Home / Auto Refinance Topics / RateGenius Reviews: Uncovering Hidden Fees, but Good Savings

  • Nicholas Hinrichsen

RateGenius Reviews: Uncovering Hidden Fees, but Good Savings

RateGenius is an auto loan refinance broker based in Austin, Texas that offers auto loan refinancing or loans for lease buyouts at rates as low as 3.09% (today’s RateGenius auto loan rate). They specialize in matching borrowers to vehicle refinance loans from a network of credit unions and other financial institutions.


To help you determine the best auto loan refinancing option that suits your needs we have curated a comprehensive review of RateGenius, detailing aspects not disclosed on their website. Continue reading to learn more about how the platform works and find answers to the following questions:

  • What is the application process like?

  • What do reviews say about RateGenius?

  • Are there additional fees involved?

  • What is the recommended FICO score?

  • Who is eligible for refinancing?


About RateGenius


RateGenius reports that applicants who are approved for a vehicle refinance loan save an average of $83 a month. Borrowers expressed on BBB (Better Business Bureau) that their interest rates were cut in half -- in some cases by even more than 50% depending on old loan details and financial situations.


The online platform makes it simple to apply for auto loan refinancing or a loan for a lease buyout from the comfort of your home. There’s also an option to apply over the phone or via regular mail. To complete the application you will need to provide:

  • Vehicle year, make, model, trim and mileage

  • Current auto lender and monthly auto payment

  • Your personal information - Name, phone number, email address, home address

  • Residence type and housing payment

  • Date of birth

  • Employment status

  • Income information

  • Social security number

It’s important to note that RateGenius provides two methods of starting an online application. If you are just shopping for refinancing options and are not ready to apply for a loan, it is best to use the Get Pre-Qualified Tool. By submitting a pre-qualification form, RateGenius will perform a soft credit pull (provided by Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) that will not affect your credit score. You will be matched with pre-qualified offers from their lenders. From that point, you may decide whether or not you want to apply for a loan.


By applying, RateGenius will perform a hard credit pull which may affect your credit score. In the event they don't think any lenders will offer you a loan, they will not perform a credit check resulting in a hard inquiry. You can choose to bypass the pre-qualification process by initially applying, though a hard pull to your credit will be conducted.


Most applications are expected to be processed within 24 to 48 hours of submission. Once it’s been processed, a loan officer will reach out to you with offers you can decide to accept or decline. If you accept a refinance loan offer, you will be sent documentation (request by email or regular mail) that needs to be notarized and sent back to RateGenius. Some forms you can expect to receive are:

  • Title transfer paperwork

  • Your new loan contract

Pay off of your old auto loan and transition to your new lender should take place in one business week, and no later than three weeks depending upon receipt of the completed documentation and when RateGenius confirms its validity.


In cases where RateGenius cannot match you with a lender or you decline an offer, you can re-apply a month from your first loan application, and each month thereafter if so inclined. Again, a hard credit pull will be run each time you apply.


IMPORTANT: The following is a notice provided by RateGenius “Notice to applicants in AK, AL, District of Columbia, GA, KS, MA, MS, and RI - Due to delays at or closures of certain government agencies responsible for vehicle title changes as a result of COVID-19, RateGenius is temporarily unable to process refinances which involve ownership changes in those states. Fortunately, RateGenius is still able to process refinances which only involve lien changes in those states.”


RateGenius Reviews: Best and Worst


While sifting through service reviews of RateGenius, we found there was a mixed bag of results. Credit Karma returned an overall 4.7/5 stars from 454 borrowers in the last year. Google’s rating sits just below at 4.5/5 stars from 2,647 borrowers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gave RateGenius a BBB rating of ‘A’, but over the past three years, there have been 78 complaints reported. 71.8% of them are complaints about the product or service offered by RateGenius.


Diving a bit deeper, we found that many of the complaints regarded customers not being aware that submitting an application would result in a hard inquiry on their credit report. Additionally, other borrowers were unhappy with how RateGenius adds a GAP waiver to the loan contract. One customer noted that the only place they could find any indication for a window of cancellation, or how to cancel the GAP policy was found on the back of the loan contract in the fine print. Several borrowers did not catch this within the first 60 days of their loan term and were unable to receive a full refund. It was concluded that many shoppers felt they were being deceived and RateGenius was running a dishonest business.

Overall, with the majority of reviews being positive, RateGenius proves to be a reputable company that has been able to help thousands of customers refinance their auto loans. If you decide to go with RateGenius, be sure to ask about what actions might trigger a hard inquiry, and double-check your policy paperwork for hidden GAP waivers or other services before signing your contract. To get updated information, check RateGenius.com. If you cannot find what you’re looking for on the website, you can contact a service representative by phone or email.


RateGenius Fees and Costs to Refinance (What They Won’t Tell You)


The RateGenius website states, “In some cases, there will be prepaid finance charges associated with your loan. The amount of these fees vary depending on your lender and the state in which you live. Additionally, we may collect a small fee on behalf of your state’s DMV to process the title on your behalf. In either case, we’ll always disclose and document these for you to keep you in the loop.” After speaking with a RateGenius representative, we were able to uncover the cost of some of those fees.


To retain their lender network, RateGenius has to pay them a small fee. The downside to this is once you approve a loan offer, you will subsequently be charged for what they refer to as a “membership fee” ranging from $5 to $35. On top of this expense, you can expect to be charged a $125 “RateGenius fee” (application fee) for using their service. You will have the option to pay the RateGenius fee up-front in a lump sum, or you can make monthly payments. It’s important to check with the lender you ultimately work with, as there may be additional charges applicable to you.

RateGenius: Who Qualifies for Refinancing?


Eligibility for a car loan refinance with RateGenius is determined by the following circumstances listed on their website:


Your vehicle is:

  • Less than 10 years-old

  • Has less than 120,000 miles - we were told in some cases less than 150,000 miles

  • A personal vehicle registered in the borrower’s name

Your current auto loan has:

  • A loan amount remaining of $10,000 and $55,000

  • Been established at least one month before the date of application submission to RateGenius

  • At least 24 months of payments left on the loan term

The RateGenius representative we spoke to informed us you can receive loan offers even with bad credit. The lowest FICO score they are willing to work with is 510, though other data points from LendingTree and Credit Karma suggest you need a minimum FICO score of 550. While they might be able to offer you a loan with this credit score, the APR at which you’ll be paying may only be marginally better than the rate on your current loan, if at all. Your odds of getting an auto refinance loan at a competitive rate are greater if you meet the following criteria:

  • Have good credit and credit history (FICO score of 700 or greater)

  • Loan to retail value ratio (LTV) of no more than 125% - indicates whether you owe more on the loan than the vehicle is worth

  • Debt to income (DTI) ratio of no more than 50% - indicates how much you owe each month to how much you earn

Bottom line, before applying with RateGenius, be sure to do your research and consider other auto refinancing companies. Reference WithClutch’s list of the best auto refinance lenders nationwide of 2020 to compare multiple lenders and put yourself in a position to score the best rates.


If you’re hesitant about causing a hard inquiry on your credit report, look no further! WithClutch offers auto refinance options without impacting your credit score, and with no obligation or hidden fees. Save your money and time by refinancing from the comfort of your home in less than 20 seconds. If this is something that appeals to you, follow these simple steps to find out how you can lower your car payment using WithClutch!


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