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How to refinance my Santander auto loan?

Santander targets the segment of American car shoppers with challenged (i.e. sub-prime) credit and we observed an average auto loan interest rate of 17% (within a range of +/- 5%). If you have a Santander auto loan and have not looked into refinancing your car loan yet, you should do so now!

Santander car loan rates vary a lot by credit score. Our Santander auto loan calculator can help you get a sense for how much you can expect to save from a Santander auto refinance.

Before going into more detail though, here a little background about Santander: Thomas Dundon is majority shareholder and CEO of the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL. Yes, you heard right: Thomas owns a Hockey Team!

He co-founded a subprime auto loan company called Drive Financial Services, which eventually became Santander, held by one of the biggest Spanish banks. Thanks to the sale of his auto loan business, Thomas is a very wealthy man in his early fourties.

Published: June 18, 2020

Refinance your Santander auto loan

To lower your monthly payments on your Santander auto loan, you need to find a lender that can extend your used car loan term or offers you a lower rate before the loan is paid in full. Usually, lenders offer you a lower rate for one of two reasons:

  1. When you bought your car, the dealer marked up your rate. That's common for auto loan originations and to make more money
  2. You improved your credit over time and now qualify for a lower car payment and interest rate.

Both of these observations are the reason for why you can save a lot of money. You improved your credit with the credit bureaus from challenged credit (i.e. between 350 and 600 on your credit report) to near-prime credit (i.e. above 600), you're not facing any financial difficulties and therefore, your new lender will be likely one of the following ones:

You successfully got out of the sub-prime credit segment (a FICO between 350 - 600 on your credit history) and moved into the near-prime credit segment (FICO above 600). Lenders in this segment have a focus on auto loans and understand the market very well. They charge high rates since, after all, they are in the business of lending money and have a number of customers who are likely going to struggle making payments at times. But they're especially well versed with customers like you who are in the process of improving their credit and have great financial ambitions.

In the following, we will walk you through the exact steps to pay off your Santander loan.

Santander loan payoff amount

First and foremost, we need to pull up your Santander loan payoff statement. The loan payoff statement is not your outstanding balance. Instead, the loan payoff statement summarizes the following data points:

  • your payoff amount (usually your loan amount balance plus a few small fees)
  • the due date until your payoff is valid to avoid late fees (usually 10 days from when you requested it)
  • the per-diem (how much of daily interest your loan accumulates)
  • your account number (the new lender needs that to payoff your loan)
  • the payoff address (the new lender needs to know where to mail the check to)

All the above information can be found on the official payoff statement. You have multiple payment options but first you need to locate the payoff statement from Santander's customer service reps:

  1. Call the Santander customer service phone number at 1-888-222-4227 and ask to be connected to the loan payoff department.
  2. Log into the online banking at Sign-in (https://myaccount.santanderconsumerusa.com/Home/SignIn, sign in in the middle) and browse to the 'Loan Payoff' tab. You will be able to download a PDF.
  3. Do a three-way phone call with the new lender and a Santander customer service rep at 1-888-222-4227, which allows the new lender to ask Santander all the questions necessary to pay off your existing loan.

Should you plan to payoff your loan, you can overnight a check to this address:

Santander Consumer USA
1010 W Mockingbird Lane, Suite 100
Dallas TX 75247

We provided those addresses above because we always struggle to find a service provider's contact information. Moreover, due to COVID-19, waiting times for customer service reps might be longer than usual.

How soon can you refinance a Santander loan

You're eager to refinance your Santander loan? Great, you should absolutely work towards lowering your Santander payments through refinancing.

Dealers make most of their money on finance and insurance products. Therefore, there's a good chance that you can already save money through refinancing the day you drive off the lot. That said, you will save the biggest amount of money from refinancing after you made 12 to 18 payments. That's when you will notice the effect from improving your credit above and beyond challenged (i.e. sub-prime) credit.

Take a look at our auto loan refinance calculator and the paragraph about negative vs. positive equity.

Savings from refinancing a Santander loan

We performed a study on the top 40 auto loan companies to refinance and found that the average Santander loan rate is around 17% (within a range of +/- 5%). If you made your payments for 6 / 12 / 18 consecutive months, you're guaranteed to be able to save money on your Santander loan.

Your new interest rate should be on the order of 12% or below. That means you will save $500 every year / $42 every month if your remaining loan balance is around $10,000 and you refinance. Usually, we see higher loan balances when refinancing our customers, e.g. around $15,000. If your loan balance is around $15,000 you will save $750 every year / $63 every month when you lower your rate by 5%.

We built an auto loan refinance calculator to help you get a quick overview of what your monthly payments could / should be based on your credit score and the term of the loan you choose. Just click on the link, select your vehicle (Year, Make and Model) and you'll be able to adjust a few parameters to get a sense for your future monthly payments.

For a guaranteed rate in less than 2 minutes, open WithClutch.com, enter your phone number, select your goal (e.g. 'Lower my monthly payment') and click on 'Apply Now'. Our process will not hurt your credit and you'll receive a firm and guaranteed rate with not more than 5 clicks. Should you have any further questions, check out our FAQs.

Things to know about Santander

If you currently have a loan with Santander, you most likely got the loan at the dealership where you bought your car and you can make your payments by clicking on Sign-in at https://myaccount.santanderconsumerusa.com/Home/SignIn.

79% of all Americans with auto loans get their auto loan at the dealership. People shop for cars, they don't shop for loans. As a result, car dealers have a lot of power and authority when it comes to giving car shoppers loans.

The challenge is this:

  1. the number 1 goal of a car dealer is to sell a car
  2. the number 2 goal of a car dealer is to sell the car at the highest possible margin

Considering the interests of the car dealer and how most car shoppers get their loans, no wonder Americans are overpaying on their interest rates, right?

As mentioned above, Santander is an auto loan company that specializes on the segment of Americans with challenged (i.e. sub-prime) credit. We looked at reviews for Santander and found the following:

  • BBB: 1 out of 5 stars and 1,985 complaints
  • Yelp: 1 out of 5 stars from 153 reviews
  • Glassdoor: 3.1 out of 5 stars from 7,575 reviews

Ever wondered if Santander treats everyone like you? Sadly, they do. Other loans you might have also qualified for could have been with one of the following auto loan companies:

If you bought your car at a Franchise Dealership, you may have qualified for a loan with one of the Captive Finance companies (i.e. the auto loan companies that are owned by the respective car brand), e.g.:

After you've made your first 6 / 12 / 18 payments, your chance to refinance your loan and lower your monthly payments has come. The challenge with refinancing is that most auto loan companies require you to visit their branch before they can give you any indication of how much money you will be saving. Fortunately, we can help with that.

Santander car loan refinance rates

We can help you get the following Santander refinance rates:

Credit Score New car Used car
760+ 2.69% 3.49%
700-760 3.00% 4.25%
650-700 5.50% 6.50%
600-650 9.75% 10.75%
550-600 15.50% 17.50%
Below 550 22.00% 22.00%

As mentioned above, Santander car loan rates vary a lot by credit score. We therefore recommend taking a look at our Santander auto loan calculator.

Refinance your Santander loan now

Haven't explored refinancing yet?
WithClutch.com is a fully digital platform that lets car owners like you do so from the comfort of their own home. No need to set a foot in a bank or credit union. You can lower your rate or get cash in as little as 20 seconds.

Follow three simple steps to refinance your auto loan, get approved in seconds and save thousands in minutes.



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Tempe, AZ 85282