Good for: higher-end used-car shoppers who want to buy and finance a car online
Vroom is an online used-car dealer that also provides loans through its lender network for a wide spectrum of buyers. Additionally, Vroom offers delivery and a trade-in process with upfront pricing.
Vroom is a good fit for those who:
- Want a lightly used car that’s only about three years old.
- Prefer pricing transparency with all fees and costs clearly displayed.
- Have good credit — the average credit score of its customers is 710.
Vroom at a glance
|APR*||Not disclosed; more on rates below|
|Minimum requirements||Credit score: None
|Soft credit check to see financing terms?||Yes|
|Availability||50 states (delivery to lower 48 only)|
|Late fees?||Varies by lender|
Vroom review details
Car shoppers can browse Vroom’s inventory of about 4,000 used vehicles online, apply for a loan quote and eventually order a car to be delivered. Vroom provides free CarFax vehicle history reports and only sells cars with a clear title and that haven’t been in an accident. All prices are no-haggle, set by Vroom based on current market data.
Vroom executives say they’re trying to create an Amazon-like shopping experience where all the information is clearly listed and the car is quickly delivered. “We wanted to build a new way to buy cars based on transparency, pricing and simplicity of the purchase process,” says John Caine, Vroom’s chief conversion officer.
Vroom works with more than a dozen lenders to find you the best interest rate when you apply for financing. Car shoppers can apply online or on a mobile device and get pre-qualified financing offers with a soft credit inquiry, which doesn’t lower your credit score. Buyers can also use their own financing or pay cash.
The company “has the ability to finance an entire range of [credit] spectrums,” says John Castle, Vroom’s vice president of consumer finance. Vroom sets no minimum credit score, but the minimum salary requirement is $1,800 a month. However, since the average purchase price of a Vroom vehicle is about $30,000, according to company executives, financing such a car might be a stretch for some customers.
CAR LOAN RATES
Vroom didn’t share its financing rates for this review, but the “Create Your Deal” tool on the company’s website shows shoppers estimated loan rates.
For example, a car buyer in California with a credit score of 600 or less, purchasing a $13,480 car and putting down just over 10% with a 36-month loan, can expect an average rate of 13.99%, according to Vroom’s tool. By comparison, the average interest rate among “subprime” borrowers (with credit scores between 501 to 600), was 16.14% in the third quarter of 2018, according to Experian.
Car: 2016 Mazda 3 iSport
Price: $13,480 (35,813 miles)
Down payment: $1,400
Term: 36 months
|Credit score||APR||Monthly payment|
|Excellent (over 700)||5.49%||$380|
|Below average (600 or less)||13.99%||$433|
Though Castle says the company “can get anyone into a car who wants one from Vroom” and will finance for credit scores that are “anything from fairly deep subprime to superprime,” you should carefully explore your car loan options if you have bad credit.
If your credit score will get you double-digit APRs, consider saving to buy a relatively inexpensive used car entirely with cash. If you decide to finance, check rates from multiple auto lenders to get the best deal and attempt to refinance your car loan after your credit improves in six to 12 months.
Vroom car prices
Are Vroom’s cars a good deal? We compared a sample car to the values in two well-known car pricing guides. Since Vroom’s used cars are inspected and reconditioned, and they come with a limited warranty, they are similar to what is called a certified pre-owned car. Typically, CPO cars are more expensive because of the careful inspection and the included warranty.
We chose a 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI S with 12,054 miles, listed at $18,810 (adding in the $499 delivery charge brings it to $19,309). On Edmunds.com, the CPO price was $20,405. Kelley Blue Book showed the CPO list price at $19,658. Even with the delivery charge, the Vroom listing was priced below the market.
APPLYING for Vroom financing
- No hard credit inquiry required for pre-qualification.
- Decision for pre-qualification within minutes; more information and hard pull required for final approval.
- Application, prepayment and late fees vary with final lender.
- Vroom allows co-buyers.
- Minimum income: $21,600/year.
- Maximum loan term: 72 months (NerdWallet generally doesn’t recommend loans longer than 36 months for used cars and 60 months for new cars).
- Financing available for Vroom vehicles only.
- Applicant must make a $500 deposit to hold the car.
- Delivery fee of $499.
More from Vroom
Delivery: Vroom delivers its vehicles (to the lower 48 states only) for a $499 fee, which can be included in the financing. Customers are told the delivery time is within two weeks, but Vroom executives say the car often arrives much sooner. To avoid the delivery fee, customers can pick up the vehicle from a Vroom dealership near Houston.
Return policy: Vehicles sold by Vroom can be returned within seven days (or 250 miles, whichever comes first). If the car was shipped, it will be picked up for free but the delivery fee will not be refunded. If you picked up your vehicle, you must return it to Vroom at the same location — and there may be a $475 restocking fee, depending on the reason you’re returning it.
Trade-ins: After you answer some basic questions about your trade-in, Vroom will give you an offer, which is good for 10 days or for an additional 250 miles. Once Vroom picks up the car, you will get paid (trade-ins are picked up only in the lower 48 states). You can also sell your car to the company even if you don’t buy one from Vroom.
Warranties and other products: Vroom’s cars typically come with a 90-day or 6,000-mile limited warranty and a year of roadside assistance. Additionally, Vroom sells extended warranties and gap protection, which pays the difference if the car is totaled or stolen and your insurance isn’t enough to repay the car loan.
How Vroom Compares
Online used-car buying, where the car is delivered and a return policy is included, is relatively new and is currently only provided by a handful of companies. Besides Vroom, the other notable companies are Carvana and Shift, though Shift is only available in parts of California.
Unlike Carvana, which is a direct lender, Vroom works with multiple lenders to arrange financing. While both companies perform a soft credit pull for prequalified offers and have no minimum credit score requirements, Vroom has a higher minimum income requirement.
Delivery charges differ for Vroom and Carvana, but both companies show competitive estimated financing rates and sell cars at prices that are below or close to the current market value as set by major pricing guides such as Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book.
When buying from either company, make sure you factor in all costs and check certified pre-owned car pricing. If the online dealer prices are the same or higher than market value, consider how much the convenience of avoiding the dealership is worth.
Vroom vs. Carvana
|Minimum credit score||None||None|
|Soft credit inquiry?||Yes||Yes|
|Delivery||$499 to lower 48 states||Free in many areas; for a fee, based on location, outside of select markets|
Shopping for an auto loan
More from NerdWallet
To review Vroom, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, reviewed the online application process and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.