Best for: refinance applicants who’ve recently bettered their credit scores
OpenRoad Lending refinances auto loans for a full spectrum of borrowers with poor to excellent credit. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company provides loans of up to $100,000, offering rates as low as 1.9% along with flexible loan terms.
Founded in 2009, OpenRoad prides itself on using a simple application process and providing a “world-class customer service experience,” says Don Chapman, OpenRoad’s chief marketing officer.
- Specializes in providing auto refinance loans
- Requires a hard credit pull to provide a rate quote
- Offers refinance loans with annual percentage rates as low as 1.9%
- Allows co-signers
- Is available in 40 states
OpenRoad Lending at a glance
|Loan amount||$10,000 – $100,000
(average: $19,000 – $20,000)
|Time to funding||12 days|
|Fees||No application fee; late fees vary by lender|
|Soft credit check with application?||No; a hard pull is required|
OpenRoad Lending review details
To review OpenRoad, NerdWallet collected more than 25 data points from the lender, interviewed the company’s chief marketing officer, reviewed the online loan application and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.
OpenRoad Lending is good for
Consumers who’ve bolstered their credit in the past six to 12 months are solid candidates to apply to refinance their auto loan through OpenRoad, Chapman says. There are no application fees, and OpenRoad works with several banks, credit unions and lending institutions to secure the lowest interest rate for a customer, he adds.
In addition, OpenRoad offers a car-buying service and various other products, including paintless dent removal, vehicle service contracts and gap insurance. The latter is recommended only for car owners who are upside-down on their auto loan — owing more than the car is worth.
You can complete the application for preapproval online or over the phone. In all cases, it requires your Social Security number and a hard credit pull, which slightly lowers your credit score. However, doing this not only “speeds up the process, but it allows for a real loan decision, not a pre-qualified loan decision,” Chapman says. Pre-qualified loan offers are based on less information about a person and can change when more details are provided.
Still, the interest rate that OpenRoad quotes can sometimes change when the lender reviews the information the applicant provides. This could happen once the value of the car being refinanced is more accurately established using pricing guides such as Kelley Blue Book. If the vehicle is worth less than the applicant thought, this will affect the interest rate. In other cases, the person applying for a loan might have made a mistake or misrepresented his or her income, which can also change the rate.
To qualify for a refinance loan from OpenRoad, applicants need a minimum credit score of 500. The average score for OpenRoad customers is 650. Minimum income for applicants is $1,500 per month before taxes, which is lower than at many other lenders in this space.
OpenRoad offers loans in all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Loan terms range from 36 to 84 months. However, NerdWallet typically doesn’t recommend stretching loans to over 60 months. Vehicles being refinanced can be up to 10 model years old and must have been driven less than 150,000 miles.
During the application process, OpenRoad will ask you for the following:
- Year, make, model and current mileage of the vehicle
- Vehicle identification number
- An accurate description of all the vehicle’s features and options
- A copy of the current vehicle registration
- Your car insurance information
- The name of the lending institution and account number of your current car loan
OpenRoad Lending charges no application fee, and borrowers are not obligated to accept an offer. Late payment fees vary by lender.
It’s smart to comparison shop for the best interest rate and terms when you’re refinancing your auto loan. However, in some cases, that can lead to being contacted by car dealers and lenders. Chapman says that when a person submits an application, he or she opts into OpenRoad’s privacy agreement. OpenRoad shares the applicant’s information with the credit bureaus and other entities necessary to provide a loan quote.
Read the privacy information on any lender’s website if you’re concerned about getting unsolicited calls and emails. To protect your privacy, create a new email account and get a Google Voice phone number that you can check separately just while you’re loan shopping. Both options are free, and you can use them later for other similar shopping needs.
Before you take a car loan
Thanks to the internet and competition in the marketplace, many loan opportunities are available to you. It’s important to get several rate quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal. But just because money is available, you don’t have to stretch your budget. When choosing a car, pick one that addresses your needs. When shopping for a loan, select the one that fits into your budget and helps you achieve your long-term financial goals.