Borrowers are always on the lookout for a company that can facilitate a number of affordable auto financing options — not an easy thing to find. A thorough RoadLoans review will reveal an auto loan and refinancing provider with a couple of options for discerning clients with little to no credit.
It is also the online auto lending branch of Santander Consumer USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Santander USA Holdings — the holding company that also owns Santander Bank. RoadLoans was started in 2000 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
RoadLoans is a provider of subprime auto loans. It does not provide any other type of financial product, although consumer banking services are available through Santander Bank. The company primarily serves low-income car buyers and individuals with low credit scores through a network of auto dealers.
One of the key benefits of a RoadLoans loan is the ability to obtain your loan before shopping for a car.
How RoadLoans stacks up
- Accepts borrowers with low and no credit scores
- Apply and get approval online
- Obtain financing before choosing a vehicle
- Subprime loans come with high interest rates
- Must purchase a vehicle through its dealer network
- Prequalification for financing requires a hard inquiry on your credit report
What’s Interesting About RoadLoans
If your credit score is low or nonexistent, RoadLoans is an option for obtaining financing if you need a vehicle. You can apply for financing online and get approved for financing before even choosing a vehicle. Once you apply, RoadLoans will provide multiple options for financing, so it can be a good resource if you want to compare loan options.
Although you are restricted to RoadLoans’ network of dealers, it does work with well-known companies like Cars.com and CarMax. You can even refinance an existing auto loan through RoadLoans, but you should only do so if you think you can obtain a lower interest rate.
Things to Consider
Although RoadLoans can connect you with multiple loan options, it won’t be your lender if you obtain financing through the company. Instead, you’ll be connected with an offer from a lender through their network. For this reason, it’s important to read the fine print on your loan before signing anything.
Depending on the loan you accept, you may have to deal with prepayment penalties, late payment penalties, origination fees or other costs associated with the lender providing your loan.
RoadLoans doesn’t list much information on its website about interest rates, either. Because it’s a subprime lender, it’s safe to assume that any loans it issues to borrowers with bad credit will have relatively high interest rates or monthly payments.
RoadLoans does not provide any introductory interest rates on its website, but it does provide loans to borrowers with poor credit. These types of loans typically involve higher interest rates and higher monthly payments. However, RoadLoans works with a network of 14,000 dealerships to help customers find their new cars. When buying a used car through RoadLoans, the car must be within certain guidelines: under 110,000 miles and no older than nine years. For instance, when purchasing a used car with RoadLoans in 2020, only 2011 cars and newer are eligible. The minimum loan amount is $5,000 — or higher as required by some states — and customers can finance a car loan up to $75,000. Furthermore, RoadLoans advertises that it accept applications from customers with bad credit, no credit or who have filed bankruptcy.
If you’re stuck in a car loan contract with unfavorable terms — such as high monthly payments or interest rates — refinancing is possible through RoadLoans. There are certain restrictions, however. For one, the car must have less than 105,000 miles and be no older than seven years. This means cars refinanced with RoadLoans in 2020 must be made in 2013 or later. Like with its auto loans, RoadLoans doesn’t disclose its APRs on auto refinancing immediately. It seems this information is only available after submitting an application, which requires a credit inquiry and RoadLoans doesn’t indicate immediately if it would be a hard or soft credit inquiry. This is important to note, especially if you want to shop around for multiple auto refinancing quotes.
RoadLoans vs LightStream
Because LightStream advertises its rates and eligibility for approval, it’s easy to determine whether or not you’d qualify for a loan. Along with low interest rates, a loan cap of $100,000 and a rate-beating program promising 0.10% lower than a competitor’s offer, LightStream is an attractive option for those with good credit and ready to set up automatic payments. But if you have less-than-great credit or maybe even a bankruptcy on file, then RoadLoans is still an option.
RoadLoans vs Capital One
Capital One uses its proprietary car-buying service, Auto Navigator, to help customers find their next car on its website, then pre-qualifies them for a loan. Customers then take that offer to the dealership to finalize the loan, grab the keys and roll out. On the other hand, RoadLoans doesn’t have dealership inventory integrated into its loan process, but customers can still search for partnered dealerships to figure out if there is one nearby.
RoadLoans vs Carvana
Much like RoadLoans, Carvana does consider customers with less-than-perfect credit. Carvana actually takes more than just a credit score into consideration when approving applications. As long as the customer is at least 18 years old, makes at least $10,000 a year and has no active bankruptcies, they can get approved. Carvana takes these into consideration along with the amount requested and credit history, but getting pre-qualified doesn’t affect your credit score. Once approved, go through Carvana’s inventory to find your new vehicle and either have it delivered directly to you or pick it up at one of the company’s “vending machines.” RoadLoans doesn’t have its own inventory for customers to choose from, so if you like the idea of “cutting out the middle man” with Carvana, this is a decent option.
The Final Word
RoadLoans is a decent option if you need a vehicle but you have a low credit score and a low income and you can’t obtain financing elsewhere, but its lack of transparency indicates that you need to be careful when agreeing to borrow money through its network.
If you’re risk-averse and you have decent credit, it may be a better choice to look elsewhere. You could use RoadLoans, but keep in mind that this will require a hard inquiry on your credit report.