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Compare credit union auto loans

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Find affordable financing from a nonprofit lender.

Credit unions are nonprofit lenders owned by their members. While you have to become a member to join, you can often find more affordable rates and forgiving requirements than a national bank. However, they can take a while to process — and membership typically is only open to select individuals.

Compare car loans from top credit unions

Updated September 15th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score Loan term Requirements
Varies
3 to 7 years
Member of Geico FCU
Members may be able to score up to 100% financing.
640
Up to 7 years
Must be a member of Alliant Credit Union, minimum credit score of 640, DTI under 50%, and be 18 or older.
Low interest rates, but you'll need good to excellent credit to qualify.
Varies
3 to 7 years
Membership with Consumers Credit Union, residency, work, study or worship in lower Michigan or an immediate relative of a CCU member, at least 18 years old, legal US resident, be employed, plan to buy or refinance a car model that’s no older than 2007.
Find some of the most competitive auto loan rates at this credit union open to residents of all 50 states.
Varies
Up to 10 years
Active membership with PenFed
Low APR car loans from a well-known credit union.
Varies
3 to 7 years
A resident or employee in San Diego County, Riverside County or Orange County or immediate family or household member of a SDCCU member and employees of SDCCU Select Employer Groups.
If you’re local to SoCal, get a no-frills car loan with competitive rates.
Varies
Varies
Credit union member, US citizen or permanent resident, have age of majority.
Get an auto loan from a lender dedicated to serving military members and their families.

Compare up to 4 providers

How are credit union auto loans different?

There are a few factors that set credit unions apart. Credit unions are nonprofts that are jointly owned by their members, so they can often afford to offer more competitive terms and rates. They also typically offer longer terms, a wider variety of auto loans and a more personalized service than you might get with a national bank, online lender or dealership.

The main downside is you have to become a member to be eligible — sometimes before, sometimes when you apply. This can add another step to the application process, which is often already more drawn out than online or dealership financing.

What rates can I expect from a credit union auto loan?

Credit union auto loan rates typically start around 2.99% APR. That’s lower than your average car loan, especially compared to online and dealership financing. However, several factors affect the rate you can qualify for, including:

  • Credit score. You need to have near-perfect credit to get that 2.99% APR.
  • Debt-to-income ratio. Your monthly debt obligations usually can’t be more than 20% of your monthly income to qualify for the best rates.
  • Type of car loan. New car loans tend to have lower rates than used car loans at credit unions, regardless of your creditworthiness.
  • Model and make of vehicle. The lowest APRs aren’t always available for all vehicles.
  • Loan term. Often, credit unions offer higher starting rates for longer loan terms.

Do credit unions offer rate discounts?

Yes, you can often qualify for a rate discount by signing up for automatic repayments or using a car-buying service. Below are the discounts you can expect from top credit unions:

Credit unionRate discounts
Consumers Credit Union
  • 0.5% rate discount for signing up for autopay from a CCU account
  • 0.25% rate discount for signing up for autopay from another bank account
Alliant Credit Union
  • 0.5% rate discount for using the Alliant Car-Buying Service
Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Discount available to military members who sign up for autopay
PenFed Credit Union
  • 1% lower rates for using the PenFed Car-Buying Service
Geico Federal Credit Union
  • 0.25% rate discount for being a Geico policyholder or signing up for autopay

Can I qualify?

Credit union car loans come with two sets of requirements: membership requirements and car loan eligibility requirements.

Membership requirements

Credit unions are typically meant to serve a specific population. There are three main types of membership requirements for credit unions:

  • Geographic. Sometimes membership is only available to people who live in a certain area, like the San Diego County Credit Union.
  • Employment. Some credit unions are only available to employees at a certain organization, like Geico FCU or Teachers Federal Credit Union.
  • Donation. Many credit unions allow you to join even if don’t meet its typical geographic or employment requirements by making a small donation to a local charity.

Often you can meet geographic or employment requirements if a direct family member is eligible — even if you aren’t.

Car loan eligibility

Every credit union has its own eligibility requirements. However, there are some criteria you generally must meet with every lender:

  • Credit union membership
  • DTI under 45%
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Over 18 years old

Credit unions can be less than forthcoming about every factor they consider when you apply, which is one reason why you might want to prequalify first. This will give you an idea of what rates and terms you’re eligible for without hurting your credit rating with a hard credit check.

What types of auto loans do credit unions offer

Credit unions typically work with a wide range of vehicles that go beyond cars. You can often find:

  • New car loans. Finance a new car from a dealership.
  • Used car loans. Finance a used car from a dealership or private seller.
  • Lease buyouts. Finance the balloon payment at the end of a lease.
  • Car loan refinancing. Trade in your current car loan for a better deal.
  • Motorcycle loans. Finance a new or used motorcycle, usually from a dealer.
  • ATV loans. Finance an off-road vehicle, usually new.
  • RV loans. Finance a camper or mobile home.
  • Boat loans. Cover the cost of a new boat.

How to apply for an auto loan from a credit union

While the application process might vary slightly between credit unions, you’ll generally go through the following steps:

What are the advantages of getting a credit union car loan?

From its minimal eligibility requirements to its membership discounts, here are a few perks of taking out a car loan from a credit union:

  • Highly competitive rates. You can find a car loan starting at 2.99% APR if you have good credit — sometimes even lower.
  • Lower minimums. You can sometimes find car loans as low as $500 from credit unions, making it a better deal for a cheap private party purchase.
  • Personalized service. Credit unions often have the option to apply online, in person or over the phone. If this is your first time, you could benefit from having someone walk you through the process.
  • Fewer requirements. These nonprofit lenders are often friendlier to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit.
  • Membership discounts. You can sometimes get a higher discount by signing up for autopay from your credit union bank account.
  • Car-buying services. Many credit unions also offer a car-buying service to streamline the application process.

Why consider other types of financing?

Consider these potential drawbacks before applying for a car loan from a credit union:

  • Long turnaround. Like banks, credit unions can sometimes move slower than online or dealership financing.
  • Membership required. Becoming a member adds another step to the car-buying process. If you’re already overwhelmed, a credit union might not be right for you.
  • Potentially poor customer service. While loan officers can offer personalized service, credit unions tend to have a reputation for being understaffed or hiring under-qualified customer service representatives.
  • Longer terms are more expensive. Long-term car loans are already expensive, since there’s more time for interest to add up. But credit unions also tend to charge higher rates on long-term loans, making it even more costly.

Credit unions not for you? Compare online car loan providers

Updated September 15th, 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.
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.
Fair or better credit
From 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.
Lower your monthly car payments and save on interest through a fast and easy online application process.
510
Varies
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%
Connect with a network of over 150 lenders to refinance your car loan.
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

Bottom line

Credit unions often have some of the best deals out there, especially if you have bad credit. But they might not be the best choice if you’re looking for a fast, hands-off experience — the application can be complex. It also might not be a great choice for a long-term loan, since those tend to come with higher rates.

You can find out how credit union car loans stack up to other options by reading our guide to car loans.

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