Whether you’re upside down on your auto loan or stuck with high payments due to unfavorable loan terms, refinancing may be the best option to help you find relief. But are you guaranteed to get the results you’re seeking if your refinance? Not necessarily, which is why it’s pertinent that you analyze all the offers presented to you to ensure you receive the best terms possible. Keep reading for a list of the best auto refinance lenders out there. You’ll also discover the five-step process that can be used to streamline the process.
Auto Credit Express
Struggling with past credit issues and afraid you won’t be able to refinance your vehicle? Auto Credit Express may be able to lend a helping hand. They’ve been around for over 18 years and have a track record of connecting consumers with less than perfect credit to lenders so they can access the credit they need.
Accredited and rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, Auto Credit Express is a lending network with more than 1,000 partners standing by waiting to help you refinance your automobile.
While each lender has their own minimum thresholds for qualifying, borrowers should generally meet the following criteria:
- Have a loan with equity that’s in good standing
- Owe at least $5,000 on the loan
- Possess a vehicle (that’s attached to the loan) that has no more than 100,000 miles and is not older than 10 years of age
If your current auto loan rate is 5.49 percent, AutoPay may be able to save you some dough and get you into a lower payment. But don’t worry if you don’t have perfect credit as they won’t necessarily turn you away auto refinancing. In fact, you can use their pre-qualification tool found on the website to gauge your approval odds.
Should you choose to do business with AutoPay, they offer the following forms of auto refinancing:
- Cashback- this form of refinancing will allow you to wallet away with funds
- Lease payoff- this form of refinancing will pay off your lease prematurely, but you still get to retain the vehicle and steer clear of any early-termination penalties from the dealer
- Traditional- this form of refinancing will grant you a lower interest rate (assuming you qualify) which in turn reduces your monthly payment
Car Finance is a lender with flexible eligibility criteria, specifically with regards to credit.
When evaluating your auto refinance application, they pay close attention to how you’ve managed your current loan over time, along with any other outstanding debts you may have. They also look at the monthly payments on your other debts and how they stack up to your income to determine if you can comfortably afford the loan offer that they’re able to extend to you.
You’ll also want to meet the following criteria to strengthen your chances of being approved:
- Have positive payment history with your current auto lender
- Owe at least $7,500 on your current loan
- Have a car that is 8 years of age or younger with fewer than 100,000 miles
Lending Club connects consumers from all financial backgrounds with lenders to help them find competitive auto refinance offers. To qualify, you must owe between $5,000 and $55,000 on your current loan. The loan must also be at least 30 days old and you need to have at least 24 months remaining on your loan term. (Keep in mind that some lenders have more stringent qualification criteria, but these are just a benchmark to get you through the first set of red tape).
To get started, all you have to do is complete a brief questionnaire to get loan offers from lenders in the network. If you choose to move forward, you’ll have to upload requested documents to the lender and work with them to finalize the loan.
Lending Tree is another network of lenders that can help you navigate auto refinance offers across the board at the tap of a fingertip. Loan amounts and terms vary by lender, but you can use the online prequalification tool to narrow down prospective lenders by zip code and view loan offers with no impact to your credit score.
Operating under the SunTrust Bank umbrella, LightStream offers rates as low as 3.34 percent on auto refinancing. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000 and are geared towards those with good or excellent credit. And you can generally expect to receive a loan term that spans between 24 and 72 months.
Another major benefit of refinancing with LightStream is their Rate Beat Program. In a nutshell, it’s a guarantee to beat any rates you find on the market to demonstrate their commitment to earning you as a customer.
And you don’t have to worry about your car being too old or having too many miles since there aren’t any restrictions to qualify. Even better, the entire process can be completed from start to finish in as little as one business day.
As long as you have decent credit, you may be able to obtain auto refinancing through rateGenius. They have an extensive network of more than 150 lenders in all 50 states waiting to serve you. And what makes them unique is flexible refinance products that can also be tailored to meet your boat, motorcycle, or RV lending needs.
You will meet the minimum qualification criteria is your vehicle is 10 years or younger, has 150,000 miles or less on it, and has an outstanding loan balance between $10,001 and $89,999.
With regards to income, it should be at or above $2,000 on a monthly basis. And the minimum credit score requirement is 525 to qualify for consideration.
How to Refinance Your Auto Loan in 5 Simple Steps
Are you ready to move forward with the auto loan refinance process? This five-step process will steer you in the right direction.
Step 1: Assess your credit.
Your credit plays a major role in whether or not you’ll be approved for refinancing, and at what interest rate. Generally, the lowest rates go to the consumers with the highest credit scores because they pose less risk in the eyes of the lender.
So, you want to start by retrieving a free copy of your credit report. Why so? Well, this information is where your FICO score, which is used by 90 percent of lenders to make a decision, is derived from. And the more positive data in your credit report, the better your score will be.
But if your credit score is a bit low due to past financial missteps, the rate you qualify for may not the most competitive one offered by the lender. This could also mean that the cost of refinancing your ride outweighs the benefits. If you’re in this situation, it may be worthwhile to return to the drawing board and work on your credit rating before moving forward.
To get your credit report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com and request a copy from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Examine the contents from top to bottom, paying close attention to specific account details and circling or highlighting any inaccuracies you notice. Once you’ve done so, file disputes as soon as possible to rectify any errors (if applicable) to ensure your report is updated and your FICO score is an accurate reflection of your credit history.
Step 2: Explore your options.
Considering walking into your financial institution and accepting the first refinancing offer they place on the table? That may not be such a good idea. With so many options, both brick-and-mortar and online to choose from, there’s a possibility that you may be able to score a better deal elsewhere.
You can also explore online lenders as many are licensed to work with consumers across the nation. Some lenders also have a pre-qualification tool on their website that allows you to see what rate you qualify for with no impact to your credit score.
And if you’re still not having much luck because of your credit rating, consider checking out loan offers from credit unions and local community banks. They tend to have more flexible terms than traditional financial institutions and may be able to set you up with a competitive loan offer that best suits your needs.
Step 3: Complete and submit applications with your top lenders.
At some point during the application process, the lender will request that you submit supporting documentation to substantiate the information you entered on the application. So, it’s best to compile the following items before applying:
- A valid copy of your driver’s license
- A copy of your last pay stub or federal tax returns for two years if you’re self-employed or an independent contractor
- Documentation from the original purchase of the vehicle
- Proof of insurance and registration on the vehicle
The next step is to submit applications to your top lenders, which can usually be done online whether you’re applying with a brick-and-mortar bank or online lender.
Quick note: it doesn’t hurt to shop around with multiple lenders during this step. In fact, you’ll increase the odds of saving more money on your auto refinance loan and your score will only be impacted by one credit inquiry by FICO because you’re rate shopping.
Step 4: Run the numbers.
Before moving forward, you want to run the numbers to determine if refinancing is ideal for your financial situation. You may find that refinancing will give you a lower monthly payment, but you’ll ultimately pay more over the life of the loan because an extended loan term allows the lender to collect more in interest from you.
Step 5: Sign on the dotted line.
At last. You’ve reached the finish line and are ready to choose the best offer and sign on the dotted line. But before you do so, read the entire agreement so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into. Request that the lender answers any last minute questions that you may have and confirm when the first payment on the new loan will be due.
Once the new loan has been fully approved and executed, the new lender will pay off the existing lender and you’ll now be obligated to follow their terms and conditions.
How to Deal with Rejected Loan Applications
What if you apply with multiple lenders and can’t seem to find one that will work with you? As mentioned earlier, it may be worthwhile to take a step back and figure out what’s stopping you from getting approved. Look at your credit report, along with the notice of rejection from the lender, to determine what you can do to improve your chances the next time around. Also, feel free to take a look at this handy guide on credit repair to help you fast-track your efforts.
The Bottom Line
Refinancing your auto loan could save you a lot of money, but you have to shop around and run the numbers first to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Otherwise, you’ll save a few bucks now but end up paying way more than you should over time.