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Auto Loan, Reviews

The Best Auto Loans: 2020 New & Used Car Loan Rates

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Just because cars are getting more expensive doesn’t mean your car loan has to break the bank. Car payments have been hitting new highs recently, and with the added economic pressure that COVID-19 may be causing, finding the best auto loan rate is more important than ever. To that end, we looked at more than 800,000 successful loan applications from over 28 lenders to find the best auto loan rates.

Best Auto Loan Rates
LenderNew Car Starting APR*Used Car Starting APR*Terms (months)Amounts
Best overall: Consumers Credit Union




Up to $100,000

Best auto loan rates for prime and subprime credit: Capital One





Best for midprime credit: LightStream





Best for a completely online experience: Carvana




Not available

Best for those with a military affiliation: Navy Federal Credit Union




$250 min., no max

Best auto refinance rates: Auto Approve





*Starting APRs may include an autopay discount.

Best auto loan rates overall: Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union

As low as





No Origination Fee


on Consumers Credit Union’s secure website

Don’t let the words “credit union” scare you off. Consumers Credit Union offered the lowest average APR across all credit tiers among lenders we examined. Joining the national financial institution only requires a one-time payment of $5 to the Consumers Cooperative Association; unlike some other credit unions, you don’t have to live in a certain county or work for a certain employer to qualify for membership. However, if you prefer to apply for an auto loan in person, Consumers Credit Union only has branches in Illinois.

Consumers Credit Union rates

APRs for cars that are model years 2018 and newer start at 2.69%; used cars that are model years 2014 to 2017 start at 2.94%. For used vehicles 2013 and older, the lowest possible APR is 5.49%.

Pros of a Consumers Credit Union auto loan

Getting a preapproved auto loan is important to getting the best auto loan rate. Not all lenders offer them, but Consumers Credit Union does.

Cons of a Consumers Credit Union auto loan

The lowest starting rates that Consumers Credit Union advertises includes a 0.50 percentage-point discount that borrowers can receive by making automatic payments from a Consumers Credit Union account. That discount is halved if you make automatic payments from another financial institution and it disappears if you don’t make automatic payments at all.

How to apply

You could apply on the Consumers Credit Union website or by calling 877-275-2228.

Best auto loan rates for prime and subprime credit: Capital One

Capital One



36 To 84



No Origination Fee


on LendingTree’s secure website

Known primarily as a credit card provider, Capital One is one of the largest banks in the U.S. Its size might account for why it’s good for borrowers on both ends of the credit spectrum: among lenders we studied, Capital One offered the lowest average auto loan rates for those with prime (740+) and subprime credit scores (579-). Capital One’s 3.39% starting APR is for new and used vehicles.

Pros of a Capital One auto loan

The Capital One Auto Navigator program gives car buyers a ballpark idea of the car loan rate they can expect and connects them to its network of 12,000+ partner dealerships.

Cons of a Capital One auto loan

The Auto Navigator program offers prequalifications, not preapprovals. This means you’ll have to fill out a complete credit application at a participating dealership. Only then, would you know your exact rate and terms. The dealership is your only car-buying route with Capital One — it does not permit private party auto loans.

How to apply

You could apply for a Capital One auto loan prequalification.

Best auto loan rates for midprime credit: LightStream




24 To 84



No Origination Fee


on Lightstream’s secure website

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*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.49% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $292.98.

The online lender LightStream offered the lowest average APR to applicants with midprime credit (580-739) among lenders we inspected. LightStream’s starting used car loan rates are the same as the rates it offers for new car loans. The company is a division of Truist, which formed from the merger of SunTrust and BB&T in 2019.

Pros of a LightStream auto loan

If you receive an auto loan offer with a lower APR, LightStream will beat it by 0.10 percentage points. And if you aren’t completely satisfied with your customer experience, $100 will be deposited into your account, provided you fill out a questionnaire within 30 days of closing on your loan.

Cons of a LightStream auto loan

The lowest advertised auto loan rates include a 0.50 percentage-point autopay discount, which disappears if you don’t enroll in autopay. LightStream does not offer preapprovals — although you could get a regular approval that’s good for 30 days and then go to the dealership.

How to apply

The only way to apply is through the LightStream website.

Best auto loan rates for a completely online experience: Carvana

Carvana Auto Loan



36 To 72



No Origination Fee


on LendingTree’s secure website

Across all credit tiers, Carvana is a popular choice among used car buyers. It offers “touchless” car delivery, removing the human element almost entirely from a car-buying experience that’s already online. This could be a major plus when COVID-19 is a concern.

Pros of a Carvana auto loan

Because it’s online, Carvana provides a lot of photos and information about its cars. It has a payment calculator on every car result page to help you crunch numbers.

Cons of a Carvana auto loan

Although it was a popular choice for the best auto loan rates, some other lenders offer lower average APRs. Plus, your vehicle choice is limited to what Carvana has in stock. Lastly, getting your car might be inconvenient or expensive if you live far from a Carvana center.

How to apply

Pick out the vehicle you want on Carvana and then click the “get started” button.

Best auto loan rates for those with military connections: Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal CU



12 To 96



No Origination Fee

Navy Federal offers the lowest starting auto loan rate on this list. But there’s a catch — you must meet a strict set of membership requirements. New vehicle rates start at 1.79%; late model used vehicles could qualify for rates starting at 2.29%. Navy Federal defines late model vehicles as model years 2019 and newer with 7,500 to 30,000 miles. Older vehicles or those with more miles qualify for rates starting at 3.89% APR.

Pros of a Navy Federal auto loan

You could potentially get an additional 0.25 percentage-point discount off the lowest rate if you meet two additional criteria: you are an active-duty or retired military member and you pay by direct deposit on a new auto loan.

Cons of a Navy Federal auto loan

You must have a connection to the U.S. military in order to qualify for Navy Federal Credit Union membership and therefore a Navy Federal auto loan. See Navy Federal’s membership page for full details.

How to apply

Once you are a member, you can apply for an auto loan online through your account or by calling Navy Federal at 888-842-6328.

Best auto refinance rates: Auto Approve

Auto Approve

As low as


12 To 84



No Origination Fee


on Auto Approve’s secure website

Auto Approve offered the lowest average refinance rates and was the most popular choice among 22 lenders we examined. It offers refinancing for cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, boats and ATVs, as well as loans for lease buyouts.

Pros of an Auto Approve car refinance

Auto Approve assigns individual loan consultants to applicants, so you’ll have one person who will guide you through the car refinance process. The company also handles documents for you that are required by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Cons of an Auto Approve car refinance

Auto Approve is not a lender, but a loan marketplace. It performs a soft credit pull to show you potential offers from actual lenders when you apply on their site. A soft pull is not always accurate and when the lender you choose does a hard pull, your final offer may be different from what you expect.

How to apply

Visit Auto Approve or call 844-336-3365 to submit an application.

How we choose the best auto loan rates

To find the best new, used and refinance auto loan rates, we analyzed more than 800,000 successful applications with dozens of different auto lenders made through the LendingTree platform from November 2019 through April 2020. We wanted to know: 1) which lenders consumers chose most often, and 2) which offered the lowest average APR over the course of a six-month period.

To find the best rates for those with military connections, we looked at rates offered by USAA Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union and Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, and chose the one with the lowest advertised APR for a traditional new car loan not including any other discounts that may be available, such as discounts for using a car-buying service.

What to do before getting an auto loan

Look up your credit score

Lenders sort applications into credit tiers. Tiers vary by lender, but the interest rate you receive heavily depends on where you fall.

Here’s an example of how different APRs affect the cost of financing a car.

Borrowers with the lowest scores could pay about $16,000 more in interest charges over the life of an 84-month $25,000 car loan.

How Credit Score, APR and Interest Charge Relate
Credit ScoreAverage APRInterest Charge
720 or higher





















Less than 560



Average APRs based on LendingTree users in May 2020.

Bad-credit car loans

If you don’t have the best credit score, don’t sweat too much. There are bad credit car loans available and steps you can take to improve your credit score. Ultimately, the rate that you obtain is determined by many factors, including your credit score and income, how much you borrow versus how much the car is worth, the car itself, as well as the loan term.

You could potentially refinance your bad credit auto loan after six months to a year for a lower rate, after your score improves.

Choose your auto loan term carefully

The length of your loan is known as the loan term. There are disadvantages and benefits of long loan terms. The longer the term, the lower your payment but the higher the amount of interest you’ll pay over time. For example, for someone with good credit, choosing a $20,000 auto loan with a 6% APR over 48 months versus 60 months will drop your payment by $83 per month, but you would pay an additional $653 in interest over the life of the loan.

How Loan Term, Payment and Interest Charge Relate
Loan TermMonthly PaymentInterest Charge
36 months



48 months



60 months



72 months



84 months



Use an auto loan calculator

To see the bottom line on an auto loan you’re considering, use an auto loan calculator. Here are three types of auto loan calculators. You could use the auto affordability calculator to help set your budget before you apply for auto loans. Then, when you’re car shopping, you could use the payment calculator to estimate your payments and see the total finance charge.

Estimate 8%-10% in taxes and fees

You’re going to pay more for a car than what’s on the windshield sticker. Taxes, registration and dealership fees can have a sizable impact on what you pay, about 8% to 10% of the car’s price.

If you’re trying to decide how much to spend on a car, consider the 20/4/10 rule. To see how a car might fit into your larger household budget, check out the 50/30/20 rule

Research add-ons

Dealerships and some lenders like to sell add-ons by telling a potential customer that their payment with a warranty is $500. What the salesperson doesn’t say is that the warranty costs $2,000 and without it, your monthly payment is $480. Research add-ons such as an extended warranty or guaranteed auto protection (GAP) before you head to the dealership so you’ll be prepared.

Common Auto Loan Add-on Prices
Add-onTypical PriceEstimated Increase in Monthly Payment
Extended Warranty



Auto GAP Insurance



Tire & Wheel Insurance



Appearance Package



Get a preapproval, not a prequalification

A preapproval is a firm offer by a lender that performs a hard credit pull. In a preapproval offer, you’ll see the maximum amount you can borrow plus your APR, loan term and estimated payment. It’s vital to get one because dealers can often raise customers’ auto loan APRs by as much as 2 percentage points for their own profit. Apply to a few lenders directly, without the dealership being in the middle, so you know what APR you deserve and get the best auto loan rate.

A prequalification is when a lender does a soft credit pull or no credit pull and gives you an estimate or an example of the auto loan you may get. When you do get a firm offer from a lender, it may be very different from your prequalification.

Apply to a few lenders

When searching for your auto loan, apply to a few lenders of your choice. All inquiries within a 14-day period count as one inquiry, so they will have only a minimal impact on your credit score.

Consider a cosigner. If your credit score or income is low, and you’re not receiving good offers when you apply to a few lenders, consider getting a cosigner. A friend or family member cosigning could make a big difference on being approved for an auto loan and in getting a good auto loan offer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Auto Loan

7 Reasons to Get a Preapproved Car Loan Before You Go to the Dealership

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

A preapproved car loan could prevent a dealership from overcharging you. It isn’t hard to get preapproved for a car loan — it simply means a lender reviews your credit and tells you how much you may borrow and what interest rate you could expect. An auto loan preapproval may seem like an extra step, but it will actually expedite your car-buying journey.

7 advantages of getting preapproved for a car loan

1. Knowing your budget

When you apply for a preapproved auto loan, you’ll typically list the amount you want to borrow along with personal information, such as income, the name of your employer and housing costs. If your bank, credit union or online lender approves you for that amount, you’ll start your car shopping knowing the total amount you can borrow, what your maximum monthly car payment would be and the price range you should be seeking.

Shop below your preapproval amount

Just because you can borrow up to a certain amount doesn’t mean you should. Aim for a vehicle priced 8%-10% below your preapproval amount to account for taxes and fees. There’s wiggle room here if you plan to make a down payment that would effectively cover those costs.

2. No more markups

Many car shoppers skip the preapproval step and go straight to the dealership to arrange financing. But dealerships can and often do raise customers’ loan rates beyond what the lender charges, taking the difference as profit. A 1%-2% APR increase can send hundreds or thousands of dollars from your pocket into the dealer’s wallet. An auto loan preapproval cuts out the middleman, giving you a huge advantage.

3. A stronger negotiating position

One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying a car is focusing on the monthly car payment. By getting an auto loan preapproval and knowing your total possible loan amount, you’re set up to focus on total price instead. That makes it harder for the salesperson to pad the deal with extras you might not even want. The dealer may even lower the car price to meet your budget.

Negotiate for a lower APR

In addition to negotiating a lower car price, leverage your car preapproval for a lower APR. Dealerships may be able to beat your preapproved rate, especially if they want to keep your business.

4. Protection from add-ons

Extras like rustproofing and window tinting are easier to slip into your car loan if you’re only focused on the monthly car payment. You might not notice a $5 increase in your monthly payment, but you’d probably raise an eyebrow if the total cost jumped by $900. If the dealer wants to upsell you, they’ll have to explain why the total price has changed.

5. Freedom to find another dealer

With an auto loan preapproval, you can act as a cash buyer. Rather than being tied to the one dealership where you did a credit application with its particular lender partners, you can comfortably check out multiple dealerships if you want. An auto loan preapproval is portable.

6. Save time

No one likes to spend time at a dealership, but car buying can take the entire day if you’re not prepared. When you have an auto loan preapproval, you can cut to the chase — you already know your price range, down payment amount, maximum monthly payment, lender and APR. By doing what is arguably the most difficult part of car buying ahead of time, you should be able to cut down on time in the sharkpool.

7. Less stress

Having a preapproved car loan lessens the stress of making a major purchase. You know what you qualify for and won’t be fooled into paying a higher price or APR than you deserve.

How do preapproved car loans work?

When a lender preapproves your auto loan, it means the lender agrees to finance a car for you up to a certain amount, at a certain APR for a specific time.

Preapproval vs. prequalification

A prequalification is a soft offer in which most lenders do not pull your credit. This means your actual loan offer might be very different, because lenders will perform a hard pull on your credit and get a fuller picture of your credit history once you fill out the full loan application.

A preapproval, on the other hand, is a firm offer by a lender. The offer will include a loan term, APR, the maximum amount to be borrowed and an estimated payment. Some lenders require that you choose a specific car for the preapproval, but you could change the vehicle after you test-drive and decide on the car you want.

Preapproved Car Loan

How to get preapproved for a car loan: 5 steps

Step 1: Figure out how much you want to borrow

You probably don’t need to know the exact car you want to buy, but it helps if you’ve got a figure in mind for how much money you want to borrow from the bank, credit union or online lender.

Step 2: Gather documentation

The preapproval application may ask for:

  • Personal details, such as address, date of birth and Social Security number
  • Employment information, including where you work and how much you make each month
  • A basic idea of the vehicle you want (i.e. new or used)
  • Loan information, including how much you want to borrow and for how long
  • Your assets and debts, such as how much you have in your checking and savings accounts, or the value of your stocks, bonds and debts

Step 3: Fill out the application

Visit the lender’s website or go to a bank or credit union branch in person. You can request a preapproval from multiple lenders, which is a smart way to get the best deal possible. Some lenders, such as LightStream, even have a program where they’ll agree to beat any competitor’s rate you can find that’s lower than theirs.

Step 4: Shop with your preapproval

If you are preapproved, the lender will tell you how much financing you qualify for, your loan APR and term. The preapproval offer is likely good only for a certain time, typically 30-60 days, so it’s time to get shopping.

If the dealership beats your preapproval offer with a lower rate, or you change your mind about that particular lender or decide not to buy a car, you’re under no obligation to use the preapproval; simply let it lapse.

Here’s what else you’ll need to bring when buying a vehicle.

Step 5: Use your preapproval

If and when you use your preapproval, contact the lender and supply it with the information it needs about the exact car you purchased: year, make, model, mileage and VIN.

The lender will guide you through finalizing the loan.

Where to find a preapproved auto loan

Many lenders offer preapprovals for auto loans, including most of those on our list of best auto loans. Start with your current bank, but check with the competition, too — some of the lowest rates can be found at credit unions and online lenders.

It won’t hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one, as long as you do so within a 14-day window. Some credit-scoring models allow up to 45 days. It’s smart to apply to a few places so you can compare offers. Don’t just fill out one application and think that’s the best you can get.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

Capital One Auto Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

A Capital One auto loan could be good for car buyers seeking to prequalify for an auto loan on a new or used car from a dealership. If you’re going into the dealership without first shopping around for an auto loan, then you may be leaving money on the table. That’s because the dealership may not offer your best rate.

However, Capital One Auto Finance won’t be a good fit for those interested in buying a car from a private seller or even a wider selection of dealerships than those on the Capital One network.

What is Capital One?

Capital One is the eighth largest bank in the U.S. by assets. It offers personal banking products including deposit accounts, credit cards and loans, as well as small business and commercial banking products. Its auto financing arm provides loans for new and used vehicles as well as refinance loans. You could even search for cars near your location through Capital One’s website, apply for prequalification and finish up the paperwork at the dealer.

Capital One auto loan details

Capital One Auto Loan Rates and Terms
New and UsedRefinance

Starting APR




36-84 months

24-72 months


Starting at $4,000



No application fee or early payoff penalty

Vehicle Restrictions

10 years old or newer with fewer than 120,000 miles

7 years old or newer and not currently financed through Capital One

Do you qualify for a Capital One auto loan?

The rate you receive depends on the vehicle, your loan term and amount, credit history and loan-to-value ratio. Capital One considers a wide range of credit scores. If you’re looking to refinance your car loan with Capital One, you will need to be up to date on your current car payment and if applicable, your mortgage loan. Your current auto lender must be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).

Capital One Auto Navigator

Rather than speculate on whether you could be approved for an auto loan, you could prequalify online with the Capital One Auto Navigator program. You could also apply for a Capital One auto loan at one of its participating 12,000 dealership partners – search the directory here.

No matter how you apply, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Have a valid address in 48 states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Earn a minimum monthly income of $1,500 to $1,800, depending on your credit qualifications.

How it works

One of the advantages of using the Auto Navigator program is that it has no impact on your credit score. Keep in mind that a prequalification is different from a preapproved car loan — your final rates and terms could change, depending on your full credit application.

1. Apply at Capital One Auto Navigator

On the online form, you will need to supply:

  • Personal information: Name, email, phone number and Social Security number.
  • Residential information: Address, duration at current address, whether you rent or own and monthly house expenses.
  • Employment information: Employer, length of employment and gross annual income.

You may be asked to upload proof of your residence or employment such as a copy of a utility bill or pay stubs.

2. Find a car on the Auto Navigator site

Capital One only finances vehicles from partner dealerships. But it partners with about 12,000 dealerships, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one near you.

3. Visit the dealer

Take your prequalification offer with you and test-drive the car or cars that attracted you to see if they’re up to snuff. Here’s our advice on how to negotiate car prices.

4. Finalize the application

The dealer will finalize your Capital One auto loan application with the price you negotiated on your car, the price you got on your trade-in (if applicable), any add-ons you want and all appropriate taxes and fees.

Pros and cons of Capital One Auto Finance

A prequalification that doesn’t involve a hard credit pull is a nice perk, but that prequalification offer is only good at participating dealers. You’ll have to look elsewhere for financing if you’re searching for a private party auto loan. Here are other areas where Capital One auto loans stand out or fall short.

Capital One auto loan pros

  • Easy prequalification. Prequalification can be done online and doesn’t affect your credit score.
  • Rates. Capital One offers competitive rates, but be sure to get multiple loan offers to compare.
  • Terms. Capital One offers a wide range of terms to fit your needs.
  • Fees. Capital One does not charge any fees to apply for an auto loan.

Capital One auto loan cons

  • Personal use only. You won’t be able to purchase a vehicle for business use with Capital One.
  • No specialty vehicles. You can’t finance a boat, RV or motorcycle with a Capital One auto loan.
  • Vehicle restrictions. Capital One finances cars, SUVs and trucks up to 10 years old with 120,000 miles. In some cases, you may be able to finance a slightly older vehicle with fewer than 150,000 miles. Capital One does not finance Oldsmobile, Daewoo, Saab, Suzuki or Isuzu vehicles.
  • No lease buyouts or private party auto loans. To finance with Capital One, you’ll need to buy a new or used car from a dealership, not from a leasing company or private person.
  • Limited dealerships. Keep in mind that although Capital One has a large network of dealerships, it may not include the particular dealer you had in mind.

Comparable auto loans

Capital One ranks among the best auto loans listed on our site, but it’s always a good idea to see how it stacks up to other lenders.

Capital One vs. Chase

Chase auto loan APRs (annual percentage rates) may offer a chance at lower APRs than Capital One, as low as 3.04%. APRs can be higher or lower depending on your credit, location, term and loan amount as well as the type of vehicle you’re buying.

Like Capital One, Chase offers a way to browse vehicles through its Chase Auto Preferred program, though it’s currently only offered in Arizona and Texas. You can get prequalified online or apply online. A benefit of going through the full application online is that you will not need to apply for credit again at the dealer. Chase auto loans start at $4,000 but terms aren’t quite as generous as Capital One’s – Chase loan terms start at 48 months instead of 36, so may be best for those who plan to buy a newer car for a larger amount.

Capital One vs. Bank of America

Bank of America auto loan APRs start as low as 2.69%, the lowest of all when compared with Capital One or Chase. Like its competitors, you’ll need to take one of its auto loans to an approved dealership. However, unlike Capital One or Chase, you may use a Bank of America auto loan to buy from a private seller. You can also buy out your leased vehicle, something Capital One doesn’t allow.

Like Capital One, you may shop for a car online where it’s also possible to apply for financing. Bank of America does not offer a prequalification process.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.