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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

2024 Golden 1 Credit Union Auto Loan Review

Updated on:
Content was accurate at the time of publication.

New auto loansUsed auto loansRefinance auto loans
Starting APR6.79%6.94%Not disclosed
Loan terms12-84 months12-84 months12-84 months
Loan amountsUp to $75,000Up to $75,000Not disclosed
See Auto Loan RatesSee Auto Loan RatesSee Refinance Rates

An auto loan from Golden 1 Credit Union can be a good option for a car buyer, but only a selected group will qualify.

You likely need to live or work in California in order to become a member of the credit union, and membership is a prerequisite to applying for an auto loan. Plus, first-time borrowers don’t qualify for the credit union’s lowest rates. On the upside, you can get preapproved before deciding a Golden 1 loan is right for you. Here’s our full Golden 1 auto loan review for more details:

  • Membership is restricted: You’ll have to be a Golden 1 credit union member in order to apply for a loan, and most people who live and work outside of California do not qualify.
  • Repeat borrowers get lower rates: You could be approved for a rate as low as 6.79% APR if you’ve taken an auto loan from Golden 1 in the past.
  • Credit requirements aren’t disclosed: The credit union doesn’t disclose the minimum credit score or the general score range needed to qualify.
  • Best for Golden 1 Credit Union members: If you’re not a member yet, you’ll need to apply for membership and open a savings account before applying for a Golden 1 loan.

Golden 1’s auto loans have several attractive features for car buyers, including online preapproval and rate discounts for certain loans, but you’ll have to qualify for credit union membership in order to apply.

ProsCons

 Preapproval is available

 Joint applications are allowed

 Rate discounts are available

 People who don't live or work in CA may not qualify for membership

 First-time auto loan borrowers pay higher APR.

 Credit requirements aren't disclosed

If you’re not a Golden 1 Credit Union member already, you may find the process of getting one of their loans too cumbersome. Before you can apply for a Golden 1 auto loan, you’ll have to apply for membership and open a savings account with the credit union.

If you do decide to become a member and apply, it’s still not guaranteed that you’ll qualify for one of their loans, since Golden 1 doesn’t publicly disclose any information about credit score requirements upfront.

Golden 1 Credit Union is a California-based financial institution that was founded in 1933.

When it comes to auto financing, the credit union can cover most of your needs. Golden 1 offers loans for new and used autos, RVs and motorcycles, plus vehicle refinancing and loans for private party purchases.

The lowest available APR on a Golden 1 auto loan is 6.79% for returning buyers, which is lower than the national average of 7.81% on 60-month loans, as of May 2023. But for first-time car buyers, the lowest available rate jumps up to 8.99%, which is higher than the starting rate for a personal loan from Golden 1 (8.89%).

Want to find out if you qualify for the lowest rate? Preapproval is available. Beyond that, you may also be pleased to discover that the credit union offers up to 100% financing — which means you might not need a down payment — and co-applicants are allowed.

Here are a few details to keep in mind:

  • Membership eligibility:If you live or work in California, or you’re the family member of a Golden 1 member, and you open a savings account with a deposit of just $1, you can join this credit union and apply for one of their auto loans.
  • Complimentary credit scores: Members get complimentary access to their TransUnion, Vantage credit scores.
  • Delayed first payment: You may be eligible to defer your first payment due date by up to 90 days if your loan term is 84 months or less, but interest will accrue during the deferment period.
  • Car-shopping service: Borrowers can use the car-shopping service to get a 1.00% APR discount on Enterprise car sales, plus free CARFAX vehicle history reports.
  • Skip-a-Payment Program: Borrowers in need of financial assistance can skip up to two payments on a loan if they complete a Skip-A-Payment form and submit it at a Golden 1 branch.

The first step to apply for a Golden 1 auto financing is to get preapproved for a loan. You can do that online, over the phone or in person at one of the credit union’s 70 physical branch locations throughout California. For most borrowers, it takes about one day to get a preapproval decision.

If you like the terms of your preapproval, you’ll need to provide the following information with your full application:

  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • State-issued ID
  • Vehicle information (sale price, down payment amount and loan terms)
  • Income and employment details

Loan approval is good for 30 days, but the credit union does not disclose how long it takes to receive the loan funds after an application is approved.

You can find lower rates on an auto loan by going to a different credit union than Golden 1, but becoming a member could still be an issue, regardless of which credit union you choose.

At Alliant Credit Union, for example, you can get rates as low as 6.00% on some auto loans, but their requirements for membership are very restrictive. At Consumers Credit Union (MyConsumers.org) however, anyone can become a member, and rates start below 6%. Both credit unions offer online preapproval.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
Golden 1 Credit UnionAlliant Credit UnionConsumers Credit Union
Starting APR6.79%6.75% (with autopay discount)6.54% (with autopay discount)
Loan terms12 to 84 months24 to 84 monthsUp to 84 months
Loan amountsUp to $75,000$4,000 and up$250 - $250,000
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosedNot disclosed550

Read our full reviews of Alliant Credit Union auto loans and Consumers Credit Union auto loans to see how they compare.

Golden 1 is a reputable Credit Union, but their auto loans aren’t necessarily competitive. Even if you’re a member or you’re eligible for membership, you may find better rates by shopping around.

If you do go through Golden 1 for your auto loan, keep in mind that the best rates are only available for members who’ve used this credit union for auto financing before, and for buyers who shop through the Enterprise car-buying service.

Golden 1 Credit Union offers auto loan preapproval without a hard pull on your credit reports. That means you can see a rate quote and your estimated monthly payment on the loan without any negative impact on your credit scores.

Golden 1 Credit Union is a reputable credit union that’s received Best Credit Union awards from dozens of publications. Golden 1 is also insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

However, the credit union has a customer rating of just 1.2 out of 5 stars with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and many of the reviews involve problems with customer service.