26 Best Auto Loan Refinancing Lenders of August 2020
Updated: Jul 29
NerdWallet released a list of the 10 Best Auto Loan Refinancing Lenders of July 2020. That list unfortunately misses a number of auto loan refinance companies worth mentioning. Moreover, the list confuses Lenders, with Refinance Companies and with Affiliate Websites / Aggregators.
Find below an exhaustive list of all the companies that help with auto loan refinancing options, adjusting the length of your loan or your loan balance, lowering your annual percentage rate (APR) and lease buyouts. In this article, we explain in more detail how each of the companies work.
For a little bit of background: 100,000,000 Americans have a car loan and more than 20% of car owners are overpaying on their auto loan rate. In 2019, more than 47% of all funded mortgage applications were refinancings. Meanwhile, barely 5% of all funded auto loans were refinances.
On the one hand, Americans simply don’t know that they can refinance their auto loans and save thousands of dollars to get the most out of their monthly income.
On the other hand, the process of refinancing your car loan with any of the companies below is far from fast and easy: the process is usually inconvenient, requires a handful of phone calls and emails and you only find out what your total savings are once you’ve gone through the cumbersome process.
Important distinctions of auto loan refinance companies
It’s important to understand the differences between the business models of the companies below:
Lenders: Banks and Credit Unions who ultimately give you the loan (both for a new car and a used car). These institutions are in the business of lending money. They won't help you compare rates, they want your business!
Refinance Companies: Companies that create a marketplace between lenders and you as the customer. These institutions are not the actual lenders but help you as a consumer figure out who the best lender for you would be. That said, once they have you on the phone, these companies make more money off you by selling you GAP insurance and extended protection products.
Affiliate Websites / Aggregators: Websites that rank high in Google's search algorithm aiming to get you to submit your contact details. These companies make money by selling your contact details to either Refinance Companies or Lenders. Once they have your contact details, be prepared for a whirlwind of emails, text messages and phone calls from people you've never heard about.
Comparison of the 24 best auto loan refinancing websites
Lenders for auto loan refinance
In reality, most lenders who provide auto loans will also offer auto loan refinancing. Your bank or Credit Union wants to satisfy as many of your banking needs as possible. If you have multiple auto loans with different auto loan companies, your lender would be very interested in refinancing the auto loan you currently have with a different lender.
Your bank or Credit Union, however, won't offer you refinancing for the auto loans you have with that very lender. Refinancing basically transfers profits from the lender into the consumer's pocket and therefore, your bank or Credit Union won't be very keen on helping you on that front.
The following lenders are worth mentioning in the context of auto loan refinancing because all of them have either made inroads into or are putting significant marketing dollars behind their refinancing efforts:
CapitalOne is the leader in data-driven decision making and auto lending. You can apply for a loan online, choose from different loan terms and make loan payments online. Just with any auto lender, you won't get a lower rate if you make payments over the life of the loan. The only way to lower your payments is to refinance.
LendingClub started as a digital, peer to peer lending platform and was celebrated as one of the first successful FinTech lending business. The process starts with an online application, LendingClub will then pull your credit report and provide several loan offers. Unfortunately, LendingClub tried to do too many things at once, was never successful in providing competitive auto loan rates and the share price lost ~80% of its value.
LightStream is the online subsidiary of SunTrust bank and focused on people with excellent credit and a long credit history. The application process is 100% online. Like with any other lender, there are no prepayment penalties. Loans from LightStream are usually consumer loans and don't require a lien on the vehicle title. Therefore, the process is quick and simple, unusual for a financial institution in the auto loan space.
Consumer CU is a progressive Credit Union offering auto refinance loans. They offer shorter and longer terms and are focused on the segment of the population with good credit. Credit Unions are the right auto loan companies to work with if your loan is currently with a commercial bank and you're looking for a new lender. As with most Credit Unions, the loan applications is not optimized for a 100% online process.
NavyFederal is one of the biggest Credit Unions in the US. They're offering personal loans, credit cards, auto loans and any other lending product. Credit Unions usually offer the best rates but are only an option for people with excellent credit. The downside of Credit Unions is that they are not tech savvy and the process to get to a better rate is usually inconvenient.
Just like Navy Federal, PedFed is a Credit Union and focused on people with very high Fico scores. PenFed's product offering ranges from credit cards to personal loans to used car loans. While offering great rates, PenFed also doesn't offer a progressive and easy to use online loan application process.
In their list of the 10 Best Auto Loan Refinancing Lenders of July 2020, NerdWallet compares the companies on the following dimensions:
Min. Credit Score
Pros & Cons
Lenders who offer auto loan refinancing don't usually differ too much on those dimensions: money is a commodity and therefore, the competing lenders' offerings are basically identical.
The better comparison would be the degree to which the banks or Credit Unions are able to refinance you 100% online and from the comfort of your home. None of the above lenders created a 100% digital, end-to-end process that allows you to refinance your loan online. All of the above auto loan companies require multiple phone calls, emails and text messages and will need up to a week and more to get you into a new / better loan.
Auto loan refinance companies like the ones listed below come and go. Most of these companies are call centers and acquire their customers through one of the following three channels:
Direct Mailers: Unbeknown to you, the credit bureaus Experian and TransUnion sell your data for marketing purposes. Companies in the financial services space often approach the credit bureaus for help sending direct mailers to certain segments of the population, e.g. people with credit scores between 600 - 700 who bought an auto loan 24 months ago. The personally identifiable data is anonymized and not available to the financial services companies. Yet, the credit bureaus allow you to effectively target people who might benefit from refinancing their auto loans.
Google AdWords: Close to 15M people google auto refinancing and related topics every year. Through marketing on Google, auto loan companies can therefore market their services directly to consumers who expressed intent to refinance. We've observed that the traditional lenders are primarily focused on their branches or car dealerships to find auto loan borrowers. Refinance Companies, in contrast, often allocate some of their spend to Google.
Affiliate Websites / Aggregators: Close to every third American uses the app CreditKarma to check their credit. 40M Americans check their credit on the app every months. While having your attention, CreditKarma and comparable aggregators will subtly market financial products to you. Refinance Companies therefore leverage Affiliate Websites / Aggregators to position their offering in front of consumers.
Auto Refinance Companies worth mentioning include:
AutoApprove is an auto loan refinancing company based in Minnesota. "Getting a quote takes a few minutes [and our] personable loan consultants find you the best lender, and once approved handle the rest." As the description suggests, a customer service employee of AutoApprove will walk you through the refinancing process. You won't be able to refinance 100% online.
Like a number of the auto auto loan refinance companies, Autopay is headquartered in Denver. Autopay's product offering ranged from refinance to lease buyouts. Among the auto refinance companies, Autopay is the most technologically advanced business offering API integrations for a number of use-cases.
In 2017, Ally Financial purchased the refinancing company Clearlane, "an online marketplace called Clearlane, that connects consumers with leading auto finance providers to finance or refinance their vehicles with ease." Partnering with Ally Financial, Clearlane should be able to offer a variety of loan terms and rates for a wide Fico credit spectrum.
Gravity Lending is yet another call-center based auto refinance company from Austin, Texas. Gravity Lending advertises to be a fintech company with over 50 years of financial services experience, which seems confusing given that the Internet is barely 25 years old. Similar to the other auto loan companies, Gravity Lending connects car owners with lenders that offer the best rates, terms, and conditions.
iLendingDirect is a Colorado based, privately owned company with a very experienced executive team. The business started with providing financing for lease buyouts. Over the last couple of years, iLendingDirect expanded their offering to also help customers refinance their existing auto loans.
Motorefi is a Venture funded startup based in D.C. The company was incubated by the FinTech focused Venture Capital firm QED. Think of Motorefi as a matchmaker between customers who want to refinance their auto loan and lenders. 80% of Motorefi's customers end up getting a loan with PenFed. In fact, PenFed wanted to invest in Motorefi. Based on customers reviews, a customer who is trying to refinance his/her auto loan through Motorefi ends up having a number of phone calls. Moreover, Motorefi charges a $399 refinancing fee.
OpenRoad Lending was started in 2009 and offers refinancing, vehicle service contracts and GAP insurance. Based on customer experiences, OpenRoad Lending serves a wide range of Fico scores. The process is primarily phone and email based.
RateGenius is a Private Equity owned company out of Texas. On a good month, RateGenius helps approx. 2,000 customers refinance their auto loans. Just like the other auto refinance companies, RateGenius is a matchmaker between customers and lenders. While RateGenius has a network of more than 100 lenders, most of their loans in fact go to around 20 different Credit Unions and banks. Through selling GAP insurance and extended service plans, RateGenius makes approx. $1,200 in profit per customer.
The Denver based refinancing company RefiJet promises low rates and in some circumstances, even defers the first two loan payments. The process is over the phone and requires you to send a number of emails with paperwork, based on customer reviews. Most of the company's margin comes from selling extended protection plans and GAP insurance policies.
Tresl is a Texas based auto loan refinancing companies also offering lease buyout and company car purchase loans. Similar to the other auto loan refinance companies, Trels charges a refinance fee, sells protection plans and GAP insurance to increase the margin on every based on customer reviews.
YieldSolutionGroup is a Denver based auto loan refinancing company. Contrary to the companies described above, YieldSolutionsGroup primarily markets its value as "helping lenders reduce the cost of acquisition by using our technology and experience to find those consumers." Auto loan companies get most of their business from car dealerships, which has gotten very competitive. I.e. lenders are paying car dealers high referral fees to get loans.
All of these companies focus their customer facing efforts (e.g. website, app) on capturing the visitor's phone number. Once users provide their phone number, call centers will reach out over email, phone and text message to market their refinancing services.
The margin on refinancing isn't very high, usually around 2% - 6% of the loan volume. Therefore, Refinance Companies seek to make incremental revenue from selling GAP insurance and vehicle protection plans.
These ancillary products can in many circumstances be good products. As a consumer you just want to make sure that you understand what you're purchasing. Refinance Companies usually roll the purchase price of the protection products into the new loan and therefore, consumers are advised to pay close attention to what they're buying.
Affiliate Websites / Aggregators
CreditKarma and other Affiliate Website / Aggregators either have a very loyal customer base or are very good at ranking at the top of Google's searches for a variety of personal finance related topics. None of these website will charge a user any money. Instead, the users - i.e. YOU - are the product:
To rank high in Google's searches, Affiliate Websites / Aggregators often created comparison lists, how-to lists or articles with click-baity titles. NerdWallet's 10 Best Auto Loan Refinancing Lenders of July 2020 is a great example of that strategy.
Unfortunately, the quality of the content isn't always great because instead of focusing on a single category - e.g. auto loan refinancing - Affiliate Websites / Aggregators typically cast a very wide net and spread themselves thin.
How does auto loan refinancing work?
The market for auto loans is inefficient, rates are all over the map. People who migrate in credit, i.e. improve their credit over time, usually stay in high-interest auto loans although they could easily refinance. The obvious question worth asking: why aren’t more people refinancing their auto loans?
The answer is two-fold:
Most Americans simply don’t know they can refinance their auto loan
Americans who know they can refinance usually struggle to find a convenient way to refinance, 100% online and from the comfort of their home
On Google, you’ll find approximately 1.1M auto refinance related searches per month. That means, every year around 15M car owners search for ways to refinance their auto loan.
Unfortunately, barely 5% of all the funded auto loans are refinanced. The challenge with refinancing is that most of the companies mentioned above require multiple phone calls, emails and text messages to get you through the process. None of these companies has a fully digital, 100% online experience.
In fact, most of these companies prefer phone calls to a 100% online experience because the majority of their profits comes from upselling insurance products and extended warranties / services plans.
We recommend you take a look at our auto loan refinance calculator to get a sense for how much you could be saving through refinancing before submitting your details on any of the pages above.
When should you refinance your car loan?
As mentioned above, the main reason you can save money through refinancing your auto loan is because you’ve made your payments and improved your credit score. When you migrate in credit, you should switch from your current auto loan company to a different one that is specialized on your new credit segment.
If your credit score was below 600 when you got your loan, you likely got a loan with one of the following Speciality Finance companies:
Credit Acceptance Corp
When you refinance this loan, you will migrate from the segment of Speciality Finance companies to Commercial Banks, who specialize on credit scores between 600 and 700.
If your credit score was between 600 and 700 when you got your loan, you likely got a loan with either of the following banks:
Bank of America
When you refinance your loan, you will migrate from the segment of Commercial Banks to Credit Unions who specialize on credit scores above 700.
If your credit score already was above 700 when you got your loan, you likely got a loan with a Credit Union. Credit Unions have community charters and are non-profit organizations. Hence, you are already paying a very low interest rate.
That said, even if your auto loan is already with a Credit Union, you might still be able to save money through refinancing. 79% of all car shoppers who finance their vehicle get their loan at the dealership. The dealership, however, won’t give you the loan that’s best for you. Instead, the dealership will choose a loan for you that pays the dealer the highest referral fee.
Therefore, you likely can refinance a car loan already the second you left the dealership lot even if you credit score hasn’t changed at all.
Am I likely to qualify for refinancing at a lower interest rate?
We performed two studies to identify who is most likely to qualify for refinancing at a lower interest rate:
The top 40 auto loan companies that are most likely to qualify for refinancing are all Specialty lenders, i.e. auto loan companies focused on the segment of the population with challenged credit. If your credit score was sub-prime and you made payments for 6 / 9 /12 months, you can easily shave 10% of your auto loan rate.
The top 5 car brands that are most likely to qualify for refinancing include Kia, Hyundai, Nissan and some specific Chevrolet and Ford models. Cars that are good value for money even new and cars that don't depreciate quickly are easier to refinance because the Loan-to-Value (LTV) - a metric lenders care about - tends to be better for these vehicles compared to e.g. German luxury cars.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about refinancing
While simple on the surface, auto loan refinancing often leads to a number of commonly asked questions. Going into all these questions would go beyond the scope of this article.
Therefore, we’ve collected an ever-growing list of frequently asked questions and answers with engaging explainer videos here. To make it easy for readers to find what they’re looking for, we sorted the questions in 12 categories:
1) Best Bank for Refinancing
2) Credit Impact of Refinancing
3) Credit Score to Refinance
4) How to Refinance if Close to Defaulting on a Payment
5) Loan Payoff to Refinance
6) Loan Rates for Refinancing
7) Negative Equity when Refinancing
8) Other Savings next to Refinancing
9) Payment Amount when Refinancing
10) Process to Refinance
11) Refinance Definitions
12) Savings Potential from Refinancing
A number of our visitors also have specific questions around how to refinance their current lender. We therefore created a separate section about how to refinance your current loan:
Refinance your auto loan now
Contrary to the refinance companies described about, WithClutch.com is a fully digital platform that lets car owners like you refinance their vehicle loan from the comfort of their own home and 100% online. 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.