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First Investors Financial Services auto loan refinancing review

Car loan refinancing for poor-credit borrowers.

So you want to refinance your car loan but your credit score isn’t the highest out there — maybe you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past. First Investors Financial Services could be what you’re looking for. This lender has been around since 1988 and specializes in car loans for poor-credit borrowers.

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Min. Loan Amount


Max. Loan Amount

Starting at 7%



Min. Loan Amount$8,000
Max. Loan Amount$40,000
APRStarting at 7%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Requirements510+ credit score, at least $1,500 monthly disposable income, vehicle eight years or younger with 95,000 miles or less, live in an eligible state, have a payoff value of $8,000 to $40,000 on current loan

First, am I eligible?

To refinance your car loan with First Investors, you must have:

  • A car loan with a payoff value between $8,000 and $40,000. This is the amount that you’d need to pay to close your current car loan, not the loan balance.
  • A credit score of 510 or higher. First Investors Financial Services specializes in poor-credit refinancing.
  • An eligible vehicle. First Investors works with cars, SUVs and trucks no more than eight years old with less than 95,000 miles. Discontinued makes or models, one-ton trucks, business vehicles, salvaged or reconditioned vehicles or those with a second lien are ineligible.
  • At least $1,500 of monthly disposable income. In other words, income after you’ve paid off your regular bills such as rent, credit cards, utilities and other monthly financial obligations.
  • Residency in an eligible state. You can’t qualify if you live in Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia or Wyoming.

What makes First Investors Financial Services unique?

First Investors is both a debt collector as well as a direct lender that specializes in auto financing for bad-credit borrowers — especially people who’ve filed for bankruptcy. You only need to have a 510 credit score to be eligible, though you likely won’t qualify for the lowest rates.

For an online lender, it’s also one of the oldest out there, opening its doors in 1988. This means it has years of experience dealing with bad-credit borrowers and has a solid grasp of your needs.

What types of car loans does First Investors Financial Services offer?

First Investors mainly offers auto loan refinancing. With this option, you take out a loan to pay off your current car loan, with more competitive rates, terms or more affordable monthly repayments. It’s a secured loan that uses your car as collateral.

Through First Investors, you can refinance loans with a payoff value between $8,000 and $40,000 with APRs fo 7%. Rates, fees and loan amounts can vary by state. For example, the maximum APR in Delaware is 24.95%, while in South Carolina it’s 18%. Some states also have a minimum loan amount of $10,000. The APR includes an origination fee of $15 to $25, depending on where you live.

You can also get a First Investors loan to buy a car directly through your dealership. Rates, loan-to-value ratios and terms vary — you’ll have to talk to your dealer to get more information about what you specifically qualify for.

What are the benefits of a First Investors Financial Services auto loan?

  • Low starting APR. For a bad-credit lender, its rates are competitive.
  • Bad credit OK. In fact, First Investors specializes in helping bad-credit borrowers save on their car loan. You only need a 510 credit score to be eligible.
  • No application fee. There’s no fee to apply, though First Investors charges an origination fee if you’re approved.
  • Joint applications allowed. If you share a car with a spouse or someone else, you can apply to share the responsibility of your car loan. It can also make it easier to qualify if your coapplicant has stronger credit or a higher income.

What to watch out for

  • Not forthcoming about terms. It’s hard to tell how much you’ll be able to save in the short- and long-term without knowing the range of loan terms it offers. You’ll need to prequalify to know what you’re eligible for.
  • Poorly organized site. While there’s a lot of information on its site, you might have to do some hunting to find information like loan amounts and APRs.
  • Origination fee. If approved, First Investors charges a $15 to $25 origination fee depending on your state.
  • Not available in all states. First Investors currently only offers refinancing in 34 states.

Compare more auto loan refinancing offers

Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score APR Loan term Requirements
PenFed Auto Loans
Starting at 1.79%
3 to 7 years
Active membership with PenFed
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No minimum credit score
3.9% to 27.9%
18+ years old, annual income of $4,000+, no active bankruptcies
Get pre-qualified for used car financing and receive competitive, personalized rates. Car Loans
Varies by network lender
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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.
CarsDirect auto loans
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Varies by network lender
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Must provide proof of income, proof of residence, and proof of insurance.
Save time and effort with this lending service specializing in beginner-friendly or subprime car loan.
Auto Credit Express Car Loans
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.

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First Investors Financial Services reviews and complaints

Several customers mention getting excessive phone calls from First Investors demanding payments — sometimes days before it was due. Another mentioned that when they paid off their loan early, First Investors charged all of the interest that would have added up on the loan.

Customer service got mixed reviews. Customers appeared to be generally happy with their experience when they needed help understanding how something worked. But a handful complained that representatives treated them rudely when they had a hard time making payments.

How do I apply?

  1. Go to the First Investors Financial Services website.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Apply Now under the New Customers heading.
  3. Fill out the required fields and read the disclosures before hitting Submit Application.
  4. Wait for First Investors to send you an email either accepting or rejecting your application. This typically takes about 24 hours.
  5. If accepted, wait for a First Investors loan specialist to call you to discuss your options and guide you through the rest of the application process.
  6. Review and sign your new loan documents.

Typically, it takes between seven and 10 days to send your lender the funds if all of your documents are in order. Otherwise, it’ll take longer; the average turnaround time is 16 days.

How to apply step-by-step with screenshots

What documents do I need to apply?

First Investors Financial Services asks for the types of documents your dealer might ask for, including but not limited to your:

  • Driver’s license
  • Most recent pay stub
  • Car registration

I got a First Investors Financial Services auto loan. Now what?

First Investors doesn’t charge payments until 30 to 45 days after the contract date. The contract date is typically up to 30 days after your last due date on your previous car loan, not the funding date.

There are several ways you can make your repayments, including bank transfer, debit card, personal check, Western Union, MoneyGram and Walmart Walk-In.

You can make both bank transfers and debit card payments online. Bank transfers might take a day or two to process, but paying by debit card comes with a $3.95 service fee and isn’t available in all states. Also, any debit card payment made after 8 p.m. ET isn’t processed until the next day.

If you have any questions about your loan or payments, reach out to customer service by calling 800-959-3972.

Bottom line

First Investors Financial Services could be a good option for car owners recovering from a dip in their credit rating. In fact, its one of the few options out there that specializes in refinancing for borrowers who have previously filed for bankruptcy. But you might be able to qualify for more competitive rates and terms elsewhere if you have good or excellent credit.

To learn more about your car loan options, check out our guide. There you can find out how different types of car loan financing works, get tips and compare more lenders.

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