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Established in 1852, Wells Fargo is a brick-and-mortar bank offering a variety of personal, small business and corporate banking solutions. Credit Direct is an online personal loan marketplace that matches borrowers with lenders in its network.
Wells Fargo caters to borrowers with good or excellent credit scores, while Credit Direct is better for borrowers who want to shop around for the best rates.
Wells Fargo vs. Credit Direct at a glance
Both Wells Fargo and Credit Direct provide new and used car loans. However, Wells Fargo offers secured auto loans through partner dealerships, while Credit Direct matches borrowers with unsecured auto loans that can be used at any dealership.
|Loans offered||New and used car loans||Personal loans that can be used for new or used vehicle purchases|
|Loan amounts||Varies by dealership||$1,000-$40,000|
|Loan term lengths||Not specified||12-60 months|
|Fees||Not specified||No loan origination or prepayment penalties|
|Minimum credit score||Not specified||Not specified|
|State footprint||All states (via partner dealers)||14 states|
|Time to funding||Instant upon approval, paid to dealership||48-72 hours|
|Autopay discount?||Not specified||Not specified|
Wells Fargo auto loans
Wells Fargo’s website doesn’t share information on auto loan eligibility guidelines or terms. Still, it could be a suitable funding option if you have good or excellent credit and prefer in-person support at a physical branch.
Borrowers should be aware that loans are only available through Wells Fargo’s nearly 11,000 partner dealerships. There’s no way to get prequalified or apply online. The upside is its loans are free of application, origination and prepayment penalties.
- Many physical branches: With over 4,900 retail banking branches nationwide, you can easily manage your auto loan if you prefer in-person support. However, you cannot apply for the loan at a branch location.
- Fast funding times: Wells Fargo funds your loan and sends it to the dealership immediately following approval.
- No added fees: You won’t pay loan origination fees or early repayment penalties on your auto loan. While these fees are becoming less common, some auto lenders do still charge them.
- No online application: There’s no way to apply for auto loan financing online since it’s only available through partner dealerships.
- Online prequalification unavailable: Wells Fargo does not offer an online prequalification tool, even if you plan to secure a loan through a dealer. That means you’ll need to formally apply and take a temporary credit hit to see your possible rates.
- Limited online disclosures: Loan terms and rates for auto loans are not published on the website, making comparison shopping before you get to the dealership impossible.
Credit Direct auto loans
Credit Direct is an online platform that makes it simple to get the funding you need for your next car purchase. It originates loans directly and through partners in its network. You can take out an unsecured personal loan of up to $40,000 with a 12- to 60-month term.
Unlike most lenders, Credit Direct and its lending partners offer loans for as little as $1,000. The starting APR (annual percentage rate) is also competitive — especially among unsecured loans — and you can get prequalified online to view potential loan terms. Credit Direct is also worth considering if you want to own your car outright since the vehicle isn’t used as collateral to secure the loan.
- Flexible eligibility guidelines. CreditDirect sees you as more than just a credit score and could approve you even if your score is lower.
- Small minimum loan amounts. You can borrow as little as $1,000 to purchase a new or used vehicle. That’s especially useful if you want to buy a very old car or a car with a salvage title, which many lenders won’t let you buy with a secured loan.
- Prequalify with no credit check. View loan offers without impacting your credit score.
- Not available nationwide: CreditDirect only serves customers in 14 states: AL, AZ, AR, CA, FL, IA, LA, MD, MI, MO, NC, OK, PA, TX.
- Low loan limit: Loans are capped at $40,000. The average new car price exceeded $48,000 in mid-2023. If you’re buying a new car, you may need to save up for a down payment to cover the difference.
- Documentation requirements: Borrowers are required to provide a recent W2, pay stubs and bank statements to secure financing. While all lenders require proof of income, requiring all of these documents is more unusual.
How to choose between Wells Fargo and Credit Direct
Wells Fargo and Credit Direct could work for borrowers with excellent credit. The latter is ideal if you have past credit challenges or want to look beyond a single lender for a competitive auto loan.
Choose Wells Fargo if you have a strong credit score
Wells Fargo could be worth considering if you have a strong credit rating and are offered auto loan financing. You’ll have the luxury of managing your loan in a branch once it’s funded.
Choose Credit Direct if you want to shop around for the best deal
You don’t get to view loan offers with Wells Fargo until you pick out your ride and apply for financing at the dealership. But Credit Direct lets you check your rate in minutes directly from its website without hurting your credit score.
Like most banks, Wells Fargo also reserves likely best rates for borrowers with excellent credit, and a lower credit score could make it harder to qualify for a loan. However, Credit Direct states borrowers with all credit scores are welcome to apply. Keep in mind that if you have bad credit, your loan’s interest rate may be on the high end of the range.
Compare more lenders before applying
When you’re ready to apply for auto financing, Wells Fargo and Credit Direct aren’t the only options to keep in mind. Request quotes from three or more additional lenders and compare auto loan rates, borrowing costs and other terms. Also, explore other lenders if you want to refinance your current loan. You may find a lender beyond these two options works better for your unique financial situation.