USAA auto loans review
No-fee financing with longer-than-average loan terms available.
finder.com’s rating: 3.7 / 5.0
Active or former members of the military and their families might qualify for highly competitive rates and a longer-than usual prequalification offer with this lender. But watch out for those long terms and deferment — they can cost you extra in interest.
As low as 2.59%
First, do I qualify?
To qualify for an auto loan with USAA, you must meet the following requirements:
- 18+ years old
- US citizen or permanent resident
- USAA member
To become a USAA member, you must either be a member of the military or a military family. USAA considers factors like your credit score and income when you apply, though it doesn’t advertise a minimum credit score requirement.
What makes USAA car loans unique?
USAA auto loans come with highly favorable rates and a wider-than-average range of loan terms. It also allows borrowers to stay prequalified for as long as 45 days — 15 days longer than what most lenders will allow.
On top of this, you can defer your repayments for as long as 60 days after taking out the loan.
What is a USAA auto loan?
A USAA auto loan is financing for members of the military or their families. You can use this to buy a car through its car-buying service to get the best deal. Or, you can use it to go to a dealership or private seller on your own.
You can apply online or even through your phone and prequalify in a matter of minutes.
What types of car loans does USAA offer?
USAA offers the following types of car loans. Loans start at $5,000 for terms up to 60 months on all car loans. Minimums start at $15,000 for 72-month loans and $25,000 for an 84-month loan.
- New auto loans. Rates start as low as 2.99% APR with a 0.25% auto pay and 0.5% car-buying service discount.
- Used auto loans. Rates start as low as 2.59% APR if you sign up for auto pay and use USAA’s car-buying service.
- Auto loan refinancing. Rates start as low as 3.54% APR if you sign up for auto pay.
In addition to this, USAA has a special financing program for financing vehicles designed to accommodate special needs. Interested borrowers should call USAA for details on how this program works.
What are the benefits of a USAA auto loan?
USAA has a reputation of offering solid rates and has an A+ BBB rating, among other benefits:
- Prequalify offer lasts 45 days. USAA gives you 15 days more than the average car loan provider to compare lenders and shop around for a car.
- Vehicle protection available. Opt for additional vehicle protection with no deductible and flexible payment options.
- No application or prepayment fee. You don’t have to pay anything when you apply or if you want to pay off your loan early.
- Inclusive financing. USAA has a special financing offer for vehicles designed to accommodate people with special needs.
- Car buying service. USAA’s car buying service powered by TrueCar makes it easier to find the car that matches your needs and helps you qualify for a 0.5% rate discount.
- Hold off on repayments for 60 days. You have the option to defer repayments on your car loan for as long as 60 days before they kick in.
- Long terms available. You can finance a vehicle for as long as 84 months as long as you meet the minimum requirements.
What to watch out for
Consider these potential drawbacks before taking out an auto loan from USAA:
- Only available to military families. You have to be a current or former service member — or a close relative of one — to be eligible for these loans.
- Potentially high total loan cost. While a 72- or 84-month loan might cost less in the short run, terms that long allow more time for interest to add up.
- Interest capitalization. If you choose to defer for 60 days, USAA adds the interest that accumulated during that time to your loan balance, making your loan more expensive.
- Poor customer reviews. USAA doesn’t have a strong reputation when it comes to online reviews.
Compare USAA auto loans to other car loans
How do I get started?
The easiest way to apply is online — you can even do it on your phone while you’re at the dealership. Here’s how to get started:
- Go to the USAA website.
- Click Products in the main menu and select Auto Loans.
- Click How much do I qualify for?
- Log in with your member ID or apply to join.
- If approved for membership, follow the instructions to complete the application.
What do I need to apply?
For the auto loan application, you’ll need to supply:
- Your personal information, including your date of birth and Social Security number
- Details about you or your family member’s military service
- Your financial information for monthly payments
I got a USAA auto loan. Now what?
Now that you have your auto loan, follow these steps to pay it off successfully:
- Sign up for auto pay. Automatic repayments mean you don’t have to take the time each month to log in and make a payment. And you’ll qualify for a 0.25% rate discount.
- Decide if you want to defer repayments. You can defer repayments for 60 days, but be aware that interest accrues from the first day.
- Make timely payments. Avoid the 5% penalty on your late payments by signing up for automatic payments or keeping careful track.
- Pay more than the minimum. To avoid excessive interest over the life of your loan, consider paying more than the amount required each month.
- Reach out. Call customer service at 210-531-8722 if you have any questions or concerns.
USAA auto loans offer low rates with terms of up to 84 months and no prepayment penalty, depending on your credit and loan term. But you must be eligible for USAA membership, which is only open to members of the military or those who are part of a military family.
You can compare other car loan options if you’re not eligible for a USAA membership.
Common questions about USAA auto loans
Car loan ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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Read the full methodology of how we rate car loan providers to get a better picture of what goes into each star rating.