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CarsDirect: 2022 Auto Loan Review

2022-05-25 07:00:00

At a glance

3.7
Rating: 3.7 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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About CarsDirect

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    Varies by lender

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    Accepts all credit types

  • Rates

    APR from

    Not specified

  • Funds available in

    Varies by lender

CarsDirect features

Here’s a quick breakdown of what CarsDirect offers.  

PROS

  • Checkmark

    No fees

  • Checkmark

    Large lender network

  • Checkmark

    Car buying network

CONS

  • Close X

    Poor customer reviews

  • Close X

    Lack of rate and term transparency

CarsDirect is not a direct auto lender but rather a marketplace that presents drivers with loan options directly from its network. Within its network, it has lenders that will work with drivers who have poor credit or those with no credit history at all. Its site enables drivers to finance and purchase their vehicle all at once. You can search for new and used vehicles available in your area directly on site.  

Unfortunately, CarsDirect holds negative reviews across the board when it comes to user experience. Although there is no Better Business Bureau review present, reviews on Trustpilot are overwhelmingly low, falling under the poor category. Pay close attention to potential high rates and trouble with site navigation when looking for a loan through CarsDirect.

Pros and cons of CarsDirect auto loans

Consider these benefits and drawbacks of shopping for your next auto loan through CarsDirect.  

Pros:

  • No fees. CarsDirect does not have a fee for using the service to explore loan options.   
  • Large lender network. CarsDirect works with a wide range of lenders catering to different credit backgrounds.
  • Car buying network. The site allows you to shop for your vehicle while applying for financing.  

Cons:

  • Unsatisfactory reviews. The majority of online reviews complained of bad service and distribution of personal information.  
  • Lack of rate transparency. CarsDirect does not disclose expected rates.  

Who is CarsDirect best for?

The best candidate for CarsDirect is a driver with less than perfect credit who wants to do their shopping and financing in one spot. After submitting your application, CarsDirect will match you with lenders that may offer you competitive rates — with or without excellent financial history.  

The site also enables direct vehicle purchases for new or used vehicles in your area. If you are just beginning your vehicle buying journey, CarsDirect can be a good place to start.  

Types of auto loans offered

CarsDirect offers loans for new or used vehicles, refinancing and lease buyouts. Since CarsDirect hosts a marketplace, and is not a lender itself, the specifics of each loan vary depending on your matched lender.  

New and used auto loans

The specific rates and terms for a new or used auto loan found through CreditDirect will vary by lender. But with the car buying process being directly integrated with the site, it can be a seamless way to find a vehicle from a local dealer while also securing vehicle financing.

Refinance

Through CarsDirect, drivers can also refinance their current loan. Although rates and terms are not available, the site encourages borrowers to consider refi if they are looking to lower their monthly payments or secure a lower interest rate. Along with this, CarsDirect outlines the fact that those with credit scores of 500 or better will receive the most favorable terms.  

Lease buyout

The process of lease buyout is not disclosed by CarsDirect. But it recommends that you have a credit score of 600 or higher.  

Lending terms

CarsDirect does not disclose lending terms, and availability will vary with each lender. But, according to its website, CarsDirect encourages drivers to consider the benefits and drawbacks of a short-term versus a long-term loan. Taking out an auto loan with a shorter term will mean higher monthly payments, but a long-term loan means more interest accrued.  

Fees and penalties

There is no fee for an auto loan request with CarsDirect. While the service holds no cost, it is likely that following the application process specific lenders may have additional fees. Along with this, many lenders charge penalties for missed payments — and some even charge a fee for paying off the loan early. Be sure to read the fine print for each lender before signing off.  
 

How to apply for a loan with CarsDirect

The process of searching for an auto loan through CarsDirect is simple. The site advertises a 60-second application experience and the ability to drive your next vehicle in as soon as 24 to 48 hours. Before starting the application gather the following information:  

  • Personal information. 
  • Employment and income details.  
  • Vehicle information. 

According to CarsDirect, the process is broken down into four main steps.  

  1. Submit the form. Fill out an online form with your personal and vehicle information. This is a no-obligation application. But as you continue the process you can expect a hard inquiry from lenders.  
  2. Review financing options. A CarsDirect representative will then reach out within 24 hours of filling out the form with different financing options. 
  3. Choose a vehicle. CarsDirect encourages borrowers to purchase their vehicle through its network but whether it's your intended route, take time to compare your potential loan with at least three other lenders.  
  4. Finalize loan. You now have secured vehicle financing and can drive off with a new vehicle through CarsDirect’s network or shop elsewhere.  

Auto loan refinancing requirements

CarsDirect does not disclose specifics on requirements to refinance due to the wide range of lenders. Consider checking out current refinance rates to determine which lender can save you the most money.  

Customer service

CarsDirect offers online chat on its website, direct email and phone support. It doesn't, however, list its business hours on the website.

While CarsDirect gets a number of positive reviews on Trustpilot, it holds a middling score overall with the site. 

How Bankrate rates CarsDirect

Overall score 3.7  
Availability 4.0 CarsDirect offers several loan options but does not disclose specific loan amounts or repayment terms.
Affordability 3.8 While CarsDirect partners with bad credit and bankruptcy lenders and there is no application fee, APR is not disclosed.
Customer experience 3.8 Online reviews were primarily negative and customer service is only available Monday to Friday in a range of specific hours.
Transparency 3.0 CarsDirect serves as a loan broker so does not hold transparency when it comes to the availability of fees and rates.
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.