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Shift auto loans: 2023 review

2023-05-17 00:00:00

At a glance

Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
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About Shift

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    up to $80,000

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    Varies by lender

  • Rates

    APR from

    Varies by lender

  • Funds available in

    Varies by lender

Shift auto loans are best for one-stop shopping

Like similar online car-buying platforms, Shift simplifies the car buying process by letting you find the perfect vehicle and secure financing from the comfort of your home. If you're comfortable navigating forms online (or perhaps prefer it to a face-to-face application experience), Shift might appeal to you. Buyers also enjoy direct delivery, so there’s no need to spend hours at the dealership. And the registration process is also handled in-house, saving you even more time.

Shift pros and cons

Shift offers the convenience of purchasing and financing your car on the same site, but you won’t be able to negotiate for the best price.


  • Checkmark


  • Checkmark

    Prequalification available

  • Checkmark

    Return period


  • Close X

    Non-negotiable prices

  • Close X

    Service and delivery fees

  • Close X

    Selling not available in every state

Shift, an e-commerce platform, states its goal is to make the used car buying process seamless throughout the entire lifecycle of vehicle ownership — from purchasing all the way to selling. Much like its competitors, Carvana and Vroom, Shift offers vehicle delivery, letting borrowers buyers buy and finance all from the comfort of home.

Do you qualify?

Shift does not disclose eligibility criteria for auto loans as it varies by lender. So, you won’t find a minimum credit score or income requirement online. Instead, you’ll need to get prequalified online to view your rates from Shift’s lending partners. The process is simple, takes just 60 seconds and won’t impact your credit score. 

Shift does state that it serves customers “of all credit profiles,” including those with poor or minimal credit history. 

Shift versus Carvana

Carvana is another one-stop shop that simplifies the car buying process and claims to make loans accessible to borrowers from varying credit backgrounds. Also like Shift, Carvana features a seven-day money-back guarantee and coverage options to help protect your investment. But its loan terms range from 12 to 72 months, whereas your options with Shift start at 36 months. And you can avoid delivery fees by opting to pick your vehicle from a Carvana car vending machine instead of having it delivered to your home.

On the other hand, you’ll generally have to make a down payment to purchase a vehicle — while this is an option with Shift, it’s not clear if it’s required. 

Shift versus Vroom

Vroom also makes it easier to buy a car and secure financing without visiting the dealership. Vroom also offers vehicle delivery; your car will be shipped to a nearby location or delivered to your home. Borrowers can get approved for a loan the same day they apply — not all of Shift’s lenders offer this perk. Furthermore, new cars are available for purchase on the platform. And there’s a 90-day/6,000 mile limited warranty on vehicle purchases — a far more generous offer than the 30-day/1,000-mile powertrain warranty Shift offers. Check out our full Shift versus Vroom comparison for more details.

What we like and what we don’t like

 The convenience of front-door delivery carries some downsides.

What we like

  • Convenient: You can shop, finance and arrange for vehicle delivery all from the ease of home.  
  • Prequalification available: The option to prequalify means you can view expected rates without a hard credit pull.  
  • Return period: Shift has a 200-mile or seven-day return period — whichever is sooner — to ensure you made the right vehicle choice.  

What we don’t like

  • Non-negotiable prices: Unlike traditional buying, you can’t haggle. You’ll have to pay the displayed price or find another option.
  • Service and delivery fees: The cost is undisclosed, but prepare for a high cost if you live far from a Shift location.
  • Selling not available in every state: Residents of some states aren't eligible to sell with Shift. You must live within the pickup radius of a Shift hub.

How to contact Shift

Drivers can call Shift customer support at 855-744-3873 from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT. The Shift help center also answers common queries related to buying, selling or financing your next vehicle purchase.

Auto loan types offered

This California-based online dealer does not directly offer vehicle financing for its used vehicles but rather helps drivers match with its partners: Chase Bank, U.S. Bank, Ally Auto, TD Bank, Bank of America and Westlake Financial. Shift will also buy your vehicle, with online offers available in as little as two minutes. This program is only available in certain areas of the country, near the Shift hubs. To determine if you qualify, enter your license plate and state of residence in step one of the online quote process.

  • Amounts: Up to $80,000
  • Terms: 36-72 months
  • APR: Not disclosed

Specific rates will vary by chosen lender. Loan terms range between 36 to 72 months based on the auto loan calculator available on Shift’s site. Vehicles can be financed for up to $80,000. Most competitive rates will be offered to drivers with strong credit backgrounds. 

How to apply for a loan with Shift

The Shift car buying process can be done completely online — from order to delivery.  

  1. Apply for prequalification. To get estimated loan terms you will enter information on your residence, income, credit score and potential terms. The process should take under two minutes and does not cause a hard credit pull. 
  2. Lock in financing and shop. Following loan prequalification, you will be matched with a lender and be able to begin your shopping process. (Be mindful that moving forward with the application process generates a hard credit inquiry that could impact your credit score). Explore available vehicles by inputting your ZIP code and any specifications on the vehicle. When shopping pay close attention to available features and consider checking Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds for specific reviews.
  3. Finalize the loan and arrange for delivery. Review and sign the loan documents. Depending on where you live, you can either arrange for delivery directly to your front door or to pick up at a Shift Hub — which are primarily located on the West Coast. 
Shift will handle the paperwork for your vehicle purchase. If you wish to trade in your previous car, you will need to enter some information on your car to determine its value before being matched with an advisor.

Features and additional perks

Shift offers extensive customer support to consumers. You’ll have access to a dedicated financial advisor to assist you throughout the lending process. 

Borrowers also have the option to purchase a protection plan to provide coverage beyond the 30-day, 1,000 mile limited warranty. There are four options to choose from: 

  • Vehicle protection plan: Equivalent to a new car warranty, it covers mechanical and electrical repairs, though exclusions apply.
  • Convenience package: This plan offers coverage for vehicle damage that could reduce the resale value of your ride.
  • Gap coverage: It pays the difference between your car’s value and what you owe if it’s stolen or totaled (plus the insurance deductible, capped at $1,000).
  • RecovR: This plan provides a tracking service so you’ll know where your car is located at all times.

Each plan also includes 24/7 roadside assistance and free towing, battery jumps, locksmith services, rental car reimbursement, flat tire changes and emergency fuel. 

Fees and penalties

You won’t incur application fees or origination fees when applying for auto loan financing with Shift. And the lenders in the network do not assess prepayment penalties if you decide to pay the loan off early. 

However, buyers are charged a service fee and shipping fee. The amount varies by the purchase price, your address and the state where the car is purchased. Also, expect to pay local state sales tax along with the registration and documentation fee to file the required paperwork with the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. 

Shift FAQs

How Bankrate rates Shift

Overall Score 3.8
Availability 3.8 While Shift shares repayment terms and maximum loan amount, other undisclosed specifics leave it with a middle-tier score.
Affordability 3.4 High potential delivery and service fees and undisclosed APRs lower what would be a high score based on generous acceptance criteria.
Customer Experience 3.4 Shift only offers weekday support during normal business hours.
Transparency 4.5 Shift encourages loan prequalification and discloses some potential fees on its site.


Bankrate considers 18 data points when selecting top auto loans. 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
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