Carvana Review 2024: Financing, Buying, Selling

Carvana is an online used-car retailer that also offers financing for the cars it sells.
Shannon Bradley
By
Last updated on February 21, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Julie Myhre-Nunes
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Auto loan reviews

Carvana
Used auto purchase loan

Used auto purchase loan review

Carvana
Carvana - Used car purchase loan

4.0
NerdWallet rating
Est. APR
7.90-27.90%
Loan amount
$1,000 - $125,000
Min. credit score
None
on Carvana's website

Pros

  • Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.

  • Customer service available seven days a week.

  • Allows co-signers.

  • Application process 100% online including document upload.

Cons

  • Maximum APR possible is higher than many other lenders.

  • Only finances vehicles sold through Carvana.

  • Not available in Alaska or Hawaii.

Best for applicants wanting a streamlined, online car shopping, buying and financing experience.

Full Review of Carvana

Carvana is an online-only used car retailer that also offers financing for the vehicles it sells. Online car buyers can choose a car from the Carvana website, select financing terms and complete loan paperwork — all from home. This review looks at Carvana financing and then buying or selling through Carvana.

Table of contents

Carvana auto loans at a glance

Minimum credit score

None.

Minimum credit history

None.

Minimum annual gross income

$5,100.

Maximum payment-to-income ratio

25%.

Maximum loan-to-value ratio

90% of funded loans are less than 160%.

Loan terms

12-72 months.

Co-applicants allowed?

Allows co-signers but not co-borrowers.

Pre-qualification or preapproval offered?

Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.

Origination/processing fee?

None.

Rate discount offered?

No rate discount but offers a $10 discount on monthly payments with automatic payment.

States covered

All states except AK and HI.

    • Maximum vehicle age: 10 years.

    • Maximum vehicle mileage: 200,000 miles.

    • Other vehicle restrictions: Vehicles must be purchased through Carvana.

    • Loan amount minimum: $1,000.

    • Loan amount maximum: $125,000.

    • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Did not provide a maximum, but 90% of funded loans are less than 160%.

    • Bankruptcy restrictions: No active bankruptcies.

    • Approval speed: Immediate in most cases. Approved loan offers are good for 30 days.

    • Initial deferred payments: Does not offer.

    • Selected payment due date: Yes, after the first payment a borrower can choose the due date, but only twice during the loan term. They can do this in the Carvana app or by calling loan servicer Bridgecrest at 1-800-967-8526.

    • Maximum payment-to-income ratio: 25%.

    • Late payment grace period and fee: Yes, loan servicer Bridgecrest charges a $5 late payment fee with a grace period of 15 days.

    • Hardship plans: Yes. Options may include skipped loan payments or extended loan terms.

    • Contact options: Phone, text, live chat. Spanish-speaking agents are available by phone, email, chat and text.

    • Availability: Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. ET.

    • Mobile app to manage account: Yes.

    • Online resources: Offers a free car value tracker to monitor and receive updates on your car’s changing value (whether you purchased it through Carvana or not.) Website also has a searchable library of FAQs and an auto loan calculator.

    • Related services: Borrowers have the option to buy CarvanaCare extended warranty coverage and gap insurance.

Carvana may be a good fit for those who:

  • Want a streamlined process for buying and financing a car. Carvana enables car buyers to browse and select used cars, arrange financing and schedule pickup or delivery from one website.

  • Need more flexible credit requirements. Carvana has no minimum cutoff for credit score or credit history, and the required minimum income is low compared to other lenders. However, loan approval will likely come with a very high APR.

  • Would benefit from having a co-signer. If you have no credit history, a limited credit history or bad credit, having an auto loan co-signer can help with getting loan approval and lowering the rate.

Do you qualify for a Carvana auto loan?

Basic eligibility requirements to apply for a Carvana auto loan include the following:

  • Must be 18 years or older.

  • Must have a valid Social Security number.

Here are minimum borrower requirements to qualify for a Carvana auto loan. Note that meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee approval. Also, many lenders are flexible with minimum requirements when considering an applicant's total financial picture.

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum credit history: None.

  • Maximum payment-to-income ratio: 25%.

  • Minimum annual gross income: $5,100.

Before you apply

Check your credit. You can get your free credit report on NerdWallet or at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you find errors, file a credit dispute to correct them before you apply for an auto loan.

Figure what monthly payment you can afford. Use an auto loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you need to get monthly car payments that fit your budget. When you know your maximum car payment, a car affordability calculator can help you determine a realistic car price.

Gather your information and documents. Carvana requires the following to submit a pre-qualification form: name, address, phone, birthdate, employment status and income.

How to apply for a Carvana auto loan

  • Pre-qualify on Carvana's website. The pre-qualification form on the Carvana website starts the application process. There isn’t a separate loan application. If you pre-qualify, you will receive options for different loan terms with rate estimates and payment amounts. Pre-qualification is done with a soft credit check, so it won’t affect your credit scores.

  • Preview loan options and accept the one that fits your budget. When you select a loan option, Carvana will proceed with an actual loan application. You’ll submit documents to support the pre-qualification information previously submitted. Carvana will request your credit file, resulting in a hard credit inquiry, when you schedule the delivery or pickup of your vehicle.

  • Stay on top of your loan payments. Carvana reports car payments to all three major credit bureaus, so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments is a good way to make sure your payments arrive by the due date.

Buying a car from Carvana

Key facts

  • No negotiation of car prices.

  • 7-day money-back guarantee.

  • Delivery and shipping fees may apply.

Start shopping at Carvana

The Carvana website has an inventory of more than 20,000 vehicles, most with low mileage. For each listed vehicle, you can learn more about its condition with a free Carfax report linked under vehicle details and specifications. Listings also provide 360-degree photos and the results of Carvana's 150-point inspection. Carvana states its vehicles have no reported accidents, fire, frame or flood damage according to Carfax and AutoCheck.

Carvana guarantees and warranties

Carvana offers a seven-day money-back guarantee, with a limit of 400 miles. A returned vehicle may be exchanged for another vehicle or for a refund, minus delivery fees. NerdWallet strongly recommends you pay for a vehicle inspection during this period.

For cars purchased through Carvana, any balance of the factory's warranty carries over. Also, Carvana offers a 100 day/4,189-mile warranty against most mechanical and electrical failures on all vehicles.

Carvana costs and fees

Once you find a Carvana car you want to buy, you can choose “Get Started” to begin. No deposit is required to temporarily hold a vehicle while you complete the process. You can also place a temporary 7-day hold on a vehicle for a refundable fee of $100.

Depending on your location, you may pay vehicle shipping and/or delivery fees, which vary in amount. Shipping fees cover the cost of shipping a vehicle to your local area. This nonrefundable fee can be avoided by searching for vehicles with free shipping.

Delivery fees cover the cost to deliver a vehicle from a local Carvana location to your home. You can avoid the delivery fee if you are able to pick up the vehicle from a Carvana location or vending machine. Delivery fees are refundable as part of Carvana’s 7-day money back guarantee.

Selling or trading in a car with Carvana

Key facts

  • No negotiations on sales or trade-in offers.

  • Offers are good for 7 days.

  • No free pickup outside of local Carvana markets.

If you're looking to sell your car online, Carvana buys cars outright even if you haven’t purchased from Carvana. It also accepts trade-ins. Carvana says it makes its best offer upfront and will not match another price or negotiate.

To request an offer on the Carvana website, you'll provide your car's 17-digit VIN or license plate number, mileage, vehicle options and condition information. If you have a loan or lease on the car, you’ll be asked for information about that too.

To complete the transaction, you’ll send photos of the current odometer reading and driver’s licenses of anyone listed on the title and registration. If you own the car, you'll need a picture of the front and back of your paper title. If your title still reflects a lien, you'll need to upload a lien release document. If you have a loan, you'll need a photo of your registration and of the 10-day payoff statement from the lender.

Vehicles accepted for purchase or trade-in by Carvana should be newer than model year 1992, have a working odometer and be safe to drive. Carvana does buy out leased vehicles if the leasing company allows third-party transactions.

Monitoring the value of your vehicle

If you’re contemplating when to sell or trade a car, Carvana offers a free car value tracker tool on its website. After inputting information about your car, you can set preferences for how often you want to receive an updated value report. The report shows personalized details about your car’s current and historical value, plus automotive market trends. You don’t have to buy or sell a car through Carvana to use the value tracker.

Selling or trading with negative equity

If you have a loan on your car and owe more than it’s worth, you have negative equity. Carvana accepts vehicles with negative equity, but you will need to cover the difference between what you owe and what you get out of the car.

You may be able to roll the negative equity (up to $2,500) into your Carvana purchase loan amount if you're trading in the car and buying a Carvana vehicle. Any additional negative equity would have to be paid upfront by cashier's check. If you’re selling to Carvana outright with no additional purchase, you would also need to pay the negative equity upfront.

Carvana pickup of vehicles

When you sell or trade to Carvana and live in one of its local service areas, you can arrange to have the vehicle picked up or drop it off at a Carvana hub or vending machine. There may be a fee for home pickup. Vehicle pickup isn’t offered if you live outside of a local Carvana market. You will be responsible for getting the vehicle to a Carvana location or vending machine.

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How auto loan rates work and how we collect them

The auto loan APR range NerdWallet displays is provided by the lender. We make every attempt to keep rates updated, by sending out bimonthly rate surveys and encouraging lenders to send us updates when rates change. We also compare these rates to APRs on the lender's website, if available. The accuracy of our rates depends on the information lenders provide to us. It’s always a good idea to check average auto loan interest rates, and compare to similar lenders, to determine if a lender’s provided rate seems realistic.

We ask lenders to provide their lowest rate that at least 10% of applicants applying for the lowest rate have qualified for in the previous three months, without including any potential rate discounts. The lowest rates shown are typically available only to borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 and above).

We also ask lenders for their highest rates, which typically reflect rates available to borrowers with fair or bad credit (a FICO score in the mid-600s or below). The highest interest rates result in higher monthly payments and more total interest paid.

Actual rates received by Carvana auto loan borrowers may be different than the rates shown in this review.

How do we review direct lenders for auto loans?

NerdWallet's review process surveys companies that offer any combination of new car purchase loans, used car purchase loans, auto refinance loans (traditional and/or cash-out) and lease buyout loans. These companies include direct lenders and aggregators; the latter group doesn't have in-house loan products but matches borrowers to third-party lenders within a network. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

Our survey for direct lenders has different questions than the survey for aggregators, but each includes more than 60 data points. NerdWallet independently confirms product details and, when necessary, follows up with company representatives. At least two writers and an editor verify the facts for every lender review to ensure data are accurate.

To receive a star rating, a lender must respond to NerdWallet’s annual auto loans survey. Star ratings are then assessed from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars).

For more details about the categories considered when rating direct lenders and our process, read our full methodology.

How does this loan compare?

Carvana
NerdWallet rating
Auto Credit Express
Not yet rated
EST. APR
7.90-27.90%
EST. APR
7.18-18.54%
EST. APR
N/A
LOAN AMOUNT
$1,000-$125,000
LOAN AMOUNT
$0-$100,000
LOAN AMOUNT
$5,000-$50,000
MIN. CREDIT SCORE
None
MIN. CREDIT SCORE
None
MIN. CREDIT SCORE
525

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Frequently asked questions

  • It’s common for Carvana to require a down payment, but whether you have to make a down payment and the amount depends on several factors — like your credit history, annual income and the vehicle price. Car buyers can either make a down payment or use a trade-in as down payment.

  • Carvana has been in existence since 2012, and continues to operate as an online-only car retailer that sells, finances and buys used cars. It is based in Tempe, Arizona and has locations as well as car vending machines across the country. Carvana made headlines in late 2022 for falling stock prices and employee layoffs, but after cost-cutting measures and debt restructuring, the company demonstrated a significant turnaround.

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