Best car loans of 2019

Compare top lenders by credit score, type and more.

Last updated:

Winter roadtrip view from a car in

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When you’re looking to buy a new car, knowing your rate before you visit a dealership can give you an edge during negotiations. And if you’ve already taken out a loan, you may be able to lower your payment by refinancing. Either way, you’ll want to compare these top auto lenders to see what type of deal you might be eligible for.

Our top pick: car.Loan.com Car Loans

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 300
  • APR: Varies by network lender
  • Requirements: Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
  • Easy online application
  • Fast response time
  • Bad credit, no credit OK

Our top pick: car.Loan.com Car Loans

Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 300
  • Requirements: Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
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How did we choose these products?

To find the best car loans, we first confirmed each lender’s legitimacy, business practices and website security. We also looked at borrower reviews with the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

We then analyzed and weighed the loan terms, APRs, borrowing amounts, funding speed, down-payment requirements and application process of each lender. Because more providers are offering longer terms, we also considered term length when rating these loans.

8 best auto loans

  • Best for high-priced cars: Wells Fargo
  • Best for competitive rates: Consumers Credit Union
  • Best for same-day funding with low rates: LightStream
  • Best for comparing multiple offers: LendingTree
  • Best for an online car purchase: Carvana
  • Best for bad credit: car.Loan.com
  • Best for older used cars: MyAutoLoan.com
  • Best for financing after a financial setback: Auto Credit Express
Lender APR Minimum amount Best for…
Wells Fargo Varies $5,000 Buying a vehicle with a high price tag. Read review
Consumers Credit Union From 2.24% Not stated Getting a new car at a competitive rate — with or without a coapplicant. Read review
LightStream Competitive $5,000 Negotiating your rate with same-day funding.
Go to Lightstream's site
LendingTree From 3.09% Varies by lender Comparing multiple car loan providers.
Go to LendingTree, LLC's site
Carvana Not stated Not stated Buying and financing a used car online. Read review
car.Loan.com Varies by network lender Varies by lender Comparing car loans for borrowers with bad credit.
Go to car.Loan.com's site
MyAutoLoan.com Varies by network lender Varies by lender Buying an older used car.
Go to myAutoloan.com's site
Auto Credit Express From 2.49% $8,000 Buying or leasing a car after a financial setback.
Go to Auto Credit Express's site

What is the average rate for a car loan?

Car loans can come with rates as low as 2% in some cases. However, the rate you qualify for depends on several factors, including:

  • Credit score. The best rates go to borrowers with the best credit score.
  • Income. The higher your income, the more likely you are to get a good deal.
  • Debt-to-income ratio. Having regular monthly expenses worth 20% or less than your income can also get you a better deal.
  • Car type. New cars typically come with lower rates than used cars.
  • Loan term. Often longer loan terms come with higher rates — especially at credit unions.

6 tips to get the best car loan

Here are a few pointers to nab a good deal on your next car loan:

  1. Consider a newer vehicle. New car loans come with lower interest rates because the lender is taking on less of a risk. Most new car loans usually allow you to secure a vehicle that’s less than two years old, although some may only be for cars that haven’t been previously owned.
  2. Apply within 45 days. When you apply for multiple car loans, keep your applications within a short period — typically no more than 45 days. Most credit bureaus will count it as one line on your credit report, saving you from lowering your score every time you fill out an application.
  3. Get preapproval. The easiest way to avoid an inquiry is to apply for preapproval. Many lenders are able to quote you an estimated rate without doing a hard credit check.
  4. Note all of your assets in your application. Some lenders offer lower interest rates if you have a large sum of money to fall back on. Even if you’re applying for a secured car loan, listing other assets may help you get a better rate.
  5. Borrow less than you’re buying the car for. Having a down payment or trade-in can make you eligible for a lower rate if a lender sees you don’t need to borrow 100% of the purchase price of the vehicle.
  6. Compare your options before you apply. Comparing offers from different car loan providers can help you find the lowest rate available to you. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can consider using a car finance broker or online connection service.

3 types of car loans to consider

Low interest

Compare low interest car loan options and keep payments down.

Secured

Use your vehicle as security and benefit from lower rates.

Bad credit

Compare lenders that specifically assist people with poor credit.

Will I get a better deal with a larger down payment?

In general, yes. Lenders may be more willing to offer favorable terms if you have money saved up to use as a down payment. A larger down payment also means you have to borrow less, which not only reduces your monthly payment but how much you’ll pay in interest.

For instance, say you’re looking to borrow $15,000 for a new vehicle. The lender you’ve chosen to go with offered you a 60-month term with a 7.45% APR.

By calculating your monthly payments with different down payment amounts, you can see how much money you’ll save each month and overall:

Down payment Monthly payment Interest paid
0% ($0) $300.21 $3,012.78
10% ($1,500) $270.19 $2,711.50
20% ($3,000) $240.17 $2,410.22

In this example, by having $3,000 saved up, you end up spending about $600 less on your loan and reduce your monthly payments by $60.

A sizable down payment can make the best loan even better by potentially saving you hundreds of dollars in interest over the life of your loan.

Compare more car loan options

Updated November 13th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score Loan term Requirements
300
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.
600
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.
300
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.
500
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.
Good to excellent credit
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.
Good to excellent credit
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

Bottom line

The truth? There’s no single best car loan out there. Not everyone looking for a car loan is buying the same car, earns the same income or is in the same financial situation. It’s up to you to compare your car loan options and find the lender that best fits your needs.

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