Best Auto Loans and Rates for 2021

Low rates starting at 0.99% APR

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Best Car Loan Rates

Starting APR*TermsLoan AmountsMin. Credit ScoreBest For...
0.99%36 - 84 months$500 - $100,000620A car-buying service
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1.79%Up to 96 months$250 - $500,000No minimumMilitary connectionsSee Rates
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2.25%12 - 84 monthsUp to $100,000580Auto refinance ratesSee Rates
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2.24%Up to 84 monthsUp to $100,000UnspecifiedUsed car buyersSee Rates
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2.99%36 - 72 monthsFrom $4,000UnspecifiedPrime & subprime ratesSee Rates
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2.79%Up to 72 monthsMax LTV of 125%UnspecifiedSubprime auto loan ratesSee Rates
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2.09%12 - 75 monthsFrom $7,500UnspecifiedThose who prefer a bankSee Rates
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2.49%36 - 84 months$5,000 - $100,000660Unsecured car loansSee Rates
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1.00%0 - 84 months$12,000 - $4,000,000550Large car loansSee Rates
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3.90%36 - 72 monthsFrom $1,000UnspecifiedOnline experienceSee Rates
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*May include autopay discount

Estimate your monthly car payment

Estimate your monthly car payment with our Auto Loan Calculator for both new and used cars.

When you’re financing a car, you want to find the best auto loan rates available to save money — that’s why we’ve done the legwork for you. We crunched thousands of vehicle loan applications, sorting the most frequently chosen lenders by average APR received, according to credit score. We compared those rates with the companies’ current advertised offers and those of competitors. That left us with 10 companies offering the lowest rates for October 2021. See the details about these companies, and their auto loans in the table below.

How do auto loans work?

Auto loans are typically secured loans that charge simple interest, interest calculated on your loan balance, over two to seven years. Your auto loan interest rate is determined by your credit score, loan term and amount, along with the value of the car itself.

While many buyers shop for a car loan at the same time they’re shopping for a car, a better way is to compare annual percentage rates (APRs) across multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate.

If the dealer can beat it, you’ll know you’re getting a fair offer.

Why you should compare auto loan rates
Comparing loan rates before you buy a new or used car puts you in a stronger negotiating position at the dealership. This is true whether you have strong credit or need a car loan for bad credit. The lenders above are a good place to start your search.

How will your credit score affect your car loan

The higher your credit score, the better rate you’ll receive on an auto loan. Borrowers with good credit can expect to receive an APR around 5.59% or lower for used car loans and 3.69% or lower for new cars. It’s possible to get 0% financing from auto manufacturers, but 0% APRs are typically reserved for those with excellent credit (740+) and may only be available on certain makes and models.

Car loans for bad credit

Whether you’re just starting out and have no credit history, or have simply made some credit mistakes along the way, it’s still possible to get an auto loan. Many lenders provide car loans for bad credit. If you’d like to improve your chances of being approved or possibly get a lower rate now, consider adding a cosigner, making a large down payment or both.

Average auto loan rates by credit score
Credit score New car avg. APR Used car avg. APR
781-850 2.65% 3.80%
661-780 3.69% 5.59%
601-660 6.64% 10.13%
501-600 10.58% 16.56%
300-500 14.20% 20.3%

Source: Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market Q4 2020

Best auto loan lenders for 2021

PenFed Credit Union:
Best auto loan rates for a car-buying service

PenFed Credit Union loan details
APR 0.99% APR for vehicles purchased through PendFed’s car-buying service. 1.79% APR for cars purchased independently
Min. credit score 620
Loan term 36 – 84 months
Loan amount: $500 – $100,000

With the rate reduction from using the car-buying service, PenFed Credit Union has the lowest advertised auto loan rate we saw from a lender that is not affiliated with an automaker. And if you find a vehicle on your own, PenFed’s starting APR of 1.79% for vehicles purchased independently is not bad, either.

WHAT WE LIKE
Membership requirements for the credit union are lax and you can request to join even if you have no ties to the military. Read our full PenFed Credit Union review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
The eye-catching, low APR only applies if you use the car-buying service.

Navy Federal Credit Union:
Best auto loan rates for those with strong military connections

Navy Federal Credit Union loan details
APR 1.79%
Min. credit score No minimum, 700+ to qualify for lowest rates
Loan term Up to 96 months
Loan amount: $250 – $500,000

Navy Federal Credit Union advertised auto loan APR could go lower. For active-duty and retired military members who utilize direct deposit, Navy Federal offers a 0.25 percentage-point discount, which could bring the starting APR down to 1.54%.

WHAT WE LIKE
Besides low rates, Navy Federal’s prices for auto loan add-ons, such as GAP insurance, are also low. Re our full Navy Federal Credit Union review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
Navy Federal has strict eligibility requirements. You must have ties to the U.S. military to join.

Auto Approve:
Best auto refinance rates

Auto Approve loan details
APR From 2.25%
Min. credit score 580
Loan term 12 – 84 months
Loan amount: Up to $100,000

Auto Approve was the most popular choice for auto loan refinance on the Lending Tree platform by far in Q1, 2021 and it averaged one of the lowest APRs on closed loans. The company does a soft credit pull to show you potential refinance offers from lenders and once you choose an offer, that lender will do a hard credit pull to produce an official offer for your approval.

WHAT WE LIKE
Auto Approve offers lease buyouts and refinancing for motorcycles, boats, RVs and ATVs as well.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
If you have a specific refinance lender in mind, such as a local credit union, apply to them directly as Auto Approve doesn’t have a public list of its lender partners.

Consumers Credit Union:
Best for used car buyers

Consumers Credit Union loan details
APR From 2.24% with autopay
Min. credit score Unspecified
Loan term Up to 84 months
Loan amount: Up to $100,000

To become a member of Consumers Credit Union, you only need to make a one-time payment of $5 to the Consumers Cooperative Association. You do not need to have ties to the U.S. military, live in a specific geographic area or work for a certain employer.

WHAT WE LIKE
Average APRs offered by Consumers Credit Union were among the lowest offered to borrowers of all credit levels on the LendingTree platform in Q1 2021. Read our full Consumers Credit Union review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
The lowest rate includes a 0.50 percentage-point discount, assuming you’ll make automatic payments from a Consumers Credit Union account. Your rate reduction would drop to 0.25 percentage points if you want to make automatic payments from an account at another financial institution. You could check out more credit union auto loans here.

Capital One:
Best prime and subprime auto loan rates

Capital One loan details
APR From 2.99%
Min. credit score Unspecified; minimum monthly income required is $1,500 or $1,800 depending on other qualifications
Loan term 36 – 72 months
Loan amount: From $4,000

On LendingTree, Capital One emerged as a favorite, offering competitive rates on both ends of the credit spectrum, to both prime and subprime borrowers.

WHAT WE LIKE
Its Auto Navigator feature gives a ballpark estimate of your auto loan without doing a hard credit pull. If you want a more solid idea of your car loan before you go to the dealer, consider getting a car loan preapproval. Read our full Capital One review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
Capital One auto financing might not be available at the dealership you want. It only offers car loans for vehicles purchased through its network of 12,000 dealerships.

OpenRoad Lending :
Best subprime auto loan rates

OpenRoad Lending loan details
APR From 2.79%
Min. credit score Unspecified; minimum monthly income is $1,800
Loan term Up to 72 months
Loan amount: Max LTV of 125%

OpenRoad Lending had one of the lowest average auto loan rates for subprime borrowers on the LendingTree platform in the first half of 2021. Its starting rate on 24-month auto loans is competitive, too.

WHAT WE LIKE
OpenRoad Lending offers the three main types of car loans: new, used and refinance. Read our full OpenRoad review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
If you have a higher credit score and want a longer-term loan, another lender may offer a lower car loan rate.

Bank of America:
Best auto loan rates for those who prefer a bank

Bank of America loan details
APR From 2.09%
Min. credit score Unspecified
Loan term 12 – 75 months
Loan amount: From $7,500 ($8,000 in Minnesota)

Bank of America offers convenience. It does not require borrowers to qualify for membership and it could be your one-stop shop. It has competitive auto loan rates for any type of auto loan you’d like: new, used, refinance, lease buyout and private party.

WHAT WE LIKE
Bank of America has a variety of auto loans that you don’t always see from one lender; it has no membership requirements and it is the second-largest U.S. bank by assets. Read our full Bank of America review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
Bank of America’s minimum loan amount is relatively high at $7,500; you could easily find a used car from a private seller for less. By comparison, Navy Federal’s minimum loan amount is $250.

LightStream:
Best auto loan rates for unsecured car loans

LightStream loan details
APR From 2.49% with autopay
Min. credit score 660
Loan term 36 – 84 months
Loan amount: $5,000 – $100,000

The online lender LightStream offers no restrictions based on vehicle age, mileage, make or model and the starting rate for new, used and refinance car loans are the same, because these loans are unsecured. While most people shy away from unsecured car loans, thinking the APR will be high, LightStream offered one of the lowest average rates across all credit scores on the LendingTree platform in the first half of 2021.

WHAT WE LIKE
LightStream says it will beat any qualified rate by 0.10 percentage points and it has a $100 customer satisfaction guarantee, though terms apply. Read our full Lightstream review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
LightStream heavily prefers borrowers with credit scores above FICO 660 and low debt-to-income (DTI).

Southeast Financial :
Best auto loan rates for large car loans

Southeast Financial loan details
APR From 1.00%
Min. credit score 550
Loan term 0 – 84 months
Loan amount: $12,000 – $4,000,000

A popular choice on the LendingTree platform for large auto loan amounts, Southeast Financial offered competitive auto loan rates across the credit spectrum. It offers the same rates for new and used cars, as well as financing for motorcycles and powersport vehicles.

WHAT WE LIKE
The credit union only requires a $5 minimum donation to Autism Tennessee to qualify for membership.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT

Southeast Financial is a smaller credit union and it doesn’t have many brick-and-mortar locations for in-person transactions.

Carvana:
Best for those who want an online experience

Carvana loan details
APR From 3.90%
Min. credit score 588
Loan term 36 – 72 months
Loan amount: From $1,000

Like a car dealership but completely online, Carvana helps consumers find the auto loans they want to purchase Carvana vehicles.

WHAT WE LIKE
A no-haggle, online experience could be extremely stress relieving. Read our full Carvana review.

WHERE IT MAY FALL SHORT
You cannot use a loan offer you got through Carvana to purchase a vehicle from any other seller.

Methodology

We examined closed LendingTree auto loans from H1 2021. We wanted to know: 1) which lenders consumers chose most often, and 2) which ones offered the lowest average APR. We also looked at the advertised starting car loan rates of large, national lenders to compare.

To find the best rates for those with military connections, we looked at rates offered by USAA Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union and Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, and chose the one with the lowest advertised APR for a traditional new car loan not including any other discounts that may be available, such as breaks for using a car-buying service.

How to get an auto loan in 3 easy steps

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Auto Loan FAQs

Apply to a couple of our best auto lenders or your own bank, credit union or online lender directly — without a middleman — and then ask the dealer to beat your preapproved rate.

Yes, you can negotiate APR the same way you negotiate the car’s price by showing the dealer that your own lender gave you a lower rate. You can also ask the dealer what it would take to get a “tier bump.” Dealers sort borrowers into tiers by credit score — the higher the tier, the lower your APR. They may say that you need to put more money down or get a cosigner in order to reach a higher tier.

It’s best to apply to both: a bank, credit union or online lender and the dealer so you have options and can choose the best car loan for you.

The average APR for an auto loan was 9.46% in 2020, but it’s possible to get a lower rate, especially if your credit is strong. Credit unions tend to offer some of the lowest starting rates we’ve seen if you meet their membership requirements, which may be easier than you think. Car manufacturers offer 0% financing, but those deals require high credit scores and only apply to certain models. Used car loans tend to have higher starting rates than new, but manufacturers do offer APR deals on certified pre-owned cars.

To get a car loan, first use an auto loan calculator to figure out how much car you can afford and then apply to a few lenders online or in person. You could fill out an online form at LendingTree and get up to five car loan offers from lenders at once, depending on your creditworthiness.

When deciding between auto loan offers, consider the APR, the reputation of the lender and how much you’ll pay for the loan in total. A low APR on a long-term auto loan could result in the loan costing more overall. That’s why it’s important to compare monthly payments and total interest costs to see which option is better for you.

Automakers, credit unions, banks and online lenders could all potentially provide a low rate. You’ll never know what you qualify for until you apply. Applying to multiple lenders within a two-week window will not hurt your credit score any more than applying to one lender. Any drop to your credit score will be slight and temporary.