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RateGenius Auto Refinance Loans: 2018 Review

February 16, 2018
Auto Loans, Loans
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
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: good-credit refinance applicants who want help shopping loans

RateGenius is a vehicle refinance loan broker that finds you loans from its network of partners. The company also offers refinancing for other specialty vehicles and, in some cases, lease buyout loans.


RateGenius is a good fit for those who:

  • Have good credit — the average credit score for its customers is 690
  • Are serious shoppers who don’t mind having a hard credit pull to get a rate quote
  • Prefer help dealing with lenders and completing the application paperwork

RateGenius auto refinance loans at a glance

APR*1.74% - 18.87%
Loan amounts$10,000 - $90,000
Minimum requirementsCredit score: 525
Income: $2,000/month
Hard credit check with application?Yes
AvailabilityAll 50 states
*APR is used to evaluate the true cost of borrowing money and includes the interest rate.

RateGenius review details

Founded in 1999, rateGenius specializes in matching borrowers to auto refinance loans among its network of lenders. This can be helpful for customers who value a hands-off process, but who still want the benefit of comparison shopping.

The company tries to streamline the approval process as much as possible, but some lenders require more paperwork than others, says Jonathan Olsen, who works on business development for rateGenius. “Generally, the further down the credit tier, the more documents are needed to finalize the loan,” he says.

The lender rateGenius selects will perform a hard credit pull, which slightly lowers your credit score, to provide a preapproved loan offer. If your application is denied, rateGenius will try up to two more lenders. Credit reporting agencies typically group such multiple hard inquiries as one inquiry if they occur within a short time, generally 14, 30 or 45 days.

If rateGenius doesn’t think any lenders will offer you a loan, it won’t perform a hard pull. Even so, it’s best for serious refinance applicants who intend to get a new loan, rather than those casually checking rates.

Car loan rates

The best rate offered by rateGenius for a refinance loan, 1.74%, will be available only if you have very good credit. Lenders can set their own requirements, but excellent credit is generally considered 720 or better, while 690 to 719 is generally considered good. The average credit score for rateGenius customers is 690.

If your credit is less than top-tier, your interest rate will be higher. This means your monthly payment will be more and, over time, you’ll pay more interest. If you know your credit score you can get an idea of the rate you might qualify for.

Applying to rategenius

  • You can get preapproved in two to three hours in some cases
  • Can refinance trucks, SUVs, RVs, motorcycles and boats
  • No application fee; late payment fees vary by lender
  • Borrowers are not obligated to accept an offer


  • Maximum vehicle age: 10 years
  • Maximum vehicle mileage: 150,000 miles
  • Loan terms: 24 to 87 months (NerdWallet doesn’t recommend loans over 60 months)
  • Available in all 50 states

How rateGenius compares

Compared to other lenders we reviewed, the maximum refinance rate from rateGenius is mid-range, but significantly less than those on the high end, where maximum rates exceed 29%. This seems to reflect rateGenius’s desire to work with borrowers who have average or better credit.

Unlike other lenders that provide refinance loans directly, such as LightStream and, rateGenius is a broker that shops for an auto refinance loan for you in its lender network. The table below shows how rateGenius compares to other refinance lenders.

CompanyMin FICOMin monthly incomeMin loan amountMax vehicle age/mileageHard pull?Get started
MyAutoloan 500$1,100$7,50010 yrs / 125,000 miYes
OpenRoad Lending500$1,500$10,00010 yrs / 150,000 miYes
Lending Club510None$5,00010 yrs / 120,000 miNo
RateGenius525$2,000$10,00010 yrs / 150,000 miYes
CarFinance.com525None$7,5008 yrs / 100,000 miYes
IFS550$1,500$5,00010 yrs / 100,000 miYes
Capital One560$1,500 - $1,800$7,5007 yrs / No restrictionNo
Autopay600$2,000$5,00011 yrs / 125,000 miNo
Consumers Credit Union640$500; $2,000 preferred$250No restrictionYes
LightStream660None$5,000No restrictionYes

More from rateGenius

RateGenius has an affiliated insurance broker (rateGenius Insurance Agency) and may contact you with insurance offers once you’re approved for a loan. The company also offers gap insurance and vehicle service contracts.

The rateGenius website features detailed information on how rateGenius works, along with general information about auto refinancing and a calculator to help you estimate payments. According to the site, rateGenius also provides customer service in Spanish.

Shopping for an auto loan


More from NerdWallet:

See more car loan providers
See more auto loan refinance options
See if auto loan refinancing is right for you


To review rateGenius, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, completed the online loan 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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