Shift and Carvana are popular platforms that have revolutionized the online car-buying experience. Both offer a wide selection of reliable used cars and the choice between financing through the platform or finding a lender on your own. However, Shift is better for buyers with solid credit who prefer to avoid making a down payment, while Carvana is ideal if you want to steer clear of delivery fees and secure a more extensive limited warranty.

Shift vs. Carvana at a glance

Take a closer look at how the two online car-buying platforms stack up.



Bankrate score 3.8 4.4
Better for •Flexible financing options
•No down payment (with select lenders)
•Avoiding delivery fees
•Flexible qualification requirements
Loans offered Used car loans Used car loans
Loan amounts Up to $80,000 Not specified
APRs Varies by lender Not specified
Loan term lengths 36 to 72 months 12 to 72 months
Fees Service and shipping fee Shipping and delivery fee
Minimum credit score Varies by lender Not specified; bad credit may be eligible
State footprint Buying available in all 50 states Not available in Alaska or Hawaii
Time to funding Varies by lender Not specified
Autopay discount? Not specified Not specified

Shift auto loans

Shift is a convenient online platform for buying used cars, with access to thousands of used vehicles. You can arrange financing through a Shift lending partner and have the car delivered to you for a fee. Plus, additional protection plans and gap coverage are available for purchase to help safeguard your investment.

However, like most car-buying platforms (including Carvana), Shift does not allow buyers to negotiate. Instead, the sale price must be paid in full to secure the vehicle. And if you don’t like the rate Shift offers, you can’t bargain it down, though you can opt for an outside lender instead.

The upside is you get a 30-day/1,000-mile powertrain warranty if you experience any vehicle issues. Plus, each purchase is backed by a seven-day/200-mile return policy if you decide the vehicle doesn’t quite work for you.


  • Seamless online car shopping and financing process
  • Get prequalified without hurting your credit score
  • Generous 7-day or 200-mile return window


  • Prices are non-negotiable
  • Hefty service and delivery fees
  • Standard limited warranty

Carvana auto loans

Carvana is also a one-stop shop for car shopping and financing. Financing is limited to used vehicles listed on Carvana’s website, and you can choose doorstep, vending machine or storefront delivery. The platform lets you shop quickly and check your approval odds without impacting your credit score.

Unlike most online car-buying platforms (such as Shift and Vroom), Carvana finances loans through a single lender: Bridgecrest. And it claims good credit isn’t always required to qualify for financing. If you’re at least 18 years old, have no bankruptcies and make at least $4,000 a year, you may still qualify for a loan even with bad credit.

Like Shift, you won’t be able to negotiate prices or rates. If you choose an outside lender, be aware that Carvana doesn’t work with many major banks and auto lenders.

When you purchase through the platform, you’ll get a limited warranty spanning 100 days or 4,189 miles — whichever is sooner. Remember that a $100 deductible applies for repairs made at preferred facilities. (This amount increases to $350 for non-preferred locations). And there’s a seven-day money-back guarantee if you want to return the vehicle.


•Financing accessible to credit-challenged borrowers

  • Generous powertrain warranty
  • Avoid a delivery fee by picking your car up yourself



•Must purchase a used vehicle from Carvana’s inventory

  • Down payment required
  • Financing and shopping unavailable in Alaska and Hawaii


How to choose between Shift and Carvana

Shift and Carvana offer delivery to your doorstep, and you can choose to finance through the platforms or use your own bank. Still, Shift offers more flexibility in terms of financing options, while Carvana has options to help you save on delivery fees.

Choose Shift for more flexible financing

Buyers have the option to finance through Shift partner lenders or another lender. (Or you can pay cash via ACH transfer). Carvana also accepts outside financing but limits the banks and credit unions you can use.

Furthermore, Carvana requires borrowers to make a down payment when securing a loan. This requirement isn’t mandatory with Shift. Depending on the lender you match with, you could get your next vehicle with 0 percent down. So, it could be ideal if you prefer to shop around for financing on your own to find the best deal.

Choose Carvana if you want to avoid delivery fees

Like Shift, Carvana offers delivery to your doorstep. But this added convenience comes at a cost. Or you can have your vehicle shipped to a car vending machine or a storefront location. If you choose either of the latter, you can avoid the costly fee.

Remember that select vehicles come with a shipping charge, even if delivered to a Carvana location. It depends on where the car is located and the site of the nearest vending machine. However, you can avoid this cost by only considering vehicles that offer free shipping, as indicated in the online listing.

Compare more lenders before applying

When you’re ready to buy your next ride, Shift and Carvana are great places to start if you prefer an online shopping experience. Still, you should explore other loans before formally applying with either platform.

Depending on your financial situation and credit profile, there could be more attractive loan offers with better rates elsewhere. And if you’re a credit-challenged borrower, it’s worth doing even more legwork to ensure you get the best deal on financing. Make sure to check out other car-buying platforms, too, including Vroom and CarMax.