Editor's choice: Finova Financial Auto Equity Loans
- No bank account required
- Fast turnaround
- Loans up to $5,000
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An auto equity loan is a type of secured loan geared to bad-credit borrowers that uses your car as collateral. It’s similar to a home equity loan in that you don’t always need to fully own your car to qualify. However, they’re typically more expensive and meant for emergency situations.
How much you can borrow is based on two main factors: the amount of equity you own in your car and its fair market value. So if you have a car with a fair market value of $10,000 and you’ve paid off 80% of your car loan, you can borrow up to $8,000.
You might not need good credit to qualify for an auto equity loan, but that doesn’t mean lenders don’t have other requirements you need to meet. Generally, you must:
Some online lenders might not require you to have a bank account to get an auto equity loan, but many do. If you’re looking for a loan and don’t have a checking account, reach out to your lender to make sure you’re eligible before you apply.
Auto equity loans and auto title loans are very similar. So similar, in fact, that some lenders use them interchangeably. Both are quick financing solutions that allow you to borrow against the value of your car. You don’t need to have good credit to qualify for either, and your lender can repossess your car if you’re unable to make payments.
But there is one main difference. To get an auto title loan, you need to fully own your car and not have any liens on it. For an auto equity loan, that’s not always the case — though some lenders like Finova require full ownership. Auto title loans also typically have terms as short as 30 days.
Auto title loan regulations vary by state — and they’re prohibited altogether in some areas. Auto equity loans may be more widely available.
The term “auto equity loan” isn’t as widely used as terms like home equity or personal loans. Some lenders offer loans they call “cash-out refinance loans,” that work a lot like auto equity loans. Others say they offer auto equity loans when really their product works more like a title loan.
Before you apply, make sure you understand how borrowing from that lender works. Otherwise, you could sign up for a loan.
Not sure if an auto equity loan is right for you? Weigh the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide.
If you already have a title loan that you’re struggling to pay off, you might want to refinance it instead. Refinancing involves taking out a new loan to pay off your current loan, ideally with more favorable rates and terms.
But even if you’re unable to qualify for more competitive rates, refinancing could help lengthen your loan to make repayments more affordable.
Getting an auto equity loan might not be right for you.
If you need money fast and fully own your car, you might want to consider an auto title loan. With a title loan, you’ll have more choices to compare — though it’ll still be risky and expensive.
If you’ve got strong credit but are still paying off your loan, consider cash-out refinancing. This option allows you to refinance your car loan and borrow a little bit more than your payoff amount to cover personal expenses. It typically takes longer to qualify than an auto equity loan but can be less expensive.
If you have a low income and need funds to cover basic expenses, you could qualify for benefits offered by your state, county or city. These can reduce your monthly costs and help you save up for the expense you wanted to fund with your auto equity loan.
When you’re still paying off a car loan and have bad credit, an auto equity loan could be a quick way to get cash for an emergency expense. But it’s not without risk. You could lose your car and damage your credit if you’re unable to pay it off.
Before you sign up, check out your other short-term loan options first.
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