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CarMax: 2022 Auto Loan Review

2022-05-24 11:56:00

At a glance

3.5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
  • Affordability
  • Customer Experience
  • Transparency
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About CarMax

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    Varies by lender

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    Not specified

  • Rates

    APR from

    Varies by lender

  • Funds available in

    As soon as the day you apply

CarMax features

CarMax serves as a one-stop shop for drivers looking to purchase and finance their vehicle all in one place.

PROS

  • Checkmark

    Bad credit loans available

  • Checkmark

    Convenient shopping

  • Checkmark

    Fast financing decision

CONS

  • Close X

    Prices are nonnegotiable

  • Close X

    Limited inventory

  • Close X

    Not transparent about rates and fees

CarMax serves drivers across the country who want to purchase used vehicles. It has recently dove into the remote purchase space, providing drivers with the ease of vehicle delivery and financing all on one site. CarMax offers preapproval and loan decisions in as little as 20 minutes.

And with over 235 brick-and-mortar stores across the U.S., CarMax serves as a great option for those who prefer an in-person experience.

Pros and cons of CarMax auto loans

Consider the benefits and drawbacks of a loan with CarMax prior to submitting an application.

Pros:

  • Bad-credit loans available. You don't need perfect credit to finance through CarMax.
  • One-stop shop. You can purchase and finance a used vehicle all in one place.
  • Quick decision. Application decisions can take as little as 20 minutes.

Cons:

  • Limited vehicle inventory. You must purchase your vehicle through CarMax.
  • No negotiation. While CarMax boasts no haggling, it does not mean what you are offered will be the best possible deal.
  • Undisclosed APRs. CarMax does not disclose potential APR, which can be risky for drivers with poor credit.

Who is CarMax best for?

Financing through CarMax is best for drivers interested in buying and financing a used vehicle all in one place. The price displayed will also be the cost that you will walk away with so if you want to avoid negotiation, CarMax could be right for you.

But CarMax does not disclose its rates and encourages you to put down a down payment, which means that if you do not have strong credit you might end up paying more than you might elsewhere. So, while CarMax is a convenient way to buy used, you may be able to find more competitive rates by shopping around yourself. 

Types of auto loans offered

CarMax offers financing for used car loans through its direct lending platform, CarMax Auto Finance, or via one of its many partners:

  • Ally Auto.
  • American Credit Acceptance.
  • Capital One.
  • Chase.
  • Exeter.
  • Santander.
  • Westlake Financial Services.

This is very beneficial for drivers interested in comparing different loan options. Especially because these lenders all cater to a range of different credit profiles, so you have a better chance of finding a good fit.

Interest rates and terms

Rates vary depending on the lender but the terms offered range from 36 to 72 months. You will not be able to get prequalified. While you can get preapproved, there will be a hard credit check.

How to apply for a loan with CarMax

The online application process is fairly simple with CarMax and begins with choosing your vehicle from its online inventory. This can be done through type, brand, style or ZIP code. Take advantage of the CarMax car payment calculator tool, which will give you a strong idea of the monthly cost.

Keep in mind that the preapproval process will carry a hard credit pull. You will then be matched with a lender from one of CarMax’s partners or its in-house option — CarMax Auto Finance. If you are trading in your vehicle you can do this directly through CarMax in person or online. 

After setting your sights on a vehicle and arranging for financing you determine how you want to receive your vehicle. It can be delivered directly to your home or through express pick up at your closest CarMax. 

CarMax offers a program which lets you return the vehicle for up to 30 days or 1,500 miles if the vehicle isn’t a fit. Along with this, if you find better financing elsewhere, CarMax’s Three-Day Payoff program allows you to replace your initial financing within the first three days of signing. 

Auto loan requirements

While requirements vary by lender consider preparing the following information prior to applying:

  • Credit score.
  • Amount you want to finance. 
  • Name and contact information.
  • Home address. 
  • Employment and income.
  • Co-applicant, if applicable.
  • Down payment.

Customer service

CarMax boasts an easy-to-navigate website and customer service via chat function, phone call or in-person appointment. While phone support is only available Monday to Friday at 800-925-3612 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., its app provides assistance 24/7.

How Bankrate rates CarMax

Overall score 3.5  
Availability 3.7 CarMax scores high for its state availability and repayment options but restricts drivers to shop only at network dealerships.
Affordability 3.2 CarMax does not provide information on discounts or potential APRs.
Customer experience 4.2 With an easy-to-use website and chat function on its app, CarMax ranks high for overall customer service.
Transparency 3.0 Rates and fees are not disclosed, and preapproval is only available with a hard credit check.
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
Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.

Edited by Auto loans editor