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Skyla Credit Union auto loans: 2024 review

2024-01-01 13:59:00

At a glance

4.4
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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About Parsons Federal Credit Union

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    $3,000-$150,000

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    Not specified

  • Rates

    APR from

    4.75%

  • Funds available in

    Not specified

Best for large loan amounts and low rates

Skyla Credit Union offers a variety of auto loans from $3,000 to $150,000. The starting rates it advertises are competitive — borrowers with solid credit profiles who choose to take out a 48-month loan or shorter may qualify for the lowest rates. Plus, the federal credit union boasts minimum annual percentage rates (APRs) below the national average interest rates across all of its auto loan products. 

Skyla pros and cons

Skyla offers great starting rates and a high maximum loan amount, but there is no option to prequalify for a loan.

PROS

  • Checkmark

    Loan preapproval

  • Checkmark

    Advanced credit considerations

  • Checkmark

    High loan amount

CONS

  • Close X

    Membership requirement

  • Close X

    No prequalification

  • Close X

    No short repayment term

Skyla Credit Union recently merged with Parsons Federal Credit Union to better serve consumers and their finances, including auto loans. The credit union offers service in all 50 states but only has brick-and-mortar locations in four: California, Virginia and North and South Carolina.

Do you qualify?

The competitive rates and high loan amounts are only available to credit union members. You must be one of the following to apply for a loan product offered by Skyla:

  • Existing Parsons FCU member 
  • Existing Skyla member
  • A member of the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation

Besides borrowers employed by specific companies related to the credit union, anyone can apply for membership through the American Consumer Council (ACC) and join the credit union. To do this, you simply apply on the site and enroll in the ACC to gain access to the credit union offerings. You will need to supply basic contact information along with a deposit of $5 into your Skyla savings account.

Skyla doesn’t have a minimum credit score for qualification. The lender’s website states that Skyla reviews factors including your income, employment and other financial assets in addition to your credit score. That may make it a good choice for those with a solid income but shaky credit history.

Skyla versus PenFed

PenFed, also a federal credit union, offers auto loans comparable to Skyla’s. These lenders have similar starting APRs, though the latter is slightly lower. One major difference is that PenFed offers borrowers more loan terms, between 36 and 84 months. So if you intend to finance a pricier vehicle and extend your loan to make the payment affordable, PenFed would be a better fit.

See our Skyla vs. PenFed breakdown

Skyla versus Consumers Credit Union

Consumers Credit Union also offers similar auto loan products. Borrowers can benefit from similar starting APRs. Consumers Credit Union’s unclear loan amounts are a downside compared to its counterpart. Another stand-out feature from Consumers Credit Union is the TrueCar car-buying service, which Skyla doesn’t offer.

See our Skyla vs. CCU guide

What we like and what we don’t like

While the ability to get preapproved for an expensive vehicle is enticing, the relatively short maximum term might not be the best fit for everyone.

What we like

  • Loan preapproval: Loan preapproval lets you lock in your rates for 30 days and see and monthly costs before signing off. And it can put you in a better position to negotiate at the dealership.
  • Advanced credit considerations: Skyla looks at more than your credit score when approving your loan. Your employment, income and other financial assets are also considered.
  • High loan amount: Borrowers may be approved for up to $150,000, allowing you to finance a pricey vehicle. Plus, qualified borrowers can get 100 percent financing — no need for a down payment.

What we don’t like

  • Membership requirement: In order to secure a loan you must be a member of the credit union.
  • No prequalification: While some auto lenders allow you to prequalify for a loan to preview rates and terms you might receive if approved without affecting your credit, Skyla doesn’t. When you apply for a loan, the lender will perform a hard credit check, which could temporarily ding your credit. 
  • No short repayment: Skyla's shortest repayment term is 48 months, while many other lenders offer terms as short as 36 months. That said, there's no prepayment penalty, so you can repay your loan early if desired with no extra fee. 

How to contact Skyla Credit Union

The Charlotte-based credit union boasts 24/7 support over the phone at (704) 375-0183. Borrowers can also gain assistance on the easy-to-navigate site or by submitting questions online or via email. The credit union is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and boasts an A minus score. There are very few online complaints. 

Auto loan types offered

Skyla offers drivers the option to finance new and used vehicles or refinance. 

New and used car loans 

  • Amounts: $3,000-$150,000 
  • Terms: 48-84 months
  • APR: New, 4.75%-14.75%; used, 4.99%-16.50%

Skyla offers auto loans with competitive starting interest rates for new and pre-owned vehicles. Its minimum rate (including the 0.25 percent autopay discount) is in line with what other credit unions offer qualified borrowers. With both new and used car loans, the minimum and maximum APRs are higher if you choose a longer loan term. 

Refinance

  • Amounts: $3,000-$150,000 
  • Terms: 48-72 months
  • APR: 4.99%-16.50%   

The refinancing process is a great way to try and save money on your monthly payment and ideally walk away with a better deal. Refinancing rates offered by Skyla fall in line with their used auto loan offerings. Your vehicle must be 15 years old or younger to qualify for refinancing — noteworthy because most lenders cap the age at 10 years.

How to apply for a loan with Skyla 

Borrowers can apply for financing easily online through a mobile device or computer without the need to speak to a loan officer or go to one of the 19 branch offices. The auto loan application process should only take minutes and, following preapproval, your auto loan is valid for up to 30 days. 

New Sklya members will need to input their Social Security Number in order to move forward with the application. Current members can simply log into their online banking account. 

Features and perks

Outside of competitive rates, the credit union offers additional coverage including mechanical repair coverage, gap protection and credit insurance protection. 

Fees and penalties

When you apply for an auto loan with Skyla, you don’t have to worry about paying an application or documentation fee. In addition, there’s no penalty for paying your loan off early.

Skyla FAQs

How Bankrate rates Skyla 

Overall Score 4.4
Availability 5.0 Skyla boasts a high maximum loan amount and a variety of loan products.
Affordability 4.6 Competitive APRs and flexible underwriting criteria bode well for the lender's affordability.
Customer Experience 5.0 Perfect scoring for the lender's 24/7 support and easy-to-use website.
Transparency 3.0 Skyla discloses all fees but only offers preapproval, not prequalification.

Methodology

The Bankrate team assessed more than 35 auto lenders to find the best. Bankrate considered 18 criteria, such as acceptance criteria, loan amounts and APR range. These scores are broken into four categories.

  • Availability: Loan amounts, repayment options, dealership requirements and state availability all contribute to this category. Lenders that serve customers nationwide with flexible loan amounts rank higher.
  • Affordability: This section houses APR ranges, acceptance criteria, fees and discounts. Lenders with the lowest rates, fewer fees and most generous acceptance criteria receive higher scores.
  • Customer experience: Our team looked at how easy it is for customers to apply for and manage their loans. Criteria include how long you have to shop, customer service hours, whether there’s an app and autopay availability.
  • Transparency: This includes prequalification and disclosure of rates and fees. We favored lenders that make it easy for customers to preview possible costs.

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, a Certified Financial Education Instructor℠, is a writer for Bankrate who has been reporting on auto loans since 2021.

Edited by Editor, Personal and Auto Loans