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Carvana vs. Carmax

Two used car dealerships with competitive rates and quick online financing.

Carvana and CarMax are two used car dealerships that offer in-house financing and quick online processes. Rates are about the same — although borrowers with poor credit may have to settle for a higher APR with Carvana — and both have loan terms up to 72 months.

They both also allow you to return your car within seven days of purchase, which isn’t something you’ll find with traditional dealerships. However, Carvana is the only true online experience. CarMax offers home delivery on some of its vehicles, but you may have to visit a dealership to test drive your car or complete your financing application.

CarMax used car financing


About the provider
About the provider Same-day online application with preapproval — and up to three days to return your loan.
Best for
Best for Best for CarMax shoppers looking for same-day financing.
Requirements Not stated Not stated


(Amounts, rates, fees and more)


(Amounts, rates, fees and more)

Loan amount
Loan amount Not stated Not stated
Turnaround time
Turnaround time Not stated Not stated
Loan term
Loan term Not stated 36 months-72 months
Minimum credit score
Minimum credit score Not stated Not stated
Maximum credit score
Maximum credit score Not stated Not stated
APR Not stated 3.5%-20%
Rate type
Rate type Not stated Fixed
Annual fee
Annual fee Not stated Not stated
Origination fee
Origination fee Not stated Not stated
Learn more
Learn more

Bottom line

Carvana and CarMax are about equal when it comes to their selection of vehicles, loan terms and rates. Since you’re able to return your car and financing, they’re both extremely flexible options for modern car buyers. But because Carvana earns higher customer reviews, has an entirely online process and is more upfront about the potential costs of its financing, it’s our winner.

That being said, CarMax offers the option of visiting a dealership and chatting in person. For some, this can make the process much more simple — especially since you’ll get to inspect your car before you complete the financing process.

Overall, they’re both solid options for online car shopping. See what kind of rates you qualify for and compare other car loan options to be sure you’re getting the best deal on your next used car.

Compare more providers

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
Go to site
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.
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Written by


Kellye Guinan is a freelance editor and writer, specializing in consumer lending. Her writing and analysis has been featured on Bankrate, MSN and MediaFeed. She holds degrees in anthropology and German language and literature from Middle Tennessee State University. See full bio

Kellye's expertise
Kellye has written 132 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Personal, business, student and car loans
  • Credit scores
  • Car financing
  • Debt consolidation

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