Capital One Auto Loan Review

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Updated on Wednesday, June 17, 2020

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

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

What is Capital One?

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

Capital One auto loan details

Capital One Auto Loan Rates and Terms
New and UsedRefinance

Starting APR

3.39%

4.07%

Terms

36-84 months

24-72 months

Amounts

Starting at $4,000

$4,000-$40,000

Fees

No application fee or early payoff penalty

Vehicle Restrictions

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

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

Do you qualify for a Capital One auto loan?

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

Capital One Auto Navigator

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

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

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

How it works

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

1. Apply at Capital One Auto Navigator

On the online form, you will need to supply:

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

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

2. Find a car on the Auto Navigator site

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

3. Visit the dealer

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

4. Finalize the application

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

Pros and cons of Capital One Auto Finance

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

Capital One auto loan pros

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

Capital One auto loan cons

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

Comparable auto loans

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

Capital One vs. Chase

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

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

Capital One vs. Bank of America

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

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

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