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CarMax: 2023 Auto loan review

2023-01-01 00:00:00

At a glance

Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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About CarMax

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    $500 to $100,000

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    Not specified

  • Rates

    APR from


  • 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.


  • Checkmark

    Bad credit loans available

  • Checkmark

    Convenient shopping

  • Checkmark

    Fast financing decision


  • Close X

    Prices are nonnegotiable

  • Close X

    Limited inventory

  • Close X

    Unavailable in nine states

CarMax serves drivers across the country who want to purchase used vehicles. It offers remote purchasing, providing drivers with the ease of vehicle delivery and financing all on one site. You can prequalify for a loan with no impact to your credit, and most loan decisions are available in five minutes or less.

With over 230 brick-and-mortar stores across the country, CarMax is also a great option if you prefer an in-person experience.

Do you qualify?

CarMax offers financing for used car loans through its direct lending platform, CarMax Auto Finance, or through one of its many partners. This means that requirements vary based on which lender you are matched with.

What we like and what we don’t like

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

What we like

  • 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 five minutes. And if you find a better offer later, you can use CarMax’s Three-day Payoff Program.

What we don't like

  • 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 lowest available price.
  • Unavailable in some states. CarMax does not have store locations in nine states: Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

How to contact CarMax

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 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, its app provides assistance 24/7.

Auto loan types offered

CarMax only offers used auto loans for its vehicles. These loans can be through its direct financing arm or one of its partners. This is very beneficial for drivers interested in comparing different loan options, especially because these lenders all cater to a range of credit profiles to give you a better chance of finding a good fit.

How to apply for a loan with CarMax

The online application process is fairly simple with CarMax. You can either find a vehicle from its online inventory — searching by type, brand, style or ZIP code — or apply for financing before you shop. Either way, take advantage of the CarMax car payment calculator tool to estimate your potential monthly cost. And if you are trading in your vehicle, CarMax lets you see potential offers either in person or online. 

If you want to prequalify first, you can apply for a specific vehicle or a general dollar amount. You will then be matched with a lender from one of CarMax’s partners or its in-house option, CarMax Auto Finance.

CarMax FAQs

How Bankrate rates CarMax

Overall score 4.1
Availability 4.4 CarMax scores high for its state availability and repayment options but restricts drivers to shop only at network dealerships.
Affordability 3.5 CarMax offers a competitive minimum APR but has undisclosed fees.
Customer experience 4.4 With an easy-to-use website and chat function on its app, CarMax ranks high for overall customer service.
Transparency 4 Rates and fees are not disclosed but prequalification is available.


Bankrate considers 18 data points when rating auto loan lenders. Acceptance criteria, whether rates and fees are available and APR range all influence lender scores. These scores are broken up into four categories.

  • Availability: Loan amounts, repayment options, dealership requirements and state availability all contribute to this category.
  • Affordability: This section houses APR ranges, acceptance criteria, fees and discounts. 
  • Customer experience: How long you have to shop, customer service availability, whether there’s an app and autopay availability are accounted for in this section.
  • Transparency: This category accounts for the availability of fees and rates along with whether prequalification is available.
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
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