Capital One Auto Finance: 2021 Review

Capital One lets you pre-qualify at a well-known bank, but its auto purchase loans are available only at participating dealerships.
Philip ReedDec 4, 2020

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Auto loan reviews

Capital One
  • Auto loan refinancing

  • Auto purchase loan

The bottom line: Capital One Auto Finance is a good fit if you want to check rates without affecting your credit score and plan to shop within its large dealership network. It also refinances existing loans.

Auto loan refinancing review

Capital One

Capital One - Refinance loan

Min. Credit Score

None

Loan Amount

$4,000 - $50,000

Pros

  • Prequalify with a soft credit check.
  • Allows co-applicants.

Cons

  • Not available in every state.

Best for borrowers who want to compare rates without a hard credit check.

To review Capital One, NerdWallet collected and compared more than 15 data points against other lenders that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

Capital One, known for a wide range of banking products and credit cards, will refinance your current auto loan as well as provide financing for new and used car purchases.

Capital One Auto Finance does not require a upfront. This means you can pre-qualify to refinance your auto loan with no impact on your credit score. This makes Capital One Auto Finance a good option for rate shoppers comparing auto loan offers.

Capital One is a well-known lender that works with an established network of car dealerships. You can pre-qualify to refinance with Capital One, which has no effect on your credit score.

Pre-qualification decisions are typically returned within 24 hours; your loan offer will show a new rate, term and monthly payment. If you select the offer, you’ll submit a complete credit application. At that point, a hard credit inquiry is required and your final terms could change.

Capital One does not offer cash-out refinancing or lease buyouts.

» MORE:

The best rates offered by Capital One Auto Finance are likely available only if you have credit in the top end of the excellent range. Lenders can set their own requirements, but excellent credit is generally considered 720 or better, while 690 to 719 is generally considered good.

If your credit is less than top-tier, your interest rate will be higher, which means your monthly payment will be more and, over time, you’ll pay more interest.

Capital One offers a wide variety of  and . Its website includes details on its auto refinancing and financing products, a loan calculator and a blog featuring credit score and car-buying information.

How does this loan compare?

LightStream
Ally Clearlane
Learn MoreLearn More
Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Credit Score

520

Est. APR

2.99 - 9.99%

Est. APR

3.74 - 16.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan Amount

$10,000 - $80,000

Auto purchase loan review

Capital One
Learn More

on Capital One's website

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

2.99 - 24.99%

Loan Amount

$4,000 - $75,000

Pros

  • Pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Co-applicants allowed.

Cons

  • Not available in every state.
  • Only available at participating dealerships.

Best for borrowers who plan to buy from a dealership in Capital One's network.

To review Capital One, NerdWallet collected more than 15 data points from the lender, and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

Capital One, known for a wide range of banking products and credit cards, provides financing for new and used car purchases, as well as refinancing for existing auto loans.

Capital One Auto Finance is a good fit for those who:

Capital One Auto Finance does not require a  upfront. This means you can pre-qualify for financing for a new or used car purchase from a dealer with no impact on your credit score. This makes Capital One Auto Finance a good option for rate shoppers comparing auto loan offers.

For purchase financing, Capital One’s Auto Navigator tool shows pre-qualified offer terms and lets you search for the car you want. While many online lenders provide financing without much restriction on where the loan is used, you must use Capital One purchase financing at a participating dealership.

After you pre-qualify, you'll fill out a credit application at the dealership, not online. Your final terms will depend on the hard credit pull done at the dealership; pre-qualification does not guarantee that you’ll get financing. You can use the Capital One financing or accept another offer from the dealer.

The pre-qualification process and Auto Navigator help car buyers by setting a baseline interest rate before the trip to the dealership. Assuming the information you initially provided is complete and accurate, there shouldn’t be any big changes or unpleasant surprises at the dealership. This puts you ahead of those who arrive at the car lot with little idea of their credit score or what interest rate they can get. It also lets you  and see what fits your budget before you head to the dealership.

» MORE:

The best rates offered by Capital One Auto Finance are likely available only if you have credit in the top end of the excellent range. Lenders can set their own requirements, but excellent credit is generally considered 720 or better, while 690 to 719 is generally considered good.

If your credit is less than top-tier, your interest rate will be higher, which 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 interest rate you might qualify for using NerdWallet’s .

Capital One Auto Navigator works with over 12,000 participating dealerships. After you pre-qualify, you’ll see personalized loan rates and can compare payments and save customized terms on the cars you like.

Keep in mind that the vehicle prices listed on participating dealer sites are the “asking” price and can probably be negotiated. Before you agree to a sale price, ask the dealer for an “out the door” price that lists all dealer fees. These fees are not set or controlled by Capital One. Typically, dealers will charge a documentation fee, sales tax and registration fees.

Capital One’s website includes details on its auto financing and refinancing products, a loan calculator and a blog featuring credit score and car-buying information. Capital One also offers a wide variety of  and .

Frequently asked questions