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PNC Auto Loan Review

PNC Bank offers competitive rates on its new and used auto loans, but only if your credit is strong and you live within 50 miles of one of its branches.

As the sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets with 2,400 locations across 37 states and Washington D.C., the Pittsburgh-based lender should be convenient for many. But other lenders offer loans nationwide on a wider selection of vehicles — PNC does not finance vehicles like motorcycles or RVs. Keep reading to see if PNC is a good fit for you.

About PNC Bank and its auto loans

PNC Bank offers a variety of consumer and institutional products ranging from home mortgages to wealth management for more than 8 million customers, primarily east of the Mississippi River. PNC currently services only three states west of that: Texas, Kansas and Missouri.

You must be within 50 miles of a physical branch in order to be eligible for an auto loan or refinancing through PNC, though it does offer personal loans or lines of credit that may be used to buy a car anywhere. However, rates may be higher and maximum loan amounts lower than traditional auto loans.

PNC Bank auto loans: At a glance

  • APRs starting at 2.79%
  • Terms starting at 12 months
  • Amounts starting at $5,000 (higher for dealer vehicles)
  • Good credit required
  • Qualified car models must be 2011 or newer.

As we mentioned earlier, PNC starting rates are competitive but the starting APR of 2.79%  includes a 0.25% discount that’s only applicable if you make automatic car payments through a PNC checking account. Rates are also lowest for the shortest terms, which start at 12 months and stretch as long as 84 months, according to a PNC spokesperson, though the website shows that 72 months is the longest term. You may borrow up to $999,999, according to PNC’s calculator, but the spokesperson said upper limits for an auto loan are generally $200,000. APRs shown on the calculator may vary by area.

We’ll now discuss PNC’s auto loan offerings by type. PNC offers a variety of auto loans including:

  • Buying a new car from a dealer
  • Buying a used car from a dealer or private party
  • Refinancing
  • Lease buyouts

New cars

  • APRs between 2.79% and 11.14%
  • Minimum loan amount of $7,500

PNC will finance a new car you purchase from a certified dealer. The newer the car and the shorter the term, the lower the rate. Be aware that higher rates may apply for longer terms like 60- or 72-month loans. Rates also depend on your location. It’s worth noting again that the rates above include the autopay discount. PNC allows a co-signer or co-applicant.

Used cars – dealers

  • APRs between 3.39% and 10.94%
  • Minimum loan amount of $7,500

PNC only finances used cars that have less than 80,000 miles on the odometer though it may be possible to finance vehicles up to 100,000 miles under special circumstances. As we mentioned earlier, PNC doesn’t finance vehicles older than 2011 models. Again, the lowest rates go to those who select the lowest terms. PNC does not offer a 72-month term on vehicles older than 2014. All advertised rates include the autopay discount.

Used cars – private party

  • APRs between 3.09% and 14.99%
  • Minimum loan amount of $5,000

If you want to buy a vehicle from a private seller and are looking for financing, PNC offers private party auto loans in addition to used car loans for dealer vehicles. Vehicles that are 2015 or newer can be financed for up to 72 months.

Refinance loans

  • APRs between 2.94% and 14.84%
  • Minimum loan amount of $5,000

If you’re looking to refinance the car you already have, rates at PNC are competitive, especially for late model vehicles. You can refinance vehicles that are as old as a 2015 model year for up to 72 months. For vehicles older than 2015 you can refinance into a loan as long as 60 months. PNC will refinance auto loans up to $100,000, according to the spokesperson.

Check Ready Auto Loan

  • APRs between 2.79% and 10.94%
  • Minimum loan amount of $15,000

PNC offers a product called Check Ready Auto Loans for new and used auto loans. This option is available when you purchase a new or used car from a certified dealer. PNC offers financing online for loans up to $50,000 through the service. For loans above that amount, you’ll need to call its customer service line at 1-888-PNC-BANK. This is essentially a pre-approval program that allows you to print a “blank check” that you take to the dealer — they fill in the amount.

PNC Total Auto

If you want to shop and buy a car through PNC, you may browse for vehicles, secure financing and see what others have paid for the same vehicle, all on the PNC site, then print out a check you take to the dealer to finish your transaction. You can shop for used or new vehicles.

How to apply for a PNC car loan

When you apply for an auto loan or refinancing at PNC, you’ll need to first check that there is a branch within 50 miles of your location. If not, then you are not eligible for an auto or refinancing from the bank. You can either use its location finder or call the customer service line to see if your area is serviced by PNC.

Once you’ve determined that you are in an area that PNC services, you can start an application for a new or used car auto loan either online, by phone or in-person at a local PNC branch. For new and used car auto loans you’ll need the following documents:

  • The amount of the loan
  • Your government-issued ID
  • Your address: If you’ve been at your current address for less than two years, you’ll need your previous address as well.
  • Employer information: If you’ve been at your current job less than two years, you’ll also need the name and address of your previous employer.
  • Proof of income
  • Your co-applicant or co-signer’s information, if you have one.
  • Vehicle information if you’re purchasing used (year, make, model, mileage).

For a private-party auto loan you’ll need to bring all the information you need for financing a new or used vehicle plus:

  • Vehicle selling price, year, make and model
  • Vehicle trade-in value, year, make and model
  • Down payment, if any
  • VIN of vehicle to be refinanced or purchased

If you want to refinance you’ll need all the above information plus:

  • The 30-day payoff amount, interest per day (per diem), account number and overnight mailing address for sending the payoff check

The fine print

Details of the auto loan products that PNC offers aren’t very easy to find on the lender’s website. It requires a bit of digging to find details like APRs, minimums and required credit details, and even then, a PNC spokesperson declined to provide an exact minimum credit score. The spokesperson said PNC lends to prime and “super prime” borrowers.

PNC does allow co-applicants or co-signers.  There are no advertised fees (pre-payment or application fees) either.

But if you’re looking to finance or refinance vehicles like boats, RVs or recreational vehicles, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Remember, PNC isn’t your only option. With so many lenders from which to choose, it’s important to do your homework to find the right auto loan for your needs and your budget.

Pros and cons of financing through PNC

There are a few pros and cons to choosing PNC for your next auto loan. We break them down below.

Highlights of PNC auto loans

  • Variety of terms: PNC offers auto loans that range in term from 12 months to 84 months at competitive rates.
  • Online shopping: You can shop for a car and get approved for a loan all through PNC’s site.
  • Preapprovals: PNC offers preapproved car loans so that you can shop as if you are a cash buyer though you may have to pay higher rates for the convenience.

Lowlights of PNC auto loans

  • Select locations only: Mostly in states east of the Mississippi River.
  • Strong credit required: PNC is not transparent about its credit requirements.
  • Used car restrictions: 2011 or newer vehicles only
  • Consumer vehicles only: Small business owners must apply for a business auto loan as if it’s a personal auto loan.
  • Autos only: PNC does not finance RVs, motorcycles or boats.
  • Low ratings: PNC Bank loans and auto loan modification get a B- rating at the Better Business Bureau.

Who is a PNC car loan best for?

PNC auto loans can offer a good option if you live in the area that PNC services, mostly communities concentrated in states east of the Mississippi, and have good credit. PNC auto loans are good for buyers who might need the help of a co-signer or co-borrower. But if you’re looking for a loan on a motorcycle, RV or boat, you’ll need to look elsewhere.  Always shop around for the best rates and be sure to read the fine print of any loan agreement before you sign it.

 

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