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Refinancing your auto loan is a wise financial decision if you can no longer afford your monthly payment or you think you can secure a better rate. Finding the right auto loan to replace your current one can fit your budget better.
Online auto loan marketplaces make it easy to get and compare multiple loan offers. Caribou and RateGenius are two such marketplaces. Caribou is best for prequalifying, while RateGenius is best for those who require fast funding.
Caribou vs. RateGenius at a glance
Both lenders offer easy comparisons between many refinance loans, but Caribou is unavailable in some states.
|APRs||5.99%-28.55%||Starting at 4.67%|
|Loan term lengths||Varies by lender||24-48 months|
|Fees||Processing fee ($399)||Some lenders will charge finance and processing fees|
|Minimum credit score||640||Not specified|
|State footprint||45 states plus Washington, D.C.||All states|
|Time to funding||Varies by lender||24 to 48 hours|
|Autopay discount?||Not specified||Not specified|
Caribou auto loans
Caribou lets borrowers compare refinancing loans on its lending platform. The platform matches borrowers with lenders such as credit unions and community banks. The range of possible matches may help even those with poor credit secure a better loan.
The platform also encourages borrowers to bundle gap protection and other add-ons when signing off on a new loan. While this ease is a plus, it only stands out against competitors if you are in the market for one of these products — and don’t mind paying interest on their cost.
- Rate comparison. Borrowers can look at different loan options side by side.
- Website chat feature. The site offers a website chat function ideal for any quick questions potential or current borrowers have.
- Ability to apply with co-borrower. Applying with a co-borrower can help those with poor credit secure a more competitive loan.
- Limited state availability. Caribou is not available to those who reside in Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Wisconsin or West Virginia.
- High maximum APR. Caribou's highest listed annual percentage rate (APR) is higher than what many competitors advertise. On the other hand, some rivals don't list their maximum APR at all.
- Potential steep processing fee. Depending on the lender you are matched with, a $399 processing fee may be attached.
RateGenius auto loans
Like Caribou, RateGenius is a loan marketplace that allows borrowers to compare many loan options simultaneously. There are more than 150 lenders in the network, and the marketplace uses your credit to determine the best loan for your needs. In addition to refinancing loans, RateGenius’s lenders also offer lease buyout loans.
Once you input information on yourself on your current loan, you will be presented with offers to compare side by side. Some network lenders offer the ability to prequalify, a perk Caribou offers upfront. RateGenius lays out more stringent vehicle and amount requirements than its competitor, Caribou.
- Large lender network. There are over 150 lenders in the RateGenius network, and unlike Caribou, these lenders cover all 50 states.
- Up-to-date rates are shared daily. The site is updated daily with current minimum interest rates.
- Lease buyout loans. Unlike Caribou, RateGenius also offers lease buyout loans.
- Refinancing restrictions. There are restrictions around the vehicle’s age and milage. However, restrictions like these are common among refinancing lenders, and RateGenius’s restrictions are no more strict than average.
- Potential lender fees. Some lenders in the RateGenius network enforce early repayment fees and other charges. This may be the case with Caribou’s lenders, too.
- High minimum balance. To refinance, borrowers must have a minimum balance of $10,250.
How to choose between Caribou and RateGenius
Both Caribou and RateGenius are solid starting points on your journey to refinance as they both offer the ability for side-by-side comparison. And while RateGenius has prequalification available for some lenders in its network, Caribou is better for across-the-board prequalification. But RateGenius boasts funding in as little as 24 hours, making it perfect for borrowers desperate for a new loan.
Choose Caribou for prequalifying
The prequalification process gives you an idea of your expected monthly payment without a hard credit pull. Once you prequalify, you can factor that number into your monthly budget to ensure you can afford the loan.
The network advertises a minimum APR of 5.99 percent and a maximum of 28.55 percent. This minimum falls below industry averages based on Bankrate data. However, RateGenius’s starting rate of 4.67 percent is lower still. In either case, the minimum rate is likely only available to borrowers with excellent credit.
Another aspect to look out for is the potential $399 processing fee that Caribou enforces. The lender you’re matched with may pass this cost on to you. If you choose to go ahead with a Caribou loan, account for this additional cost in your budget.
Choose RateGenius if you require fast funding
If you’re worried about missing an upcoming car payment and need to reduce your monthly cost, you’ll want a fast refinancing process. RateGenius has funding available as soon as 24 to 48 hours. This is faster than many lenders and better than Caribou’s undisclosed timeline.
RateGenius’s online application is relatively simple, and many lenders allow for online document review, further expediting the process. One final perk that RateGenius has over Caribou is the ability to finance in all 50 states.
Compare more lenders before applying
Both Caribou and RateGenius present borrowers with the ability to compare several loan options to find the best refinancing option for their needs. Caribou is an excellent fit for those interested in prequalifying, while RateGenius is better suited for borrowers who require fast funding. However, the key to securing the best refinancing loan is to compare many different lenders and their key offerings.