Clearlane Auto Loan Review
Rates as of 3/1/2019
Many of us are completely dependent on our cars. They take us to work, out shopping and more. It can be absolutely essential to have reliable wheels that do not destroy your finances.
Financing your car in an affordable way can be very important. An auto loan through Clearlane is one option that you may want to look into if you are looking for something more affordable.
About Clearlane auto loans
Clearlane is an online marketplace that seeks to connect consumers with auto financing providers throughout the industry. Ally, a digital financial services company, launched Clearlane in 2017 as a way to help consumers access secure financing from a trusted source.
Although Clearlane is powered by Ally, the loans are funded by a variety of lending partners. Clearlane connects the borrowers to a wide network of lenders to find the best match.
Clearlane auto loans: At a glance
Because it acts as a marketplace, Clearlane makes it easier to shop around for the best deal, which is a crucial step before making any financial decision. It gives you the opportunity to compare rates from multiple lenders to help you get the best deal.
Clearlane offers both refinancing and lease buyout options. You fill out an application on Clearlane’s website, but it will be sent to several financial institutions, including credit unions, finance companies and banks. Each institution will have slightly different requirements that will result in several different loan offers. You can then browse through these offers before committing to a lender. Clearlane’s application does not involve a hard credit check, so you can review multiple lenders’ offers without impacting your credit score.
Remember, these offers are estimates that can change after your chosen lender performs a hard credit inquiry. This will impact your credit score, but, typically, it will only drop a few points.
The Clearlane website leaves many details undiscussed. But, according to its customer service, its lenders provide a range of terms from 36 to 84 months. Also, none of its partners charge a prepayment penalty, per customer service.
APRs range from about 2% to 15%, according to customer service, but this will vary based on the lender and your financial situation. Any vehicle restrictions like age and mileage depend on the specific lender, so if you are interested in Clearlane, consider the specifics of what you want to see and what is available.
Additionally, Clearlane earned an F rating from the Better Business Bureau. Although Ally Financial, the parent company, has a BBB rating of A+, the F stands out as a warning to potential users that past consumers have not enjoyed their experience with Clearlane. Customer reviews indicate a frustratingly complicated underwriting process and a lack of responsiveness by Clearlane employees.
How to apply for financing
There are four steps to finding funding through Clearlane:
- Fill out your basic information in an online application.
- Receive offers from multiple lenders.
- Once you find a good offer, upload any additional documentation required by the lender. This could include your Social Security number, proof of income, details about your vehicle and more. At this point, the lender will perform a hard credit inquiry.
- Finally, it will send you the contract to sign and complete the loan process.
The fine print
Unfortunately, the Clearlane website does not offer many details about its loan terms or fees. Some of this vagueness may stem from the fact that Clearlane is a marketplace and not an actual lender. The lenders will each set different terms for the loan, which means you will need to pay very close attention to the details of any loan offer.
One basic requirement is that you must be 18 or older. There is no fee for using the Clearlane site, but individual lenders may have fees associated with their offers.
The only fine print on the website discusses the Clearlane SafeLook process that allows you to view offers without entering your Social Security number, the fact that you may be able to lower your monthly payments and that most borrowers have excellent credit. Otherwise, the website leaves the details of the loan term extremely vague.
Vagueness may lead you to be wary of the service, which is reasonable. The only explanation is that the lenders will provide all the necessary fine print that accompanies any loan process.
Pros and cons of financing through Clearlane
Clearlane auto loans allow you to see whether you are pre-qualified with multiple lenders before choosing the best option for you. Although it is tempting to search for your loan solely through Clearlane, it is important to research multiple options. It is in your best interest to find the best offer available for your situation. Make the effort to shop around before deciding on a single lender.
Highlights of Clearlane auto loan financing
- Clearlane will give you quick access to multiple offers from lenders within minutes
- No hard credit check unless you select an offer
- Cosigners are allowed
- Works with a wide range of credit scores
Lowlights of Clearlane auto loan financing
- Limited information available about the loan process
- An extremely low rating from the BBB, which indicates mediocre customer service
- Not transparent about available rates, terms, fees and vehicle requirements on its website
The bottom line: Who are Clearlane auto loans best for?
If you want to shop for multiple lenders on one platform, Clearlane will give you access to multiple offers at the same time. The wide range of lenders appears to work with a wide range of credit scores, which could be extremely important depending on your credit history.
Although you will have to fill out a short application, there is no hard credit inquiry to harm your credit until after you decide on a loan. This is a great feature if you are just shopping around but aren’t ready to pull the trigger. Researching your options and gaining a better picture of your potential refinancing or lease buyout terms can be helpful for any potential borrower.