Refinancing and lease buyouts — but watch out for poor customer reviews.
Looking to refinance your current car loan? Want to buy out your lease? You might benefit from wielding the negotiation powers of Clearlane, an online connection service. But it won’t be much help if you’re looking to buy a new car. And reviews from past customers aren’t the greatest.
No past bankruptcies and defaults on loans in the past three years, no loans or credit card payments with 60+ days late over the past two years, credit history of 36+ months, monthly income of $2,000+, US resident, ages 18+
Anna Serio is a trusted loans expert who's published more than 800 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Fundera, Business.com, and ValueWalk feature her professional advice, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
First, am I eligible?
Clearlane doesn’t enforce any hard eligibility requirements. But you’ll find easier approval if you meet these qualifications:
Make at least $2,000 a month
Have at least three years of credit history
No past bankruptcies
No loan defaults in the past three years
No credit card or loan payments more than 60 days late over the past two years
For those who want to refinance an existing car loan, Clearlane will also consider your auto credit score, your vehicle’s value and your remaining loan balance.
What makes Clearlane unique?
Powered by online bank Ally, Clearlane is an online marketplace that connects customers with auto financing — meaning that it doesn’t provide the loans itself. It offers competitive rates with relatively minimal requirements, making it a solid option for people who might have trouble getting a bank loan.
What types of car loans does Clearlane offer?
Through Clearlane, you can take out:
Car refinance loans. Save on your existing car loan by trading it in for one with better rates and terms.
Lease buyouts. Get help to pay for the balloon fee that comes at the end of a lease if you decide to buy your car.
Icing on the cake, Clearlane also offers gap insurance, which covers the difference between your vehicle’s worth and your loan balance if your car is totaled or stolen. Or pick up a vehicle service contract through Clearlane, which helps make expensive repairs more manageable.
What are the benefits of finding a car loan through Clearlane?
From its wide availability to its prequalification option, here are a few perks of finding a car loan through Clearlane:
No SSN or hard pull to prequalify. Learning whether you qualify for a car loan won’t hurt your credit score, and you won’t need to provide your Social Security number.
Wide state availability. Clearlane offers its services to residents of all 50 states except Nevada.
Negotiating power. An advantage of matching services is that you could qualify for a lower rate than you’d find on your own.
What to watch out for
As a connection service, you’re limited to offers from lenders in Clearlane’s network — meaning there could be better options elsewhere. Before using its service, you might want to consider these other potential drawbacks as well:
Limited options. If you’re not looking to buy out your lease or refinance an existing car loan, you’ll need to find a different connection service.
Prequalification doesn’t always lead to approval. Clearlane’s lax prequalification requirements can be misleading. Customers complain that Clearlane frequently rejects prequalified customers in the end.
Turnaround isn’t always fast. For at least a few customers, the application process dragged on much longer than expected due to mismanagement.
Spotty customer service. On top of a general lack of communication, complaints of employee incompetence are not uncommon online.
Lack of transparency. Because Clearlane is not a lender, it’s difficult to find information on expected interest rates, terms and fees. This isn’t uncommon for online brokers, but limits knowing what you’re getting into.
Compare top auto refinancing offers
Updated April 5th, 2020
Is it safe to use Clearlane’s loan connection service?
The jury’s out on this one. Clearlane isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but it does receive an A+ rating. It’s also not rated by consumers on Trustpilot yet, and online reviews elsewhere tend to slant negative.
Unlike other loan-connection services, the main complaint with Clearlane isn’t about constant phone calls from lenders. Instead, it’s about poor customer service and incompetent staff.
Backed by online bank Ally, web security is tight, however. Clearlane uses SafeLook encryption when you fill out your application online, and doesn’t require your Social Security number to prequalify.
How do I get started?
Clearlane doesn’t have any explicit eligibility requirements. But preapproval is more likely if you have a clean financial history — no past bankruptcies and no excessively late loan repayments, for example — have a couple years of credit history under your belt and make $2,000 or more a month.
Follow these steps to get started:
Click the Go to Site button to be redirected to Clearlane’s website.
Follow the instructions to complete the prequalification form. Carefully read Clearlane’s terms and conditions and click Submit.
Expect a call from a Clearlane personal loan consultant to discuss your prequalification offers.
Complete your loan application with the help of your consultant and submit it for underwriting.
You’ll then need to wait for a Clearlane consultant to let you know if you’ve been approved or not. While Clearline promises fast funding, in reality the whole process can take weeks. Prepare for a longer haul than advertised.
How to apply step by step with screenshots
What documents do I need?
Clearlane itself only asks for basic personal and vehicle information when you apply for a loan with one if its partners. Its partners, however, may ask for documentation that can include:
Your driver’s license. Your license must be current and reflect your current address.
Proof of income. Typically lenders ask to see a recent pay stub that states your monthly and annual salary.
Proof of residence. A recent utility bill addressed to you is a common way to prove you live where you say you do.
Your car insurance card. Some lenders won’t give you an auto loan unless you already have car insurance.
I got a car loan using Clearlane. Now what?
It’s time to start thinking about repayments. Consider setting up autopay to avoid missing payments and unnecessary late fees.
Ask your direct lender or your personal loan consultant if you can take advantage of any perks — like discounts on future loans for repeat borrowing.
And stay in touch: You can contact Clearlane at 866-677-8630 or email@example.com. Make sure to get your lender’s contact information as well.
Clearlane’s car loan connection service could be an option for borrowers who have a difficult time getting approved with a traditional lender. But prepare to deal with subpar customer service and general disorganization, if you believe past customer experiences.
Clearlane’s lenders come with their own citizenship and residency requirements. But it’s standard for lenders to require US citizenship or permanent residency for approval.
It depends on your lender. Banks don’t always ask for down payments, but dealerships likely will. Consider your down payment when calculating your loan’s affordability.
An auto credit score is based on your personal credit score, considering factors like unpaid debts and credit card activity. It’s used by lenders to determine how likely you are to pay off a car loan on time. It also has a different scoring range than you’ll find with a personal credit score: from 250 to 900, instead of 300 to 850.
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