Digital Federal Credit Union auto loans review
Flexible, low-APR car loans in all 50 states.
finder.com’s rating: 4.6 / 5.0
Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) offers auto loans in all 50 states for a wider range of vehicles than most competitors. But it only has full-service branches in two states. And its online banking system doesn’t have the strongest reputation.
Starting at 6.99%
First, do I qualify?
To qualify for an auto loan from DCU, you only have to meet the following criteria:
- At least 18 years old
- US citizen or permanent resident
What states are DCU auto loans available in?
While Digital Federal Credit Union auto loans are available in all 50 states, DCU only has full-service, in-person branches in the following two states:
- New Hampshire
What makes Digital Federal Credit Union auto loans unique?
Unlike many of its competitors, DCU offers auto loans for a wide variety of vehicles, including new, used, classic and antique cars, as well as mobility vehicles for drivers with disabilities. DCU’s stand-out features include discounts for DCU account holders and substantially lower rates for energy-efficient vehicles, as well as maximum loan terms up to 10 years for some vehicles.
What types of car loans does DCU offer?
DCU offers a variety of auto loans for both new and used vehicles, including:
- New and used car loans. Borrow Up to 120% of the purchase price of a new or used car with APRs starting at 3.74% and loan terms up to seven years.
- Auto refinancing loans. Trade in your current car loan for a new auto loan from DCU with APRs starting at 3.74% and loan terms up to seven years.
- Classic and antique car loans. Funding to purchase classic, replica or antique cars, as well as completed car kits. You can borrow up to 90% of the appraised value of the vehicle with terms as long as 10 years and APRs starting at 6.24%.
- Mobility vehicle loans. Borrow up to $100,000 to refinance or purchase modified vehicles for drivers or passengers with disabilities. APRs start at 6.24% with terms up to 10 years.
Whether you’re buying new or used, you have the option of purchasing through a dealership or private party. You can even finance a lease buyout or refinance your current DCU auto loan for a lower rate or longer term.
Other vehicle financing options from DCU
DCU offers several other vehicle financing options. These include:
- Motorcycle loans. Borrow up to 120% of the price of a used or new motorcycle with APRs starting at 4.75% and terms up to five years. You can also refinance your current motorcycle loan as well.
- Boat loans. Refinance your existing boat loan or borrow up to 90% of the sticker price of a new or used boat with rates starting at 6.99% and terms as long as 20 years.
- Large RV loans. Borrow up to 90% of the price of a new or used motorhome or camping trailer or refinance your current loan. APRs start at 8.24% with terms up to 20 years.
- Small RV loans. Cover 100% of the cost of a new or used snowmobile, ATV or other small recreational vehicle with APRs starting at 9.1% and terms up to five years.
- Personal aircraft loans. Take to the skies by purchasing a new or used airplane. You can borrow up to 80% of the aircraft’s appraised value with APRs starting at 8.24% and terms as long as 20 years.
How does DCU determine my interest rate?
DCU takes into account the following factors when determining your interest rate:
- Loan history
- Personal credit history
- Account relationship with DCU
- Payment method
- Loan term
What are the benefits of Digital Federal Credit Union auto loans?
From longer loan terms to a slew of discounts, here are a few perks of taking out a DCU auto loan:
- Extended loan terms. Depending on the type of car you’re purchasing, you could take up to 10 years to pay off your loan.
- Low rates. DCU offers the same low starting APR for both its new and used car loans — rare for a lender.
- Special rate discounts. You can knock 0.25% off your interest rate by purchasing an energy-efficient vehicle. And DCU members who set up autopay from a qualifying checking account can get another 0.5% rate discount.
- Multiple options available. Get financing, or purchase a car through a dealership or private seller. It also offers loans for antique and mobility vehicle.
- Wide state availability. DCU auto loans are open to residents of all 50 states.
What to watch out for
Consider these potential downsides before taking out an auto loan with DCU:
- Must apply online in most states. If you like being able to visit a branch in person to fill out the application, DCU might not be for you. It only have physical locations in two states: New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
- Complaints about its online system. Some customers have complained that DCU’s online banking system is unwieldy and difficult to navigate — not ideal since most borrowers won’t be able to visit a branch in person when issues arise.
- No free credit check. Some auto loan providers offer a free credit check as part of the approval process — DCU doesn’t.
Compare more car loans
What do borrowers say about Digital Federal Credit Union auto loans?
Digital Federal Credit Union doesn’t have the greatest reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as of July 2019. It only receives a C rating from the BBB due to its failure to respond to customer complaints filed against it. And it earns a meager 1.5 out of 5 stars based on 21 customer reviews.
Many borrowers complained that DCU’s online system was difficult to navigate. And others stated communication with customer service representatives was difficult and unclear. If you choose DCU as your auto loan provider but don’t live in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, be prepared to navigate most details of your auto loan online.
However, in terms of DCU’s auto loans specifically, reviewers were generally satisfied with the low rates and extended loan terms available. Many said they were impressed by how quickly their loan was approved and how fast they received their funds.
How do I apply?
Before taking out a DCU auto loan, double-check that you meet its eligibility requirements.
Most borrowers apply online, though you can also send a printed application in by mail or fax. And if you live in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, you can apply in person by visiting one of its 18 branches.
Follow these steps to begin the application online:
- Visit DCU’s website and hover over Loans & Credit Cards.
- Click Auto Loans in the dropdown and then click Apply Now.
- Select the type of loan you’re interested in borrowing.
- Continue to fill out the application with your personal details and information about the vehicle you’re interested in buying.
- Submit your application and wait to hear back from a DCU customer service representative.
It usually only takes a few minutes to complete DCU’s initial application. However, you might be required to follow up by email or phone if you don’t have all the relevant information available right away.
Most borrowers say they heard back about a decision on the spot when applying in person or by the following business day if applying online. And once approved, most borrowers report that they received their funding by next-day air mail.
What documents do I need to apply?
To apply for an auto loan at DCU, you’ll need the following information:
- Proof of identification. You’ll need a form of government-issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license.
- Proof of income. To prove you can afford to pay back the loan, you’ll need to provide a copy of your most recent pay stub.
- Purchase and sales agreement. This is only necessary if you’re buying a vehicle from a licensed dealer.
- Copy of the vehicle registration and title. This is required if you’re purchasing the vehicle from a private seller.
- Vehicle type, make and model. You’ll need to provide relevant information about the vehicle you plan to purchase, such as type, make, model and miles.
- Proof of current address. A utility bill, cell phone bill or bank statement with your name and address will be required if you don’t have a form of ID that shows your current address.
- Social Security number. If your Social Security number was issued after 2011, you’ll have to provide a copy of your Social Security card as well.
I got the Digital Federal Credit Union car loan. Now what?
Once you’ve been approved for a Digital Federal Credit Union car loan, consider setting up autopay to avoid late fees and penalties. You might also want to sign up for a DCU checking account — which can take up to a week to process — so that you can qualify for its interest rate discount.
Keep an eye on your bank account and loan balance. If you notice something off, reach out to a DCU customer service representative by calling 800-328-8797.
DCU auto loans may be a good option for borrowers looking for flexible, extended loan terms or those interested in purchasing a rare or specialty vehicle. But with branches in only two states, it’s not ideal if you like being able to talk to a loans specialist in person.
You can see how DCU stacks up to the competition with our guide to car loans.
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