Looking for an auto loan? Consider Carputty or PenFed Credit Union. Carputty is an online lender looking to shake up the auto lending industry with their Flexline, a flexible line of credit you can use over and over. PenFed offers a more traditional auto loan with options to finance used or new vehicles.

You will find advantages to both lenders. Carputty offers the most flexible auto loan options, but PenFed offers more competitive interest rates.

Carputty vs. PenFed at a glance

Carputty and PenFed have similar Bankrate scores, but they differ in most other aspects of their auto loan offerings.

Carputty Flexline PenFed
Bankrate score 4.3 4.4
Better for 
  • Financing multiple vehicles
  • Loan flexibility
  • Competitive APRs
  • Loan affordability
Loans offered New, used, refinance and lease buyout (as line of credit) New, used and refinance
Loan amounts $25,000-$250,000 per Flexline; $10,000-$150,000 per vehicle Up to $150,000
APRs From 7.35% APR From 5.24% APR
Loan term lengths See review 36-84 months
Fees 1% of financed amount per vehicle added; loan removal fee Lien placement charge
Minimum credit score 680 Not specified
State footprint 40 states and Washington, D.C. 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Time to funding As soon as the same day Not specified
Autopay discount? Not specified Not specified
Refinancing restrictions
  • 8 years old or less
  • Fewer than 85,000 miles
  • Fewer than 125,000 miles

Carputty Flexline

Carputty offers an unusual auto loan solution. The lender has one main product, the Carputty Flexline, to finance new or used vehicles that meet the requirements. Borrowers can also refinance an auto loan or buy out a lease using this product.

The Flexline is a line of credit that stays open as long as it is active. It can be used to finance up to 15 vehicles. Vehicles must be eight years old or newer and have fewer than 85,000 miles to be financed by Carputty.

While the flexibility is a major perk, there are some drawbacks. The company charges a fee of 1 percent of the vehicle cost when you add the vehicle to the credit line. If the vehicle costs $50,000, you must pay a $500 fee. Additionally, Carputty charges a $250 fee when you remove a vehicle from your Flexline.

Pros

  • Online application. Carputty offers an easy online application process. The company also gives customers the option for preapproval without a hard credit pull.
  • No need to reapply for a new vehicle. Customers don’t need to apply for a new loan when they purchase a new vehicle — they can simply add the vehicle to their current Flexline.
  • Online tools offer insights for purchasing and selling. Carputty uses a valuation tool to give customers data-driven insight on the best time to buy or sell a certain vehicle with their Flexline.

Cons

  • No financing for older vehicles. Vehicles older than eight years old or with more than 85,000 miles aren’t eligible for funding through Carputty’s Flexline. These restrictions are stricter than those of some other lenders.
  • No in-person service. Carputty operates fully online, so customers don’t have the option to visit an in-person branch.
  • Not available in all states. The Flexline is currently available in 40 states, though Carputty’s website says more stats are on the way.

PenFed auto loans

PenFed Credit Union offers a more traditional auto loan approach for borrowers. The lender offers both purchase auto loans and refinancing. PenFed has interest rates starting at a competitive 5.24 percent, lower than Carputty’s starting rate.

PenFed gives borrowers the option to apply for prequalification. Applicants can apply online or at one of the lender’s branch locations. However, the lender doesn’t have many in-person locations. There are only a few branches located in the Washington, D.C. area. Applicants from all 50 other states can apply, but they won’t be able to find a branch near them.

Anyone who wants to apply for an auto loan with PenFed Credit Union must also join the credit union as a member.

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates. Interest rates for PenFed’s auto loans are comparable or better than many of its competitors. In general, credit unions tend to offer good auto loan rates.
  • Prequalification available. Interest applicants can apply for prequalification for an auto loan without taking a credit score hit.
  • No origination fee. Unlike Carputty, the lender doesn’t charge any origination or documentation fees to take out a loan.

Cons

  • Membership requirement. To apply for an auto loan with PenFed, you must become a member of the credit union. However, this is a simple and inexpensive process.
  • Limited branch locations. The credit union only has in-person service available at a handful of locations in the Washington, D.C. area.
  • Other potential fees. While you’ll avoid origination fees with PenFed, you may be charged late and returned payment fees.

How to choose between Carputty and PenFed

PenFed and Carputty offer different solutions for auto financing needs. Carputty is the best choice if you are looking for an easy way to finance more than one vehicle. PenFed can offer the most competitive APR.

Choose Carputty if you want to finance multiple vehicles

The Carputty Flexline functions more like a line of credit and less like a traditional auto loan. As a revolving line of credit, the Flexline allows borrowers to finance multiple vehicles at a time without having to reapply for another loan. Carputty also allows borrowers to switch out one vehicle for another.

Carputty even helps borrowers by offering data-driven advice on when to sell a vehicle. The V3 Valuation Tool offered through Carputty’s app gives borrowers insight on when to sell a vehicle for the maximum return.

PenFed requires borrowers to reapply for an additional auto loan to finance a second vehicle. This means interest rates or approval odds may change. Carputty only requires that you apply for a Flexline once, and you can use it as long as you need for multiple vehicles.

Choose PenFed for most competitive APR

Carputty gives borrowers a flexible lending solution, but PenFed offers the most competitive rates. The lender offers rates starting as low as 5.24 percent. This is much lower than the 7.33 percent starting rate from Carputty.

Interest rates for PenFed auto loans are also competitive with other auto lenders. The average rate for an auto loan starts at 5.07 percent for those with excellent credit.

They also have a broader service footprint than Carputty — even extending loans in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which is unusual for a lender based in the continental U.S.

Compare more lenders before applying

Finding the right auto loan takes time and research. Carputty offers an auto loan with flexibility, while PenFed offers an affordable auto loan with competitive rates. However, other lenders may better fit your needs, especially if you have subpar credit.

Consider exactly what you need and look for lenders that fit. You may need to focus on lenders that specialize in bad credit auto loans. Or, you may want to look for the best rates for refinancing. Whatever you need, remember to compare multiple lenders before choosing an auto loan.