Find out if this convenient all-in-one buying and lending platform can get you good rates
ProsLoans available for borrowers with bad or poor creditEasy loan application processWorks with car buying service
ConsCustomers say interest rates are sometimes highNot a direct lenderNo Better Business Bureau (BBB) page
CarsDirect review: 6.6 Stars
While we appreciate that borrowers from a wide range of credit backgrounds can get loans through CarsDirect, it’s hard to ignore consistent complaints of poor service and excessive sharing of personal data.
If you’ve had a hard time getting auto financing elsewhere, CarsDirect might be worth a look. It does seem open to borrowers who have few options. However, if you don’t need that additional lender flexibility, you’re probably better off with a different provider.
How we rate CarsDirect
CarsDirect is an online platform that combines the car buying process and auto loan process. The platform lets borrowers find financing and new or used vehicles in one place. We at the Guides Auto Team wanted to see if the company offers quality service and competitive rates in addition to that convenience.
Our team took a close-up look at the loan products, services, industry ratings and customer reviews for CarsDirect to see how the company measures up to the top lenders with the best auto loan rates and best auto refinance rates.
Year founded: 1998
Headquarters: El Segundo, Calif.
BBB rating: N/A
CarsDirect has helped people find auto loans since 1998. As a loan broker and not a direct provider of auto financing, CarsDirect matches customers with financing options for a wide range of vehicles.
The company’s website, CarsDirect.com also serves as a car shopping platform. This allows buyers to shop for vehicles and get financing in one place, creating a convenient online car buying experience. In addition, CarsDirect lets you search for vehicles sold by local dealers based on where you’ve qualified for an auto loan.
CarsDirect auto loan details
Through its network of lenders, CarsDirect offers new car loans, used car loans, refinance loans and lease buyout loans. But because CarsDirect is a broker and not a direct provider of loans, it doesn’t set interest rates. Instead, the company uses information about you to determine your eligibility and match you with lenders.
Factors that affect auto loan rates
Here’s some information CarsDirect uses to help you shop for loans and that lenders use to determine the auto loan rates you’re offered:
- Annual income
- Credit history
- FICO credit score
- State of residence
- Desired loan amount
- Desired payment terms
- Vehicle (if looking to trade it in or for a refinance or lease buyout loan)
Who is eligible for CarsDirect auto loans?
While not all finance companies offer loans to people with credit scores below 640, CarsDirect makes several mentions that it provides loans for “all credit types” on its website. 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. That makes CarsDirect an option for a wider range of borrowers than other providers.
CarsDirect application process
Many companies advertise having an easy loan process, but CarsDirect appears to deliver. Borrowers can begin the application process in just 60 seconds, according to the company. While not every application will take under a minute, it’s still an efficient system.
Before you get started, here’s the information you’ll need:
- Personal information (name, email address, home address, Social Security number, phone number)
- Down payment amount
- Employment and income information
- Residence status (rent/own)
- Monthly housing payment (rent/mortgage)
- Vehicle information if using as a trade-in or refinancing (year, mileage, make, model, lienholder)
How to apply for a loan with CarsDirect
After you have your information ready, you can start the loan application process. There are just a few simple steps.
- Fill out and submit your application: The loan application for CarsDirect only takes a few minutes to complete. It doesn’t obligate you to anything, so it’s safe to use for comparison shopping. However, lenders may use a hard credit inquiry to get a closer look at your finances, which will impact your credit score.
- Consider your options: A representative from CarsDirect will get back to you within 24 hours with a few options. Compare these options carefully, looking beyond just the APR. Figure out what prepayment and late payment fees there are, if any.
- Choose a lender: After you select the best lending offer for you, you’ll follow up with the paperwork needed to finalize your loan.
- Find the right car: Once you’ve secured financing, a car dealer will view you as a cash buyer. This gives you an advantage in negotiating and keeps you from having to deal with finance departments at car dealerships. You can use your loan to shop for a car within your price range confidently.
CarsDirect doesn’t have a BBB page. While it’s not totally out of the ordinary for a well-established company to not have a BBB page, it’s not exactly an encouraging sign.
The company does, however, have a Trustpilot page. The CarsDirect reviews on that page are encouraging — customers give it an average score of 3.8 out of 5.0 stars. While 83% of reviewers on Trustpilot rate the company as “great” or “excellent,” 16% of reviewers give it a “bad” or “poor” rating, which is higher than many of the top auto loan providers in our study.
Positive CarsDirect reviews
Customers who report positive experiences with CarsDirect tend to mention professional service as one of the company’s major highlights. The availability of loans is also a common topic of positive feedback for CarsDirect.
Negative CarsDirect reviews
Among the relatively high percentage of poor reviews for CarsDirect, a consistent complaint is people’s information being given to other companies after being entered into the site. Some reviewers mention receiving a high volume of calls and other communications from affiliate partners.
Our team reached out to CarsDirect for a comment on its customer ratings and negative reviews but did not receive a response.
Recommendations for auto loans
We don’t recommend CarsDirect as a source of auto financing unless you don’t have many other options. However, there are lenders our team recommends for the next car you buy or refinance. It’s always a good idea to compare offers from lenders before making a decision.
myAutoloan: Most Popular Marketplace
Rather than a broker or a direct provider of loans, myAutoloan is an auto financing marketplace that lets you shop for offers from competing lenders. That allows for a wide range of lending options for borrowers, including those with credit scores as low as 575. Borrowers with good credit have access to rates as low as 3.99% through myAutoloan.
Keep reading: myAutoloan review
Auto Approve: Top Choice for Refinancing
Auto Approve only offers refinance loans and lease buyout loans, meaning you can’t use its services to purchase a new or used vehicle. However, if refinancing your current loan is your goal, Auto Approve should be on your short list of providers to check out. The company’s refinance auto loan rates start as low as 2.94%. While those rates are reserved for borrowers with the highest credit scores, Auto Approve has financing options available to those with low credit scores.
Keep reading: Auto Approve review
Frequently Asked Questions
Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best auto loan companies. We collected data on dozens of loan providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the companies that scored the most points topping the list.
Here are the factors our ratings take into account:
- Reputation (25% of total score): Our research team considered ratings from industry experts and each lender’s years in business when giving this score.
- Rates (25% of total score): Auto loan providers with low APRs and high loan amounts scored highest in this category.
- Availability (25% of total score): Companies that cover a variety of circumstances are more likely to meet consumer needs.
- Customer Experience (25% of total score): This score is based on customer satisfaction ratings and transparency. We also considered the responsiveness and helpfulness of each lender’s customer service team.
*Data accurate at time of publication.
While it's challenging to predict exactly what will happen with auto loan rates in 2023, several experts project that rates will likely remain the same or continue to rise rather than go down in the remainder of the year.What will happen to auto loan rates in 2023? ›
While it's challenging to predict exactly what will happen with auto loan rates in 2023, several experts project that rates will likely remain the same or continue to rise rather than go down in the remainder of the year.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.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.Is car direct legit? ›
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.
Ultimately, by the end of the year, I think rates will settle down and finish 2023 at around 6.99% on 30-year fixed and 6.25% on 15-year fixed.”Will interest rates go down in 2023 or 2024? ›
In 2024, Goldman Sachs expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will average 5.9%. The National Association of Realtors: Economists at NAR forecast that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will slide to 6.4% before the end of 2023, and then to 6.0% in 2024.