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Best auto loan refinance rates for May 2022

As of May 20, 2022
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Bankrate’s best refinance auto loans are chosen based on lender's interest rates, customer experience, available terms and transparency. Lender benefits and drawbacks are illustrated to help you determine what the best financing option is for you. 
 
Refinancing your auto loan allows you to replace your current loan with a new one in order to get more favorable terms and lower rates. They are available through a variety of lender types, so it is wise to shop around to consider which fits best for your needs. 
 
When it comes to refinance loans, pay special attention to eligibility requirements and available terms so that you know your current loan qualifies and you can adjust your loan to fit your monthly budget.

The Bankrate guide to choosing the best refinance auto loan

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At Bankrate, our mission is to empower you to make smarter financial decisions. We’ve been comparing and surveying financial institutions for more than 40 years to help you find the right products for your situation. Our award-winning editorial team follows strict guidelines to ensure the content is not influenced by advertisers. Additionally, our content is thoroughly reported and vigorously edited to ensure accuracy.

What to know first

When shopping for an auto loan, compare APRs (annual percentage rates) across multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting a competitive rate. Look for lenders that keep fees to a minimum and offer repayment terms that fit your needs. Loan details presented here are current as of May 2, 2022. Check the lenders’ websites for more current information. The auto loan lenders listed here are selected based on factors such as APR, loan amounts, fees, credit requirements and more.

Compare auto loan refinance rates in May 2022

Lender Starting APR Term
LightStream 4.49% 36 to 84 months
Autopay 1.99% 36 to 60 months
Caribou 1.99% 24 to 60 months
Upstart 7.13% 24 to 84 months
RefiJet 2.49% 48 to 60 months

Details: Best Auto Loan Refinance Rates of May 2022

LightStream: Best for fast funding

Overview: LightStream offers an easy-to-navigate online interface for unsecured loans. You can apply for repayment terms from 36 to 84 months and a high maximum refinancing amount of $100,000.
 
Why LightStream is the best for fast funding: If you are in a precarious financial position and need funding right away, LightStream is a great option. With same-day funding available and no additional origination fees, LightStream offers a quick online application process and a higher maximum loan amount than competitors. 
 
Pros and cons:
 
Pros
 
  • Fast funding 
  • Mobile application available
  • High loan amount
Cons
 
  • Unsecured loans 
  • Must refinance at least $5,000  
  • No prequalification  
Who this lender is best for: Someone looking to refinance their vehicle quickly and at a high amount. 
 
Impact on financial wellness: With no prequalification offered, drivers will undergo a hard credit pull upon application submission.
 
Time to receive funds: As soon as the same day you apply. 
 
Fees: LightStream has no fees. 
 
Additional requirements: Although not disclosed, the best rates will be offered to those with a strong credit history. 
 
Special features: LightStream offers loan terms ranging from 36 to 84 months. The fast-funding timeline coupled with a range of repayment options will give you the freedom to lower your monthly payment.

Autopay: Best for dedicated customer support

Overview: Autopay presents borrowers with a range of loans directly from its network. The process is completely online and streamlined, empowering drivers to walk away with a new loan as soon as one business day.  
 
Why Autopay is the best for dedicated customer support: Autopay has a team of loan experts who provide real-time support via text message or phone call on questions regarding the application or current loan.
 
Pros and cons: 
 
Pros
 
  • Large range of acceptance criteria  
  • Cash-back refinancing offered  
  • Ability to compare multiple loans  
Cons 
 
  • Lowest APR only for excellent credit borrowers 
  • Possible down payment
  • Unspecified credit requirements     
Who this lender is best for: Best for someone looking to refinance their vehicle in one sitting with the assistance of a knowledgeable loan expert. 
 
Impact on financial wellness: Following a full loan application after being matched with a lender, borrowers will undergo a hard credit pull. 
 
Time to receive funds: Funding with Autopay can be available as soon as one business day.
 
Fees: Additional fees vary by each lender. 
 
Additional requirements: Specific requirements are not disclosed. But to refinance, vehicle information on mileage will likely be required.
 
Special features: Available in all 50 states, Autopay works with a large network of lenders with a high maximum loan amount that allows for borrowers from a range of financial backgrounds to refinance.

Caribou: Best online experience

Overview: Through a number of lender partners, Caribou considers a driver's credit history to match them with a potential lender. The process can be done completely online and simply requires vehicle information.
 
Why Caribou is the best for shopping online: Caribou’s app and online experience make it very easy to compare different lender rates side by side. Even with its online presence Caribou encourages drivers to speak with its team members who can assist with specific questions seven days a week via phone, email or appointment.
 
Pros and cons:
 
Pros
 
  • Customer service available seven days a week
  • Insurance bundling option
  • Prequalification offered
Cons
 
  • Not available in all states
  • Processing fees
  • Undisclosed requirements 
Who this lender is best for: Drivers looking to lower their monthly rates and compare potential loans directly online.
 
Impact on financial wellness: Following your application approval, a hard credit pull will affect your credit score.
 
Time to receive funds: The funding timeline varies by lender. 
 
Fees: Borrowers can expect a $399 processing fee separate from lender expectations. 
 
Additional requirements: Requirements include personal information about yourself and details about your vehicle. 
 
Special features: Caribou encourages drivers to bundle their new loan with other driving needs such as insurance or extended protection.

Upstart: Best for people with bad credit

Overview: Upstart is a less traditional lender option that takes advantage of AI technology to match drivers with potential lenders in minutes.
 
Why Upstart is the best for people with bad credit: The AI approach also considers a customer's risk in a way that greatly benefits those with less than perfect credit. Upstart’s underwriting criteria factors aspects of a driver's history such as education and salary. 
 
Pros and cons:
 
Pros
 
  • APR caps out at 17.99 percent  
  • Prequalification available
  • Flexible acceptance criteria   
Cons
 
  • No minimum APR stated
  • Must borrow at least $9,000 
  • No co-borrowers   
Who this lender is best for: A person with little to no credit history looking to compare refinance options. 
 
Impact on financial wellness: A hard credit pull will occur following the initial loan application. 
 
Time to receive funds: Funding is available within days of loan approval. 
 
Fees: Fees come only if your vehicle undergoes repossession. 
 
Additional requirements: Your vehicle must be less than 10 years old and have under 140,000 miles.
 
Special features: Upstart offers a fully translated Spanish website along with bilingual loan officers on staff. 

RefiJet: Best for loan comparison

Overview: RefiJet, while not a direct lender, matches borrowers with improved rates and terms for their loan. Funding becomes available as soon as one business day and rates start at 2.49 percent APR. 
 
Why RefiJet is the best for loan comparison: The key to finding the perfect loan comes down to comparison. RefiJet enables you to use its prequalification tool to view and compare available quotes, all without impacting your credit score. 
 
Pros and cons: 
 
Pros
 
  • Direct customer support  
  • Bilingual site availability  
  • Cash-back refinance  
Cons 
 
  • Traditional underwriting criteria  
  • Potential lender fees 
  • Must speak with a representative to prequalify     
Who this lender is best for: RefiJet is best for someone who is unsure which loan best fits their needs and wants to explore and compare a number of options before deciding. 
 
Impact on financial wellness: Ability to view rates without hard credit pull, but one following loan approval. 
 
Time to receive funds: Funding will become available as soon as one business day following closing.
 
Fees: Borrowers can expect fees for loan origination. 
 
Additional requirements: To refinance your vehicle it must be under ten years old and hold less than 150,000 miles.
 
Special features: RefiJet offers a Spanish version of its website.

What are refinance car loans and how do they work?

Refinancing a car loan is essentially just taking out a new car loan — so the steps for applying are mostly the same. You'll need your driver's license, Social Security number and proof of income, as well as details about your car. If approved, you'll use the funds from your new loan to pay off your old car loan, then begin making monthly payments with your new interest rate and terms.

When should you refinance your car loan?

Refinancing your car loan comes down to saving you money. If you are struggling to afford your vehicle payments or think you could receive more favorable terms, it’s a good idea to consider refinancing your current loan. Here are the three main scenarios where refinance is the right choice. 

  1. Your credit has improved. Competitive rates are reserved for drivers with good or excellent credit — scores of 670 and above. So if your credit score has risen in points since you signed off on your initial loan agreement, refinancing could save you money on your monthly payments.
  2. You financed through a dealership. Dealer financing likely did not present you with the best available rates and terms. You might be able to get a better deal if you shop elsewhere and refinance your initial vehicle loan.
  3. You can’t afford your monthly payments. If you are struggling to make your monthly vehicle payments and are at the risk of losing your vehicle it is a good idea to refinance your loan. This way you can extend your terms to lower your monthly cost. Keep in mind that you will have to pay more interest over the lifetime of the loan.

What to know before applying for a refinance auto loan

As with any loan, it is best to shop around to different lenders before making your final decision. Each lender has its own methodology when determining your interest rates and terms — so compare to see which best fits your needs.

While every lender measures risk differently, interest rates depend greatly on your credit. Do your homework ahead of time to understand your credit history to get a clear picture of what lenders are looking for and what type of terms you will be offered.

FAQs about refinance

Methodology

To select the top refinance car loans, Bankrate considers 16 different factors. These factors range in consideration from the loan amount, disclosed APR and acceptance criteria. Each lender holds a score based on four categories. 

  • Availability: This accounts for loan amounts, vehicle restrictions and availability in each state.
  • Affordability: Primarily, this section covers expected APR, acceptance criteria, discounts for autopay and the number of fees. 
  • Customer experience: This category includes online access, support availability, funding timeline, option for automatic payment and app availability.
  • Transparency: Here prequalification and disclosure of rates and fees are accounted for.