Finding the right auto loan can be a time-consuming process. To find the best option for you, researching multiple companies is a must. Luckily, we’ve done the research on First Investors Financial Services for you. Whether you are looking for an auto loan or want to refinance an existing one, First Investors Financial Services might be an option — especially if you have bad credit or a history of bankruptcies that are limiting your lender choices.
About First Investors Financial Services
First Investors Financial Services has been around since 1988. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the company can service accounts in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., though it may not issue loans in every state.
The company works with both auto dealers and consumers to provide lending opportunities. As a borrower, you can finance a new or used car with First Investors Financial Services through a participating dealer. You also have the option to refinance your current auto loan directly through First Investors if it is not already financed through First Investors Financial Services or any of its related companies.
Although First Investors Financial Services offers a range of financing options, the company targets consumers with credit scores of 510 and higher. In particular, the lender focuses on consumers that have undergone a bankruptcy process in the past.
You can check out other auto loan options for buying a used car to ensure you find the best deal possible.
First Investors Financial Services: At a glance
When you are considering an auto loan of any kind, you need to consider multiple lenders. You should take the time to shop around and compare available rates. Finding the best offer could save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars over the lifetime of your loan. Make it a priority to explore the different offers that lenders provide.
New car loan APRs and loan terms are not readily available on the First Investors Financial Services website. However, some clues may be gleaned from S&P Global Ratings, which reports an average weighted APR of 13.49% for First Investors loans made through dealers and refinance loans customers make directly through the company; it’s the latter that makes up the bulk of First Investors’ business. Here is an overview of what First Investors Financial Services’ refinance loans are like:
- Loan terms range from 30 to 72 months
- Minimum loan amount is $8,000 (can be $10,000 in some states)
- Maximum loan amount is $40,000
- Minimum credit score required is 510
- APR range from 7% to 19.9%
You will be able to work with First Investors Financial Services for your car, truck or SUV refinancing needs if your current loan if not through this company or any of its subsidiaries. In fact, you may be able to refinance the balance of two personal vehicles in some cases. However, you cannot refinance commercial vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, or heavy equipment.
How to apply for refinancing
While you have to go through an authorized dealer to apply for financing on a new or used car, you can apply for refinancing online. Head over to the First Investors Financial Services website to get started, and click on the “Apply Now” button on the homepage to be taken to the online application form. The application process is free, so you can get a quote for your refinancing situation without handing over any cash.
After you distinguish whether this will be an individual or joint application, you will be asked to provide a wide range of information. You’ll need to input your name, vehicle information, Social Security number, date of birth, address, income information and more.
It is a good idea to have some documents ready for this process. Gather your proof of identity and residence and your method of payment as a start. You can find a full list of documents that you should have ready here. As a part of the application process, you will also be required to grant permission for the company to obtain your credit reports through a hard inquiry.
The process of filling out your information should only take about 20 minutes. Usually, you’ll be informed of the initial loan decision within 24 to 48 hours. However, this initial decision will need to be supported by additional loan verification documents that you will be asked to provide later in the process.
The entire process, from application to funding, should take between seven to 10 business days if everything goes perfectly. However, in some cases, it may take more time due to paperwork problems. With that, the average length of the process is 16 days. Throughout the process, you’ll be able to check your application’s status by calling customer service or checking on the website.
The fine print
- No prepayment penalty but you may have to pay an origination fee and notary fees.
- Income requirements for borrowers.
- Vehicle requirements for refinancing.
First Investors Financial Services seems to be transparent about its lending practices over the phone. However, its website left out details, such as APR ranges and loan terms for refinancing, that are critical to know when you are shopping around for an auto loan. Many lenders provide important details through their website so that the borrower has all pertinent information before considering the application process for refinancing.
First Investors Financial Services received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, though the company has also received only 1.5 out of 5 stars from customers, based on 15 reviews.
First Investors Financial Services will not charge you a prepayment penalty if you choose to repay your refinance loan early. However, the company does charge an origination fee and notary fees on some refinance loans. Plus, the company charges transfer fees on all refinance loans.
If you are applying to refinance your vehicle, your car cannot be older than eight years, and it must have less than 95,000 miles. It is sometimes possible to refinance a second vehicle, but that will ultimately depend on your specific situation.
You will need to be at least 18 years of age and have an annual income of at least $18,000 to qualify. When you get your loan offer, make sure to read through all of the details.
After you get your offer from First Investors Financial Services, you will have 45 days to decide whether to accept it. However, based on your changing financial situation, your offer details may be altered every 10 days. Keep that in mind as you go through the process, especially if you are applying for offers with multiple lenders.
Once you have your offer in hand, compare it to several other lenders to make sure that you accept the best loan offer possible for your situation.
Pros and cons of financing through First Investors Financial Services
As you consider First Investors Financial Services for your auto financing and refinancing needs, make sure to consider other options. It is critically important to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders. Even if you have bad credit, there are other companies that are willing to work with you on car loans. Without shopping around, you could be leaving an option that will save you money on the table.
Before you apply for refinancing, you may want to take a look at an auto refinance calculator to get an idea of your potential savings.
Every lender has its strengths and weaknesses: here, we’ve picked out the ones that stand out for First Investors Financial Services auto loans. You can then compare these with the pros and cons of other lenders that you come across in your search.
Highlights of First Investors Financial Services auto loans
- No prepayment penalty. If you take the opportunity to pay off your loan early, you won’t be penalized. Although this may seem like an unlikely reality, you never know what the future will hold.
- Options for borrowers with bad credit. First Investors Financial Services is willing to work with you even if you have a low credit score — the company is willing to provide loans for people with credit scores as low as 510. If you have bad credit and are struggling to find a lender, then this could be a good option. And even if you’ve declared bankruptcy in the past, First Investors Financial Services is able and willing to work with you for your auto loan needs.
- Payment date flexibility. If you need to align your monthly payment with your paycheck, then First Investors Financial Services is a good option. You will be able to move your payment date by up to 20 days from your original due date. It can be helpful if you need to carefully plan your stretched budget around big bills.
- Willing to work with non-citizens. It can sometimes be difficult to secure an auto loan or refinancing offer if you do not have citizenship in the U.S. First Investors Financial Services is able to work with non-residents with permits to provide financing options. If that applies to you, then this could be a good option for you.
Lowlights of First Investors Financial Services auto loans
- No credit card payment options. Although you can pay with a debit card in most states for a fee, credit cards are not accepted in any state.
- Dealer restrictions. If you are financing a car from a dealer, then you will only be able to use First Investors Financial Services if the dealer is authorized to work with them.
- Lack of transparency. While other lenders clearly list rates and terms for its refinance loans, First Investors Financial Services’ website lacked that information.
- No motorcycle or RV loans. First Investors only refinances auto loans, no motorcycle or RV loans of this writing.