The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
Though they’re different kinds of lenders, Auto Credit Express and Fifth Third Bank both work with car dealerships to offer car loans.
Auto Credit Express has been operating since 1999. While it helps borrowers land a car loan that will work for them, it is not a direct lender. Instead, Auto Credit Express works with its network of more than 4,000 car dealerships across the United States and Canada to get people approved for a vehicle.
Originally founded in 1858, Fifth Third Bank has more than 1,100 physical branches across 10 states. If you live in one of those states, you can get direct auto financing with the bank. It also offers online banking services and indirect auto loans through a network of car dealerships across 46 states.
Auto Credit Express vs. Fifth Third Bank at a glance
Both Auto Credit Express and Fifth Third Bank use partnerships with car dealerships across the country to provide access to auto loans. Your credit profile and location will help determine which is the better choice for you.
Auto Credit Express
Fifth Third Bank
|Loans offered||New or used auto loans, auto loan refinancing||New or used auto loans, auto loan refinancing|
|Loan amounts||$5,000 to $45,000||Up to $80,000|
|APRs||Varies by lender||Not specified|
|Loan term lengths||36-72 months||48-84 months|
|Fees||None (though partner lenders may charge fees)||Origination fee of $165, late fees|
|Minimum credit score||Not specified||Not specified|
|State footprint||All states||Direct lending in 10 states; indirect in 46 states|
|Time to funding||As soon as same day||As soon as same day|
|Refinancing restrictions||None specified||None specified|
Auto Credit Express auto loans
Auto Credit Express’s big strength is simplifying the lending process for those with imperfect credit. After you apply, the company submits that information to lenders and buy-here, pay-here dealers so they can determine if they are willing to service a loan. Borrowers will also have to provide Auto Credit Express with a Social Security number and proof of monthly income, along with personal references. The latter is an unusual requirement for a lender.
Many of Auto Credit Express’s partners allow borrowers to have co-signers, as this typically improves offered rates. The company also seeks to secure as much information as possible for the borrower before a hard credit inquiry occurs, though some lenders will do a hard pull as part of the qualification process.
Possible loan rates are not disclosed before you apply, as Auto Credit Express is not originating the loans. This can leave borrowers in the dark until they get an offer. Be aware that you’ll likely receive a higher annual percentage rate than the average car loan.
- Bad credit loans: If you’ve struggled to find a loan elsewhere due to financial or credit troubles, you’re in Auto Credit Express’s target audience.
- Encourages co-signers: A co-signer who has a better credit score and income than you may increase your odds of approval or decrease the interest rate you’re offered.
- Low monthly income requirement: You’ll have to make at least $1,500 a month.
- Limited vehicle inventory: You’ll have to choose a vehicle from a partnering dealership that approves your financing. And with a max amount of $45,000, pricier new cars may be out of reach.
- Limited transparency: Unlike many loan marketplaces, Auto Credit Express’s website shares no information about potential rates.
- Limited customer support: Agents are only available on weekdays during business hours.
Fifth Third Bank auto loans
Fifth Third Bank is a regional bank with branches throughout the Midwest and Southeast U.S. While it only has physical branches in 10 states, it serves most of the country with indirect lending through dealerships.
Though Fifth Third Bank doesn’t list a minimum credit score, most banks have higher requirements than bad-credit lenders do — often in the mid-600s.
Fifth Third Bank’s direct loans offer benefits, including grace periods for missed payments and a discount for signing up for autopay. But you’ll need a Fifth Third Bank account to qualify for the autopay discount.
- Autopay discount: If you link your Fifth Third checking account, you can get a 0.25 percent discount on your APR.
- Range of repayment options: Fifth Third Bank’s terms range up to 84 months, though its minimum loan term of 48 months is on the longer side.
- In-person convenience: You have the option of visiting one of Fifth Third Bank’s many locations to apply for a loan or receive assistance.
- Limited state availability: Direct loans are available only in FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MI, NC, OH, SC and TN. Indirect lending is available in all states except AK, HI, LA and WY.
- Undisclosed APRs: Fifth Third doesn’t list its APR range online.
- No prequalification: You can’t see possible rates without filling out a full application and taking a minor, temporary credit score hit. That makes including them in your comparison shopping challenging.
How to choose between Auto Credit Express vs. Fifth Third Bank
Auto Credit Express and Fifth Third Bank both serve car shoppers across the country, but Auto Credit Express is better for those with poor credit looking to build their credit score. Fifth Third Bank is better for those who can get a loan directly from the bank.
Choose Auto Credit Express for bad credit loans
If you have poor credit or no credit history, Auto Credit Express is worth considering. Because it works with a network of lenders, you’ll be able to choose terms that work best for you based on the offers that you receive.
Auto Credit Express also emphasizes lenders who offer co-signers to help borrowers secure better terms. While you’re unlikely to see the kind of rates prime borrowers enjoy, it’s a good option if you need a car and struggle to find a loan elsewhere. And once you build your credit score by making on-time payments on your car loan, you may be able to refinance for a lower rate with another lender.
Choose Fifth Third Bank for in-person service
While Fifth Third Bank offers lending options through a network of car dealerships, it is better for those who can get a loan directly from the bank. With more than 1,000 branches across 10 states, it can offer personalized service to borrowers. Loans from Fifth Third Bank also offer a number of benefits and discounts.
Fifth Third Bank also offers loans through a network of car dealerships — useful if you live outside its service radius but still want a loan from the bank.
However, though Fifth Third doesn’t list a minimum credit score, they likely set a higher threshold than lenders like Auto Credit Express. If you’re doubtful about your ability to qualify for a loan with a traditional lender, it’s likely best to skip applying with Fifth Third, since it doesn’t offer prequalification.
Compare more lenders before applying
Auto Credit Express and Fifth Third Bank are just two options for finding the best auto loan for you. If you have bad credit or little credit history, and thus are likely to receive higher interest rates, it’s especially important to shop around before committing to a lender.