Capital One Auto Loan: In-Depth Review for 2021
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|Capital One Auto Loan: At a Glance|
|New and used auto loans||Refinance auto loans|
|Loan terms||36 – 84 months||24 – 72 months|
|Loan amounts||$4,000 +||$4,000 to $50,000|
|Best for: All credit levels — dealership purchases only|
More than just a credit card giant, a Capital One auto loan can be used to purchase a new or used car at competitive rates through partner dealerships across the U.S. Capital One Auto Finance also offers refinance loans. There are no minimum credit score requirements or application fees, and borrowers can prequalify online without dinging their credit.
Pros and cons of a Capital One auto loan
Capital One is one of the few auto lenders we’ve seen where poor-credit borrowers and borrowers with excellent credit alike receive some of the lowest offered rates. However, it’s always a good idea to compare offers from multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting the best rate for you.
|Capital One auto loan pros||Capital One auto loan cons|
| Easy prequalification: Prequalification can be done online, and it doesn’t affect your credit score.
Flexible terms: Capital One offers a wide range of loan terms to fit your needs.
No lender fees: Capital One does not charge any application fees.
Convenience: Capital One offers consumer bank accounts, credit cards and other services. You could potentially do all your banking and borrowing in the same place.
| No preapprovals: You’ll have to go through the dealership to get a firm APR and term from Capital One. Other lenders offer preapprovals, which could really give you a leg up at the dealer.
Limited dealer choices: While Capital One does partner with about 72% of franchise dealerships in the U.S., it does not partner with all of them. Other lenders don’t limit borrowers to certain dealers.
No private-party sales or lease buyouts: If you’re looking to buy a car from an individual seller, or you want to buy a car that you’ve been leasing, you’ll need to look for another lender.
How Capital One Auto Finance works
Follow these steps to buy a new or used car, or refinance your car loan, through Capital One.
Pick a car using Capital One Auto Navigator
Capital One’s Auto Navigator is an easy way to find a car near you at one of the lender’s partner dealerships. Otherwise, you’ll need to confirm that the car you want is available from a partner dealership.
This is an optional step: You could go straight to a partner dealership and apply for financing there. However, a prequalification gives you an idea of what rate and terms you might receive — and it might save you time at the dealer.
Refinancing? Online prequalification is your first step to picking an offer that best suits you.
Finalize the details at the dealer
Of the nearly 17,000 franchise car dealerships in the U.S., more than 12,000 partner with Capital One, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a participating dealer near you. You could also search by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or for cars within a mile range of your ZIP code on the Capital One website.
Capital One auto loan requirements
Applicant requirements: In order to qualify for a Capital One auto loan, you must be 18 or older and have a valid address within the contiguous 48 states. A minimum monthly income of $1,500 to $1,800 is required, depending on credit qualifications.
Vehicle restrictions: Capital One doesn’t finance boats, RVs, ATVs or motorcycles.
- New and used restrictions: In most cases, you may only finance a 2011 or newer vehicle with fewer than 120,000 miles. (There may be exceptions for vehicles as old as the 2009 model year with up to 150,000 miles.)
- Refinance restrictions: To qualify for a Capital One refinance auto loan, the vehicle must be seven years old or newer, have an established resale value and cannot be currently financed through Capital One.
In addition, you can’t buy or refinance an Oldsmobile, Daewoo, Saab, Suzuki or Isuzu with a Capital One auto loan.
Amount financed: Capital One offers car loans from $4,000 and up for new and used vehicle purchases, and loan amounts between $4,000 and $50,000 for refinance car loans. Depending on your approval, the amount you finance may exceed the sales price or value of the vehicle and could include:
- Tax, title and licensing fees
- Dealer fees
- Dealer add-ons, such as guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage or extended warranty
Capital One Auto Finance vs. competitors
Capital One has competitive starting rates and largely positive customer reviews, with 85 complaints in 2020 on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau database. Still, it does have rivals that offer lower rates with fewer restrictions.
Here’s how Capital One stacks up against other major lenders.
|Lender||Starting APR*||Terms (Months)||Amounts|
|Consumers Credit Union||2.69%||0 – 84||Up to $100,000|
|Bank of America||2.59%||12 – 72||$7,500+|
|LightStream||2.49%||24 – 84||$5,000 – $100,000|
|Capital One||3.39%||36 – 84||$4,000+|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||1.79%||12 – 96||$250min., no max|
|Carvana||3.90%||36 – 72||36 – 72|
|*May include autopay discount|
The best way to get the best auto loan for you is to shop around. Yes, other lenders may do a hard credit pull. But a hard credit pull will eventually be necessary to finalize your Capital One auto loan. Plus, the benefits of comparing rates should outweigh the temporary drop in your score. The major credit bureaus don’t count multiple inquiries against you as long as you finish your rate shopping within a 14-day window.