When you’re in a hurry to buy a new set of wheels, you may be tempted to roll with the first auto loan that comes your way.
You can face the same temptation when you’re refinancing a car, too.
But you could save hundreds, and possibly thousands, of dollars by finding a vehicle loan with lower interest rates.
Low-interest rates create lower monthly payments which mean you keep more money in your pocket.
The best auto lenders offer low rates along with some cool features that could make your car buying or car refinancing experience more pleasant.
Top 10 Best Auto Loan Companies
These 10 lenders offer some of the best auto loan rates:
1. Auto Approve
If you like your car but you don’t like your car payments, Auto Approve may be able to help you refinance to a loan with lower payments.
This service specializes in helping you refinance to a new car loan with lower interest rates.
But Auto Approve isn’t actually a lender. Like almost every company on this list, Auto Approve is a service that helps you shop around and compare the best bank or credit unions. Comparing loans helps you find the best auto loan rates.
I listed Auto Approve first on this list because this platform has great customer service.
You’ll start the quoting process online, but then you’ll be able to discuss your needs with a dedicated loan officer.
The loan officer will help match you with loan options from auto lenders, credit unions, and banks around the nation.
Once you choose a loan offer you like, you can apply, finalize the loan, and start making payments 45 days later.
To qualify for refinancing with Auto Approve, your car can’t be more than 10 years old, and it must have fewer than 150,000 miles.
You also need a minimum monthly income of $1,500, and your current auto loan amount must be at least $7,500.
Auto Approve is BBB-accredited and highly reviewed for customer satisfaction.
If you’re wondering whether or not you can afford a new car, to begin with, LendingTree can help you find out — and find out before you visit a car dealership.
When you have access to sites like LendingTree, you should never again show up at a car dealership and submit a loan application hoping it’ll be approved by whatever financial institution the car lot uses.
Instead, you can find out, for sure, how much car you can afford using LendingTree’s online quote process
This service will run a soft check of your credit report — which doesn’t hurt your credit score — and then show loan offers based on your creditworthiness.
Of course, car buyers with good credit get the best car loan rates. Making a down payment can get you a rate discount, too. With many lenders, signing up for automatic payments will reduce your rate even more.
But regardless of your loan type, LendingTree can remove the guesswork. You can even use the service’s auto loan calculator to find your exact price range before you visit a car dealership.
If you like any of the loan offers LendingTree shows, you can then submit an application with that lender.
Unlike Auto Approve, LendingTree works if you’re getting a new car loan or refinancing an existing car loan. LendingTree works with both used vehicles and new vehicles, too.
Whatever goals you have for your auto loan, LendingTree is a great place to start your search.
As you can tell by its name, RefiJet specializes in refinancing your existing vehicle loan.
Like Auto Approve and LendingTree, RefiJet pairs you with loan offers from leading auto financing companies with no negative effect on your credit score.
You can find refinance loans on RefiJet for up to $150,000, with annual percentage rates as low as 2.49 percent.
RefiJet requires a minimum credit score of 580 and a monthly income of $2,000.
If you meet those criteria and your vehicle is less than 10 years old, your approval odds are strong. Your car can also have up to 200,000 miles which is significantly higher than other leading platforms’ mileage limits.
RefiJet will also process the complicated paperwork of a lease buyout loan for you.
4. Auto Credit Express
Auto Credit Express offers loans for car purchases or refinances. This platform partners with more than 1,200 different lenders which means credit challenged shoppers may even find a good fit.
Auto Credit Express does not set a minimum credit score requirement for auto loan applications.
It leaves this decision up to the platform’s different lenders.
Naturally, the highest qualified shoppers can access loans with the lowest rates and loan payments.
But some of Auto Credit Express’s partners may be willing to offer subprime auto lending.
If you have a repossession or bankruptcy in your credit history, give this platform a shot before you visit a car dealer that offers auto financing.
To submit an application, you simply need to be 18 or older with a monthly income of $1,500 or higher.
If you have a low credit score or short credit history, this platform is worth a few minutes of your time.
This marketplace could also match you with the right used car loan — whether you’re buying from a private party or a used car dealer.
This platform can also help you with lease buyouts or refinancing.
myAutoloan works with 20 leading auto financing companies. It’ll show you only the loans whose eligibility requirements you meet.
myAutoloan’s lenders won’t finance a car that’s more than 10 years old or has more than 125,000 miles on the odometer.
And, this platform does a hard credit check when you submit your application.
Too many hard checks in too short a time period could lower your credit score by a few points.
So use this platform only if you’re certain you’re ready to buy or refinance and only if you know your car meets the criteria.
myAutoloan also has auto loan calculators, tips on boosting your credit score, and educational content on car insurance and loans — all very helpful for first-time car buying.
RateGenius is a solid choice for a refinance loan or a lease buyout loan — especially for more expensive cars.
The platform generates offers for loan amounts between $10,000 and $90,000.
RateGenius also runs a hard credit check when you apply, so your score could be affected.
To qualify for a loan on RateGenius, you’d need a credit score of 550 and a monthly income of at least $2,000.
Qualifying vehicles must be seven years older or less, with a maximum of 100,000 miles.
If one of this platform’s partnering lenders denies your application, RateGenius will try with two more lenders.
If you’re serious about refinancing or doing a lease buyout and are ready to move on an offer, RateGenius is a great pick.
AUTOPAY’s sweet spot is refinancing loans, but they also match borrowers with a variety of purchase loans and lease buyouts.
As far as vehicle requirements are concerned, your car can’t be older than 11 years or have more than 125,000 miles.
If you have excellent credit (think 720 or higher), you could get car loan interest rates as low as 1.99 percent, but even if your credit score is average, you’re likely to find a lender with AUTOPAY.
The company’s minimum credit score requirement is 600, with a minimum income of $2,000 a month — both on par for most online lenders.
If you’ve worked to boost your credit since the time you took out your original loan, AUTOPAY can likely find you a refinanced loan with better interest rates.
What if you have a poor credit score, an unfortunate bout with bankruptcy, or no credit history at all to stand on?
Along with Auto Credit Express, you may want to look into Car.Loan.com.
Car.Loan.com works hard to match low and no-credit borrowers with lenders who have less stringent eligibility requirements.
Unlike some of its better-known competitors, Car.Loan.com does not impose vehicle, income, and credit requirements.
Instead, it leaves these decisions up to the different lenders it partners with.
Of course, there are no guarantees with subprime lending, but if you’re credit challenged, Car.Loan.com could be worth your time.
Just be aware that bad credit loans tend to come with higher interest rates and short loan terms, even with a good lender.
As the lending branch of SunTrust Bank (now Truist), LightStream comes with loads of experience and reputability in the banking world.
Lightstream offers just about everything you could need: new and used car loans for dealerships and private party purchases, refinancing loans, and lease buyouts.
Unlike the marketplace platforms featured in the list, LightStream is a direct lender.
LightStream is a stellar choice for borrowers with excellent credit, offering rates as low as 2.49 percent on 24 to 36-month loans. You can even get a rate discount by enrolling in autopay.
LightStream auto loans range between $5,000 and $100,000. You could even spread repayment across up to 84 months. This lender’s only minimum requirement is a credit score of 660 or higher.
There are no requirements for the make, model, and mileage of the vehicle, giving LightStream an advantage over many of its competitors.
If you have a high credit score and are looking for a loan with low rates and major flexibility, LightStream is a dependable and highly rewarding choice.
MaxCarLoan is yet another auto loan marketplace. This one offers a simplified, streamlined application for quick pre-approval on new and used auto loans.
That pre-approval comes from a soft credit check which won’t hurt your credit score.
On the subject of credit scores, MaxCarLoan lists no minimum score requirements, making them another service to consult if your credit score is on the lower end of the spectrum.
MaxCarLoan doesn’t enforce any income or vehicle requirements either. This platform touts same-day pre-approval, and you could get a loan completed in a week or less.
If you get approved for any loans, the lenders will contact you directly, filling you in on the rates and terms you are eligible for.
Honorable Mentions for Best Auto Loan Rates
Capital One Auto Finance
Capital One, the credit card company, revolutionized online auto loaning a generation ago.
This is still a great auto lender, but it didn’t make my top 10 list because you can use a Capital One loan only at select dealerships.
If you’re car shopping online, you’ve probably already come across Carvana.
This fast-growing platform for buying and selling cars also offers its own in-house financing.
Carvana’s financing can offer good interest rates for well-qualified applicants.
But before signing on with a car loan through Carvana, get a few quotes on the platforms above.
A lower interest rate can save you a load of cash over the life of the loan.
Bank of America
This huge national bank has launched a nice online lending platform. You can get good rates, especially if you’re a well-qualified buyer.
But I mention Bank of America here because it has a couple special loan products:
One for wheelchair accessible vehicles, which are very expensive, and another for businesses in need of auto financing.
Vehicle Loan FAQs
SHOULD I FINANCE THE COST OF MY WARRANTY?
Getting an extended warranty for your car can give you a sense of security.
But financing the cost of the warranty into your car loan will increase your payments.
And some lenders may limit your loan amount which would make financing the warranty impossible.
In a perfect world, I’d advise against financing the cost of a warranty. Before doing this, ask a more important question:
Do I really need the warranty, to begin with?
WHY SHOULD I REFINANCE MY VEHICLE LOAN?
The No. 1 reason to refinance a vehicle is to save money in interest. A refinance replaces your old loan with a new loan.
Car owners can often get lower interest rates if they’ve improved their credit score since buying the car.
Some vehicle owners refinance because their original loan required a co-signer and now they have enough credit to be the sole applicant.
SHOULD I GET PRE-APPROVED BEFORE CAR SHOPPING?
I think it’s a great idea to get pre-approved before visiting a car lot or calling a private party seller.
When you know your auto financing is lined up, you can focus on the quality of the car and getting a great deal.
COULDN’T I USE A CREDIT CARD TO BUY A CAR?
It’s not impossible, but it’s not a good idea to use a credit card to buy a used car.
Interest rates on credit cards are normally a lot higher than auto loan rates.
Also, the fixed-rate and loan terms of a vehicle loan will help you get the car paid off sooner.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AUTO LOAN AND A PERSONAL LOAN?
You could use a personal loan to buy a car, but an actual car loan works better because it’s secured.
A secured loan typically has lower interest rates because your car serves as collateral.
If you didn’t make the payments, the bank or credit union could repossess your car and sell it to pay off the loan.
With an unsecured personal loan, the lender stands to lose more money if you can’t make the payments.
More risk of loss means higher interest rates. And higher rates, of course, means higher monthly payments.
SHOULD I JOIN A CREDIT UNION FOR A CAR LOAN?
The auto lending platforms I listed above may connect you with loans from credit unions.
Credit unions often have lower rates than traditional banks since they’re non-profit organizations.
But they also may ask you to become a member of the credit union in order to get the loan.
If a credit union’s loan can save you money, you should join the credit union. Credit unions tend to offer great rates to borrowers who qualify.
DO I HAVE TO MAKE A DOWN PAYMENT TO BUY A CAR?
Many lenders do not require a down payment, but making one could get you a lower interest rate and give you more negotiating power when you settle on a price.
Many car shoppers trade in their old car to serve as a down payment.
Which Auto Loan Company Is Best For You?
Finding the right auto loan for you will depend on your credit score and monthly income. It’ll also depend on the type of vehicle you’re financing or refinancing.
Applying for and getting approved for a vehicle loan is easier than ever, thanks to streamlined online applications.
With the auto loan comparison tools and lenders above, you can see all of your options and quickly make an informed decision.
Check out your credit score with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and see what types of loans you’d qualify for.
Within a few days, you could be riding off the lot with monthly payments you can afford.
Other Auto Loan Companies Reviewed:
Have poor credit? Check out our list of the Best Providers of Bad Credit Car Loans.
(Rates updated as of 1/25/21)