Auto Loan Finder

Get financing for your dream wheels that fits your budget: Compare top lenders in 2020.

Last updated:

Woman receiving keys in a new car

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

When you’ve got your eye on a car, it’s easy to leave the financing for later. But understanding how car loans work, how the application process flows and the red flags to watch out for can help you save and get you on the road faster.

We’ve compared over 75 of America’s leading lenders to help you find the best available deal.

Compare auto loans

Updated February 19th, 2020
Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score APR Loan term Requirements
car.Loan.com Car Loans
300
Varies by network lender
Varies by lender
Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.
SuperMoney Auto Purchase Loans Marketplace
600
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Fair to excellent credit, an income source, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
Find an offer and get rates from competing lenders without affecting your credit score.
CarsDirect Auto Loans
Varies by network lender
Varies by network lender
Must provide proof of income, proof of residence, and proof of insurance.
Save time and effort with this lending service specializing in beginner-friendly or subprime car loan.
Auto Credit Express Car Loans
300
Varies by network lender
Varies by lender
Must be employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income of at least $1,500/month and be a current resident of the US or Canada.
Get connected with an auto lender near you, even if you have bad credit.
Monevo Auto Loans
500
3.99% to 35.99%
3 months to 12 years
Credit score of 500+, legal US resident and ages 18+.
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
LightStream Auto Loans
Good to excellent credit
Competitive
2 to 7 years
Good or excellent credit, enough income or assets to afford a new loan, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
LendingTree Auto Loans
Good to excellent credit
Starting at 3.09%
Varies by lender
18+ years old, good to excellent credit, US citizen
Compare multiple financing options for auto refinance, new car purchase, used car purchase and lease buy out.

Compare up to 4 providers

75

Lenders reviewed

500

Hours of research

8

Car loan experts

At Finder, our goal is to make finding the right car loan easy. Our team of experts thoroughly research car loan providers to bring you accurate and detailed comparisons.

Meet a few of Finder’s auto loan experts

Author

Aliyyah Camp

Loans Publisher

Author

Kellye Guinan

Writer

Author

Anna Serio

Staff Writer

How do car loans work?

A car loan is a type of financing used specifically to purchase a new or used car. After buying the car, you’ll make monthly payments of both principal and interest until the loan is fully paid off. Auto loans are usually secured loans — the car itself is used as collateral and can be repossessed if you don’t make payments.

How much you can borrow and what interest rate you get depends on the lender and your personal financial situation. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best deal available to you is to compare offers from multiple lenders before signing on to any car loan.

LEARN MORE: What is an auto loan?

How much do car loans cost?

When it comes to how much you’ll pay for financing, you need to factor in both ongoing costs built into the loan and upfront costs.

Ongoing costs

  • Interest rate. The average car loan rate is around 7%. The lowest rates hover around 3%, though these are reserved for individuals with excellent credit and a low debt-to-income ratio. Borrowers with poor credit usually see rates in the double digits.
  • Fees. Some lenders charge an origination fee of 1% to 5% of the loan amount. Your loan’s APR is interest and fees expressed as a percentage.

In addition to APR, the length of your loan term also affects the overall cost. Your loan term is the amount of time you have to pay off your loan. A short loan term generally results in higher monthly payments, but a lower total loan cost. A longer loan term gives you lower monthly payments, though you’ll ultimately pay more in interest.

Upfront costs

After your APR and term, you’ll want to pay attention to how much you’ll have to pay up front and in taxes:

  • Down payment. How much you’re expected to put down affects the immediate cost of your car loan. Expect to pay 10% to 20% of the cost of your vehicle up front.
  • Sales tax. Each state requires different sales tax, typically available on your local DMV site. Make sure to factor in sales taxes when estimating the cost of your car.

Don’t forget to ask about any rebates you might be eligible for

If you’re financing with a dealer, ask about any cashback discounts to avoid leaving money on the table. Three main types include cash rebates, low-interest dealership financing and special leases. Government rebates for low-emission or hybrid vehicles are also available in many states.

What about 0% APR financing?

Some dealerships offer interest-free financing, but it’s not always easy to get. Keep these drawbacks in mind before signing on to 0% APR financing:

  • It’s a marketing tool. Generally, interest-free financing is a marketing tool that manufacturers use to bring in customers.
  • Not everyone is eligible. You need to meet tough credit and income standards to qualify — only around 10% of applicants actually qualify for the 0% rate.
  • Higher monthly payments. These loans tend to be shorter — often no more than 36 months — translating into high monthly payments.
  • Less room to negotiate. This type of financing tends to come with a fixed price, and you often can’t qualify for a cashback rebate.
  • Your deal might be canceled. You might have to pay full interest if you miss just one payment.

Compare car loans

Just some of the top car loan providers we review

Wells Fargo provider logoUS Bank international money transfersUSAA provider logoLending club logo
OneMain Financial logoBBVA Compass provider logocarsdirect logo
carsdirect logocarsdirect logocarsdirect logocarsdirect logo

Find a lender in our directory of 85+ auto loan reviews

Where can I get a car loan?

Back in the day, your financing options were limited to dealerships and affiliated lenders.

Now you have more options beyond traditional financial institutions, including online upstarts competing for your business.

  • Banks. Chances are that your bank offers auto financing or a personal loan you can use to purchase a new car. It’s a relatively hands-off experience, and only applicants with good credit typically qualify.
  • Credit unions. Credit unions often offer financing with lower rates and more lenient credit requirements. But you need to join to qualify, which can add time to the process.
  • Online lenders. Online loan providers can offer faster funding for people with damaged credit or who are new to auto financing. Some can also help you find a car at a dealership.
  • Online connection services. Loan connection services could be an ideal option if you have bad credit, since many offer loans with low or no credit requirements — though it won’t be cheap.
  • Dealerships. You can always try to get financing directly from your dealer, though you might need to become a master negotiator to dodge typical dealership tactics.

How to compare car loans

Before you compare lenders, calculate how much you can afford to pay for a down payment, monthly repayments, any fees and your loan’s overall cost. Look up your state’s taxes and fees associated with purchasing a car, and add them to the cost of each lender you’re considering.

  1. Check if you’re eligible.
    There’s no point in applying for a loan if you and your car don’t meet the lender’s minimum requirements. You can typically find these requirements on the lender’s website or in online reviews.
  2. Know how much you can borrow.
    Does the lender offer loans that cover the total cost of a car you’re interested in — and can afford?
  3. Find out the interest rate.
    A high minimum advertised interest rate isn’t the best sign, and a refusal to disclose interest rates can be even worse. It could mean that rates are so high, the lenders would rather not advertise them.
  4. Understand the fees.
    On top of dealership and state fees associated with buying a car, some lenders charge fees for taking out a loan.
  5. Decide if the loan term fits your budget.
    Does your lender offer terms you can afford after you factor in APR and other costs involved in getting a new car?
  6. Consider the required down payment.
    A 10% down payment is standard, but some lenders charge more. Go for a lender that offers a down payment that fits your budget.
  7. Read customer reviews online.
    Quickly scan online forums and review sites to see what people say about each lender. Are interest rates high? Do people have trouble making repayments? If anything sounds sneaky, run.
  8. See if you’re comfortable with the payment policies.
    Find out if you’ll be able to repay your car loan early without penalty or if you can make additional payments without being charged a fee. These features can save you money if you plan on paying the loan off ahead of time.
  9. Learn about additional services offered.
    Some lenders hold your hand throughout the process of getting financing, and others don’t. Consider the help if you don’t know what you’re doing — but also ask: Is the lender genuinely helpful or just pushing you into partners’ laps. If information isn’t available online, it’s worth calling a customer service representative to get a ballpark answer.

4 red flags to watch out for

Lenders or dealerships advertising any of these four “perks” should ring the alarm bells — or at least prompt deeper research.

  • There’s no credit check. Dealerships often don’t run a credit check for buy-here-pay-here loans, but these loans can cost more than one from a reputable lender. Direct lenders advertising no credit check, however, could be a scam.
  • It lets you take your car home before approval. This could be the sign of a “spot delivery scam,” where a dealer calls a few days later to announce that financing fell through and you now need to renegotiate your loan at a much higher price.
  • It lies about your credit score. Some dealerships con borrowers into paying higher interest by telling them their credit score is worse than it actually is. Yet another reason to check your credit report before comparing lenders.
  • It offers 0% financing. You may not pay an APR on your car loan, but you typically aren’t able to negotiate your car’s price or take advantage of rebates. Loan terms also tend to be shorter, sometimes unaffordably so.

How do I apply for a car loan?

The car loan application process can vary depending on the type of financing you choose. Starting the process online with a bank or online lender involves more steps, but you have the advantage of getting preapproved for the loan and taking that offer to multiple dealerships. Although starting at the dealership is quicker, you lose some negotiating power.

LEARN MORE: How to get a car loan in 7 steps

What happens during the application process

1. Get preapproved
2. Choose your loan
3. Submit documents
4. Read the contract
5. Purchase the car
6. Sign paperwork

Before you apply, check that you know these 6 pieces of information …

  • How much you can afford for a down payment
  • How much you want to pay each month
  • Your state’s required taxes and fees
  • Your credit score
  • Which vehicle you want to buy
  • The lender’s eligibility requirements

Have these three documents handy …

  • Your driver’s license
  • Your insurance card
  • Employment verification — tax returns or recent pay stubs

I got my car loan. What happens next?

So, you’ve finalized the deal that got you behind the driver’s seat. Now it’s time to start paying off your car loan. If it’s an option with your lender, set up autopay to save time — and memory space — you would spend making manual repayments each month. Some lenders even offer a discount off your interest rate for signing up for automatic repayments.

Keep track of your personal account and loan balance to make sure everything’s going smoothly — sometimes even automated systems make mistakes. Contact customer service if you notice anything off.

Didn’t get the loan? Find out why your application was rejected.

Prepaying your car loan: What you need to know

With many loans, you can save on interest by paying off your balance early. This isn’t always the case with car loans, however. Some lenders charge prepayment penalties, while others give you a precomputed interest rate using what is known as the Rule of 78 formula. These loans frontload interest so that borrowers pay around two-thirds of their loan’s interest in the first few months.

In both of these cases, you don’t stand to save much by paying off your loan early. You can still lower your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, however, which can help you qualify for other forms of financing.

Even if there isn’t a prepayment penalty and your loan comes wth simple interest, be sure to call your lender to ask if there’s a special process for paying off your loan early. Also ask if extra repayments go toward the principal — not interest. Otherwise, making extra repayments might not make much of a difference.

Frequently asked questions

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 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.

8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KayApril 25, 2018

    I am paying on school loans and keep getting denied. What should I do?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniApril 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Kay,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      It is very important that you find out why you are being denied. Next get a copy of your credit report. Carefully review your credit history annually to stay on top of making sure that lenders are seeing only the most accurate picture of your financial health.

      Each time you apply for a loan, the lender will conduct what’s called a “hard pull” on your credit score, potentially affecting your score for a year. If you continuously apply and are denied for loans, you could further lower your overall credit score.

      If you want to read more on how you can handle after a loan denial, please check out this link.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  2. Default Gravatar
    AlJune 16, 2017

    Are prepayment penalties legal in NC on 48 month used car loans? Is rule of 78s legal? Is there a legal ceiling on the interest rate?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldJuly 2, 2017Staff

      Hi AI,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Regarding this matter, you may need to check the legal information here.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  3. Default Gravatar
    ElizabethMarch 14, 2017

    I need a loan for a car.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldJuly 18, 2017Staff

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You would need apply directly with the lender or a broker. It would be nice if you can make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements so you may have the chance of getting an approval. Please note that eligibility requirements may differ depending on the lender.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  4. Default Gravatar
    JosephFebruary 15, 2017

    Can I get a loan. I am in desperate need of transportation

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AdrienneFebruary 15, 2017Staff

      Hi Joseph,

      finder.com is for informational purposes and is not a lender or a broker. Compare your options in the table above and when you’re ready to choose a provider, click “go to site” to be taken to their application. You will apply directly with the lender or broker you choose, so make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements and that it’s the best loan for you.

      Best,

      Adrienne

Go to site