RateGenius Review 2021: Auto Loan Refinancing and Lease Buyout Loans

RateGenius offers auto loan refinancing, lease buyout loans and cash-out refinancing. They find the best qualifying loan and rate for each applicant within their lender network.
Shannon BradleyNov 24, 2021

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

RateGenius
  • Auto loan refinancing

  • Auto lease buyout loan

The bottom line:

Best for applicants wanting the assistance of auto loan refinancing experts, from comparing loan offers to handling a title transfer. Bad- or fair-credit borrowers may qualify.

Auto loan refinancing review

RateGenius
Learn More

on RateGenius's website

Min. Credit Score

500

Est. APR

1.75-21.00%

Loan Amount

$12,000-$100,000

Pros

  • Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.
  • Provides average daily rates by credit score on website.
  • Customer service available on Saturday.
  • Some network lenders offer rate discount with automatic payment.

Cons

  • May charge an origination fee up to $395.
  • Minimum loan amount is higher than other lenders.

Best for applicants looking for auto loan refinancing tools, an easy-to-use online application and multiple refinancing offers. Bad- or fair-credit borrowers may qualify.

Full Review

Established in 1999, RateGenius offers auto loan refinancing, car lease buyout loans and cash-out refinancing. They do not offer purchase loans. RateGenius is an aggregator that works with 180-plus lending partners to match applicants to the best loan and rate for which they may qualify.

The RateGenius website and loan application stand out for being user-friendly. Their Loan Finder tool lets applicants compare auto refinance offers and estimated rates after inputting only their current monthly auto loan payment, loan balance, months remaining on the loan, credit score tier and zip code. This requires no credit check or personal information.

After previewing Loan Finder’s estimated offers, applicants can proceed with getting prequalified offers, which requires a soft credit check but does not affect their credit scores. Or, they can choose to select an offer and apply, which will require a hard credit check.

RateGenius also offers cash-out refinancing through some lenders, meaning borrowers with vehicle equity may be able to receive cash with their new refinance loan. Cash-out refi limits vary by lender. Borrowers should weigh the pros and cons of cash-out refinancing.

RateGenius may be a good fit for those who:

  • Want to compare rates: Pre-qualification with a soft credit check will not affect applicant's credit score.

  • Prefer assistance with loan process: Applicants work with a loan specialist, from application to title transfer.

  • Want more accessibility: RateGenius customer service is available on Saturday. Online chat is offered during business hours.

RateGenius at a Glance

Note that aggregators like RateGenius work with many different lenders, so the information provided is general and can reflect the high or low end available among their lending partners.

  • Origination fee: Yes. Up to $399, depending on lender.

  • Personal information needed: Address, phone, email, citizenship status, birthdate, employment status, employer name, housing status, housing payment.

  • Pre-qualification available: Yes. Borrowers can receive multiple pre-qualified offers with estimated rates. Offers are good for 30 days.

  • Online, in-person or both: Application online, some documentation mailed.

  • Approval speed: Several lending partners have automated decisioning for immediate approval. However, approval could take 2-4 hours during business hours if application requires manual review.

  • Funding: One day or less after loan closing.

  • Minimum FICO credit score: 500.

  • Minimum credit history: 12 months for many partner lenders.

  • Minimum annual gross income: $24,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 65%.

  • Bankruptcy: No open bankruptcies. Most lenders will review dismissed or discharged bankruptcies.

  • States covered: Available in all 50 states.

  • Maximum vehicle age: 10 years for auto refinance; 5 years for lease buyout.

  • Maximum vehicle mileage: 150,000 miles for auto refinance; 100,000 for lease buyout.

  • Other vehicle restrictions: No commercial vehicles or large engine trucks - Ford 350 or Dodge/Chevy/GM 3500 or greater.

  • Loan amount minimum: $12,000.

  • Loan amount maximum: $100,000.

  • Time restrictions: Varies by lender. Most will refinance one month after original loan is funded.

  • Loan terms: 36-84 months for auto refinance; 36-60 for lease buyout.

  • Automatic payment: Offered by most partner lenders. Not required.

  • Rate discount: If automatic payment is used, some partner lenders offer interest rate discount of 0.25 to 1 percentage point. Varies by lender.

  • Greater-than-minimum payments: Yes. Can be made through automatic payment. Surplus is automatically applied to loan’s principal.

  • Bi-weekly payments: Accepted but not via automatic payment.

  • Late payment fee: Yes, following grace period. Amount varies by lender.

  • Prepayment penalty: None.

  • Co-borrowers allowed: Yes.

  • Co-signers allowed: Yes.

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

  • Selected payment date: Varies by lender.

  • Cash-out refinancing: Yes. Limits vary by lender.

  • Hardship plans: Offered by some network lenders for borrowers unable to make monthly payments.

  • Assistance provided: Borrowers work with a loan specialist to complete paperwork. When loan package is complete, RateGenius pays off the old loan and handles transferring the title to the new lender.

  • Availability: Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m. CT.

  • Contact options: Phone, email, social media, online chat.

How does this loan compare?

RateGenius
Autopay
Ally Clearlane
Learn MoreLearn MoreLearn More
Min. Credit Score

500

Min. Credit Score

560

Min. Credit Score

520

Est. APR

1.75-21.00%

Est. APR

2.15-17.99%

Est. APR

3.74-16.49%

Loan Amount

$12,000-$100,000

Loan Amount

$7,500-$100,000

Loan Amount

$10,000-$80,000

Auto lease buyout loan review

RateGenius
Learn More

on RateGenius's website

Min. Credit Score

500

Est. APR

1.99-16.00%

Loan Amount

$12,000-$100,000

Pros

  • Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.
  • Customer service available on Saturdays.
  • Some network lenders offer rate discount with automatic payment.
  • RateGenius handles title transfer.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee up to $395.
  • Minimum loan amount is higher than other lenders.
  • Mileage restrictions are lower than other lenders.

Best for applicants who want guidance through the lease buyout process, including the title transfer, and Saturday access to customer service. Bad- or fair-credit borrowers may qualify.

More from RateGenius

RateGenius also offers GAP insurance and vehicle service contracts, which can be rolled into the borrower’s loan.

Borrowers can also take advantage of RateGenius’ many educational website resources, including a learning center, glossary of refinance terms and answers to frequently asked questions.

RateGenius auto loan rates

Lenders set their own requirements, but the lowest rates are typically available only to borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 and above). With fair or bad credit you won’t get the lowest interest rates, which means your monthly payment and total interest paid will be more.

You can check your credit score before applying for a car loan. RateGenius provides average daily loan rates on their site.

Loan example: For a subprime borrower (FICO score between 501 to 600), a $10,000 car loan, with a repayment term of 36 months, an interest rate of 12% and $0 down payment would carry monthly payments of $332, according to NerdWallet's auto loan calculator.

To review RateGenius, NerdWallet sent a survey 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