How to get an unsecured car loan

Find financing that isn't tied to your vehicle's price tag.

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With an unsecured car loan you won’t risk losing your car and often can borrow more than the car’s value to cover other costs like registration. But they can be hard to find and you’ll need good credit to qualify.

How do unsecured car loans work?

An unsecured car loan works like a personal loan: You don’t have to put up any collateral and therefore can borrow more than the value of your vehicle. You can borrow more to cover insurance, additional costs or anything you need.

However, unsecured loans You may also be subject to stricter eligibility criteria, like good credit, but your car likely won’t need to meet any criteria.

Compare unsecured car loans

Many auto lenders provide secured car loans only. You may want to click over to the “Personal loans” tab for unsecured loan options that don’t require collateral.

Updated November 18th, 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

Most personal loan lenders don’t require collateral. Some even offer specialized loans for car purchases.

Updated November 18th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
5.95% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
3.84% to 35.99%
Good to excellent credit
$100,000
Get loan offers from multiple lenders at once without affecting your credit score.
6.98% to 35.89%
600
$50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
3.84% to 35.99%
550
$100,000
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
34% to 155% (Varies by state)
No minimum
$10,000
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
3.99% to 35.99%
450
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
6.49% to 17.99%
650
$25,000
With over 80 years of lending experience, this credit union offers personal loans for a variety of expenses.
6.95% to 35.89%
640
$40,000
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
5.99% to 17.88%
680
$100,000
No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.

Compare up to 4 providers

Three factors to compare on unsecured car loans

The most important part of picking a lender is comparing the loans you’re offered. Here are some quick tips to help you focus your decision:

  • Check out the interest rate. Every loan offers a unique interest rate. Even if you have the best credit and a superb history, you may not be eligible for the lowest rates from certain lenders, so save yourself time and frustration by looking for preapproval to compare rates.
  • Consider the fees. Does your lender have an origination fee? A prepayment fee? These stack up and add to the total cost of your loan. Find a lender with minimal fees to avoid being nickle-and-dimed before you even set foot in a dealership.
  • Find the APR. The APR is the final cost of the loan. It includes the principal, interest and all the fees. By comparing the APR of different lenders, you’ll see how much one loan could cost you compared to another.

The benefits and drawbacks of an unsecured car loan

  • You don’t need to provide collateral against your loan, which means the application process is generally faster.
  • The loan amount is more flexible because you can use it however you like, including combining uses. For instance, you could take out a larger loan to cover debt consolidation and to finance your car.
  • The lender can choose to take your case to court if you default on your repayments.
  • The interest rates almost always are higher than secured car loans because there is more risk for the lender.
  • Because the loan has a higher risk, you may have to borrow a smaller amount than with a secured loan.

Be cautious of overborrowing

If you borrow more than the cost of your car, be careful not to apply for more than you can afford. Work out a budget to ensure you will be able to afford your repayments. These loans tend to come with higher rates than secured car loans, so take this into account when submitting an application.

Should I buy any dealer extras?

When you have an unsecured car loan, you can use your funds to purchase more than just the car. Dealer extras can be a good deal if you know what you’re getting and what you want to avoid. However, it’s often not worth it since you can often get the same service elsewhere for cheaper — if it’s even necessary at all.

You might want to avoid these dealer add-ons

Here is a list of common dealer extras and when you might not want to go for them.

  • Rustproofing. It may not be worth getting this done at the dealer unless you’re buying a used car. This is because many modern manufacturers will seal the car against wax and keep in under warranty for five to ten years.
  • Fabric protection. Generally not worth it. You can buy fabric protector and do the job yourself for much cheaper than the dealer’s price.
  • Paint protection. Much like fabric protection, you can do this yourself with a can of wax or have it done later for much less than what a dealer is offering.
  • Extended warranty. New cars usually come with a manufacturer warranty, but if you’re buying a used car, opting for an extended dealer warranty can cover any unexpected expenses after your purchase.
  • Prepaid maintenance plans. This depends on the car you’re buying. If you’re picking up a clunker or a car with an incomplete owner history, a prepaid maintenance plan may be worth the money. Otherwise, you might want to skip it.
  • Extra tinting. Most cars come with some tinting, and it’s usually cheaper to have extra tinting done elsewhere.
  • Extra insurance. Most policies, like GAP insurance, that are sold by dealers are usually unnecessary. Unless you’re prepared to pay a premium price for just in case, you may want to skip extra insurance.
  • Headlight protectors and towbars. If you know the dealer is offering a good deal, go for it. Otherwise, it’s likely to have them installed aftermarket.
  • Nitrogen inflation. Nitrogen inflation does have performance benefits, but you’re unlikely to notice. If you really want it, you can save money by having it done somewhere else.

Bottom line

An unsecured car loan can be a quick way to finance your next vehicle, but it comes with its own risks that you’ll need to understand before you borrow. Compare your rates and read up on personal loans so you can make the most informed decision.

If you’re interested in a traditional auto loan secured by your vehicle purchase, you can visit our page on secured car loans compare lenders.

Frequently asked questions

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