Good for: Borrowers who want flexible loan terms and like the services offered by a credit union
Consumers Credit Union offers an array of auto loans to a wide range of potential borrowers, though you’ll have to become a member to get a loan. The lender refinances existing auto loans and provides purchase loans for new and used cars from both dealers and private parties, as well as other types of vehicles.
Consumers Credit Union is a good fit for those who:
- Want flexible loan terms: Loans can be as small as $250 and as brief as six months.
- Value online engagement: The lender discounts qualified loans when applied for online and has a robust resource hub.
- Are serious auto loan shoppers who don’t mind a hard credit pull to see rates.
Consumers Credit Union at a glance
|APR*|| 1.74% - 21.99%
|Loan amounts||$250 - $500,000|
|Minimum requirements||Credit score: 640
Income: $6,000/year gross
Membership: $5 fee, plus $5/month minimum savings account balance
|Hard credit check with application?||Yes|
|Availability||All 50 states|
Consumers Credit Union review details
Consumers Credit Union is an Illinois-based credit union, but don’t let that stop you from applying — it lends nationwide, including to those with poor credit, high debt and low income.
For borrowers who already owe a lot of money, taking on more debt can be risky. Before applying for a car loan, you should know if you have too much debt. Also check your credit score, since borrowers with poor credit can face high interest rates.
If you’re on solid financial ground and can afford a new car loan, Consumers Credit Union makes the application process easy. You can apply online, over the phone or even over a video call with a representative. Most application decisions are made within 24 hours.
Be aware that Consumers Credit Union requires a hard credit pull to determine your creditworthiness. This slightly lowers your credit score, which means it’s best for serious car shoppers who are ready to get a loan. Once the loan is finalized, the funds can be mailed to you or the dealer as a cashier’s check or directly deposited into an account.
The credit union also offers refinancing for your existing car loan, with few restrictions on vehicle age and mileage.
Note that you can apply as a non-member, but you’ll need to join the credit union to get a loan. Members can get rate discounts of up to 0.75% on their loan if they meet certain requirements. These include maintaining an active Consumers Credit Union checking account and using products and services such as direct deposit and a debit or credit card.
Car loan rates
The best interest rate offered by Consumers Credit Union is 1.74%. However, this rate is available only for applicants with excellent credit and loans of 36 months or less for 2012 or newer vehicles. Lenders set their own requirements, but in general credit scores are categorized as follows:
- 300-629: Bad credit.
- 630-689: Fair credit, also called “average credit.”
- 690-719: Good credit.
- 720 and up: Excellent credit.
Interest rates will typically depend on your credit score, with lower scores meaning more expensive loans. Consumers Credit Union loans carry a maximum APR of 21.99%. However, the average rate for its customers is 5.09%, signaling a focus on borrowers with stronger credentials. The credit union will lend to those with scores as low as 640.
Knowing your credit score will give you an idea of the interest rate you might qualify for. Shop around if you have bad credit. You’ll likely be offered high interest rates, and comparing prices can help you save.
Applying to Consumers Credit Union
- Loan offers good for up to 60 days; applicants are not obliged to accept.
- No application fee; $29 late fee after 10-day grace period for missed payments.
- Co-signers allowed.
- Loan decisions in 24 hours.
- Applications accepted online, over the phone, or in person in Illinois.
- Loans also available for motorcycles, recreational vehicles and boats.
- Loan terms: 6 to 84 months (NerdWallet doesn’t recommend loans over 60 months for new cars).
- Maximum vehicle age: No restrictions.
- Maximum vehicle mileage: No maximum, though applications for cars with over 100,000 miles will be scrutinized more closely.
- Minimum income: $500/month ($6,000/year gross), but the lender prefers $2,000/month for individuals and $3,000/month for joint accounts.
- Membership requirements: $5 fee, plus savings account with $5/month minimum balance.
- Available in 50 states.
How Consumers Credit Union compares
Setting it apart from other lenders we’ve reviewed, Consumers Credit Union is a full-service credit union offering an array of additional financial services. If you don’t qualify for a loan due to poor credit, for example, the lender can set you up with a partnered credit counseling agency to help you get on track to a better credit score. Since credit unions are owned by members, they tend to offer a more personalized approach to banking.
Consumers Credit Union also offers a wide range of loan amounts and incentivizes online engagement by reducing qualifying auto loan rates by 0.25% when you apply online.
The table below shows how Consumers Credit Union stacks up to other lenders that offer purchase and refinance loans. Some companies provide loans directly, and others may shop for loans for you from a lending network of partners.
|Lender||Minimum FICO||APRs||Loan amount||Hard pull to see rates?|
|MyAutoloan||500||1.99% - 24.9%||$7,500 - $100,000||Yes|
|Capital One||500||As low as 3.89%*||Min: $4,000||No|
|SpringboardAuto||500||5% and up**||$7,500 - $45,000||No|
|CarFinance.com||525||7.99% - 14.99%||$7,500 - $45,000||Yes|
|Consumers Credit Union||640||1.74% - 21.99%||$250 - $500,000||Yes|
|LightStream||660||3.09% - 7.69%***||$5,000 - $100,000||Yes|
More from Consumers Credit Union
As a full-fledged credit union, Consumers Credit Union offers all the products and services you’d expect from a bank. This includes checking accounts, online banking, credit cards, business loans and more. The lender also offers an auto-buying program and mechanical repair coverage. Consumers Credit Union’s robust online resources include a financial literacy program, user guides and an auto affordability calculator. If you want to talk with a representative “face to face,” the lender offers video calling from its app.
Shopping for an auto loan
To review Consumers Credit Union, NerdWallet collected more than 27 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, reviewed the online loan application process and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.