Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Best auto loan interest rates

The average APR you can expect — and where to get the most out of your financing.

Because car loans are secured by the vehicle you buy, you can expect lower interest rates, sometimes under 5%. Generally, you need strong personal finances to qualify for the most competitive rates — especially a good credit score of at least 670.

Here is the average APR you can expect broken down by credit score and five of the top lenders that offer the best car loan rates.

Average car loan interest rates

The average interest rate on a new car loan for a borrower with good credit is 3.54% as of May 2021. Your APR will depend on your credit score, loan term, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and whether you’re buying a new or used car.

Credit scoreAverage new car rateAverage used car rate
Excellent (super prime): 781 to 8502.41%3.71%
Very good (prime): 661 to 7803.54%5.54%
Good (near prime): 601 to 6606.64%10.43%
Fair (subprime): 501 to 60010.81%17.26%
Poor (deep subprime): 300 to 50014.66%21.07%

Source: Experian’s State of the Automotive Finance Market Report — Q1 2021

Auto loan rates

Why do new and used car loans have different rates?

Some lenders charge higher rates for used cars because you can’t take advantage of manufacturer deals, and because it’s difficult to determine the actual value. Used car buyers also default at a higher rate, causing some lenders to charge more in interest to make up for missed profits.

Summary of the 8 best car loans

LenderAPRLoan amountsLoan terms
LightStreamCompetitive$5,000 to $100,000VariesRead review
Carvana3.9% to 27.9%VariesStarting at 12 monthsRead review
LendingTreeStarting at 3.09%Not statedStarting at 12 monthsRead review
myAutoLoan1.99% to 27%$8,000 to $100,000Up to 84 monthsRead review
Ally Clearlane3.74% to 7.49%Starting at $10,000Starting at 36 monthsRead review
Bank of AmericaStarting at 2.39%$7,500 to $100,000Starting at 12 monthsRead review
PenFedStarting at 1.04%$500 to $100,000Up to 84 monthsRead review
M&T Bank3.39% to 13.99%Starting at $2,000Up to 84 monthsRead review

Best low-interest car loans

Although there are a wide variety of lenders with low starting rates, these are some of our best overall picks.

Best for same-day funding: LightStream Auto Loans

$5,000 – $100,000
Loan amount
Competitive
APR
Flexible
Term
LightStream has some of the most competitive rates out there. And unlike many lenders, it offers same-day funding. But great rates mean you'll need good to excellent credit to qualify. Plus there's no preapproval process: Applying with LightStream will result in a hard pull of your credit — even if you aren't approved.
  • Same-day funding available
  • Large maximum loan amount of $100,000
  • No restrictions on used cars
  • Good to excellent credit required
  • No preapproval process
Loan amount $5,000 – $100,000
APR Competitive
Term Flexible
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Turnaround Time Varies

Carvana logo
Go to site
on Carvana's secure site

Best for buying a car completely online: Carvana

N/A
Loan amount
3.9% – 27.9%
APR
Starting at 12 months
Term
Carvana is an online dealership that offers a simple financing process for its used car inventory. Its interest rates start decently low at 3.9% — although they can reach a high 27.9%. You have up to 45 days to choose your car from Carvana's inventory, which is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Low annual income requirement
  • Seven-day return period
  • Long preapproval period of 45 days
  • Only offers used cars
  • No option to negotiate price
  • Financing must be used for Carvana
Loan amount N/A
APR 3.9% – 27.9%
Term Starting at 12 months
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Annual Fee $0
Origination Fee 0%
Turnaround Time Varies
LendingTree logo
Go to site
on LendingTree, LLC's secure site

Best for comparing lenders that accept good credit: LendingTree

N/A
Loan amount
Starting at 1.99%
APR
Starting at 12 months
Term
LendingTree simplifies the search process. With one form, you can see what car loans you could qualify for — no matter what type of vehicle you want to finance. The lenders in its network offer rates as low as 3.09% and competitive terms. But if you don't have good to excellent credit, you may not qualify for a loan.
  • Simple online form
  • Large network of auto lenders
  • Multiple vehicle financing options available
  • Good to excellent credit required
  • Complaints about too much marketing materials
Loan amount N/A
APR Starting at 1.99%
Term Starting at 12 months
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score 670
Turnaround Time Varies by lender
myAutoloan.com Car Loans logo
Go to site
on myAutoloan.com's secure site

Best for comparing lenders that accept bad credit: myAutoloan.com Car Loans

$8,000 – $100,000
Loan amount
1.89% – 27%
APR
Varies by lender
Term
Like LendingTree, myAutoLoan.com is a connection service that uses your information to help you find a lender. It accepts borrowers with low credit, and its network of lenders are transparent about their rates. However, you have to borrow at least $8,000. And because it sends your information to multiple lenders, you may receive marketing materials even after you get a loan.
  • Transparent rates
  • Multiple car loan options
  • Low minimum credit score requirement of 550
  • High minimum loan amount of $8,000
  • Strict minimum income requirement
  • May receive marketing materials
Loan amount $8,000 – $100,000
APR 1.89% – 27%
Term Varies by lender
Interest Rate Type Variable
Min. Credit Score 550
Ally Clearlane logo
Go to site
on Clearlane's secure site

Best for refinancing: Ally Clearlane

Starting at $10,000
Loan amount
3.74% – 7.49%
APR
Starting at 36 months
Term
Ally Clearlane is a direct lender and a great choice for refinancing. You'll be able to change up your loan terms with competitive interest rates that max out at 7.49% — much lower than other lenders. But it's been accused of poor customer service, and its website doesn't have much information about the process.
  • Low starting APR of 3.74%
  • Coapplicants accepted
  • Lease buyouts also available
  • Limited information available online
  • High minimum monthly income requirement of $2,000
  • No new or used car loans
Loan amount Starting at $10,000
APR 3.74% – 7.49%
Term Starting at 36 months
Interest Rate Type Fixed
Min. Credit Score 640

Best for low rates from a bank: Bank of America Auto Loans

$5,000 – $100,000
Loan amount
Starting at 2.39%
APR
Starting at 12 months
Term
Bank of America is one of the top banks out there with some of the lowest starting rates on new cars. It offers a wide variety of loans to suit every need. And while you're generally stuck buying from its network of dealerships, Bank of America will finance private-party loans if they meet its set requirements.
  • Extremely low starting APR of 2.39%
  • Multiple car loan options
  • Large maximum loan amount of $100,000
  • Limited dealership network
  • Must have BofA bank account to apply for private-party purchase
  • Long list of ineligible vehicles
Loan amount $5,000 – $100,000
APR Starting at 2.39%
Term Starting at 12 months
Interest Rate Type Fixed
PenFed Auto Loans logo
Go to site
on PenFed's secure site

Best for low rates from a credit union: PenFed Auto Loans

$500 – $100,000
Loan amount
Starting at 1.79%
APR
Starting at 36 months
Term
PenFed is one of the larger credit unions out there — and that means you can take advantage of low rates. It only costs $5 to join, but you'll have to have an account for at least 90 days to apply for a car loan. Once you do, you can use its car-buying service or bring your preapproval to a dealership to snag a car worth up to $100,000.
  • APR starts at 1.04%
  • Easy to join
  • Car-buying service available
  • Must be a member for 90 days
  • Branch locations limited
Loan amount $500 – $100,000
APR Starting at 1.79%
Term Starting at 36 months
Interest Rate Type Fixed

Best for financing leisure vehicles: M&T Bank Auto Loan

Starting at $2,000
Loan amount
3.49% – 14%
APR
Starting at months
Term
M&T Bank is rare: It offers financing for RVs, boats, motorcycles and other leisure vehicles. Best of all, its interest rates and terms are clear — although the fees you might pay aren't easily found.
  • Low starting rates for boat and RV loans
  • APR discount for current customers
  • Long loan terms available
  • Limited state availability
  • Not all fees are transparent
Loan amount Starting at $2,000
APR 3.49% – 14%
Term Starting at months
Interest Rate Type Fixed

How we picked these lenders

We chose these lenders because their starting interest rates are lower than the average APR for new and used cars. And while some, like Carvana and myAutoLoan, have higher maximum rates, we felt that they still offered a good deal overall.

Loan amounts and loan terms factored into our decision as well. And we considered other factors like rate discounts, preapproval periods and national availability to narrow down our options.

Interest rate by loan term

The interest rate you get can also depend on your car’s loan term. In fact, the average interest rate on a 60-month car loan from a commercial bank in the first quarter of 2021 was 5.21%, according to the Federal Reserve.

While some lenders may charge lower rates for a longer term, others like credit unions offer higher rates for longer terms.

How does loan term change the amount I pay?

The longer your loan term, the lower your monthly payment. However, it makes the total cost higher. For example, if you borrow $15,000 for a used car and your lender offers you a 10.5% interest rate, your monthly payments and total interest can vary greatly.

Loan termMonthly paymentTotal interest
36 months$487.54$2,551.32
48 months$384.05$3,434.43
60 months$322.41$4,344.51
72 months$281.68$5,281.29

As you can see, your monthly payments are lower the longer you borrow, but you’ll end up paying about $1,000 more in interest each year your loan is outstanding.

Moreover, lenders generally charge lower interest rates for shorter loan terms. If you want to get the lowest rate possible, calculate your monthly car loan payments and interest charges based on different loan terms. This helps you determine the minimum term you can afford based on your interest rate to save money.

9 tips to get the best rate on your car loan

Finding the best car loan interest rate involves preparing and plenty of research beforehand with a potential to save thousands of dollars. These tips should get you started on your journey to scoring a low rate on your next car loan.

1. Know your credit score

By knowing your credit score before you shop for a loan, you’ll know what kind of rate you can expect. This allows you to go into the car-buying process with your eyes open and a realistic goal in mind.

2. Compare rates from different lenders

Applying for multiple loans around the same time won’t hurt your credit, so you can apply for preapproval from multiple lenders without damaging your overall score. This makes it easier to compare rates and find a loan suitable for your needs.

3. Get preapproved before visiting the dealership

When you compare your loans ahead of time, you can be preapproved — giving you the upper hand when negotiating with a salesperson.

4. Look out for discounts

Dealerships often offer rebates and reduced rates on certain vehicles, while lenders might offer loyalty discounts and rate reductions for using autopay.

5. Focus on the overall cost

Rather than focus on the monthly payment, concentrate on the sale price and the price you’ll end up paying at the end of your loan. Once you have this number, it’s much easier to determine what loan term is best so you can handle the monthly payments.

6. Be willing to negotiate

No matter how good your credit score is, you likely won’t be offered the lowest interest rate right off the bat. Dealerships are hoping you don’t question your rate, so come prepared knowing your credit score and the average rate you can get.

7. Don’t jump on the first deal

Since your interest rate isn’t the only thing that impacts the final price of your car, spend the time determining how term length and vehicle cost change your budget. Most lenders offer a few days to decide on a loan and buy a car — you won’t be wasting time if you decide to take a moment to get your thoughts in order.

8. Check the fine print

Like most loans, car loans are notorious for their legalese. Understand how your interest is calculated and any potential fees you might be charged.

You’ll also want to confirm that your loan isn’t conditional when you visit a dealer. Conditional means “subject to change,” so your loan isn’t finalized when you drive off the lot. If your terms change, you could be left with a worse interest rate on your loan.

9. Apply with a cosigner

A cosigner not only lowers the risk for the lender, but it can result in a lower rate for you because your lender will consider the credit and income of both parties when reviewing your application, giving you a better chance of approval for a more affordable rate.

Dealer financing vs. car loan rates

Dealership financing is often more expensive than borrowing from a third-party lender. But there are some situations where you can get a better deal, such as:

  • When it offers 0% financing. Some dealerships offer financing as low as 0% — especially if they want to move certain models out of the lot.
  • When you have a preapproved loan. You can use your preapproved loan from another lender as leverage to get a better rate at the dealership.
  • When you want to negotiate. Even if you aren’t preapproved, dealerships are often flexible about rates and terms on their loans, unlike other car loan providers.

Can I really get a car loan with a 0% APR?

It’s possible, but it depends on your credit — and most deals are only available from manufacturers on new cars. Often, you’ll need nearly perfect credit to qualify, and it’s usually only available for certain makes and models.

Agreeing to a 0% APR auto loan may also mean foregoing other offers or promotions, like a manufacturer’s rebate. Ultimately, if you qualify, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to make sure it’s the best deal for you.

LEARN MORE: What dealerships don’t want you to know about 0% car loans

Recap: Best car loan rates of 2021

At the end of the day, you can lower the total price you pay for a new or used vehicle by ensuring you’ve found a good deal on your car loan interest rate. When you compare car loans, don’t forget to do your research on each part of the process. If you already have a car loan with a high interest rate and think you could qualify for a lower one, you may want to consider refinancing.

  1. LightStream: Best for same-day funding
  2. Carvana: Best for buying a car completely online
  3. LendingTree: Best for comparing lenders that accept good credit
  4. myAutoloan.com: Best for comparing lenders that accept bad credit
  5. Ally Clearlane: Best for refinancing
  6. PenFed: Best credit union
  7. Bank of America: Best bank
  8. M&T Bank: Best for financing leisure vehicles

Frequently asked questions

Our answers to more questions about interest rates on new and used car loans.

Will auto loan rates go down?

Interest rates on car loans fluctuate with the economy. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, interest rates have lowered since 2019. But they’re bound to increase again as the economy recovers.

Am I better off taking out a loan for a longer term?

Not necessarily. While a longer term can lower your interest rate and your monthly payment, you’ll likely pay more in interest overall. Carefully weigh your ability to make monthly payments with the final cost of your car to determine the best term length.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site