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CarMax used-car financing review

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CarMax used car financing
3.5% to 20%

Our verdict

Same-day online application with preapproval — and up to three days to return your loan.

CarMax is a well-known dealership that offers in-house financing for its selection of used cars. While it isn't clear about rates, you can estimate your total cost based on your credit score, down payment and trade-in value. And with terms between 36 and 72 months, choose the monthly payment that fits your budget. You'll also have up to seven days to test drive your car — and up to three days to return your financing if you find a better deal with a different lender.

But CarMax has plenty of negative customer reviews. Since it isn't clear about its terms, you'll be in the dark until you apply for preapproval. So while the application process is relatively quick — around 15 minutes if you have all of the information on hand — keep your other options open when shopping with CarMax.

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How much does CarMax financing cost?

CarMax doesn’t state its APR range or potential loan terms. However, it’s budget calculator allows you to input your FICO credit score range and view an estimated APR for each category.

These are general rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of your vehicle and your credit score. But you can expect an APR around this range for terms of 72 months. CarMax also offers terms of 36, 48 and 60 months.

How does CarMax financing work?

CarMax offers direct financing for its used vehicles — backed by large banks like Ally, Capital One and Wells Fargo. Your loan approval is based on the vehicle you’ve selected in addition to your personal finances, credit history and total down payment. It doesn’t list any fees or a set preapproval period for you to shop during, so ask for details when you speak with a CarMax representative.

What is its three-day payoff program?

If you get financing through CarMax but find a better deal with a different lender, CarMax is flexible: You have three days to return your financing at no cost. So if you’re still shopping for rates but find the perfect used car, you can buy it as soon as possible — and still get the best loan for your budget.

What do I need to qualify?

CarMax doesn’t have any specific requirements like annual income or credit score. Because CarMax works with a variety of lenders in addition to offering in-house financing, it accepts borrowers from a wide range of backgrounds. This means you could qualify with less-than-perfect credit.

What information do I need to apply?

To submit an application with CarMax, provide some basic details about yourself, including:

  • Estimated credit score
  • Total down payment
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Employment status
  • Annual income

Pros and cons

CarMax is a solid option for both an online and offline applications, but there are still some downsides.

  • Works with a variety of credit profiles
  • Coapplicants accepted
  • Three-day payoff program available
  • Some locations offer car delivery to your home
  • Many negative customer reviews
  • May need to visit a store to finalize application
  • Limited information available online

See other car loan options

To browse other lenders, select your credit score and state, then click Show me my personalized options.

Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score APR Loan term Requirements
LightStream Auto Loans
Good to excellent credit
2 to 7 years
Must have a good to excellent credit profile, be a US citizen or a permanent resident with a valid green card, have a valid Social Security number, credit card verification requested upon loan approval and have a valid US address.
Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
Varies depending on the lender
3 to 6 years
Varies depending on the lender
CarsDirect auto loans
No minimum credit score
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.
No minimum credit score
3.9% to 27.9%
1 to 6 years
18+ years old, annual income of $4,000+, no active bankruptcies
Get pre-qualified for used car financing and receive competitive, personalized rates.

CarMax reviews and complaints

BBB accredited No
BBB rating B
BBB customer reviews 1 out of 5 stars, based on 3 customer reviews
BBB customer complaints 3 customer complaints
Trustpilot Score 2 out of 5 stars, based on 43 customer reviews
App Store Score 4.4 out of 5 stars, based on 27,877 customer reviews
Google Play Score 4.8 out of 5 stars, based on 254,449 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of 19 October 2020

While most of the negative reviews on Trustpilot and the BBB page are about the quality of the vehicles and CarMax’s delivery service, as of October 2020, there are a few examples of people having their rates and loan terms changed after receiving preapproval online. One other had an issue with consistently receiving their bill late, and another had problems adjusting their terms after the start of the coronavirus.

How do I apply?

Apply for financing through CarMax in a variety of ways by visiting one of its stores or browsing its selection of vehicles online. To apply for preapproval before you shop, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the CarMax website, navigate to its financing page and click Get preapproved.
  2. Select your credit score, down payment amount, preferred monthly payment and estimated vehicle price.
  3. Enter your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, email and phone number.
  4. Enter your address, housing status and monthly housing payment.
  5. Select your employment status and enter your annual income.
  6. Enter information about your coapplicant, if applicable.
  7. Review your application, read CarMax’s terms and click Apply.

CarMax will send you an email with your application decision.

I got financing from CarMax. Now what?

You have 30 days to shop for your vehicle through CarMax. Once you purchase your car and finalize financing, CarMax allows you to pick your first payment date — anywhere up to 45 days after you sign. Your loan contract contains your repayment details along with any fees.

Send payments through its online portal, by check or Western Union and MoneyGram. There are no prepayment penalties, so if you can, paying your loan off early or making additional payments can save you interest in the long run.

Before you buy a car through CarMax, compare more financing options to ensure you’re getting the best rates on your next loan.

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