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 launched in 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.

Fifth Third Bank was founded in 1858 and boasts 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. Indirect auto loans are available at car dealerships across 46 states. It also offers online banking services.

Auto Credit Express is best suited for drivers with poor credit as the lender has more flexible acceptance, while Fifth Third Bank is ideal for borrowers who prefer in-person support.

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
Bankrate score 3.3 3.5
Better for
  • Poor credit
  • Low income
  • Flexible repayment periods
  • In-person service
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 12-75 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
Autopay discount? No Yes
Refinancing restrictions None specified None specified

Auto Credit Express

Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5
  • Green circle with a checkmark inside


    • 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. Just expect a higher annual percentage rate (APR) than the national average.
    • 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.
    Red circle with an X inside


    • 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 some loan marketplaces, Auto Credit Express’s website shares no information about potential rates upfront. Loan offers will include this information, though.
    • Limited customer support: Agents are only available on weekdays during business hours.

Fifth Third Bank

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
  • Green circle with a checkmark inside


    • 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 from 12 months to 75 months.
    • 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.
    Red circle with an X inside


    • 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 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

Auto Credit Express is worth considering if you have poor credit or no credit history. 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 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. 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.