SpringboardAuto In-Depth Auto Loan Review
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SpringboardAuto is one of the best auto lenders out there, according to LendingTree data. It offers particularly competitive APRs for borrowers who have fair to poor FICO credit scores (500-680).
We dug into the data on SpringboardAuto, talked to its CEO and broke down the information for you. Here we’ll review the company, its financing, how to apply, the pros and cons and who the loan might be best for.
Founded in 2015, SpringboardAuto is an online, direct-to-consumer auto loan platform and lender based in California. The company aims to give consumers more power over their loan by allowing borrowers to select the length of the loan term, the amount borrowed and the down payment they want to give, within preapproved limits based on your loan application.
If you submit an application and you are preapproved, SpringboardAuto then tells you the requirements (if there are any) and the loan limits (how much you can borrow for how long). If those limits are agreeable to you, then you could set the loan terms that suit you within the limits.
For example, say you filled out an application with SpringboardAuto and it preapproved you for a loan up to $30,000, a loan term between 48 and 60 months and a down payment between $500 and $1,500. You may be able to choose exactly how many months within that range you want the auto loan to last, how much you want to borrow and/or how much money down you’d like to give. You could change all three variables within your preset limits and see how each impacts your monthly payment and APR.
“Instead of trying to guess what the borrower’s preferences are, we give them the ability to configure their own loan,” said Jim Landy, founder and CEO of SpringboardAuto. We “empower the customer to select the loan terms to meet their objectives.”
Within the limits that SpringboardAuto set based on your application, you might be able to decide the longer loan with the lowest monthly payment is best for you or, maybe, the loan with the lowest APR is the sweetest overall.
Through SpringboardAuto, you could get a loan for a new or used car, or for a refi from a dealership or a private party. For all types of auto loans, terms go up to 72 months. The minimum loan amount is $7,500; the maximum is $40,000. The usual credit score cutoff to be approved is 500.
There are some state exceptions to the maximum and minimum amounts. Buyers in Arizona have to choose a vehicle with a sales price (not a loan amount) between $10,000 and $40,000; Pennsylvania buyers are limited to financing a maximum of $25,000.
The beauty of applying for a preappproval is that it doesn’t affect your credit and you can apply without knowing exactly what you want to buy. Getting a preapproved auto loan might help you determine your budget and, if you apply to several banks, it might let you know which lenders are willing to work with you. The process is also quick. SpringboardAuto says its application only takes 60 seconds, and it provides instant credit decisions. (You can read the benefits of getting a preapproved auto loan here.)
To apply for a preapproval, you’ll need to supply personal details, including contact information, date of birth and Social Security number, and employment information such as where you work, how long you’ve worked there and how much money you make.
You can put as much or as little information about the car you want in the application. If you know what car you want, you could put in everything from the brand to the VIN (vehicle identification number). If you don’t know, you don’t have to put anything. You don’t even have to choose whether you want to buy it from a dealership or a private party at this time.
If you have a trade-in vehicle, you have the option to include it in your financing application. This way, it could be used as a down payment if you have positive equity or, if you have negative equity, you could ask to finance that amount instead of paying it out of pocket.
Once you finish the application, the credit decision might be instant. If you do receive an approval, the next part of the process is the loan configurator, which tells you the requirements (such as the down payment) and the limits on the loan (how much you may borrow for how many months). Then you could set the loan terms to suit you within the limits.
And once you pick out your preferences and the vehicle price is set, then you finalize the loan.
The fine print
Any vehicle you finance with SpringboardAuto has to be for personal use only. You can’t use the vehicle for your business or for things such as Uber, Lyft or food delivery.
You don’t have to include the following sources of income in your application if you don’t want it considered: alimony, child support, your spouse’s income or separate maintenance income.
Springboard Auto doesn’t finance alternative fuel vehicles, such as a Honda Clarity, a hydrogen car or a Nissan Leaf, a fully electric vehicle.
Springboard Auto also doesn’t finance salvage titled cars or those with flood or frame damage.
Once you receive a preapproval and can access the loan configurator, you have 30 days to finalize the loan. If you wait longer than 30 days, you’ll have to apply again.
Here are some strengths and weaknesses we found. Consider both sides when deciding whether to apply.
Highlights of the SpringboardAuto auto loan
You could get a preapproval from SpringboardAuto that may help you determine your budget before you go car shopping.
The loan configurator is a neat tool that allows you to see how variables in your loan offer interact. Once you have a preapproval, you can tailor the loan and its monthly payments within the limits to suit you.
SpringboardAuto gave the lowest average APR to people with fair to poor credit of any auto lender on the LendingTree platform for used cars, according to our 2018 analysis of auto loan rates.
Lowlights of the SpringboardAuto auto financing
SpringboardAuto doesn’t advertise its rates so you may not know what APRs are available until you apply.
There are loan origination fees. The amount depends on the state you’re in and the type of loan you want (buying from a private party means SpringboardAuto has to do more work to finalize the loan than if you bought from a dealership, so the origination fee would be higher on it).
SpringboardAuto is best for people who have credit scores ranging from 500 to 680. If you have excellent credit, you may be able to get a more competitive auto loan from another lender, such as the vehicle manufacturer. If you don’t know what your credit score is, you can check it here.
No matter your credit score, it’s smart to compare multiple lenders because you should test the loan limits SpringboardAuto gives you and compare. Other online lenders could be an option, as well as your local credit union or bank. SpringboardAuto may offer you your best loan, but you won’t know unless you can compare. You could search for an auto loan here and potentially compare up to five loan offers. It’s best for you as a consumer when banks compete for your business.