep you from getting the car you need. While you shouldn’t expect the low rates that those with great credit have, you can avoid overpaying with SpringboardAuto. Through this online lender, you can get a loan for a car that you purchase from an auto dealer or a private party. Since ​buying through a private party can be cheaper, this can save you big bucks over dealerships. If you have a great car and you want a better loan to match, you can use SpringboardAuto’s refinancing options.​

The minimum credit score for this lender is 500, which is significantly lower than many others. You should also have an income of at least $2,000 per month to apply. Loan amounts can range from $7,500 to $40,000, so you can get the car you want. Best of all, SpringboardAuto does not require a hard credit check with your application. So, looking around won’t hurt the score you’re trying to fix. The application takes only a few minutes, is completely online, and results in an instant decision. If you live in one of the 33 states that have SpringboardAuto, this is an excellent choice.

Best Big Bank Lender: CapitalOne

Understandably, some people aren't as comfortable using lesser-known or niche lenders for something as crucial as an auto loan. If you want the backing of a major financial institution with a household name, CapitalOne may be your best bet. If you're in the market for a new or used car, you can apply for preapproval through the bank's Auto Navigator program. This early step does not affect your credit since it is a soft pull. The pre-approval letter is then valid at more than 12,000 dealers throughout the nation, each of which you can find on CapitalOne's website. Just present the note at the dealership and begin the full application process once you find the perfect ride.

If you already have a car that you love and want better loan terms you can use CapitalOne's refinance program. Prequalifying online takes a few minutes and does not show on your credit score. The pre-qualification letter will help you know if it’s worth submitting a full application. With a 4.8-of-5-star rating, the chances are that you'll like the program.

Best for Refinancing: OpenRoad Lending

OpenRoad Lending
Courtesy of OpenRoad Lending

While getting a new set of wheels is exciting, there’s something to be said for sticking with a reliable ride. However, if your credit improved, you paid off debt, or you got a raise since you first financed your auto loan, you may be paying too much. OpenRoad Lending allows drivers like you to refinance existing loans and save an average of $100 per month on their car payments. The application process is simple and entirely online. Within an hour of applying, you can receive your decision with complete details about the loan.

If you run into any trouble with your application, OpenRoad Lending's customer service team can help. Perhaps that's why 98 percent of customers say that they are satisfied with their loans. Before applying, you should know that it is a hard credit pull, so this service is only for people who are serious about refinancing. This lender requires a credit score of at least 500 and monthly income of $1,500 or more. The higher each of these numbers is, the better your rates will be. OpenRoad Lending offers rates between 1.9 and 24.9 percent.

Best for Tech Junkies: Carvana

Carvana
Courtesy of Carvana

It seems like every industry is cutting out go-betweens these days, and the car industry is no exception. If you would rather skip the dealership and the bank altogether, Carvana is the site for you. Without ever leaving your home, you can apply for an auto loan, choose your car, and get it delivered. If you want to trade your old car in, you can do so while you’re at it. Carvana will give you an offer and pick it up from your home.

Best of all, these loans aren't just easy to get; they are great deals for all kinds of borrowers. There is no minimum credit score, so anyone who makes at least $10,000 per year can apply. Carvana finds offers from several sources without a hard pull on your credit. This allows you to shop rates without hurting your score and rest easy knowing that you got the best possible deal. Plus, without pushy salespeople, you can ensure that you get the car you want. If you're not sure how much of a loan you can afford, you can use Carvana’s Auto Loan Calculator.

Best for Shopping Around: LendingTree

LendingTree
Courtesy of LendingTree

If you are tossing around the idea of getting a new car but not sure if it will fit in your budget, stop by LendingTree first. Without affecting your credit, you can shop from a variety of lenders. You can use this feature for refinancing, new cars, used cars, or lease buyouts. Just enter details such as your desired loan type, down payment, financial status, and the vehicle you want. Then Lending Tree will match you with lenders.

You can compare the offers to find the best rates and terms for your life. If you decide to apply, the lender will require a full application. Lending Tree can also help with a loan payment calculator, free credit score finder, and other tools. 

Best for Shopping Around for Refinancing: Lending Club

Although Lending Club made a name for itself with peer-to-peer personal loans, the online lender now offers auto loan refinancing. If you’re looking for ways to lower your monthly bills, Lending Club can help by showing you your refinancing options. First, complete the initial application and get instant offers. This step is a soft pull on your credit that won't change your score. Then, you can compare the details of each proposal to see which best fits your needs. Whether you need to lower your interest rate, increase the length of your loan, or both, you can find the right lender.

Once you decide on an offer, you can finish the official application. The process is entirely online and easy. Although Lending Club is a broker, you won't pay an origination fee for your loan. Finally, sit back and enjoy a smaller monthly payment. Rates range start at 6.95 percent, and you must have a credit score of at least 510 to get prequalified. Whether you're sure you want to refinance or just seeing what's out there, Lending Club is a great option.