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USAA Auto Loan Review

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USAA Bank Auto Loans At a Glance
Best for: USAA members seeking low-interest auto loans with flexible terms.

lenderAPRAmountsTermCTA

New, Used & Refinance
Starting APR*
2.89% for 2020 or newer cars; 3.29% for 2019 and older cars
Loan Amounts
$5,000 - $50,000
Loan Term
12 - 84 months, depending on model year and loan amount
See If You Qualify

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) offers auto loans to eligible members, including active-duty military, veterans and their families. Borrowing options from USAA Bank include loans to buy a new or used vehicle from a dealer or a private seller, as well as USAA auto refinance loans.

If you’re considering a USAA car loan, it’s helpful to understand how loan terms and rates compare to those offered by other lenders. Reading USAA auto loan reviews like this one can help you gauge whether it’s the right lender for you.

How USAA auto loans work

USAA was founded in 1922 by 25 Army officers who met in San Antonio, Texas, and decided to insure each others’ vehicles. Today, the Texas-based financial company offers banking, insurance, investing, loans and other financial products and services.

USAA car loan and USAA auto refinance options are available to members and their families. USAA offers vehicle financing for both new and used cars, as well as motorcycles, boats, powersports and recreational vehicles (RVs). At one time, USAA also offered a car-buying service that’s since been discontinued.

Pros and cons of USAA car loans

USAA offers competitive financing rates for military families interested in buying a car or refinancing a vehicle they already own. But it’s not the only lender aimed at servicemembers — Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, offers a lower starting rate and a car-buying service. If you don’t have military connections, it may be impossible to qualify for an auto loan at either organization.

Pros Cons
 No hidden fees, including no application fees and no prepayment penalties.

Flexible loan terms that extend up to 84 months, with no payment due for up to 60 days after your loan is approved (finance charges will still accrue).

 Rate discount of 0.25 percentage points when you sign up for automatic payments. This is included in the rates shown above. USAA auto loans may be a good fit for those who already bank with USAA or plan to.

 Take your vehicle with you. If you’re deploying, moving or traveling overseas, your USAA car loan allows you to take your vehicle along.

 Membership is required to apply for a USAA car loan or refinance loan.

 Refinancing rates aren’t spelled out online; you’ll need to play around with the USAA car loan calculator to get an idea of what rates you might qualify for.

 No refinancing for existing USAA Bank loans, but USAA will help you find the right refinancing option.

 Few branches. USAA has just a handful of financial centers where you could meet with a representative face-to-face. This won’t be a good fit if you’re hoping for an in-person borrowing experience.

USAA auto loan reviews

Some existing USAA car loan borrowers reported problems related to billing.  A search of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s consumer complaint database turned up 6,960 total auto loan complaints registered in 2020. USAA Bank also has a 1.3-star rating (out of 663 reviews) on Trustpilot across all of its products, not just auto loans.

Should you apply?

USAA offers competitive starting rates with no minimum credit score or income requirements. But you won’t know your exact rate until you apply. USAA doesn’t offer car loan preapprovals nor does it publicly disclose its maximum loan rates, though you might be able to get an estimate for your rate and monthly payment using the USAA car loan calculator.

Like other lenders, the best auto loan rates and most flexible terms go to those who buy or refinance the newest cars. Here’s a closer look at what that means by loan type at USAA.

USAA auto loan rates and terms

Borrowers buying or refinancing 2020 and newer vehicles at a 60-month or lower term qualify for the lowest rates. USAA used car loan rates start at 3.29% for those buying 2014 to 2019 models from a dealer. The starting rate is slightly higher when buying from a private seller. A USAA auto loan may be used for a vehicle 2013 or older, but the lender doesn’t specify a cutoff year.

Loan terms

Loan terms can extend from 12 to 84 months, though there are a few caveats. If you borrow a minimum of $15,000, you can extend the loan term up to 72 months. An 84-month loan term is also available if you’re buying a 2020 or newer model and borrowing $25,000 or more.

How to become a USAA member

To apply for a USAA car loan or USAA auto loan refinance, you first need to become a USAA member. You can join online and membership is extended to:

  • U.S. military members and veterans, including active-duty and retired and separated servicemembers with an honorable discharge, as well as National Guard and Reserve members.
  • Precommissioned officers
  • Spouses and children of U.S. military members, veterans and precommissioned officers

Membership in USAA is free. You’ll need to submit proof of eligibility to enroll. This includes a government-issued photo ID and a military verification, such as Form DD214, a discharge statement or a copy of your orders if you’re active duty.

How to apply for financing at USAA

Once you’ve joined USAA, you can begin the process of applying for an auto loan. You can apply for a new auto loan, used auto loan or USAA auto refinance loan online by logging into your USAA account. If you’re already at the dealer, you can apply by phone via the USAA mobile app.

You’ll need to provide some basic information for a purchase loan, including:

  • Proof of identity and residency
  • Amount of loan and year of car, make and model
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of income

For USAA auto refinancing, you’ll need to have this information ready when you apply:

  • Car’s model year and mileage
  • 10-day payoff amount
  • Loan annual percentage rate (APR)
  • Loan account number
  • Your employer and income

The application takes just a few minutes to complete and once approved, your loan offer is good for up to 45 days. That gives you time to shop around and compare auto loan financing terms and rates from other lenders. Remember, the best way to get the best rate for you is to get several auto loan offers, ideally before you arrive at the dealership.

USAA vs. competitors

USAA is just one bank you might consider for auto loans if you’re a military member. Navy Federal and Pentagon Federal (PenFed Credit Union) are two other options catering to families with military ties. Navy Federal has the lowest starting rate and longest terms, but PenFed has more lenient membership requirements and a deep discount if you use its car-buying service, which is reflected in its starting rate, below.

USAA vs. Navy Federal vs. PenFed
USAA Navy Federal PenFed Credit Union
Starting rate* (new) 2.89% 1.79% 1.39%
Starting rate* (used) 3.29% 2.19% 2.99%
Starting rate* (refi) 2.89% 1.79% 2.14%
Terms 12–84 months Up to 96 months Up to 84 months
Loan amounts $5,000 – $50,000 $250 and up $500 – $100,000

*Starting rates may include autopay discount

 

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