Best for: subprime borrowers with credit scores as low as 500
If you have subprime credit and want to see quickly if you can get pre-approved for a car loan, SpringboardAuto.com can be a good way to go. The 2-year-old company, started by two veteran auto-finance professionals, touts the simplicity of its application process and the speed with which it provides a decision and finances the deal.
Unlike many other automotive online lenders, SpringboardAuto.com provides loans for new and used cars and for dealer or private party sales, and will even handle auto refinancing.
- Has an easy-to-use website with flexible comparison calculators
- Is good for subprime borrowers; the average SpringboardAuto.com borrower has a 620 credit score
- Can arrange vehicle inspections for private party transactions
- Is available in 29 states
SpringboardAuto.com at a glance
|Typical APR||Minimum: 5%; average: 12%|
|Loan amounts||$7,500 to $45,000 (average: $18,000)|
|Time to funding||Within 24 hours|
|Origination fee||$0 to $695|
|Soft credit check with application?||Yes|
SpringboardAuto.com review details
To review SpringboardAuto.com, NerdWallet collected more than 27 data points from the lender, interviewed a company executive, 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.
Speed of funding
SpringboardAuto.com is good for subprime borrowers purchasing from a private party or a dealer. The company can also refinance car loans, which sometimes cuts the monthly payment by as much as 5%, according to co-founder and chief marketing officer Stuart Holmes. If speed is important, the company can provide an e-check so you can complete your vehicle purchase at a dealership in one visit. Other forms of funding used by some lenders might require multiple visits over as much as a week, Holmes says.
Furthermore, the SpringboardAuto.com website offers calculators to find loans that benefit your situation. In some cases, the calculator might indicate your current loan is already the best you can expect. “We don’t want to return approvals to customers that already have a good rate,” Holmes says.
The application is one page and can be filled out in 60 seconds, according to the company. When we filled out the loan application we didn’t have a stopwatch handy, but the process was fast and simple. The application is designed to require only the most basic information — and no Social Security number — so the decision can be nearly instantaneous.
Holmes says the company reviewed traditional lending applications and found outdated or redundant requests for information. The SpringboardAuto.com application makes a lending decision based on reported income and a person’s address. If that information provides no match, the lender will ask for more information, he says.
To be approved for a loan by SpringboardAuto.com, you need a minimum income of $1,100 a month and a minimum credit score of 500. Borrowers from this lender have an average monthly income of $5,500. Additionally, applicants must have a history of four or more credit accounts, such as loans or lines of credit, to qualify.
SpringboardAuto.com provides loans for vehicles up to 8 years old with fewer than 125,000 miles. Loan terms are 24 to 72 months. Loans are available in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
Because SpringboardAuto.com provides a variety of loans, different documentation is required for each type of financing. For private party sales, for example, “we invite the seller into the process and ask them to provide and verify information about the vehicle in question,” Holmes says. Most documents can be provided electronically to speed the process. Payment is made in the form of an e-check directly to the seller or dealer.
Loan fees and penalties
There are no prepayment or application fees. However, SpringboardAuto.com does charge origination fees of up to $695 depending on your state and loan type. The money doesn’t come directly out of your pocket but is paid through the interest rate over time. Other lenders may charge similar fees. However, unless the fee is charged separately, simply compare loans using the interest rate.
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. If your financial picture changes, you can re-evaluate and make an informed adjustment.
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Philip Reed is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Feb. 12, 2018.