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Compare car loans for students

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How to get a car loan as a college student.

Having a car can make student life a lot more convenient — and expensive. If you can’t save up money to buy a car outright or can’t ask your parents for help, consider a car loan. But finding a loan with low interest rates can be tough if you have little or no credit. Find out your student car loan options in the guide below. Car Loans

Our top pick: Car Loans

Get matched with a local car dealership to finance your car purchase. Bad credit, no credit OK.

  • Specializing in 'buy here, pay here' car loans. No banks or credit unions.
  • Typically hear back from a rep within 24 hours.
  • Free loan-matching service. No obligation offers.

    What types of car loans are available to students?

    There are two main car loan types to choose from.

    • Secured car loan. Secured car loans usually have lower interest rates because your car is used as collateral. If you default on the loan, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle. Check that your car is eligible before applying as some lenders place restrictions on a car’s age and condition.
    • Unsecured personal loan. If you want to purchase an older car or get a loan that covers more than just the cost of the car, consider an unsecured personal loan. You’ll likely need a strong credit history for an unsecured personal loan because they’re more of a risk for lenders. Interest rates may be higher, but if you default on the loan you’ll still have your car.

    Compare car loans for students

    Rates last updated November 17th, 2018

    Reveal your potential loan offers and rates

    Answer two quick questions to filter the loan offers and get the best one for you.

    Select your credit score range

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    Finally, select where you live.

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    Unfortunately, none of the personal loan providers offer loans for that credit score. If you are in urgent need of a small loan, you might want to consider a short term loan.
    Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Term of Loan Requirements Car Loans
    Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.
    Varies by lender
    Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
    Auto Credit Express Car Loans
    Get connected with an auto lender near you, even if you have bad credit.
    Typically 3 to 6 years
    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.
    LightStream Auto Loans
    Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
    Good to excellent credit
    Flexible terms
    Good or excellent credit, enough income or assets to afford a new loan, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
    RateGenius Auto Loan Refinance
    Connect with a network of over 150 lenders to refinance your car loan.
    Income of $2,000+/month, vehicle has less than 150,000 miles, no older than 10 model years, loan balance is at least $10,000, debt-to-income ratio: less than 50%.
    LendingClub Auto Refinancing
    Lower your monthly car payments and save on interest through a fast and easy online application process.
    Fair or better credit
    Minimum of 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.
    MotoRefi Car Loan Refinancing
    A car loan connection service for borrowers looking to refinance.
    1–6 years
    Must have an income of at least $2,000/month and have a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles.
    LendingTree Auto Loans
    Compare multiple financing options for auto refinance, new car purchase, used car purchase and lease buy out.
    Good to excellent credit
    Typically 1 to 7 years
    Must be a US citizen and 18+ years old. Must have good to excellent credit.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Rates last updated November 17th, 2018
    Name Product Product Description Min Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Requirements
    Boro Personal Loans for Students
    Get help paying for college or other expenses while you’re still in school.
    Enrolled in a US school, be a US resident or have an applicable visa; 2.0+ GPA or 3.0+ for graduate students, live in an eligible state.

    Boro Auto Loans for Students
    Car loans for international and college students with 4.49% (starting at) APR.
    US citizen, permanent resident or F-1, OPT, H-1B, J-1, L, O-1, G, A5 or C8 visa holder, minimum GPA, dealer in eligible state
    Stilt Personal Loans
    No green card? No problem. You could still qualify for a personal loan.
    Be employed, have a US bank account, live in a state where Stilt operates, hold one of the following visas: F-1 and OPT, H-1B, H4, O-1, L-1, TN, J-1, DACA or be a US citizen.
    FreedomPlus Personal Loans
    Consolidate debt and more with these low-interest loans. Cosigners welcome.
    Must have a credit score of 640+, debt-to-income ratio of 40% or lower and annual income of at least $30,000.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    How to find a competitive deal on a student car oan

    When comparing student car loans, consider:

    • Interest rate. Get the most competitive interest rate by applying to a number of different loan providers.
    • Fixed or variable rate. With fixed rates, your repayments stay the same for the entire loan term, but fixed loans tend to come with more restrictions on early repayments. Variable rates change throughout the life of the loan, but you usually get early repayment flexibility.
    • Fees. Take a look at the upfront and ongoing fees to get an idea of how much the loan will cost.
    • Repayment flexibility. Are you able to choose how often you make payments? Can you make additional payments without penalty? Can you repay the loan early without penalty? These are things to look out for.
    • Features. Does the loan offer any additional features? Some of these may include a preapproval, online account management, a car-buying service to help you find your car or discounts on other products and services.

    7 steps to get a car loan as a student

    Finding a car loan is pretty straightforward. Here’s how it works:

    1. Consider getting preapproved. Before deciding which car you want to buy, see how much you can borrow by applying for preapproved loan. This can give you more bargaining power at the dealership or an auction.
    2. Find a car. For private sales, look on car sales sites and the newspaper, or head to a dealership. Find a car that’s within your budget and in good condition.
    3. Compare your loan options. Start comparing your loan options once you’ve found the car you want or have an idea of what you’re looking for. Consider the interest rate, fees and features of the loan to find one that’s right for you.
    4. Check the eligibility criteria. Even if the loan sounds right, you may not meet its eligibility criteria. Lenders usually require you to be older than 18, earn a regular income and be employed. Your car will also have to meet eligibility criteria.
    5. Get your documents in order. Gather all the required documents that include a form of ID, pay stubs and information regarding your employment and finances (income, expenses and debts). Once you choose your car, submit the make, model and year, VIN number, registration number and purchase price.
    6. Submit your application. Depending on the lender, you may receive an instant response. Other lenders may take a few days to review your application and fund your loan.
    7. Buy your car. This can happen in a few ways. The lender may pay the dealer or private seller on your behalf or you’ll get funds to pay the seller directly.

    What criteria do car lenders have for used cars?

    Loan ProviderMax. age of carMinimum loan amountMaximum loan amount
    Auto Credit ExpressNoneVaries by lenderVaries by lender
    car.Loan.comVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
    myAutoloan.com10 years old$7,500$100,000
    LendingTreeVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
    CarsDirectVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
    Springboardauto8 years old$7,500$45,000
    Bluesky auto finance8 years oldQuotes available after you apply$30,000
    carfinance.com8 years old$7,500$45,000

    Car loans for international students

    Finding a car loan as an international student can be particularly tough: You likely can’t meet the income, credit or permanent resident requirements for most lenders. Luckily there are a few lenders out there like Boro that specialize in financing for people in your situation.

    You might also want to look into your personal loan options as an international student — often these don’t require a US citizen cosigner and can be used to buy a new car. And if you do get a car, make sure you get insurance you can qualify for.

    8 helpful tips for applying

    If you’re a student you may be working part time, be on a lower income or have a limited credit history. This can make it difficult to get a car loan. Use the guide below to find out how to get approved for a car loan.

    Compare car loans for students

    Ready to choose the perfect car?

    Since this is probably your first car purchase, you may want to stick to an economical car. Here are some tips that can help you narrow down what you need:


    • Shop around
    • Attempt to haggle or bargain
    • Ensure the vehicle you want meets the loan requirements


    • Buy the first car you see
    • Accept for the first loan offer you receive
    • Apply for every loan available — narrow down your choices to three

    Bottom line

    You might have trouble getting a car loan on your own while you’re still in college. But it’s not totally impossible. By working with a lender that accepts students or allows you to apply with a cosigner, you could be on the road with a new set of wheels in no time.

    Want to learn more about how car loans work? Check out our comprehensive guide.

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