CarsDirect: 2023 auto loan review (2023)

At a glance

CarsDirect: 2023 auto loan review (1)


Rating: 3.6 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability

    Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

  • Affordability

    Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

  • Customer Experience

    Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

  • Transparency

    Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Compare auto loan rates

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About CarsDirect

CarsDirect auto loans are best for fair and bad credit borrowers

CarsDirect features an extensive network that offers auto loan financing to prospective borrowers with varying credit backgrounds. So, a bad credit score isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker if you’re in the market for a car loan. You may even be approved with no credit at all, though that loan may be funded through a bad-credit dealership, which often means high rates.

CarsDirect pros and cons

CarsDirect offers a car shopping platform and a network of lenders that may work with credit-challenged buyers. But its lack of upfront rate and fee information, plus consistently bad reviews from customers, may make a competitor a better option.


  • No fees

  • Large lender network

  • Car buying network


    • Poor customer reviews

    • Lack of upfront transparency

    • Direct financing not available

CarsDirect is not a direct lender. Instead, it operates as an online car shopping platform and auto loan broker. You can use the website to help you find the best deal on a ride and financing through one of the lenders in its partner network. CarsDirect also connects you to a dealership to finalize the transaction once you’ve found a vehicle that works for you.

Do you qualify?

Due to the network structure of CarsDirect, there aren't any disclosed requirements. But they do cater to drivers with less than perfect credit. So, you could be eligible for a bad credit loan even with a past bankruptcy or other adverse credit event. On top of this CarsDirect will match you with lenders that may offer you competitive rates — with or without excellent financial history. Though, as with any lender, most competitive rates will be offered to those with strong credit.

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CarsDirect vs. Auto Credit Express

Auto Credit Express also caters to credit-challenged borrowers. Prospective car buyers can use the platform to find their best loan option through its network of special finance lenders. If approved for financing, Auto Credit Express will connect you with one of its 4,428 dealership partners to find the perfect vehicle. New and used vehicles are available, and you have the option to buy or lease your next ride. Unlike CarsDirect, Auto Credit Express discloses its range of available loan amounts: $5,000 to $45,000.

CarsDirect vs. Vroom

Vroom is another online platform you can use to find your next vehicle. But instead of connecting you with a dealer to seal the deal, Vroom features its own inventory of vehicles for sale. The entire buying process is handled online, and the vehicle you select is delivered to you. If you choose to finance through Vroom, the vehicle registration process will also be handled for you. Plus, you’ll get a seven-day return window and complimentary limited warranty of up to 6,000 miles or 90 days, whichever comes sooner. For the full comparison, check out our CarsDirect vs. Vroom breakdown.

What we like and what we don’t like

While the car buying network can be a great starting point for those beginning the buying journey, consider the downsides before signing off with CarsDirect.

What we like

  • No fees: CarsDirect does not have a fee for using the service to explore loan options. However, its partner lenders may charge fees.
  • Large lender network: CarsDirect works with a wide range of lenders catering to borrowers with different credit backgrounds.
  • Car buying network: The site allows you to shop for your vehicle while applying for financing.

What we don't like

  • Poor customer reviews: The majority of online reviews complained of bad service and distribution of personal information.
  • Lack of upfront transparency: CarsDirect does not disclose expected rates or terms until after you’ve matched with a lender. Some of its competitors at least disclose the minimum rate available, plus the range of available terms and loan amounts.
  • Direct financing not available: As is common with loan marketplaces, loans are provided by trusted lenders in the network. But that means the rates and fees you will find vary widely from lender to lender.

How to contact CarsDirect

CarsDirect offers online chat on its website, direct email and phone support. It doesn't, however, list its business hours on the website.

Auto loan types offered

CarsDirect offers loans for new or used vehicles and refinancing. Since CarsDirect hosts a marketplace, and is not a lender itself, the specifics of each loan vary depending on your matched lender.

New and used vehicle loans

The specific rates and terms for a new or used auto loan found through CarsDirect will vary by lender. But with the car buying process being directly integrated with the site, it can be a seamless way to find a vehicle from a local dealer while also securing vehicle financing.


Although refinance rates and terms are not posted on CarsDirect’s website, it encourages borrowers to consider refi if they are looking to lower their monthly payments or secure a lower interest rate. CarsDirect states you’ll typically need a credit score of 500 or more to receive better rates than you currently have.

How to apply for a loan with CarsDirect

The process of searching for an auto loan through CarsDirect is simple. The site advertises a 60-second application experience and the ability to drive your next vehicle in as soon as 24 to 48 hours.

According to CarsDirect, the process is broken down into four main steps.

  1. Submit the form. Fill out an online form with your personal and vehicle information. This is a no-obligation application. But as you continue the process you can expect a hard inquiry from lenders.
  2. Review financing options. A CarsDirect representative will then reach out within 24 hours of filling out the form with different financing options.
  3. Choose a vehicle. CarsDirect encourages borrowers to purchase their vehicle through its network but whether it's your intended route, take time to compare your potential loan with at least three other lenders.
  4. Finalize loan. You now have secured vehicle financing and can drive off with a new vehicle through CarsDirect’s network or shop elsewhere.

Features and additional perks

CarsDirect offers an extensive library of educational resources in its knowledge center. It features industry news, buying guides and a car comparison tool. You can also get prequalified for financing without impacting your credit score.

Fees and penalties

CarsDirect does not assess a fee to use its car shopping and online loan comparison tools. However, the lender you select may assess loan origination fees, dealer fees, late payment penalties and early repayment fees. You could also be responsible for dealer fees when you purchase the vehicle. Inquire before formally applying for a loan to confirm.

CarsDirect FAQs

How Bankrate rates CarsDirect

Overall score3.6
Availability4.1CarsDirect offers several loan options but does not disclose specific loan amounts or repayment terms.
Affordability3.5While CarsDirect partners with bad credit and bankruptcy lenders and there is no application fee, APR is not disclosed.
Customer experience3.8Online reviews were primarily negative and customer service is only available Monday to Friday in a range of specific hours.
Transparency3CarsDirect serves as a loan broker and does not share fees and rates before matching you with a lender.


Bankrate considers 18 data points when rating auto loan lenders. These include credit requirements, loan amount, APR ranges, shopping window along with rate and fee availability. In total, Bankrate reviewed 33 lenders and gave each a Bankrate rating, which consists of four categories:

  • Availability. Loan amounts, types and repayment options are considered in this category. A wide range of financing options results in a higher score.
  • Affordability. The interest rates, acceptance criteria and present fees are measured here.
  • Customer experience. This category concerns online access along with app availability and customer support hours of operation. Lenders with 24/7 support carry the highest available marks.
  • Transparency. This covers the disclosure of potential fees and the ability to apply for loan prequalification.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.

(Video) Will you buy a car without ever seeing it? The Story

Written by

Rebecca Betterton

Writer, Auto Loans

Read more from Rebecca

Rebecca Betterton is a writer for Bankrate who has been reporting on auto loans since 2021. Through her writing, Rebecca aims to provide clarity and accessibility to the automotive loans industry as the cost to finance new and used vehicles continues to climb due to steep inflation.

Edited by

Helen Wilbers

Helen Wilbers

Editor, Auto Loans

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(Video) 🚘 Get A Car Loan In Minutes! Repos OK! Bankruptcy OK! Bad Credit OK! In 2021

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What credit score is needed to buy a car 2023? ›

In general, you'll need a FICO credit score of at least 600 to qualify for a traditional auto loan, but the minimum credit score required with vary from lender to lender.

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Is CarsDirect worth it? ›

CarsDirect Review: Conclusion

CarsDirect earned a score of 3.5 out of 5.0 stars for their willingness to work with bad credit and mixed reviews. CarsDirect is not a provider and instead matches you with auto loan lenders so be careful and read the fine print before taking an offer.

Tell Me More
Does CarsDirect run your credit? ›

That means borrowers with bad credit who may not be able to get financing elsewhere might have luck getting loans through CarsDirect. The company even states that it can find loans for people with no credit history or even a past bankruptcy.

Read More
How do I make sure I get approved for a car loan? ›

How to Increase Your Odds of Approval
  1. Check your credit: Check both your credit score and your credit reports. ...
  2. Save up a down payment: The more you can save first, the smaller the loan you'll need. ...
  3. Pay down credit card debt: Lenders use your debt-to-income ratio to help calculate how much you can borrow.
More items...
May 1, 2023

Get More Info
What credit score do I need to buy a 35000 car? ›

Your credit score is a major factor in whether you'll be approved for a car loan. Some lenders use specialized credit scores, such as a FICO Auto Score. In general, you'll need at least prime credit, meaning a credit score of 661 or up, to get a loan at a good interest rate.

Get More Info Here
What is the average car payment in 2023? ›

The average car payment for a new vehicle is $725 monthly, according to first-quarter 2023 data from Experian — up 11.5% year over year. Meanwhile, new lease payments average $586 (up 11.2%). With the lowest jump at 2.2%, used cars have the lowest average monthly payments at $516.

View More
Who gives the most accurate car reviews? ›

With a reputation for delivering concise and reliable information on vehicle quality, safety, and performance, Consumer Reports provides thorough reviews on all types of cars, trucks, and SUVs. Consumer Reports cars receive ratings based on either feature data or test drive experiences.

Know More
Is the CarsDirect a real company? ›

CarsDirect is not a direct lender. Instead, it operates as an online car shopping platform and auto loan broker. You can use the website to help you find the best deal on a ride and financing through one of the lenders in its partner network.

Keep Reading
Is CarsDirect real? ›

Is CarsDirect legit? CarsDirect is a good way to shop for a new or used car, especially if you have poor credit. It's a convenient hub that connects you to lenders and dealers. However, it's up to you to research the lender and seller you're working with before you commit.

See Details
Does getting pre approved for car loan hurt credit score? ›

While yes, getting pre-approved for an auto loan does involve a “hard credit inquiry”, the impact on your credit score is minor. At most, the inquiry might knock your score down by a little bit, it's not a major hit and it's only temporary.

Read The Full Story

How much will a car loan raise my credit score? ›

Even if you apply for a few car loans within a short time frame, it shouldn't affect your score significantly. Once you start making loan payments, your credit score should rebound. And by keeping up with your monthly loan payments, your credit score should increase in the long run.

Discover More Details
How much will a car loan drop my credit score? ›

Does applying for a car loan hurt your credit score? Shopping around for a car loan can potentially impact your credit score. That's because every time you apply for a loan and have a hard credit check, your score can drop by roughly 1 to 5 points.

Keep Reading
Can you be denied a car loan after pre approval? ›

Banks, credit unions and online lenders may not approve your car loan if they can't verify the information you provided on your application, even if you were preapproved beforehand. Most lenders will give conditional approval after only a cursory examination of your financial details.

Read On
Can I get approved for a car loan with a 500 credit score? ›

Yes, it is possible to get a car loan with a credit score of 500, but it can be infinitely more challenging to find a lender willing to approve the loan. A credit score of 500 is considered poor credit, and lenders will likely see you as a higher risk borrower.

Read On
How can a poor credit score hurt your chance of being approved for a car loan or mortgage? ›

A low score can make it harder to borrow, whether it's a car loan, mortgage, or credit card account. And if you do qualify, you'll likely have to pay higher interest rates to make up for your great level of default risk.

Read More
What are the credit laws for 2023? ›

Reporting of Medical Debt: The three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian) will institute a new policy by March 30, 2023, to no longer include medical debt under a dollar threshold (the threshold will be at least $500) on credit reports.

Read The Full Story
Is it smart to buy a 2023 car? ›

Buying a car in 2023 should mostly be avoided because demand for new and used vehicles is so high. Because of issues with the supply chain, new cars are incredibly expensive, which is bringing more and more people to the used market.

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Will cars be easier to buy in 2023? ›

There is good news on the horizon in 2023, however. J.P. Morgan estimates that prices for both new and used vehicles are set to decrease as supply chain issues abate and inflation is poised to keep easing. Per the financial firm, new vehicle prices are slated to go down 2.5-5% while used cars may go down by 10-20%.

Show Me More
What is an average credit score 2023? ›

The average credit score is 714. Older Americans have higher average credit scores. The average credit score for baby boomers is 742, while the average credit score for millennials is 687. 23% of Americans have an "exceptional" credit score of 800 or above.

Show Me More


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CarsDirect Reviews: Rates & Eligibility Overview (2023)
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Last Updated: 09/16/2023

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