Skip to Main Content

Caribou: 2023 auto loan review

2023-11-14 00:00:00

At a glance

4.5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 4.8 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
Compare auto loan rates
See Rates

About Caribou

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    $5,000-$125,000

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    640

  • Rates

    APR from

    5.99%-28.55%

  • Funds available in

    Varies by lender

Caribou auto loans are best for comparing rates

The goal of refinancing is to walk away with a more affordable monthly payment. One way to ensure that you effectively do this is through comparison. Caribou expedites this process by matching borrowers with different loan rate options once you apply for pre-qualification. When choosing the best loan offer pay close attention to rates, terms and potential fees.

Caribou pros and cons

The ability to prequalify for financing is great, but it won't help you if you live in a state Caribou doesn't serve.

PROS

  • Checkmark

    Ease of refinance and insurance bundling

  • Checkmark

    Ability to compare rates

  • Checkmark

    Co-borrowers allowed

CONS

  • Close X

    Limited availability

  • Close X

    Potential processing fee

  • Close X

    Undisclosed information

Caribou offers competitive auto refinance loans through its network of lenders. These lenders range 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 the 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 but no mention of minimum income. You can expect a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score when you prequalify. But if you do choose a loan and follow through with an application the process will include a hard credit pull.

Regarding vehicle requirements, your car should have positive equity and no more than 120,000 miles — though some lenders in Caribou’s network accept vehicles with as many as 200,000 miles. Cars, trucks, SUVs and other passenger vehicles are eligible for refinancing, but they must not be used for commercial purposes.

Caribou versus RateGenius

Similar to Caribou, RateGenius serves as a loan aggregator so borrowers can compare different loan options at once. In this way, it handles much of the heavy lifting with involved in the shopping process as it matches you based on your credit standing. RateGenius is also a better option for those with a specific funding amount in mind as it discloses a range, unlike Caribou

Caribou versus Upstart

Upstart is another loan comparison platform. While the platform doesn't allow co-borrowers, it makes loans more accessible to those with credit struggles in other ways. It sets its minimum credit score at just 510 and states that it considers applicants' education and work history, not just their credit score. If you have a low credit score, check out our Upstart vs. Caribou comparison.

What we like and what we don’t like

Consider these benefits and drawbacks of an auto loan with Caribou before signing off on an application. 

What we like

  • 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.
  • Ability to compare rates. Caribou works with a network of different lenders, allowing you to compare refinancing rates directly through Caribou’s site.
  • Prequalification offered. Following a soft credit check that doesn’t impact your credit score, you can apply for prequalification to get a better idea of what you can save.

What we don't like

  • Limited availability. Caribou is not available to drivers in Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada or West Virginia.
  • Potential processing fee. The lender you’re matched with might pass along the $399 processing fee Caribou charges it.
  • Undisclosed information. Caribou has limited information on its website regarding loan terms. But that's not uncommon with this kind of comparison website.

How to contact Caribou 

Caribou offers excellent customer service. Its easy-to-use website offers a chat feature along with account management and the ability to ask questions over the phone, by email or by appointment. Caribou offers drivers the ease and convenience of a fully online experience with the comfort of person-to-person communication.

Drivers with specific questions regarding their loan can reach out for help from team members Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

Auto loan types offered

Caribou offers only refinance loans.

Auto loan refinancing

  • Amounts: $5,000-$125,000
  • Terms: Varies by lender
  • APR: 5.99%-28.55%

Through Caribou's lender partnerships, drivers can refinance while also shopping for other add-on products, including extended protection, cosmetic care and key replacement services. 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 input basic information about yourself and the details of your vehicle and current loan.

Features and additional perks

Caribou offers its borrowers to add on other products and services when signing off on their new loan, such as vehicle care coverage. Borrowers also can apply with the assistance of a co-borrower, which can greatly improve available interest rates. 

Fees and penalties

Caribou enforces a $399 processing fee when securing your financing and retitling your vehicle.

Caribou FAQs

How Bankrate rates Caribou

Overall score 4.5
Availability 4.8 Caribou is available in most states and offers a wide range of loan amounts.
Affordability 4.0 Since it goes through a network of lenders, Caribou's website does not disclose a complete list of loan details.
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.

Methodology

To rate lenders that specialize in auto refinance 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.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com 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 is a writer for Bankrate who has been reporting on auto loans since 2021. Through her writing, Rebecca aims to provide clarity and accessibility to the automotive loans industry as the cost to finance new and used vehicles continues to climb due to steep inflation.

Edited by Editor, Auto Loans