Consumers Credit Union Auto Purchase and Refinance Loans: 2023 Review

Consumers Credit Union is an Illinois-based credit union that makes auto loans nationwide. Membership is required, but joining is simple.
By Shannon Bradley and  Benjamin Din 

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Auto loan reviews

Consumers Credit Union
  • New auto purchase loan

  • Used auto purchase loan

  • Auto loan refinancing

The bottom line:

Best for borrowers with fair to excellent credit who want flexible qualifying criteria, a rate reduction with automatic payment and the benefits of credit union membership.

New auto purchase loan review

Consumers Credit Union

Not yet rated

Est. APR
5.49-17.54%
Loan amount
$7,500-No max.
Min. credit score
620
Learn more

on Consumers Credit Union's website

Pros

  • Offers rate estimates through its website using a soft credit check.

  • Takes applications online, by phone, in branches or at authorized dealerships in Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

  • Offers rate discount with automatic payment.

  • Provides online car-buying service with discounted pricing.

  • Allows co-signers.

Cons

  • Credit union membership required to get a loan.

  • No rate discounts if using online car-buying service.

  • Social Security number required for online rate estimate.

Best for applicants wanting to take advantage of rate discounts and other credit union benefits.

Full Review

Consumers Credit Union, also known as CCU, offers new- and used- car purchase loans and refinance loans. It also offers lease buyout loans, but only when initiated by a member at a dealership. CCU is especially flexible among auto lenders, with no restrictions on vehicle age or mileage.

Current auto loan rates are available on the CCU website, but they are “as low as” rates available only for applicants with excellent credit. On the website, applicants can also get a rate estimate with no impact to their credit score. If they proceed with an auto loan, CCU will initiate a hard credit pull that will slightly lower the applicant’s credit score.

CCU offers a 0.25 percentage point rate discount if automatic loan payments are set up. Rates shown on the credit union’s website reflect this discount.

Borrowers have a variety of ways to apply for a CCU auto loan. In addition to applying online or by phone, applicants can apply at any CCU branch in Illinois or 85 dealerships in Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

The credit union also offers an online car-buying service for new and used vehicles in partnership with TrueCar. Car buyers can search for vehicles near their ZIP code and get special member pricing. Those using the car-buying service should be aware that it comes with no loan rate discount and can result in multiple calls and emails from participating car dealers.

Consumers Credit Union may be a good fit for those who:

  • Have good credit. CCU has a higher minimum credit score requirement than other auto loan providers.

  • Want flexible qualifying criteria. CCU offers flexibility for some qualifying criteria, such as having no minimum requirements for credit history or income.

  • Want the benefits of credit union membership. Members who arrange automatic payment from a CCU account, or schedule a transfer through online banking, receive the highest auto loan rate discount. Borrowers can manage their account and loan through the credit union’s website and mobile banking services.

Consumers Credit Union at a glance

Application process
  • Origination fee: None.

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

  • Pre-qualification available: Rate estimates available on the CCU website with a soft credit check, although the credit union does not consider this a pre-qualification.

  • Online, in-person or both: Applications are taken online with mailed documentation, by phone, in credit union branches and at authorized dealerships.

  • Approval speed: Within one business day after all information is submitted. Offers are good for 60 calendar days.

  • Funding speed: For refinance loans, funds are mailed directly to the previous lender by check.

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620.

  • Minimum credit history: None.

  • Minimum annual gross income: None.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: No set requirement, but is generally 50% or under for approved loans.

  • Bankruptcy-related restrictions: No open bankruptcies.

  • States covered: All 50 states.

  • Membership: Requires paying a one-time $5 membership fee and maintaining a $5 balance in a share/savings account.

  • New vehicle definition: Not older than the current calendar year minus two.

  • Maximum used vehicle age: None.

  • Maximum used vehicle mileage: None.

  • Other vehicle restrictions: Vehicle must be purchased from a dealership. Tesla purchases are OK.

  • Loan amount minimum: $7,500.

  • Loan amount maximum: No maximum for new car purchases. $500,000 for used car purchase and refinance loans.

  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: 125%.

  • Refinancing time restrictions: Buyers can refinance as soon as the previous loan’s paperwork is complete and the title can be transferred.

  • Loan terms: 24-84 months.

  • Rate discount: Yes, 0.25 percentage point discount when automatic loan payments are set up.

  • Greater-than-minimum payments: Accepted and can be made by automatic payment. Surplus automatically applied to any accrued interest first; then directly to principal.

  • Biweekly payments: Accepted and can be made by automatic payment.

  • Late payment fee: Yes, after a 10-day grace period. Amount not disclosed.

  • Prepayment penalty: None.

  • Co-borrowers allowed: Yes.

  • Co-signers allowed: Yes.

  • Payment options: Mail-in check, phone, online banking, through website, mobile app, ACH or at a CCU location.

  • Selected payment due date: Borrower can select the due date before signing the loan agreement.

  • Cash-out refinancing: Yes, with the amount mostly based on the loan-to-value ratio.

  • Hardship plans: No.

  • Existing loan payoff: Funds are mailed directly to the previous lender by check.

  • Assistance provided: A credit union representative works with borrowers to discuss financing options and assist them with the loan process.

  • Availability: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. CT.

  • Contact options: Phone, email, online chat, website form, in person.

How does this loan compare?

Consumers Credit Union
Ally
LightStream
Est. APR

5.49-17.54%

Est. APR

7.29-22.24%

Est. APR

6.99-14.74%

Loan amount

$7,500-No max.

Loan amount

$5,000-$99,999

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

520

Min. credit score

660

Used auto purchase loan review

Consumers Credit Union

Not yet rated

Est. APR
5.74-18.54%
Loan amount
$7,500-$500,000
Min. credit score
620
Learn more

on Consumers Credit Union's website

Pros

  • No vehicle restrictions.

  • Offers rate estimates through its website using a soft credit check.

  • Offers rate discount with automatic payment.

  • Provides online car-buying service with discounted pricing.

  • Allows co-signers.

Cons

  • Credit union membership required to get a loan.

  • No rate discounts if using online car-buying service.

  • Social Security number required for online rate estimate.

Best for applicants looking for more flexibility and fewer restrictions when financing a used car.

Auto loan refinancing review

Consumers Credit Union

Not yet rated

Est. APR
3.49-21.24%
Loan amount
$7,500-$500,000
Min. credit score
620
Learn more

on Consumers Credit Union's website

Pros

  • No vehicle restrictions.

  • Offers rate discount with automatic payment.

  • Sends payoff directly to the previous lender.

  • Allows co-signers.

Cons

  • Credit union membership required to get a loan.

Best for applicants wanting to refinance to a lower loan rate and payment.

CCU offers cash-out refinancing, meaning borrowers with vehicle equity may be able to receive cash up to specified limits with their new refinance loan. Borrowers should weigh the pros and cons of cash-out auto refinancing.

More from Consumers Credit Union

CCU offers GAP insurance and mechanical repair coverage, which can be rolled into the auto loan. In addition to car loans, this lender finances motorcycles, recreational vehicles and boats.

CCU is one of the largest credit unions in Illinois, with more than $2.8 billion in assets. It serves more than 178,000 members nationwide with a range of financial services, including checking accounts, loans, credit cards and business services. CCU has been headquartered in Lake County, Illinois, since 1930 and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.

Consumers Credit Union auto loan rates

Credit requirements vary by auto lender, but Consumers Credit Union’s lowest rates are typically available only to borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 or higher). 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, which uses the VantageScore credit model, a borrower with a credit score of 661-780, a $20,000 car loan, a repayment term of 48 months, an interest rate of 4.5%, and a down payment of $0 would have monthly payments of $457.

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

Frequently asked questions