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Caribou: 2024 auto loan review

2024-03-06 00:00:00

At a glance

Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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About Caribou

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    Loan amount


  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score


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    APR from


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Caribou auto loans are best for comparing rates

The goal of refinancing your auto loan is to walk away with a more affordable monthly payment. One way to ensure that you effectively do this is through comparing lenders. Caribou expedites this process by matching borrowers with different loan rate options when you apply for prequalification. 

Caribou pros and cons

Most auto refinance lenders allow you to prequalify and check your rates. Caribou takes it a step further by helping you compare rates from multiple lenders — for a potentially high processing fee if you find a match. 


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    Quick rate comparison

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    Co-borrowers allowed

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    Insurance bundles available


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    Limited state availability

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    Potential high processing fee

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    High minimum loan amount

Caribou offers competitive auto refinance loans through its network of lenders, ranging from credit unions to community banks. Drivers can benefit from its quick online process combined with the expertise of its team of loan experts.

Kevin Bennett, CEO of Caribou, describes Caribou’s mission as helping drivers from a variety of backgrounds save money and take control of their finances. It handles the heavy lifting of refinancing.

Do you qualify? 

Caribou has a minimum credit score requirement of 640 and a minimum monthly income of $2,000. Both are fairly standard auto loan refinancing requirements. You can expect a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score when you prequalify. If you do choose a loan and follow through with an application, the process will include a hard credit pull.

Your car should have positive equity and no more than 120,000 miles. Cars, trucks, SUVs and other passenger vehicles are eligible for refinancing, but they must not be used for commercial purposes.

How Caribou compares

While Caribou can be a useful tool for comparing lenders, it isn’t the only option out there. You can always compare lenders yourself — and avoid a potentially hefty fee — or use another service. 

RateGenius and Upstart also run comparison platforms. Because each will work with slightly different lenders, you can always check your rates with all three before deciding which lender you want to go with. 

Caribou vs. RateGenius

Like Caribou, RateGenius serves as a loan aggregator, so you can compare different loan options simultaneously. It handles the research phase of the shopping process and matches you based on your credit and finances. And unlike Caribou, RateGenius allows you to refinance loans as low as $8,000.

Caribou vs. RateGenius: Full review

Caribou vs. Upstart

Caribou requires you to owe at least $10,000 to qualify — but Upstart has a low loan amount of $3,000. This can be useful if you’ve already paid down a majority or your loan or didn’t borrow much to begin with. While it doesn't allow co-borrowers, it has a low minimum credit score requirement of just 510. When matching you with a lender, it also considers your education and work history, not just your credit score. 

Caribou vs. Upstart: Full review

What we like and what we don’t like

Caribou allows you to apply with a co-borrower, but a potentially high processing fee may make it more expensive to use than other services.

What we like

  • Quick rate comparison: Caribou works with a network of different lenders, allowing you to compare refinancing rates directly through Caribou’s site.
  • Co-borrowers allowed: You can add a co-borrower when applying for refinancing with Caribou. If your co-borrower has a higher income or better credit than you, you may qualify for lower rates.
  • Insurance bundles available: Caribou offers auto loan add-ons like gap insurance and key replacement. While these products aren’t always necessary, bundling may help you save money if you do want to use them.

What we don't like

  • Limited state availability: Caribou is not available to drivers in Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada or West Virginia.
  • Potential high processing fee: While Caribou doesn’t charge you directly, the lender you’re matched with might pass the $499 processing fee to you.
  • High minimum loan amount: Many lenders set their minimum amount below $10,000. If you are close to paying your loan off, Caribou may not help you.

How to contact Caribou 

According to its reviews, Caribou offers excellent customer service. You can enjoy a fully online experience with the comfort of person-to-person communication. If you have specific questions, you can reach out for help by emailing its customer support team at If you prefer, you can also call Caribou at 877-445-0070. Support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

Auto loan types offered

Caribou only offers auto refinance loans — which is a limited selection compared to most other services.

Auto loan refinancing

  • Amounts: $10,000-$125,000
  • Terms: 24-84 months
  • APR: 5.99%-28.55%

Through Caribou's lender partnerships, you can refinance while also shopping for other add-on products like extended protection, cosmetic care and key replacement services. It is one of the few refinancing options that lets you add a co-borrower to your application, but you will be stuck with a much higher minimum loan amount. Expect to borrow at least $10,000, although terms and loan amounts vary by lender.

How to apply for a loan with Caribou 

To apply for a loan with Caribou, head to its website and submit basic information about yourself and the details of your vehicle and current loan.

Features and additional perks

Caribou offers add ons and other products when you apply to refinance. You can also apply with a co-borrower, which can improve your chance of approval and help you snag a lower interest rate.

Fees and penalties

You may be charged a $499 processing fee when you refinance. However, it is an optional fee passed on to you from your lender — not directly by Caribou. Any fee for a loan connection service is uncommon, though, so you may want to consider another option if you want to avoid this cost.

Caribou FAQs

How Bankrate rates Caribou

Overall score 4.4
Availability 4.5 Caribou is available in most states and offers a wide range of loan amounts, though its minimum could be lower.
Affordability 4.0 Caribou uses standard qualification requirements and charges a steep processing fee.
Customer experience 4.2 Caribou has online access and customer service hours seven days a week.
Transparency 5.0 Caribou offers prequalification so you can check your rates without damaging your credit score.


The Bankrate team assessed more than 35 auto lenders to find the best. Bankrate considered 18 criteria, such as acceptance criteria, loan amounts and APR range. These scores are broken into four categories.

  • Availability: Loan amounts, repayment options, dealership requirements and state availability all contribute to this category. Lenders that serve customers nationwide with flexible loan amounts rank higher.
  • Affordability: This section houses APR ranges, acceptance criteria, fees and discounts. Lenders with the lowest rates, fewer fees and most generous acceptance criteria receive higher scores.
  • Customer experience: Our team looked at how easy it is for customers to apply for and manage their loans. Criteria include how long you have to shop, customer service hours, whether there’s an app and autopay availability.
  • Transparency: This includes prequalification and disclosure of rates and fees. We favored lenders that make it easy for customers to preview possible costs.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.

Written by
Rebecca Betterton
Writer, Auto Loans and Personal Loans
Rebecca Betterton, a Certified Financial Education Instructor℠, is a writer for Bankrate who has been reporting on auto loans since 2021.
Edited by Editor, Personal Loans, Auto Loans, and Debt