CarsDirect review December 2018 | Bad-credit auto loans |

CarsDirect auto loans review

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Save time and effort with this lending service specializing in beginner-friendly or subprime car loan.

Having bad credit makes taking out a car loan that much more difficult. If you’ve been having trouble finding a lender that accepts your score, considering using CarsDirect. It’s a bad-credit car loan connection service that could possibly connect you with a decent deal. But as with all bad-credit loans, yours might be much more costly than a standard option.
Product NameCarsDirect Auto Loans
Min Loan AmountVaries by network lender
Max. Loan AmountVaries by network lender
APRVaries by network lender
Interest Rate TypeVariable
RequirementsMust provide proof of income, proof of residence, and proof of insurance.
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Must provide proof of insurance
  • Provide proof of residence in the US
  • Provide proof of income

First, do I qualify?

While CarsDirect doesn’t have any eligibility requirements to use its referral service, you’ll still need to meet some basic eligibility criteria in order to be connected with a lender. You must

  • Be employed or receiving a guaranteed income
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a US citizen or current resident

How does CarsDirect work?

CarsDirect is an online referral service designed to help you get started when shopping for a car loan, especially if you have bad credit, no credit or a past bankruptcy.

Rather than go through banks, credit unions or other traditional lenders — which can be wary of customers with bad credit — CarsDirect’s network includes car dealerships that offer in-house financing without running a credit check. It works by exchanging its traffic to dealerships for lower fees and better deals for the people it refers. You may be able to find better rates than if you’d visited a local dealership, but you’re also limited to CarsDirect’s network.

What types of car loans does CarsDirect offer?

  • Bad-credit car loans. CarsDirect puts you in touch with dealers offering in-house financing without running a credit check.
  • Car leasing. Rather than buy a car, you can lease one for an extended time. You may be required to put down some money upfront, but your monthly payment may be lower.
  • Car refinancing. Refinancing allows you to swap your old car loan for a new one with better rates, terms and fees. You could save money by refinancing, even if you have bad credit.

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Rates last updated December 15th, 2018

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Unfortunately, none of the personal loan providers offer loans for that credit score. If you are in urgent need of a small loan, you might want to consider a short term loan.
Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Term of Loan Requirements Car Loans
Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.
Varies by lender
Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
Auto Credit Express Car Loans
Get connected with an auto lender near you, even if you have bad credit.
Typically 3 to 6 years
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.
LightStream Auto Loans
Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
Good to excellent credit
Flexible terms
Good or excellent credit, enough income or assets to afford a new loan, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
RateGenius Auto Loan Refinance
Connect with a network of over 150 lenders to refinance your car loan.
Income of $2,000+/month, vehicle has less than 150,000 miles and is no older than 8 years, loan balance is between $10,000 and $100,000, debt-to-income ratio is less than 50%
LendingClub Auto Refinancing
Lower your monthly car payments and save on interest through a fast and easy online application process.
Fair or better credit
Minimum of 2 years
Car must be less than 10 years old with fewer than 120,000 miles. Current loan must have a balance between $5,000 and $55,000 and at least 24 months left in its term.
MotoRefi Car Loan Refinancing
A car loan connection service for borrowers looking to refinance.
1–6 years
Must have an income of at least $2,000/month and have a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles.
LendingTree Auto Loans
Compare multiple financing options for auto refinance, new car purchase, used car purchase and lease buy out.
Good to excellent credit
Typically 1 to 7 years
Must be a US citizen and 18+ years old. Must have good to excellent credit.

Compare up to 4 providers

What are the benefits of getting a car loan from CarsDirect?

  • Bad credit OK. A credit check won’t be all its lenders use to determine your eligibility. Lenders may also look at your debt-to-income ratio and monthly expenses.
  • No-fee service. Rather than charging you a fee, CarsDirect makes its money from lenders that pay a fee to be a part of its network.
  • More flexible lenders. Dealerships tend to offer more flexibility than traditional lenders. You may even be able to negotiate better terms than you’d find at a bank or credit union.
  • Saves time. Finding a lender that offers decent deals on bad-credit car loans can take a lot of time. CarsDirect cuts down your research, connecting you to lenders you might qualify for so you don’t have to do the comparisons yourself.

What to watch out for

  • Not much transparency. There’s more information about CarsDirect on its website than some of its competitors provide — but that’s nothing to brag about. You still won’t learn about the rates you can expect from its dealers beforehand.
  • Limited network. CarsDirect makes its money by charging lenders to become a part of its network. You might not get the best deal out there, just the best its network offers.
  • Lots of calls from lenders. A top complaint from CarsDirect users is the barrage of calls from lenders they to deal with — even well after signing paperwork for a car purchase.
  • High interest rates. Bad-credit loans generally come with high interest rates and fees that could land you in a cycle of debt if you’re late on a payment or default.

Is applying for a car loan through CarsDirect safe?

Yes. As a referral service, CarsDirect will share your information with car dealers so they can make approval decisions for your car loan. You’re under no obligation to accept an offer.

For a subprime resource, CarsDirect has relatively high customer satisfaction — it scores a 7.7 out of 10 on Trustpilot. It has three pages on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website: Two for “Cars Direct LLC” — one with an F rating and another with an A+ — and another page just for “Cars Direct,” which also gets an A+. Between all three pages, there are only two reviews. Both are on the “Cars Direct LLC” page with the A+ rating, but both are negative.

The main complaint: Customers were annoyed by how many calls they had to field — a normal hazard of using a referral service — and unpleasantly surprised by hard credit checks. While unresponsive to most complaints filed with the BBB, CarsDirect did take the time to personalize responses to negative reviews on Trustpilot — a good sign of its customer service.

How do I apply with CarsDirect?

CarsDirect is mainly for those who have bad credit. And because it’s a connection service, you’ll only have to fill out a basic application to be connected with lenders.

  1. Go to CarsDirect’s website and click Get Started. Cars Direct Application step one
  2. Complete the 60 Second Loan Request form and click Get my car. Cars Direct loan application step two

What documents will I need to apply?

The information you’ll need to provide will depend on the specific dealership you’re connected with. However, CarsDirect lenders typically ask for:

  • Proof of identity. Government-issued ID like your driver’s license or passport, or even a title for your home or other vehicles.
  • Proof of income. Generally pay stubs or bank statements are enough, although you may need to provide your employer’s contact information.
  • Proof of insurance. You can usually purchase insurance at the dealership, but getting it ahead of time allows you to shop around for the best deal.
  • Proof of residence. For instance, a recent utility bill mailed to the address on your ID.

What happens after I apply?

  1. Depending on the time and day you apply, you’ll receive a call from a CarsDirect representative within a few hours to discuss your options.
  2. Based on your finances, a rep will work with local dealers to find the car you want at a price that fits your budget.
  3. Visit the dealer’s location or accept a car delivery to your home or office for a test drive, which may come with a fee.
  4. Sign the agreement and pay any upfront fees required by your lender.

CarsDirect claims that people who use its service are generally able purchase their car from 24 to 48 hours after submitting their online application.

I got a car loan from CarsDirect. Now what?

Once you’re connected sign up for autopay — if your lender offers it — to avoid late fees because you forgot to make a payment. Just make sure to sign up with an account that won’t be short on funds when your payment is due.

Stay in touch with your car dealer. Keeping your lender in the loop on any financial difficulties you’re having could help you avoid paying extra fees or defaulting if you can’t make your payments.

I didn’t get a loan. What do I do?

Just because you weren’t connected to a lender through CarsDirect doesn’t mean there are no lenders in your area that you qualify for, just that there are none that match your needs within CarsDirect’s network. Try applying with other online referral services or consider looking into other types of car financing. If you have poor credit, you might be able to qualify for a credit union loan and get better rates than you can find at other lenders, although this might take more time.

Taking steps to improve your credit and pay off your debts can also help make you a more competitive candidate, giving you more — and better — options.

Bottom line

CarsDirect provides easy access to nontraditional car loans for people who don’t have the time to do the research themselves. You could find a decent subprime loan if you have bad credit. However, subprime borrowers tend to receive subprime rates, so your loan may cost more than a traditional car loan.

Even if you feel your options are limited, you may want to consider other auto financing options before committing to a loan.

Frequently asked questions

Anna Serio

Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    FlorenceDecember 10, 2018

    Can I trade in my current auto that is still under finance?

    • finder Customer Care
      ValDecember 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Florence,

      Thanks for leaving a question.

      You can. If you owe more on your car than the trade-in value is worth, you’ll have to pay off that difference first. If you owe less than your car’s value, then you’ll have some funds left over that you can put toward a new car. Hope this helps!


  2. Default Gravatar
    YvonneApril 4, 2018

    Can I trade in my current auto that is still under finance?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniApril 4, 2018Staff

      Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Yes, you can sell a car that’s under finance. However, there are two big problems to get around:

      -Most people are wary about buying a car with money owed on it.
      -You must pay off the loan in full before you’re allowed to sell the car.

      As you can see, solving the second problem also solves the first, so try to pay off your loan before selling.

      If you want to know more about financed cars, please check out this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


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