rateGenius Auto Refinance Review
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When you close on an auto loan, your monthly payment is based on your current financial situation. But most loans last for years, and your financial situation can change over time. Maybe you can make a higher monthly payment than you used to. Or maybe your credit has improved since you applied for your loan and you now qualify for a lower interest rate. Refinancing your auto loan to match your life now — instead of how it was years ago — could help your finances.
Here we break down rateGenius auto refinance — the company, what it offers, how to apply and who it’s best for.
Based in Austin, Texas, rateGenius specializes in auto loan refinancing and lease buyout loans. (A lease buyout is when a person wants to buy the car they’ve been leasing.) The company operates as a marketplace, meaning they don’t lend money to customers themselves. Instead, they work with a network of about 150 lenders around the country who make offers to rateGenius customers, allowing them to find the best deal.
To qualify for a refinance, your vehicle must be less than 10 model years old and have less than 150,000 miles. The remaining amount on your current loan should have a minimum balance of around $10,000, although this number is flexible.
The application form will ask you information about your vehicle and financial situation. However, refinancing offers with rateGenius are based off more than just credit score, and people with less-than-perfect credit are still able to receive offers. RateGenius also takes into consideration additional factors, like how long you’ve been at your job and how much your car is worth compared to how much you owe on it.
Each offer you receive will include the following:
- What the monthly payment would be.
- The annual percentage rate, or APR. This is the interest rate plus all fees.
- The loan term, in months.
- If required, any down payment.
As of Nov. 15, 2018, rateGenius offers included APRs starting at 2.99% with loan terms ranging from 36 months to 84 months. The company does not offer specialty vehicle financing (for boats or ATVs, for example).
In general, rateGenius offers will match your refinance loan term to your original loan term. So if you have three years left on your loan, they’ll look for a refinance loan that’s also three years long. However, they can shorten or lengthen the term depending on what you’re looking for.
The easiest way to apply is to fill out the rateGenius online application form, which you can reach by clicking the “apply” button on their homepage or the “find my rate” button at the top of each page on their website. You can also apply by phone.
When you’re ready to apply, you should have the following information handy:
- Vehicle information, including the make, model and body style, the VIN and the mileage.
- Current loan details, including the lien holder name and monthly payment.
- Information about your job, along with a phone number for employment verification.
- Personal information, including your Social Security number.
If you have any questions as you go through the form, you can start a live chat with a rateGenius representative. The button for the chat is on the bottom right of the screen once you open the online form.
As with any auto loan, beware of add-ons that may be offered or included in your refinance offer. Before you say OK to a payment, make sure you know everything that’s in it.
RateGenius offers two types of add-ons: GAP waivers and extended warranties. Here’s what each is.
GAP waiver. This product stands for “Guaranteed Auto Protection,” and functions like insurance. If your car is totalled, a GAP waiver will forgive the amount between what your auto insurance will pay and what you owe on the vehicle. Because auto insurers pay based on what the car is worth, you could still owe a lot of money even after insurance pays out if your loan balance is higher than the value of the vehicle. However, if you owe less than the car is worth, you might not need this product.
Extended warranty. This will pay for the parts and labor it takes to repair anything that’s covered by the policy you sign. An extended warranty is also known as a VSC, a vehicle service contract. Check out this link for LendingTree’s ultimate warranty guide or our warranty cheat sheet, which breaks down the types of coverages you could get.
You shouldn’t be required to buy either of these add-ons in order to get a loan. If you do want them, you can negotiate with rateGenius on their prices.
When applying with a lender directly, you have to fill out an entire application before they’ll tell you the rate you qualify for. Then you have to repeat the process for the next lender. As an online auto loan marketplace like LendingTree, rateGenius makes it easier to shop around.
Highlights of rateGenius auto loan refinancing:
- The online form takes only a few minutes to fill out.
- Refinance offers can be ready within 48 hours.
- You don’t have to have perfect credit to qualify for an offer.
Lowlights of rateGenius auto refinancing:
- No refinancing of specialty vehicles.
- There may be fees for using its marketplace.
- Their website specifically mentions that rateGenius might not be a good fit for you if you don’t have stable finances, such as if your income ebbs and flows from month to month.
You might be a good fit for rateGenius if you:
Are serious about refinancing. Applying through rateGenius creates a hard pull on your credit, not a soft pull. A hard pull can cause your credit to temporarily drop, and multiple hard pulls in a short period of time can have a significant impact. However, most credit scores will not ding you for shopping around in a short time window.
Have a “good” credit score. The average credit score for people who refinance with rateGenius is 690. However, the company does work with people who have credit scores that range into the 500s.
Want to pay off your auto loan within the same time period of their original loan. If you would rather spread your loan out significantly longer, this marketplace might not be a good fit for you.
Using rateGenius might not be good for people who:
Have a “poor” credit score. If your credit score is in the “poor” range (300 to 579), your APR on a refinanced loan might cause you to pay more in interest than you would have on the original loan.
Are not financially stable. If your income fluctuates, or if you have high debt or change jobs often, you are less likely to receive a good refinance loan offer.