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Carvana Used-Car Financing: 2018 Review

May 11, 2018
Auto Loans, Loans
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Good for: used-car shoppers wanting a simple online shopping and financing experience

Carvana is an online used-car dealer that also provides direct financing for the cars it sells. Shoppers can browse the online inventory and complete the purchase from their couch. Your car will be delivered to you, or you can pick it up in some cities.
Carvana

Carvana is a good fit for those who:

  • Dislike negotiating for a used car
  • Want to shop rates with only a soft credit pull
  • Have bad credit; no minimum credit score is required to apply

Carvana at a glance

APR*Not disclosed; more on rates below
Minimum requirementsCredit score: None
Income: $10,000/year
Soft credit check to see financing terms?Yes
AvailabilityCars delivered in 48 states to date; free delivery in some regions
Late fees?Yes
*APR is used to evaluate the true cost of borrowing money and includes the interest rate.

Carvana review details

Carvana’s unique retail model could revolutionize the way used cars are sold. You can pick a car from its inventory of more than 10,000 cars, select financing terms and fill out the paperwork all online. The company sells used vehicles, mostly with low mileage, that are given a 150-point inspection and come with a free CarFax vehicle history report. Carvana prices are non-negotiable, but seem in line with Kelley Blue Book prices.

The company “extends credit to customers with a broad range of credit profiles,” says Ryan Keeton, Carvana co-founder and chief brand officer. This includes car buyers with very poor credit who may have trouble getting loans from traditional dealerships and lenders. Carvana has no minimum credit score; however, you must make at least $10,000 annually and not have any current bankruptcies.

Car shoppers can get pre-qualified financing offers with a soft credit inquiry, which won’t lower their credit score, making it good for rate shoppers. Though most customers who finance a purchase use Carvana financing, you can also pay with cash or financing from an outside lender.

Car Loan Rates

While Carvana doesn’t disclose its financing rate ranges, its “build my deal” calculator shows sample APRs for user-provided credit scores. To estimate loan rates, NerdWallet ran the numbers on a Carvana vehicle for a buyer in California, using loan terms of 36 months and a down payment of about 10% of the car’s price. Income was not provided in the calculations, but taxes and fees were included for an out-the-door monthly payment.

Car: 2016 Mazda 3 iSport

Price: $13,100 (46,437 miles)

Down payment: $1,400

Credit scoreAPRMonthly payment
Excellent (780)4.58%$388
Good (680)8.83%$413
Average (630)12%$433
Below average (588)16.63%$462

Bad credit

Carvana’s deal-builder tool doesn’t provide sample rates for credit scores below 588, but the rate comparison tool shows average rates by state. For example, for someone in California with a credit score of 550, buying a $20,000 car and making an 11% down payment, Carvana’s average rate is 19.54%, compared with the state average of 19.93%, according to Experian data.

Carefully explore your car loan options if you have bad credit, and consider buying an inexpensive used car. To get the best deal on financing, check rates from multiple auto lenders and attempt to refinance your car loan after your credit improves in six to 12 months. Or, if your credit score will get you double-digit APRs, consider saving to buy a car entirely with cash.

» MORE: Find a car loan for good, fair or bad credit

Applying to Carvana

  • No hard credit inquiry required for pre-qualification
  • Decision for pre-qualification within minutes; more information and hard pull required for final approval
  • No application fee or prepayment penalty; may charge late fees
  • Carvana does not allow co-buyers

Restrictions

  • Financing only available for Carvana vehicles
  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old
  • No current bankruptcies
  • Minimum income: $10,000/year
  • Maximum loan term: 72 months (NerdWallet doesn’t recommend loans longer than 36 months for used cars and 60 months for new cars)
  • Cars delivered in 48 states to date; Carvana will deliver to Alaska and Hawaii, though delivery fees will likely be prohibitively expensive

Carvana History and Background

Carvana was founded in 2012 as a wholly owned subsidiary of DriveTime Automotive Group, a nationwide used-car retailer and finance company, and was spun off in 2014. With Carvana financing, loans are actually serviced by subprime auto lender GO Financial, an affiliate of DriveTime.

DriveTime and its finance arm, DT Acceptance Corporation, are the country’s biggest buy-here-pay-here dealer, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which fined the company $8 million in 2014 as part of a settlement over its debt-collection practices and other issues.

More from Carvana

Delivery: Carvana delivers its vehicles for free in a growing list of cities, or for a fee, which depends on your location. You can also pick up your car from a Carvana “vending machine.” If you fly to a pickup city, Carvana will subsidize up to $200 of your airfare, and pick you up from the airport.

Return policy: All vehicles sold by Carvana come with a seven-day “test own” period. Customers can return their car after a week of owning it, receive a refund for their down payment and unwind their loan before the first payment. However, check the fine print, as you may be responsible for delivery or excess mileage fees.

Trade-ins: Carvana accepts trade-ins and will give you a price for your car if you provide the vehicle identification number and a brief description of your vehicle. If you are in one of the free delivery areas, your trade-in will be picked up when your purchased car is delivered.

Warranties and other products: All Carvana vehicles come with a 100-day (4,189 mile) limited warranty. For some cars, buyers may also be able to purchase CarvanaCare, an extended warranty. Carvana also offers gap insurance in some states.

Shopping for an auto loan

 

More from NerdWallet

See more car loan providers
Estimate your payments with a car payment calculator
See how much car you can afford


METHODOLOGY

To review Carvana, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, completed the online application process with sample data and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

 

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