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Auto Loan

Exeter Finance 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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For subprime borrowers, there’s a lot of uncertainty when it’s time to get a car loan. Although borrowers with bad credit may be able to get financing for their car, they generally have to pay higher interest rates, make larger down payments or add a cosigner to get the loan they need. Those with a history of late payments, judgements, defaults or repossessions also could have a difficult time finding a lender.

Exeter Finance is one option for subprime borrowers. It works directly with franchised dealerships, so the application process starts in the finance and insurance (F&I) office. If you’re trying to decide if Exeter Finance is right for you, here’s what you need to know.

About Exeter Finance

Exeter Finance, based in Irving, Texas, is a 13-year-old company that specializes in offering subprime loans to credit-challenged customers. The company offers new and used car loans through franchised dealers to those with credit scores as low as 575.

Loans are only available through F&I departments located inside car dealerships that have a relationship with Exeter Finance; you can’t apply for a loan directly through Exeter. However, Exeter is available in participating franchised dealerships in every state in the U.S. except Hawaii.

Exeter: At a glance

If you are looking at Exeter Finance, here are some key points to keep in mind so you can better compare it against other options:

  • Loan amounts start at $6,000
  • Terms vary according to financial information and credit scores, but APRs can be as low as 5% and as high as 29%
  • Loans terms can be as long as 72 months (six years)

Exeter can finance both new and used cars, though you must go through a dealership to apply. Exeter does not refinance current car loans.

How to apply for financing

Exeter Finance provides subprime auto loans through the dealerships it works with. If a borrower has a low credit score, they may be able to get a car loan through a subprime lender like Exeter.

Subprime auto lenders require the same type of personal information to qualify an applicant as other mainstream lenders like banks and credit unions. The F&I department at the dealership typically collects the following information:

  • Legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Current and former address
  • Current and previous employers
  • Income sources
  • Total gross monthly income
  • Current debt obligations

To make the process faster, when it’s time to apply for dealer-arranged financing, be sure to bring a government-issued photo ID (like a valid driver’s license or current passport) and recent pay stubs, 1099 forms and bank statements. Here’s a full list of the documents to bring when buying a car.

Additionally, the F&I department will get the applicant’s permission to conduct a hard pull on their credit report. Depending on how many new credit accounts you’ve opened recently and your recent number of credit inquiries, a hard pull on your credit may negatively affect your FICO credit score.

It’s smart to shop around for the best interest rate when you look for an auto loan. You can do so without worrying about the impact of multiple hard pulls to your credit because the FICO credit scoring model groups credit inquiries for auto financing within a 14-day window and counts them as one.

Another option is getting pre-approved for a loan separate from the dealership, which requires the same information and documents. Shopping around for the best possible terms on an auto loan before approaching a dealership may allow you to save money by paying a lower interest rate. You may also get better terms by applying for auto loans through an online marketplace.

Borrowers who choose to get pre-approved before they go car shopping can take their pre-approval documents with them to the dealership and ask the F&I department if it’s possible to get a better deal.

The fine print

Fees associated with taking out a car loan with Exeter Finance are not listed on its website. Like other subprime lenders, Exeter Finance may charge a loan origination fee and late fees, but does not charge a prepayment penalty. Borrowers should carefully review all charges and fees with the finance specialist at the car dealership before agreeing to use Exeter Finance to get a car loan. It’s crucial to understand the interest rate on the loan and make a note of the first payment due date.

As soon as possible after receiving approval, the borrower should create an account in Exeter Finance’s MyAccount online portal. This site offers 24/7 access to the company’s customer service department and also serves as an interface where customers can make their car payment using a checking or savings account, debit card or ATM card. Exeter Finance also offers a recurring payment option, which is an especially good choice for those trying to build good credit by making on-time payments. Paying bills on time is the biggest factor used by FICO to calculate credit scores.

Pros and cons of financing through Exeter

Exeter Finance is one option of hundreds for subprime borrowers. Shopping around outside of the dealership is an important part of making sure you secure the best possible deal on financing. For instance, many banks and credit unions offer credit builder programs or are willing to relax their FICO score standards if the borrower has a longstanding relationship with the business, has a cosigner with a solid credit history or can provide a larger-than-required down payment.

To get the best possible interest rate on an auto loan with bad credit, compare car loans before making a decision. It may be easier to simply accept the terms offered by a company that has a relationship with the dealership, but even a slightly lower interest rate means borrowers save money over the life of the loan. Car shoppers with credit challenges may have more options than they realize. Even though a subprime borrower is likely to pay between three and five times the prime loan interest rate, there’s a lot of competition among lenders.

Since Exeter Finance only works with dealerships, it’s important for car shoppers to understand that many dealerships make extra money on a car sale by charging a few extra points of interest on financing — for example, Exeter Finance may charge 8% interest, but the dealership could add 2% and offer the buyer an interest rate of 10%. According to consumer advocacy organization Center for Responsible Lending, dealers add an average of 2.47%, and it could be even higher for those with lower credit scores.

Just a few interest points could add up to a large sum of money. For example, a borrower with a $20,000 loan at 10% interest with a 72-month term will pay $6,677.16 in total interest throughout the life of the loan. At 8% interest, they would pay $5,247.98 in total interest over the same time period, saving $1,429.18.

Highlights of Exeter Finance’s auto loans

  • Credit-challenged borrowers with FICO scores as low as 575 may be able to get financing.
  • It is available through car dealerships in 49 states and Washington, D.C.
  • APR can start as low as 5%.
  • There is no prepayment penalty for paying off the loan early, which could save money on interest.
  • The interest accrual method is simple interest, which means borrowers only pay interest on the principal of the loan.
  • For those who can and will make every payment on time, financing a vehicle with this company helps build a good credit history, as they report to all three credit bureaus each month.
  • Participating in a free financial counseling program through the Exeter Finance website earns borrowers six free months of credit monitoring.

Lowlights of Exeter Finance’s auto loans

  • The information available on the company’s website does not disclose terms, interest rates or fees.
  • New and used car loans are not available outside of a dealership.
  • Refinancing an existing loan is not an option through Exeter Finance at this time.
  • If a borrower extends the term of their loan, they’ll also have to extend their GAP insurance, which could be expensive. GAP insurance does not automatically extend past the original term of the loan.
  • While Exeter Finance’s legal department posts thorough replies to customer complaints left on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, there are a total of 111 complaints in the past 12 months and 330 over the past three years. With 31 consumer reviews, the company has an average of less than 1.5 stars out of 5.
  • The company recently settled lawsuits in Delaware and Massachusetts where they were accused of facilitating unfair loans to subprime borrowers who did not have the ability to repay the debt.

The bottom line: Who is Exeter Finance’s auto loan best for?

Subprime borrowers who don’t want to get financing on their own through a credit union, bank or online lender may end up using Exeter Finance through the dealership where they buy their car. They may find it convenient to allow the F&I department of the dealership to handle the application process on their behalf. (Note that refinancing is not available through Exeter Finance if that’s what you’re looking for.)

If you have a higher FICO credit score, you should shop around for a better deal to avoid the higher interest rates typically associated with subprime loans like those offered by Exeter Finance. Additionally, if the dealership offers loan terms that stretch the limits of the borrower’s budget, it’s smart to look around for better interest rates and possibly reconsider the purchase.

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.

Rachel Morey
Rachel Morey |

Rachel Morey is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Rachel here

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Auto Loan, Reviews

Review: Wells Fargo Auto Loan

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.

Wells Fargo Auto Loan

If it’s time to get a new or used car, it’s time to do your research. Perhaps you’ve picked out the car of your dreams and you want to figure out the best way to pay for it.

When it comes to financing a vehicle, you have a ton of choices. Wells Fargo, founded in 1852, is one of many places to consider getting an auto loan from.

Wells Fargo Auto, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, serves more than 3 million auto loan customers throughout the United States.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers new and used vehicle financing through its network of 11,000 active car dealerships, but it’s possible to apply with the bank directly if you’re interested in financing outside of the dealership or refinancing an existing auto loan. You could also use a Wells Fargo personal line of credit or loan to buy a car from a private seller or buy out your leased vehicle, but you may have to pay an annual fee or origination fee. A home equity loan or line of credit is another possibility but puts your home at risk should you default on your car payments.

It’s worth noting that Wells Fargo continues to compensate auto loan customers who were charged for insurance they didn’t need or add-ons after their car loans were repaid or their vehicles repossessed. The bank’s redress program came after a December 2018 settlement with attorneys general from all 50 states calling for $422 million to be repaid to auto loan customers.

Wells Fargo: At a glance

  • Loan terms up to 72months
  • Loan amounts between $5,000and $100,000for new and used auto loans.

Because a majority of Wells Fargo’s loans are through dealerships, what’s known as indirect lending, you may not know your exact rate or terms until you apply through a dealership. A Wells Fargo spokesperson said rates are based on a number of factors, including the borrower’s credit history. While the best rates and terms tend to go to those with the best credit, it’s possible to be approved with less-than-stellar scores at Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo also offers loans for those looking for specialty vehicles like motorcycles or recreational vehicles. Existing customers may be eligible for a discount if they use autopay to make their vehicle payments from a Wells Fargo consumer checking account.

A closer look at Wells Fargo auto loans

Highlights of Wells Fargo auto loans

  • Multiple ways to pay: You could make your car payment through the bank’s online eServices function, automatic loan payments or at any Wells Fargo branch.
  • APR discount: Wells Fargo offers a 0.25% discount for existing customers who use a consumer checking account to make automatic payments on its car loans.

Lowlights of a Wells Fargo auto loan

  • Mix of direct and indirect loans: While it’s possible to apply directly through Wells Fargo for an auto loan, most of its auto lending is through dealerships.
  • Negative press: In addition to fines Wells Fargo has had to pay in regards to its auto loan customers, it has been fined for the way it treated mortgage customers as well. In all, the bank has agreed to pay billions in settlements and consent orders.

How to apply

As we’ve already mentioned, most customers apply through one of 11,000 dealerships in the Wells Fargo network. But applying outside of the dealership is possible — a Wells Fargo spokesperson said customers may call or visit a branch for more options. It’s possible to apply for a refinance loan online, in person or by calling 800-289-8004. We’ll talk more about refinance loans in more detail, below.

Here’s what the bank will want to know about you and your car:

  • Personal information: Address, contact information, date of birth and Social Security number.
  • Country of citizenship information
  • Marital status (Wisconsin only)
  • Housing information: Whether you rent or own and for how much as well as information about previous recent addresses
  • Income information: Your occupation, gross monthly income and previous employer
  • Information about your car: Year, VIN, mileage and remaining loan balance. You can find out your remaining loan balance by calling your current lender.

The fine print on an auto refinance loan

The only way to make sure you’re getting the best deal on a loan for a new car or to refinance the one you have is to shop around. Make sure a refinance really is in your best interest and that you understand Wells Fargo’s criteria before you sign:

  • Minimum loan amount of $7,500
  • Co-signers allowed
  • Not offered in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Dakota or Washington, D.C.
  • May be difficult to get approved if your vehicle has more than 100,000 miles or is 8 years or older.

Once you have applied, Wells Fargo will contact you by phone, mail or email. You’ll have the option of signing and returning the loan package by mail or finishing the process online.

Who is a Wells Fargo auto loan best for?

Wells Fargo auto loans can be a good fit for those in the market for a new or used vehicle, or folks looking to refinance a current loan. It may be the best option for existing Wells Fargo customers looking to refinance — it’s possible to apply directly through the bank, online and, if you’re willing to make auto payments, you may score a lower interest rate.

A Wells Fargo auto loan might be good for anyone shopping for a new or used car as well, but the only way to make sure you’re getting the best rate, particularly if it’s one offered through the dealership, is by comparing it with your preapproval offer from another bank, credit union or online lender.

A Wells Fargo auto loan is not a good fit for anyone interested in a private party auto loan. For those, look to competitors such as Lightstream, Bank of America or a credit union.

Lindsay Martell contributed to this report.

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

Review: Bank of America Auto Loan

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.

Bank of America Auto Loan

The history of Bank of America dates back to more than two centuries, but that doesn’t mean its banking services are stuck in the past. In recent years, Bank of America has modernized its service offers by adding mobile auto lending services that allows buyers to choose a car and a car loan in one place. Yes, you can apply for its loans in person at a branch or over the phone, but it’s hard to beat the speed and convenience of applying from home or anywhere you use your smartphone.

According to Bank of America, you could receive a loan decision within 60 seconds of applying, which is about as fast an approval as you can get from any lender, whether in person or online. But don’t be so quick to gloss over the details. While you may get approval decision within a minute, you might not be getting your lowest rates. Bank of America offers competitive rates for new car financing and a discount for certain customers, but other lenders may be able to beat Bank of America when it comes to used car loans and refinancing.

About Bank of America

Bank of America’s online auto buying experience starts when you submit an electronic application through its website where you have the option to use your loan approval to shop for and buy your car through Bank of America’s network of participating dealerships. Once you get your loan approval you can visit the Bank of America website or use the banking app to search a national inventory of more than one million cars, then visit dealerships for test drives and to finish the paperwork.

You can also use a Bank of America loan to buy a vehicle outside of the network. The bank offers loans for:

For specific rates for used and new cars as well as loans you could use to refinance your existing car or to buy out your leased vehicle, see the chart below.

Bank of America: At a glance

  • Loan amounts starting at $7,500
  • Terms between 12 and 60 months

Bank of America offers a wide variety of loans, but its loans aren’t available for specialty vehicles such as motorcycles or RVs. Financing is available to residents of all 50 U.S. states who borrow a minimum of $7,500 ($8,000 in Minnesota), but it can’t be used to buy cars that are over 10 years old or with more than 125,000 miles.

Advertised rates for new car loans are comparatively low, but to find the lowest APR for your loan you’ll need to do some comparison shopping. Rates vary depending on what kind of purchase you’re making, where you shop and the condition of your credit, with the lowest rates available for buyers with excellent credit when they purchase a new car from a dealer. Bank of America advertises much higher rates for private party purchases.

Compare Auto Loans
 New from dealerUsed from dealerUsed from private party*RefinanceLease buyout*
Bank of America3.19%3.39%5.99%3.99%4.19%
Chase4.24%4.24%N/A4.89%N/A
LightStream3.99%3.99%4.99%3.99%4.99%
*Bank of America lease buyout and private party loan rates are current as of Sept. 18, 2019.

If you bank with Bank of America or have an investment account with its wealth management subsidiary, Merrill, you may be eligible for lower rates. Preferred Rewards members get a rate discount at 0.25% for Gold members, 0.35% for Platinum members and 0.50% for Platinum Honors members.

Your eligibility for Preferred Rewards is based on the average asset balances held by Bank of America and/or Merrill over the three months prior to your application, with a minimum average balance requirement of $20,000. You can enroll for free to see if you’re eligible.

A closer look at Bank of America auto loans

Advantages of Bank of America auto loans

  • Loan approval offers lock in your terms for 30 days. That gives you time to shop around and find the car you want.
  • No application or origination fees, unlike some other lenders.
  • No prepayment penalty, meaning you can pay off your loan early and potentially save on interest charges without being penalized.

Disadvantages of Bank of America auto loan

  • Other lenders’ rate discounts may be easier to qualify for than the Preferred Rewards’ discount. PenFed Credit Union, for example, offers a discount to customers who use its car buying service, which can mean new car loan rates as low as 1.49%*.
  • Loan preapproval isn’t available. That means you’ll likely have to take a hard inquiry into your credit, and possibly lose a few points from your credit scores, just to see the loan terms you’re being offered. However, it’s always a good idea to compare auto loan rates and applying to multiple lenders doesn’t hurt your credit any more than it does to apply to one, as long as you do so within a 14-day window.

How to apply for a Bank of America auto loan

Completing an application online is a straightforward process, and if you’re already a bank member you can choose to have some of the application prefilled. Whether you apply online, in person or over the phone by calling 844-892-6002, you’ll need to submit the following information to complete an application:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Income
  • U.S. citizenship status
  • Email address

You may be asked to submit some of the following information to complete your application, if applicable:

  • Purchase agreement/bill of sale
  • Registration
  • Title
  • Vehicle make, model and year
  • Mileage
  • VIN number
  • Lease buyout instructions
  • Proof of income
  • Federal tax returns
  • W-2s

To apply in person, you can make an appointment through the website or walk into a bank branch and talk to a representative. Setting an appointment allows you to avoid waiting and helps ensure a specialist will be prepared with the information you need.

Once you’ve submitted your application, loan decisions are quick. Even if further review is needed after you submit your application, you’ll receive an email with your decision by the end of the following business day.

The fine print

  • Loans are only for cars purchased through franchise dealerships or private parties, which does not include independent dealerships except for CarMax, Hertz Car Sales, Enterprise Car Sales and Carvana.
  • If you apply online, you’ll get the details of your approval via email. Make sure to look them over, including interest rates and repayment terms for new versus used car purchases, before you begin car shopping.
  • Loans are available with payment terms lasting up to 60 months. While a longer term can lower your monthly payment, it can cost a lot more in interest charges. Make sure to do the math before agreeing to a long-term repayment.

Who is a Bank of America auto loan best for?

Savvy car shoppers know that using bank or credit union-backed financing for an auto purchase is generally a better option than going through a dealership. But it can be difficult to arrange bank financing and complete a car purchase without putting in the time to contact several different lenders and visit multiple lots.

If you want the security of financing with a large bank with branches around the country, or even from your pre-existing Bank of America account profile, Bank of America auto loans might be the solution for you. They offer some of the same perks as dealership financing, allowing you to apply for a loan and shop for a car, all within the same platform.

But some extra legwork usually pays off: Comparing rates with other banks, plus credit unions and online lenders is the only way to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

*Rate and offer current as of June 1, 2019 and are subject to change. Promotional rate is not available to refinance existing PenFed car loans. Terms apply.

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.

Sarah Brady
Sarah Brady |

Sarah Brady is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah here