Advertiser Disclosure

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.

0% APR car deals
Getty Images

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

Advertiser Disclosure

Auto Loan

Chase 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.

Chase auto loan review
iStock

Going into a dealership without knowing what auto loan you qualify for can be a dangerous adventure for your wallet. It’s best to have a couple auto loan preapprovals in your back pocket so the dealership can’t take advantage by charging you a higher APR. To help you research which lenders offer best rates, we did some work for you. Here, we’ll review auto loans by JPMorgan Chase & Co: the company, its rates, its pros and cons, how to apply and who may be a best fit.

About Chase

The largest bank in the U.S. with more than $2 trillion in assets, Chase offers everything from mortgages to credit cards.

Chase offers auto loans in all 50 states and D.C. with terms from 36 to 72 months. It also offers the car-buying service TrueCar at no extra charge. This service lets you see what others have paid for the same or similar cars, and has a network of TrueCar-certified dealers which compete for your business with clearly posted car prices.

Chase financing: At a glance

A Chase auto loan could be an option for you, whether you’re looking at a new or used car from a dealership. The bank may also refinance your existing auto loan or help you buy your car at the end of its lease period.

Though Chase declined to share its APR range, “Chase Auto offers competitive rates based on [a] customer’s credit history and the structure of the loan,” said Shannon O’Reilly, a communications executive with Chase, specializing in auto finance. You may be able to get an idea for what rate you might receive by using Chase’s Auto Loan Calculator.

Chase loan rate example

We used the Auto Loan Calculator to compare APRs for a new 2018 Honda in Michigan.

Credit scoreAPRMonthly payment
Excellent4.49%$365
Very good5.04%$371
Good6.84%$390
Fair15.09%$487
APR and monthly payment are for a 72-month loan of $23,000. Rates vary by location. Rates as of 1/7/19.

Are you an existing Chase customer? Chase offers a 0.25% rate discount for Chase checking customers interested in refinancing an existing auto loan. To qualify, you’ll need to have a Chase checking account before you apply for a Chase auto loan, and elect to have your monthly car payment automatically deducted from your Chase account.

A closer look at Chase auto loans

Here are the strengths and weakness we found looking at Chase auto loans. Be sure to compare any auto loan offers you may get from Chase with offers from other lenders.

Highlights of Chase auto loans

  • Credit decisions are usually made within three hours; three days is the maximum time to receive a decision.
  • There is no application fee.
  • Chase ranks in the top half of JD Power’s 2018 U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study for auto loans.

Lowlights of Chase auto loans

  • Chase doesn’t offer coupon books for you to keep track of your payments.
  • You may not be able to get a loan with Chase if you have poor credit.
  • Chase doesn’t offer auto loans for cars bought in private sales.

How to apply for a Chase auto loan

To apply, you’ll need to go to Chase’s website, call Chase or go in person to a Chase branch.

Whichever way you decide to apply, you’ll have to provide your personal information (e.g. name, date of birth, address, phone number, email, Social Security number), employment and income, the car you want, the loan amount and loan term you want.

You could apply by yourself or with a co-applicant. And if you need to change the car, loan amount or loan term once you’ve begun the application process, you could simply call Chase. Still, keep in mind that any changes you make could result in changes to your APR and other facets of the auto loan offer.

The fine print

To qualify for a Chase auto loan, you need to be at least 18 years old (in Alabama, 18-year-olds have to meet specific state requirements). Chase doesn’t finance all makes and models of cars: some lenders are reluctant to finance a car that is older than 10 years, has more than 100,000 miles or has a salvage title; Chase says it reviews any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Any offer Chase provides is good for 30 days. If you decide after 30 days that you would like to get an auto loan through Chase, you’ll need to apply again.

Who is Chase best for?

Chase loans are best for existing Chase customers. If you aren’t already a Chase customer, you may be able to quickly become one and receive the 0.25% rate discount on your auto loan. The convenience of having everything in one account, especially if you’re already a Chase customer, is alluring.

It also doesn’t hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders within a 14-day window anymore than it would to apply to one lender — plus, shopping around for a car loan is one of the smartest things you can do.

So, if you think Chase may be a good fit for you, apply to Chase and compare the offer you may get with responses from other lenders. Potential lenders include your bank, credit union and online lender. And at LendingTree you could fill out an online form and receive up to five potential auto loan offers. LendingTree is the parent company of MagnifyMoney.

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.

Jenn Jones
Jenn Jones |

Jenn Jones is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jenn at [email protected]

Advertiser Disclosure

Auto Loan

RV Buying Tips: Get the RV of Your Dreams

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.

RV buying tips
Getty Images

Ever dream of buying an RV? You’re not alone — about 10 million households in the United States already own an RV.“The popularity of RVing is at an all-time high because of the freedom and flexibility RVs offer,” said Kevin Broom, director of media relations at the RV Industry Association (RVIA). “With the same RV, people can take an array of trips, spend time having adventures with friends and family and form memories that will last a lifetime.”

When shopping for a unit, you’ll need to consider what type of RV suits your needs, how much time you plan to spend in the RV, whether you want to buy a new or used unit (or lease an RV) and how you plan to pay for it. This article will explain the costs of owning an RV, as well as how you can get your best price.

The costs of an RV

RVs have a huge range of prices, which vary depending on size, style and other factors, said Broom. As of the date of publishing, here are some estimates for a variety of new RVs, according to the RVIA:

  • Folding camping trailers: $6,000 to $22,000
  • Truck campers: $6,000 to $55,000
  • Conventional travel trailers: $8,000 to $95,000
  • Fifth wheel trailers: $18,000 to $160,000
  • Type B and C motorhomes: $60,000 to $150,000
  • Type A motorhomes: $60,000 to $500,0000

You may be able to save some money by opting for a pre-owned RV instead of a new one, added Julie Bennett, who, along with her husband Marc Bennett, authored the book “Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road,” and run the RV Success School.

“We have met people who spent less than $5,000 on their RV, and others who spent over $1 million,” said Marc Bennett. “Most of the people we have met that do extended travel in their RVs typically spend between $50,000 and $150,000 on their RV setup, which includes the cost of the truck and trailer, or a motorhome plus the vehicle that they tow.”

You generally don’t need a special license to drive or tow an RV, said Broom, but it’s not a bad idea to look into the laws in your state, especially if you’re buying a very large trailer or motorhome.

The RV, as well as the truck and trailer if the RV needs to be towed, is just one of the costs to consider. You’ll also need to budget for maintenance and repairs, taxes, insurance, vehicle registration, fuel and storage. These expenses can vary from state to state.

There are also an array of optional (though potentially desirable) add-ons, like roadside assistance and extended warranties, that can increase the bottom-line costs of RV ownership.

“RV dealers will try to upsell you on things like paint protection and other options you may not really need,” said Marc Bennett. “You’d be surprised how much all of this can add up, so do your homework in advance and know what you are getting yourself into before committing.”

What kind of RV should you buy?

One of the first things to consider when figuring out which type of RV you should buy is how often you intend to use it.

“If you only plan on RVing a few weeks a year for short vacations, it really doesn’t make sense to spend a whole lot,” said Julie Bennett. “If you’re planning on using your RV for extended travel or even live in it full-time, then it’s easier to justify a bigger investment.”

Here are some other questions you should ask yourself when shopping for an RV:

  • Who will be traveling in the RV? A couple of retirees who are OK roughing it on the road might opt for a travel trailer, while a large family with pets may be better off with a camper van or motorhome.
  • Where do you plan to take the RV? Julie Bennett suggests that potential RV owners think about whether they want to stay in campgrounds with hookups for electricity, water and sewage, or camp off-grid in more remote places, and find an RV that fits those needs.
  • Do you need a special license for the RV? Large trailers or motorhomes may require a special license in certain states, said Broom.
  • What “toys” are you bringing in your RV? You may need to splurge on a larger RV or motorhome if you plan to take bikes, ATVs, kayaks and other recreational gear on your adventures.
  • Does the RV have a floor plan and layout that makes sense for you? “Pay attention to the things you will use most often,” advised Julie Bennett. “Is there sufficient counter space in the kitchen for making meals? Can you fit inside the shower and wash your hair?”
  • How far will you take the RV? If you want to keep costs in check on long-haul trips, you might need to pay more attention to things like the weight and aerodynamics of the RV. You should also consider whether you want a diesel or a gas engine. Gas engines generally don’t get as much power or as efficient mileage as their diesel counterparts, but they tend to be less expensive.

Should you buy a new or used RV?

Every future RV owner is faced with one big question: Should you buy a new or a used RV? Here are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros and cons of buying a new RV

Pros

  • You know the history of the RV. Buying a new RV means you don’t have to worry that a previous owner cut corners on care and maintenance.
  • You can personalize the RV. “Some may like that they can choose their floor plan, layout, decor, color scheme and options, and some may want the latest technologies,” said Marc Bennett.
  • You can avoid potential allergens. Does your child have a severe peanut allergy? There’s no guarantee a used RV doesn’t contain peanut residue from a previous owner, so you might be safer buying a new one.

Cons

  • You’ll probably pay more. “Not only will you pay more for new, you will also see the sharpest dip in depreciation as soon as you drive it off the lot,” said Marc Bennett.
  • You still may need to make repairs. Just because you’re buying a new RV doesn’t mean it will be trouble-free. “RVs are very complex, and built by hand in relatively low-tech facilities,” he added. “Once new RVs leave the dealer’s lot, they tend to need more repairs and fixes — much like a punch list on a new house build.”

Pros and cons of buying a used RV

Pros

  • You’ll probably save money. The older an RV is, the more of an effect depreciation will have on its price tag, said Julie Bennett.
  • It’s already broken in. The problems associated with a brand new RV may have already been taken care of by a previous owner, which could save you time and money on repairs.
  • It might come with extras. People often include extra items when selling their RVs, said Julie Bennett. You may luck out with an upgraded suspension, RV gadgets or kitchenware at no additional cost.

Cons

  • It comes with risks. If the previous owner didn’t maintain an RV properly, it may need new parts or repairs.
  • You may need to renovate it. If an RV’s aesthetics are dated or simply unappealing, it’s on you to fix it up.
  • It probably won’t have a factory warranty. You may need to shell out for repairs right away before you can drive the RV, said Julie Bennett.

Where can you buy an RV?

There are a variety of places to buy an RV — and according to Marc Bennett, you may need to travel far to find the right one at the right price: “We traveled thousands of miles when buying our first RV. Opening up geographically allows for much more selection,” he said.

Here are some of the places you can start your search for an RV:

  • New RV dealerships: Looking to buy a new RV right off the lot? Then shopping at a new RV dealership might make the most sense. “Buying from a respected dealership might provide some peace of mind that they have checked the unit and it is ready to go,” said Marc Bennett.
  • Used RV dealerships: Used RV dealers might not know as much about the history of a particular unit as its original owner. However, you may be able to purchase an extended warranty for some added protection.
  • RV shows: RV shows offer the opportunity to see a wide variety of models in one place. Should you find the unit of your dreams at an RV show, you may be able to score special discounts.
  • Private sales: Buying a used RV directly from its owner allows you to learn more about its history, maintenance and unique quirks, said Marc Bennett. “An owner will be able to share much more detailed information about the specific RV than a dealership,” he added.
  • Online marketplace: Do you already know exactly what you’re looking for in an RV? An online marketplace could help you find it quickly. RVTrader.com and Craigslist are popular places to find private RV sales online, said Broom.

How do you get your best price on an RV?

The price tag on an RV can give you serious sticker shock. Luckily, there’s lots of room for negotiation, and you should not plan to pay the asking price, noted Marc Bennett.

“There’s no hard and fast rule about how much discount you can get on an MSRP [manufacturer suggested retail price],” he said, “but it is not uncommon to buy a new RV for 15% to 30% off the MSRP.”

Going into the negotiation armed with knowledge can help you get your best price on RV, added Julie Bennett.

“Get a few price comparisons on the RV you want to buy,” she said. “Know what questions to ask, know [what’s] a fair price for the RV you want, and keep an eye out for deals at certain times of year,” also noting that you may be able to get the best price when a dealer is clearing out old models to make room for new units.

If you can’t afford to pay cash, you may be able to take out an RV loan or secure other financing to make the purchase. Here are some ways to finance your RV:

  • Dealership financing: Dealerships may offer financing through lending partners (such as a bank or credit union), or offer in-house financing. This is convenient, as you can get your RV and your loan all in one place. However, dealers may use this type of financing to bolster their bottom line, so if the rate offered isn’t competitive, you might find a better offer somewhere else. Additionally, dealership in-house financing, which is usually offered to people struggling to find financing elsewhere, can carry high interest rates.
  • Banks, online lenders and credit unions: You may be able to secure an RV loan from an online lender, credit union, bank or other financial institution. Since dealers may not have partnerships with lenders you’re interested in, you may need to seek out quotes directly from the institutions themselves. Make sure to shop around to compare offers. Though credit unions may have lower rates, you’ll need to become a member.
  • HELOC or home equity loans: You may be able to use a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a home equity loan to secure the funds for an RV. With both of these options, you’re borrowing a portion of your home equity. Keep in mind that you’re putting your home on the line with this type of financing, so make sure you’re on firm financial footing before moving forward. However, because the loan is backed by collateral, interest rates tend to be lower. With either option you’ll also need to pay closing costs, a process that can take several weeks or longer.

The bottom line

RVs offer the freedom to travel the country on your terms. Whether you dream of a life on the road or you’re just looking to spend a couple of weeks in the great outdoors every summer, you can get an RV to make it happen.

Remember: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to finding or financing the RV of your dreams. Do your homework, know what you’re looking for and don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal. The right RV is out there waiting for you — and with enough legwork, you’ll find it.

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.

Joni Sweet
Joni Sweet |

Joni Sweet is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Joni here