Capital One Auto Finance Purchase and Refinance Loans: 2022 Review

Capital One Auto Finance lets you pre-qualify to see rates and shop for a car online from participating dealerships. It also offers auto refinance loans.
Apr 11, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Auto loan reviews

Capital One
  • New auto purchase loan

  • Used auto purchase loan

  • Auto loan refinancing

The bottom line:

Best for borrowers wanting to check rates without affecting their credit score and buying within Capital One Auto Navigator network. Capital One Auto Finance also refinances existing car loans.

New auto purchase loan review

Capital One

Not yet rated

Loan amount
$4,000-Max. not disclosed
Min. credit score
Did not disclose
Learn more

on Capital One's website

Pros

  • Pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Auto Navigator offers car shopping and loan pre-qualification by website or app.

  • Charges no origination fee.

  • Borrowers can choose loan payment due date.

Cons

  • Not available in a few states.

  • Must purchase vehicle at a participating dealership.

  • Does not offer rate discounts for automatic payment.

  • Social Security number required to submit initial application.

Best for applicants wanting to pre-qualify for financing and find a new vehicle online, before visiting the dealership.

Full Review

Capital One Auto Finance offers financing for new and used cars, but only through its network of participating dealerships. It also provides refinancing for existing car loans.

Whether applying for a purchase or refinance loan, applicants can pre-qualify with a soft credit check, which won’t affect their credit score. This enables them to get an idea of the interest rate, term and monthly payment they may qualify for before proceeding with the loan. If they do accept the loan offer, a hard credit inquiry is done.

How Capital One Auto Navigator works

For auto purchase financing, Capital One Auto Navigator enables car buyers to shop for a car and apply for a pre-qualified loan offer on its website or through a downloadable mobile app. New and used car financing is limited to one of more than 12,000 dealerships available on the Capital One Auto Navigator tool. Car buyers request pre-qualified offers for the specific vehicles they are interested in and can try different payment scenarios by adjusting factors like down payment amount or term length.

After pre-qualifying online for a Capital One Auto Finance loan, car buyers take their saved offer to the dealership, where application paperwork is completed and a hard credit inquiry is done. Dealers may also provide offers from other lenders at this point, and car buyers are free to go with the best loan available.

How Capital One auto refinancing works

For auto loan refinancing, borrowers work directly with Capital One. The application process is 100% online, including e-signing the contract and uploading documents. If they pre-qualify, applicants will see several offers with different rates and terms, based on a soft credit inquiry. This inquiry will not affect credit scores and lets the applicant see if refinancing a car loan will save them money.

Pre-qualification decisions for refinancing are typically returned in less than one minute. After applicants choose an offer, they complete the refinance application online, resulting in a hard credit inquiry.

While pre-qualification is useful for shopping loan rates or speeding up the process at a dealership, it is not a guarantee of loan approval. Also, pre-qualified loan offers can change after a hard credit inquiry. But, if the information initially submitted was accurate, the pre-qualification offer and final loan terms shouldn’t differ greatly.

Capital One Auto Finance may be a good fit for those who:

  • Want to compare rates: Pre-qualification with a soft credit check will not affect an applicant's credit score. It enables borrowers to shop loans and compare Capital One rates and monthly payments to offers from other lenders.

  • Want to shop for cars online: Capital One Auto Navigator enables car buyers to find a vehicle online, pre-qualify and present that offer when at the car dealership, speeding up the car buying process. Pre-qualifying is not a commitment to finance with Capital One if the dealership finds a lower-rate loan offer.

  • Have other Capital One accounts: Existing Capital One customers may find it more convenient to manage their auto loan and make payments in Capital One’s online banking and mobile app, where they view and manage other accounts. Capital One doesn't offer an auto loan rate discount for setting up automatic payments from a Capital One account.

Capital One Auto Finance at a glance

Application process
  • Origination fee: None.

  • Personal information needed:  Social Security number or ITIN, address, time at address, phone, email, birthdate, employment status, employer name, housing payment amount.

  • Pre-qualification available: Yes, via soft credit check. Pre-qualified offer valid for 30 days.

  • Online, in-person or both: Application to pre-qualify for a purchase loan is submitted online and then completed at the dealership. Auto loan refinancing is 100% online, including document upload.

  • Approval speed: Typically within 24 hours for auto refinance loans. Did not disclose for purchase loans.

  • Funding speed: Did not disclose.

Qualifications
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Did not disclose.

  • Minimum credit history: Has minimum. Length not disclosed.

  • Minimum annual gross income: $18,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

  • Bankruptcy-related restrictions:  Has restrictions but details not disclosed.

  • States covered:  All except AK, HI.

Restrictions
  • Maximum vehicle age: 10 years for used car purchase; 7 years for refinance loan.

  • Maximum vehicle mileage: 120,000 miles for used cars.

  • Other vehicle restrictions: New and used vehicles must be purchased at a participating dealership. Does not finance purchase loans for certain vehicle makes including Oldsmobile, Daewoo, Saab, Suzuki or Isuzu vehicles.

  • Loan amount minimum: $4,000 for purchase loan; $7,500 for refinancing.

  • Loan amount maximum: Did not disclose for purchase loan; $50,000 for refinancing.

  • Refinancing time restrictions: Doesn't have minimum time period before refinancing is allowed, but current lender must be reporting loan to a major credit bureau. Will not refinance existing Capital One loans.

Other loan details
  • Loan terms: Did not disclose.

  • Automatic payment: Available but not required.

  • Rate discount: Not offered.

  • Greater-than-minimum payments: Accepted and can be made by automatic payment. Information about how surplus is applied was not provided.

  • Biweekly payments: Accepted but not through automatic payment.

  • Late payment fee: Yes. Amount not disclosed.

  • Prepayment penalty: None.

  • Co-borrowers allowed: Yes.

  • Co-signers allowed: No.

  • Payment options: Mailed-in check, phone, mobile app, online, ACH, in person.

  • Selected payment date: Borrower can select after signing loan agreement. Payment due date can also be changed by as many as 15 days within online banking.

  • Cash-out refinancing: Not offered.

  • Hardship plans: Yes. Details not disclosed.

Customer service
  • Assistance provided: Dedicated phone numbers are provided for auto loan applicants to call for assistance. Applicants can also log in to a portal to see their loan application status.

  • Availability: Mon–Fri 9 a.m.-9 p.m. ET.

  • Contact options: Phone, online chat.

How does this loan compare?

Capital One
LightStream
Ally Clearlane
Est. APR

N/A

Est. APR

5.49-10.99%

Est. APR

5.24-18.74%

Loan amount

$4,000-Max. not disclosed

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Loan amount

$5,000-$99,999

Min. credit score

Did not disclose

Min. credit score

660

Min. credit score

520

Used auto purchase loan review

Capital One

Not yet rated

Loan amount
$4,000-Max. not disclosed
Min. credit score
Did not disclose
Learn more

on Capital One's website

Pros

  • Pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Auto Navigator offers car shopping and loan pre-qualification by website or app.

  • Charges no origination fee.

  • Borrowers can choose loan payment due date.

Cons

  • Not available in a few states.

  • Must purchase vehicle at a participating dealership.

  • Does not offer rate discounts for automatic payment.

  • Social Security number required to submit initial application.

Best for applicants wanting to pre-qualify for financing and find a used vehicle online, before visiting the dealership.

Auto loan refinancing review

Capital One
Capital One - Refinance loan

Not yet rated

Loan amount
$7,500-$50,000
Min. credit score
Did not disclose

Pros

  • Pre-qualify with a soft credit check.

  • Application process 100% online including document upload.

  • Borrowers can choose loan payment due date.

Cons

  • Not available in a few states.

  • Minimum refinance amount higher than other lenders.

  • Maximum refinance amount lower than other lenders.

Best for applicants wanting to see if they could benefit from auto loan refinancing without affecting their credit score.

More from Capital One

Capital One Auto Finance has detailed auto loan FAQ sections on its website, covering auto financing, refinancing and information to help borrowers manage their Capital One auto loan. Borrowers can also take advantage of educational resources found in an online auto learning center.

Capital One Auto Finance customers have access to an online tool called Auto Loan Tracker, which enables them to see future loan payoff information and take actions such as making a payment or editing an existing recurring payment.

In addition to auto loans, Capital One offers a wide range of banking products, including credit cards, banking accounts and investing products.

Capital One auto loan rates

Lenders set their own requirements, but Capital One's lowest rates are typically available only to borrowers with good or excellent credit (generally a FICO score of 690 and above). Borrowers with bad or fair credit won’t qualify for the lowest interest rates.

You can check your credit score before applying for a car loan.

Loan example: According to NerdWallet's auto loan calculator that uses the VantageScore credit model, a borrower with a credit score of 661-780, a $20,000 car loan, repayment term of 48 months, interest rate of 4.5% and $0 down payment would have monthly payments of $457.

To review Capital One, NerdWallet sent a survey to Capital One requesting more than 60 data points and followed up with company representatives. This information was compared with other lenders that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

Frequently asked questions