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Auto Loan

Innovative Funding Services Auto Loan Review

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

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Innovative Funding Services specializes in three types of loans: auto loan refinancing, loans for purchasing a vehicle at the end of its lease and fleet car purchases. While it’s not a direct lender, it is possible to check what rate you might receive through one of its 10 lender partners. We’ll give you an idea of what you might expect if you’re considering IFS.

Innovative Funding Services: At a glance

  • Minimum credit score: You might qualify for a loan through IFS with a credit score as low as 525.
  • APRs: As low as 1.89% for a fleet car purchase, but you may have to complete a full application in order to see what rates are available to you.
  • Terms: Up to 72 months

IFS functions as a go-between for lenders and borrowers in all 50 states interested in one of three types of loans:

  • Refinancing: It’s possible to save money by refinancing your auto loan, especially if you can lower your interest rate. You could check possible rates by filling out a form on Innovative Funding Services’ website, but you may not know your exact terms until you complete a full application.
  • Lease purchase: When your lease is ending on your car, Innovative Funding Services could help with the buyout process. Of course, you always have the option to turn in your vehicle and walk away or lease or buy another. Like refinancing through IFS, you may not know your exact rates and terms until you complete an application. You may be able to request a certain loan term. Rates for those with the best credit may be as low as 4%.
  • Fleet car purchase: Innovative Funding Services partners with Avis Car Sales to offer financing on its used rental vehicles. In other words, those who buy an Avis vehicle and finance it through the company will actually be working with IFS. We’ll talk more about the process in a minute, but the rates for buying an Avis car through IFS may be as low as 1.89%.

A plus of working with Innovative Funding Services is that the company works with borrowers who have credit scores as low as 525. If you’ve been struggling to get approved for auto financing through more traditional means, this online company could provide a viable alternative. They do not offer any financing for motorcycles or RVs, but IFS does provide a range of supplemental services:

  • Warranties: Covers eligible repairs for mechanical breakdowns.
  • GAP insurance: Guaranteed Auto Protection, or Guaranteed Asset Protection, is insurance that covers the difference (or gap) between the amount you owe on your auto loan and what your insurance pays if your vehicle is stolen, damaged or totaled. There may be times when GAP insurance is useful and others when it’s unnecessary, but it’s always a good idea to compare Innovative Funding Services’ rates with other GAP providers.
  • Road hazard protection: Innovative Funding Services sells a plan covering roadside assistance and damage from certain road hazards, but again, it’s not the only one. Compare rates from other companies, like AAA or other motor clubs or what may already be provided by your insurance company.

How to apply for financing

Before you start the application process, you might want to be sure that a lease buyout, auto refinance or buying a rental car is truly right for you. Checking your credit score can be a good place to start — it’s important to know whether you’ve had any major changes going into a new loan.

If buying a fleet vehicle or your leased car or refinancing your current auto loan makes sense for you, Innovative Funding Services offers a convenient online application that allows you to see what rate and terms you may receive without a hard pull on your credit. To fill it out, you’ll need the following information and documents:

  • Type of loan you’re seeking: IFS gives you several options: auto refinance, lease purchase or company car purchase, or the latter two with cash payment.
  • Application type: You can apply as an individual or for a joint application with a co-signer.
  • Personal Information: IFS asks for general information, like your phone number, address, birthday and citizenship status.
  • Annual income: The application also inquires about your income and rent or mortgage payment.

Once you’ve found a rate and terms you can work with, you’ll need to gather additional information for a full application including:

  • Current driver’s license and proof of insurance: You’ll need to have an up-to-date insurance policy on the vehicle.
  • Information on the vehicle: Specifically, IFS wants to see a photo of the odometer — and since it serves lease buyout and refinance customers, you’ll already have the vehicle in your possession. It also asks to see current vehicle registration, as well as a title if applicable in your state.
  • Proof of residence: IFS may also require proof that tax liens have been paid and previous bankruptcies have been discharged.

IFS will do a soft pull of your credit report for the initial application that allows you to see possible rates, but the full application will mean a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit. But it shouldn’t negatively impact your credit to fill out multiple applications any more than it does to fill out one, as long as you do so within 14 days.

It’s always a good idea to shop around with several different lenders and types of lenders including online lenders, credit unions and traditional banks to compare their offers so you get the best deal. Remember that it’s about more than the monthly payment — you’ll also want to consider the cost of borrowing over the life of the loan, as well as compare terms and rates available to you.

After you apply, you’ll have to wait a few days for the decision. IFS states that its application and approval process requires about three days for results. After you get your approval, it is valid for 20 days, and you can move forward with your refinance or lease buyout within that period.

Shopping and applying for an Avis vehicle

Buying a rental car can offer buyers good deals on well-maintained vehicles without the high pressure of a traditional car lot. But there are several drawbacks, too — you’ll be restricted to what’s available at the rental car sales outlet, plus rental cars often have high miles. Here’s how it works through Avis, though you can find out more here.

  • Look for cars in your area: You can search by make, model, style, price or mileage by your ZIP code.
  • Book a test drive: Once you find a car you like, you can test drive the car on your own for up to two hours at no charge though you will need to provide a valid driver’s license and credit card. A perk of test driving a rental car is that you can keep the car longer and Avis treats it like a rental — as little as $46 per day, up to three days.
  • Apply for financing: If you decide to buy the car and finance it through Avis, your application goes to IFS. An IFS Personal Auto Consultant answers any questions after your test drive and walks you through the application process by phone or via email. It also may be possible to use an auto loan you obtained through your bank, credit union or online lender.

The fine print

But before you start filling out the application, here are some fast facts you should know about Innovative Funding Services so that you can make the best choice for you.

  • Income requirements: You must earn at least $1,500 per month in order to qualify for financing from IFS.
  • Be in good standing on other loans: IFS will not lend to those who have open bankruptcies or a repossession on their credit report. They also require that you are not past due on your current auto loan or mortgage.
  • Vehicle requirements: IFS lenders will only finance vehicles 2010 or newer, with less than 150,000 miles.
  • Fees: The lender that you are assigned may charge fees.

It’s important to remember that IFS will not be your loan servicer. You’ll need to read any offers closely and look for any fees they might include.

Pros and cons of financing through Innovative Funding Services

If you’re looking at doing your fleet vehicle purchase, vehicle refinancing or lease buyout through Innovative Funding Services, there are a few things to consider. While IFS acts as a marketplace that selects the best deal for you from a number of lenders, it shouldn’t be the only place you look. Knowing what is available to you is key to getting the best rates and terms for you.

Highlights of Innovative Funding Services auto loans

  • Poor credit accepted: IFS is willing to work with those with as low a credit score as 525. According to Experian, a credit score of 525 would fall into the very poor range. Credit scores between 500 and 600 are considered “subprime,” meaning that it could be harder to get approved by other lenders.
  • Available in all 50 states: IFS works with customers nationwide.
  • Customer support: IFS offers customer support services six days a week via phone and email.

Lowlights of Innovative Funding Services auto loans

  • Limited information online: IFS does not give much information on its website about its lenders, the fees they charge or the rates or terms they offer until you apply. However, you could apply in order to see rates and terms without a negative impact to your credit.
  • Limited service offerings: This company is only for those looking to refinance or buy out a lease or a fleet vehicle. Innovative Funding Services does not arrange financing for new or used dealership buying or private party loans.

The bottom line: Who is an Innovative Funding Services auto loan best for?

This service is likely to be a good fit for someone who falls into the lower credit score ranges and needs to refinance for lower payments or to remove a cosigner. As its lenders are willing to take on loans for those with credit scores as low as 525, lower credited borrowers could be approved through IFS.

Those with poor credit and looking for lease buyout services and loans to buy a fleet will also find them here. Oftentimes, it may be difficult to obtain lease buyout loans if you don’t have prime credit, but this service could provide an exception. If you’re interested in buying a car through Avis Car Sales, you may also wind up working with Innovative Funding Services.

However, borrowers need to be careful and do their homework when considering this service. While this is true of any lender, this specific lender makes very little information available to you as a prospective customer on its website. Make sure that you’ve shopped around in addition to using this online service — even with less-than-stellar credit, there could be other offers available to you, so comparing them is important.

The rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

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.

Liz Knueven
Liz Knueven |

Liz Knueven is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Liz here

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Auto Loan

Citizens One Auto Loan Review

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

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You may have come across Citizens Bank in your neighborhood. Citizens Bank claims to be the 13th largest retail bank in the country. Citizens Bank has partnerships with different dealers for auto loans under the name Citizens One. Citizens One has over 30 years experience, making it a well-established choice for financing your auto purchase.

If you’re considering Citizens One for your auto loan, here’s what you need to know.

About Citizens One

If you’ve looked into applying for a Citizens One auto loan, you may have hit a bit of a dead end. That’s because Citizens One only offers financing through dealerships. The lender claims to have partnerships with over 6,700 dealerships in the U.S., across 41 states. This means you won’t be able to simply fill out an application online, visit a branch or get preapproved for an auto loan with Citizens One the way you would with many other banks or online lenders. They are willing to work with credit scores as low as 620, making it an option for a wide range of borrowers.

If you’ve been to Citizens One’s auto loan landing page, you’ve probably noticed that very little information is available on their website about their terms, rates, fees or other information that would generally be helpful to know before applying. While that probably has to do with the fact that their loans are only available through dealerships, it is not easy for a prospective buyer to find out what dealerships offer Citizens One financing. If you really would like a Citizens One auto loan, you will probably have to ask your local dealerships if they work with Citizens One.

Citizens One: At a glance

  • Loan terms up to 84 months
  • Minimum loan amount of $7,500
  • Financing for used vehicles up to 10 years in age and under 125,000 miles
  • 620 minimum credit score

Citizens One offers auto loans for new and used cars and trucks bought at one of their dealership partners, as well as business loans that could be used for buying equipment or vehicles. Citizens One requires used vehicles to be less than 10 years old and have fewer than 125,000 miles.

Financing for a Citizens One auto loan must be arranged through a dealership partner. Judging from the information available on its website, there is no way to tell which dealerships Citizens One works with, and in what areas. Refinancing is not available through Citizens One.

How to apply for financing

To get a Citizens One auto loan, you’ll have to go to a participating dealership and apply for a loan.

That said, it’s worth understanding how dealership financing works. Dealership financing works a little bit differently than when you apply through a bank or lender directly. However, you’ll need the same documents you’d need to apply with any other lender, such as:

  • Proof of income: Bring a paycheck stub or other documents to prove your income.
  • Credit or banking information: You’ll want to provide any documents that show other financial obligations (like mortgage or lease agreements, credit card statements, etc.)
  • Proof of residency: A recent utility bill or credit card statement will work for this.
  • Proof of Insurance: You’ll need to prove that you have insurance before you’ll be allowed to drive the vehicle off the lot.

The dealership will likely check your credit, and an inquiry for auto financing will appear on your credit report. The dealership will send your information to several lenders to see which will give you the best deal. At this point in the process, the dealer would sell the contract to a bank, credit union or other lender. This lender then acts as your loan servicer who you will be repaying.

It’s worth noting that sometimes dealerships can mark up loan rates in this process. We always suggest shopping around to find out what offers are available for your financial situation. Because very little information is available on Citizens One’s website, it’s hard to tell what their auto loan rates, terms and fees will be like. You’ll want to know exactly what’s out there for you. When looking into dealership financing, you should definitely make time to do your research before stepping foot in the dealership to buy. To do this, get quotes from several different lenders. You’ll want to go into the dealership prepared with other financing offers with which to compare a dealer’s offer.

When you’re ready to start applying to find financing, you have 14 days to shop for your auto loan without having multiple inquiries impacting your credit score. Use this to your advantage, and apply with several different types of lenders, like traditional banks, credit unions and online lenders. Then, when you’ve compiled and compared several offers, it’s time to visit your dealership. The dealership will then tell you what they can do for you, and while Citizens One might be an option, keep in mind that it’s not necessarily their best offer.

The fine print

It can be hard to know much about Citizens One’s financing simply because there is so little information readily available from its website. You can’t access information about fees, loan terms or rates online. A representative stated that interest rates vary by “state, credit and loan characteristics,” making it hard to tell what kind of rates Citizen One offer up front.

The fine print isn’t accessible until after you’ve applied at the dealership. Because many people get dealer financing quotes just before they purchase their vehicle, it’s worth shopping around before you go in to buy. Keep in mind that the dealer’s offer might not beat your other offers.

You should head into the dealership prepared with those offers. If you’re serious about a Citizens One loan, ask if the dealership is a Citizens One partner. If so, they’ll be able to tell you more about what rates, terms and payments that they are able to offer to you through Citizens One.

Pros and cons of financing through Citizens One

If you’re looking into financing with Citizens One, you should do your research on other lenders as well. Since the dealership’s financing offers will likely be one of the last you’ll get, you’ll want to have other offers in hand.

Financing through Citizens One can be tricky given the lack of publicly available information, but it is possible if you live within one of the 41 states where it services auto loans. The only states that Citizens One does not service are Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Highlights of Citizens One auto loans

  • Well-established: If anything, this is a company that has been around for many years and has experience with auto loans. They’re established in the lending space, so there’s some stability and trust for some that comes with that name.
  • Wide availability: With 6,700 dealership partners across 41 states, Citizens One has a comparatively large footprint in the auto lending industry.
  • Works with fair credit: Citizens One will work with those who have as low as a 620 credit score.

Lowlights of Citizens One auto loans

  • Doesn’t offer refinancing: This lender does not offer any other auto loan services like refinancing. If you find yourself in need of refinancing or other services later, you’ll have to switch lenders.
  • Very little information available: As a lender, they only offer their loans through dealerships, and give little information about their loans to customers directly through their website. As a consumer, you’ll need to know what options are out there before you visit a dealership to apply for an auto loan. It’s hard to tell much about this company’s auto loans up front, so your best bet is simply to be prepared.
  • Complicated online payments: Using their online portal for monthly payments can be difficult. In order to access their online payment method, you’ll have to provide your most recent loan statement or account number, and the last four digits of your Social Security number to login. Using this information every time you log in could be less secure and inconvenient than setting up a simple username and password.
  • Can’t apply online or get preapproved: Citizens One does not offer this option, meaning you cannot get more information on a potential financing deal until you visit a dealership.

The bottom line: Who is a Citizens One auto loan best for?

Citizens One auto loans are really best for those who will choose to go with dealership financing. Because there is no way to get preapproved for a Citizens One auto loan, or even know what the rates are before you apply, it’s not ideal for someone who wants to preplan their loan, or is on a strict budget. You’ll only be able to find out rates, terms and more when you have the dealership submit your information, so it’s not a great option for those who don’t have much flexibility.

If you want to get a Citizens One auto loan, your best bet is to ask the dealership you’re working with if they are affiliated with Citizens Bank. If they are not, you likely will have to check with a different dealership altogether, or choose an alternate financing route.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.

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.

Liz Knueven
Liz Knueven |

Liz Knueven is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Liz here

Advertiser Disclosure

Auto Loan

Regions Auto Loan Review

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

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Regions Financial Corp. offers banking and lending services to customers within 15 states in the South and Midwest. Started in 1873 and headquartered in Alabama, Regions has become a widely recognized provider of banking, mortgage and other services, and has even made its way onto the S&P 500. Amongst other services, it offers auto loans and auto refinancing to those who live within its service area. This is a bank that’s been around for quite some time, and does offer those traditional branches and locations that some find helpful.

Regions at a glance

Regions offers financing for both new and used vehicles, including private-party auto loans, which allow you to buy used from a private seller instead of a dealership. In addition to consumer financing, Regions offers auto loans for small businesses and commercial uses. Additionally, it offers loans for recreational vehicles such as travel trailers and campers, as well as motorcycles and boats.

Regions does have requirements on the types of vehicles it finances. Here are some key requirements, fees and rates:

  • What vehicles will it finance? Regions finances vehicles up to seven years old and with as many as 90,000 miles.
  • Credit score requirements: Though Regions does not list a minimum credit score on its website, it loans more money to people with good credit, 720 or higher.
  • Loan amount: Regions offers loans between $5,000 and $100,000.
  • Interest rates: APRs may be as low as 4.05% and as high as 12.96%, including a discount of 0.25% when you make automatic payments with a Regions checking account.
  • Fees: While Regions doesn’t charge a fee for refinancing, fees do apply to new loans. However, Regions has not provided MagnifyMoney with exact figures for those fees.

Of course, Regions isn’t your only option for financing your car. When it comes to getting the best possible auto loan, it always pays to shop around. Compare rates from multiple lenders so that you’re well informed about the rates and terms available to you. There’s more to loans than the monthly payment — consider things like interest rates, how many months you’ll have the loan, fees and the overall cost to borrow.

How to apply for financing

To apply for an auto loan with Regions, you can either visit a branch or apply by phone by calling 888-462-7627. It also offers an online application though you will need to visit a branch in order to complete a phone or online application. You will also need:

  • Proof of income. Regions defines this as two years of tax returns or W-2s, as well as two recent paycheck stubs.
  • Personal information like your address, name and date of birth.
  • Identification documents to complete the application, such as a driver’s license.
  • Vehicle information on the car you’re interested in purchasing. Information like the make, model, year, VIN (vehicle identification number), purchase price and the mileage if it’s a used vehicle.

Regions offers customer support services through email and phone, so help is available to answer any questions you have while working on the application. With about 1,500 brick-and-mortar locations across the South and Midwest, you can also go speak with someone face-to-face.

The fine print

When it comes to getting a new auto loan from Regions, there are a few things to consider. Let’s break down the fine print:

  • Fees: Regions does charge a fee for new auto loans. However, if you’re looking to refinance a vehicle, Regions waives its fee.
  • Interest rates include an autopay discount: Regions advertises rates between 4.05% to 12.96%. However, if you don’t already have or aren’t planning to open a Regions checking account, your rate will be higher. It’s worth noting that every Regions checking account carries a fee, with the exception of its student checking account.
  • Hard credit pull: Applying involves a hard credit pull, which could affect your credit. However, if you do all of your loan shopping within 14 days, multiple inquiries shouldn’t impact your credit score any more than one — all of the inquiries you make will show up as a single inquiry. It’s always a good idea to know what offers are available to you, so you’ll want to check with two or three lenders to see what’s out there.

Highlights of Regions auto loans

Regions offers competitive rates on a variety of auto loans, but it’s difficult to know at what terms. Other lenders give tables showing rates at which terms, but Regions only lists a range of rates.

Highlights of Regions auto loans:

  • Benefits for borrowers who already have an account with Regions. Perks like the autopay discount mentioned earlier make it easy for current account holders to apply for an auto loan.
  • The convenience of brick-and-mortar locations. Online lenders don’t offer this perk, so if that makes you feel more secure in borrowing, you’ll have that advantage.
  • Refinancing is available. Regions not only offers refinancing, it waives its loan fees and may offer complimentary GAP insurance, which has its own set of pros and cons. You may also be able to complete a refinance application online without having to make a trip to a branch.
  • Convenient applications. There are many ways to fill out the application, including an online application. However, you may have to visit a branch in order to complete it.

Lowlights of Regions auto loans

  • Best for good credit. Regions tends to loan to those with good or better credit scores. And for those who do have great credit, you may find lower rates elsewhere, including a local credit union.
  • Low mileage limits. You’re limited on vehicle choices, those seven years or newer and with 90,000 miles or less.
  • High loan to value ratio: Regions will allow you to borrow up to 130% of the car’s value, both a good and a bad thing. While it can give you extra cash to cover registration, licensing and other upfront costs, it can also make your loan value higher than your car’s value, which may put you “underwater” on your car loan.
  • Limited geography. Regions only works with borrowers in certain Southern and Midwestern states. Those states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The bottom line: Who is Regions Auto Loan best for?

Regions is well-established in the banking industry; you might already have a relationship or other accounts with Regions if you live in its service area.

Regions is ultimately best for:

  • Those with good credit: The lowest rates will go to those with the best credit.
  • Those who already have accounts there: If you already have an account with Regions or are considering opening one, it may be convenient to have multiple bills such as a home mortgage and auto loan in one place. However, those who don’t have a Regions account or those with excellent credit might find better rates with local credit unions.
  • Those living in its geographic range: To get a loan with Regions, you’ll need to live in one of the states it serves.

The rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

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.

Liz Knueven
Liz Knueven |

Liz Knueven is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Liz here