Get competitive rates — with a bit of a wait — through this online marketplace backed by Ally.
You can find car loans at banks, credit unions or online lenders. But you might benefit from wielding the negotiation powers of an online connection service first.
We explore the good, the bad and the confusing of getting a car loan from one of these online brokers: Clearlane.
|Product Name||Clearlane Car Loans|
|Min. Loan Amount||$1,000|
|APR||Starting at 2.84%|
|Interest Rate Type||Variable|
- US resident
- Age 18 or older
- No past bankruptcies
- No 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+
First, am I eligible?
Clearlane doesn’t enforce any hard eligibility requirements. But you’ll find easier approval if you meet these qualifications:
- You have no past bankruptcies.
- You haven’t defaulted on a loan in the past three years.
- None of your loans or credit card payments have been more than 60 days late over the past two years.
- You have 36 months or more of credit history.
- You make at least $2,000 each month.
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 low 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 purchase loans. Apply for a term loans for new or used cars directly from your dealership.
- 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.
- Private-party purchases. Look into financing to buy a car from a private individual, instead of a dealer.
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 getting a car loan from 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 variety of loans. Clearlane offers financing that covers most people’s needs — though you might want to look elsewhere if you’re leaning toward a lease.
- 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
Like most brokers, Clearlane is limited to its network — meaning you aren’t exposed to all options out there. These types of lenders make most of their money from partnership fees, so your best interest isn’t always a priority.
Other drawbacks of getting a car loan from Clearlane include:
- Prequalification ≠ 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.
- Lots of paperwork. The online preapplication form is deceptively simple, but the actual application takes a lot more time and work. How much paperwork you’ll fill out varies by lender but could be a small mountain.
- Lack of transparency. Because Clearlane is not a lender, it’s difficult to find information on expected interest, terms and fees. This isn’t uncommon for online brokers but limits knowing what you’re getting into.
Compare car loan providers
Is it safe to get a car loan from Clearlane?
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 apply?
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.
You’re welcome to apply even if you don’t meet these criteria, but it could be a waste of time.
To apply for Clearlane’s loan-connection service:
- Go to Clearlane’s site, select your loan type and click Get Started Now.
- Follow the instructions to complete the preapplication. Carefully read Clearlane’s terms and conditions and click Submit.
- Expect a call from a Clearlane personal loan consultant to discuss your prequalification. You’ll go over your borrowing options and choose a loan that fits your needs.
- Complete your loan application with the help of your consultant and submit it for underwriting.
- If you’re approved, receive the funds to cover the cost of your car. How it’s disbursed ultimately depends on the type of loan you take out.
While Clearline promises fast funding, in reality the whole process can take weeks. Prepare for a longer haul than advertised.
What documents do I need to apply?
Clearlane itself only asks for basic personal and vehicle information when you apply for a loan with one if its partners. Its partners, however, will 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 paystub 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 the Clearlane car loan. Now what?
First, go get that car! That’s what this was all about, after all. Once the excitement has died down, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to get your lender’s contact information as well.
Clearlane car loans 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.
Before you decide on any car loan, be sure to compare your full range of options to find the best financing for your needs.