SAFCO Auto Loans Review
Southern Auto Finance Company, also known as SAFCO, offers vehicle loans through dealerships to people with low credit or no credit. Rather than focus on credit score, it strongly considers criteria like monthly cash flow and how long you’ve held your job.
Financing may be expensive here, which means it’s even more important to do your homework. The good news is that SAFCO reports on-time payments to the credit bureaus, so you could build your credit and, eventually, refinance at a lower rate somewhere else.
- How SAFCO auto loans work
- SAFCO auto loans vs alternatives: how to choose
- Who is a SAFCO auto loan best for?
How SAFCO auto loans work
You can’t apply to SAFCO directly, but you might be offered one of its loans at the dealership. SAFCO is an indirect lender partnering with 5,000 dealerships in the U.S.
Because it only works through dealers, it doesn’t publicly disclose its APRs, loan amounts or available terms. What we do know is that the average APR for those with the lowest credit is between 14.30% for new vehicles and 19.72% for used. The best way to get the best rate for you is to apply to a lender outside of a dealership before you go. If the dealer can beat your preapproved auto loan, great — you’re probably getting a fair shake.
What’s a preapproval?
An auto loan preapproval is when you apply to a lender for an auto loan, even without knowing exactly what car you want. The lender pulls your credit and, if it makes you an offer, you’ll know how much you could borrow for how long and what your APR would be.
This way, if you have a 15% APR preapproval and the dealer offers you a 20% APR loan, you already have a cheaper option that could save you a lot of money. If you do all your applications within a two-week window, it doesn’t hurt your credit to apply to several lenders any more than it does to apply to one, and some credit-scoring methods may even allow up to 45 days. You could fill out an online form at LendingTree and get up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at one time, depending on your creditworthiness.
What documents do I need?
To apply for an auto loan or an auto loan preapproval, you may only need to take your driver’s license. But here is some additional information you may need to fill out an application:
- Personal: Name, address, contact information, Social Security number and date of birth.
- Employment: Your employer’s name, address and contact information
- Vehicle: VIN or the year, make and model
- Loan: How much you’d like to borrow for how long
How to pay
If you accept an auto loan through SAFCO, it offers several ways for borrowers to make their auto loan payments:
To make automatic payments for free, select “Autopay” after you log into your SAFCO account. You can connect your debit card, credit card, checking account or savings account.
Use a computer or phone to make a one-time payment. For all of these options, a fee may apply. SAFCO accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover or personal check
- Online – Log onto your SAFCO account and make a one-time payment.
- Mobile app – Make a one-time payment through the SAFCO mobile app. You may find the app on Google Play or the App Store.
- Phone – Call 800-599-8858 to pay through an automated system or by talking with a representative.
If you’d like to pay in cash, you could use these services. For all of these options, the vendor may charge a fee.
- PayNearMe – You could make a payment in cash using the PayNearMe service. It requires enrollment and may charge a fee. Locations are available at 7-Elevens, CVS Pharmacies and Ace Cash Express stores.
- MoneyGram – Send your payment through MoneyGram. SAFCO’s code is 1838 Ft Lauderdale.
- WesternUnion – You could use Western Union Quick Collect Service. The city code is SAFCO and the state is Florida.
If you’d like to go old school, you could send a check, money order or cashier’s check along with your payment coupon to SAFCO.
- Regular mail – Allow 5-7 days for standard mail and processing. Send it to the address on your payment coupon book.
- Overnight – The overnight address is SAFCO, 6700 N Andrews Ave Suite 500, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309.
How to pay off your SAFCO auto loan
To make a SAFCO auto loan payoff, you should send the payoff check to the overnight mail address listed above.
SAFCO auto loans vs alternatives: how to choose
It may feel as if you have few options when applying for an auto loan with bad credit, but SAFCO isn’t your only choice. Potential lenders include your bank, credit union or online lender. Here are a couple of additional lenders to consider:
- APRs as low as 3.39%
- 36 to 84 month terms
- Loan amounts starting at $4,000
- Minimum monthly income between $1,500 and $1,800
- APRs as low as 10.20%
- Terms up to 72 months
- Loan amounts up to about $75,000
- Credit score of about 600 or higher typically required
Who is a SAFCO auto loan best for?
A SAFCO auto loan might be good for those who have low credit or blemishes on their credit history. Because it reports to the three main credit bureaus, you could build your credit by paying on your SAFCO auto loan on time and in full. You could also check out steps to increase your credit score.
SAFCO might not be the best for those who have good credit. If you don’t have credit issues, you may be able to find lower rates from other lenders.