RoadLoans Auto Loans: 2023 Review

RoadLoans is the online, direct-lending division of Santander Consumer USA. Auto financing is provided through Chrysler Capital, and vehicles must be purchased within a specific dealer network.
Shannon Bradley
By
Last updated on January 10, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Chris Hutchison
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Auto loan reviews

RoadLoans – New car purchase loan
New auto purchase loan Not yet rated
The Nerdy headline:

Best for borrowers willing to buy a car within the RoadLoans dealer network and unable to get a loan through other lenders.

New auto purchase loan review

RoadLoans – New car purchase loan
RoadLoans – New car purchase loan

Not yet rated
Loan amount
$5,000 - $75,000
Min. credit score
None

Pros

  • Allows co-signers and co-borrowers.

  • No origination fee.

  • Works with car buyers who have no credit, bad credit or past bankruptcies.

Cons

  • Has settled numerous lawsuits for violating consumer-protection laws.

  • Does not offer pre-qualification with a soft credit check.

  • Submitting the online Chrysler Capital application from the RoadLoans site results in a hard credit inquiry.

  • Must purchase your vehicle at a designated network of dealers.

  • Social Security number required to submit initial application.

  • No APR discount with automatic payment.

Best for applicants who, due to a low credit score or past credit issues, are not able to obtain auto loan financing elsewhere.

Full Review

RoadLoans offers auto purchase loans through a network of approximately 14,000 new- and used-car dealerships. RoadLoans is the online, direct-lending division of Santander Consumer USA, and financing is provided through Chrysler Capital. RoadLoans says it offers auto loan refinancing, but it does not provide detailed refinancing information or a refinancing application on its website.

When submitting a loan application through the RoadLoans website, an applicant is redirected to a Chrysler Capital application. Pre-qualification with a soft credit check is not available. Applicants are preapproved based on a hard credit inquiry, which will temporarily lower a borrower’s credit score.

Preapproved applicants receive multiple offers with a list of recommended dealers within the RoadLoans network. Applicants also can use a dealer locator on the RoadLoans website. Loan offers shown vary by loan amount, monthly payment, annual percentage rate — or APR — down payment needed and loan term. Applicants receive a voucher to take to a dealer to complete the vehicle purchase and financing.

The RoadLoans website states that as part of Santander Consumer USA, the lender offers a preferred dealer network of 14,000 dealerships. It does not mention whether this network is limited to specific auto manufacturers. However, the loan application requires the selection of vehicle make and model from a list, and the only available options are Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram.

RoadLoans says that it accepts applications from consumers with all credit profiles, including those with no credit history, bad credit or who have filed bankruptcy. Borrowers who can’t qualify for an auto loan with other lenders may get approved through RoadLoans, but likely with a very high interest rate. RoadLoans does not provide current rates on its website.

RoadLoans' parent company, Santander, has faced lawsuits in the past several years. In 2020, attorneys general from 34 states announced a settlement with Santander to resolve allegations that the company violated consumer protection laws by placing borrowers with bad credit into auto loans it knew carried a high risk of default. Santander agreed to approximately $550 million in relief for consumers. In 2021, Santander settled a federal lawsuit for denying early motor vehicle lease terminations to service members who qualified under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA.

RoadLoans may be a good fit for those who:

  • Are not able to finance a car elsewhere. RoadLoans may be an option for car buyers who can’t get a car loan elsewhere due to no credit, bad credit or past financial problems, like bankruptcy.

  • Can make on-time payments and refinance. Individuals with a critical need for a car, who can’t get financing elsewhere due to poor credit, might find RoadLoans to be an avenue to car ownership. These loans will likely have a very high interest rate, but it may be an opportunity to make on-time payments for six to 12 months and then refinance to a lower-rate loan with another lender.

  • May need a co-signer or co-borrower to qualify. Not all lenders allow co-applicants. RoadLoans does accept co-applicants, which can help car buyers who might not otherwise qualify.

RoadLoans auto loans at a glance

  • Application process
    • Origination fee: None.

    • Personal information needed: For the initial application, Social Security number, birthdate, phone, email, address, time at address, housing status, housing payment amount, employer name, employment status. Vehicle make and model is also required, and application is limited to choosing Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep or Ram.

    • Pre-qualification available: Not offered. Application results in preapproval with a hard credit inquiry.

    • Online, in person or both: Online application, but an in-person visit to a dealer is required to complete the application and transaction.

    • Approval speed: The RoadLoans website states in several places that approval is immediate, but its FAQs section says it may take 24-48 hours.

    • Funding speed: Did not disclose.

    • Minimum FICO credit score: None.

    • Minimum credit history: None.

    • Minimum annual gross income: Did not disclose.

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

    • Bankruptcy restrictions: Bankruptcies accepted, but specific details not provided.

    • States covered: All except AK, HI, MS, NH and NV.

    • Maximum vehicle age: Nine years or newer.

    • Maximum vehicle mileage: 110,000 miles.

    • Other vehicle restrictions: The RoadLoans website provides only the Chrysler Capital loan application. An applicant must choose make and model from a drop-down list, where the only makes listed are Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram. The RoadLoans website also indicates that vehicles must be purchased within the RoadLoans dealer network.

    • Loan amount minimum: $5,000.

    • Loan amount maximum: $75,000.

    • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Did not disclose.

    • Loan terms: Up to 72 months. Did not disclose the shortest term.

    • Rate discount: None.

    • Greater-than-minimum payments: Did not disclose.

    • Biweekly payments: Did not disclose.

    • Late payment fee: Yes. Fee amount not disclosed.

    • Prepayment penalty: None.

    • Co-applicants allowed: Yes. Allows co-signers and co-borrowers. Co-applicants can apply at the same time.

    • Payment options: Mailed-in check, phone, online portal, ACH (electronic bank-to-bank), MoneyGram/Western Union.

    • Selected payment due date: Did not disclose whether a borrower can select the payment due date.

    • Hardship plans: Did not disclose whether a hardship plan is available.

    • Assistance provided: Applicants can call 888-276-7202 or use the online chat service.

    • Availability: Customer service hours not listed on the website.

    • Contact options: Phone, email and chat.

Compare New or used car purchase
Lender
Est. APR
Loan amount
Min. credit score
MyAutoloan
4.0
Visit Lenderon MyAutoloan's website
on MyAutoloan's website
6.29- 29.90%
$8,000- $100,000
575
6.24- 34.90%
$8,000- $100,000
575
7.99- 16.19%
$5,000- $100,000
660
Visit Lenderon LightStream's website
on LightStream's website
7.99- 16.19%
$5,000- $100,000
660
Visit Lenderon LightStream's website
on LightStream's website
Consumers Credit Union
Visit Lenderon Consumers Credit Union's website
on Consumers Credit Union's website
6.79- 17.54%
$0- $100,000
600
Visit Lenderon Consumers Credit Union's website
on Consumers Credit Union's website
View more

Used auto purchase loan review

RoadLoans – Used car purchase loan
RoadLoans – Used car purchase loan

Not yet rated
Loan amount
$5,000 - $75,000
Min. credit score
None

Pros

  • Allows co-signers and co-borrowers.

  • No origination fee.

  • Works with car buyers who have no credit, bad credit or past bankruptcies.

Cons

  • Has settled numerous lawsuits for violating consumer-protection laws.

  • Does not offer pre-qualification with a soft credit check.

  • Submitting the online Chrysler Capital application from the RoadLoans site results in a hard credit inquiry.

  • Must purchase your vehicle at a designated network of dealers.

  • Social Security number required to submit initial application.

  • No APR discount with automatic payment.

Best for applicants who, due to a low credit score or past credit issues, are not able to get auto loan approval elsewhere.

RoadLoans auto loan rates

Credit requirements vary by auto lender, but RoadLoans’ lowest rates are typically available only to borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of about 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.

Loan example: According to NerdWallet's auto loan calculator that uses the VantageScore credit model, a borrower with a credit score of 300-499 (considered deep subprime), a $20,000 used car loan, repayment term of 72 months, interest rate of 18% APR and $0 down payment would have monthly payments of $456. One year later, if all payments were made on time, the borrower will have paid the loan down to a balance of $17,963. If the borrower is able to then refinance at 12% APR for the remaining 60 months, the payment would drop to $399 and result in interest savings of $3,394 over the life of the loan.

To review RoadLoans, NerdWallet contacted RoadLoans representatives and requested that the company complete our standard auto lender survey. RoadLoans declined, so this review is based on public information and the company’s website. The information gathered was compared with other lenders that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

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Frequently asked questions

  • RoadLoans is an option for individuals who can’t get car financing elsewhere. For borrowers who can get an approved auto loan elsewhere, other lenders may offer lower rates and more choice in where you can buy a vehicle.

    Borrowers who do end up with a very high rate through RoadLoans should make every attempt to make on-time payments for six to 12 months, and then look into refinancing the auto loan to a lower rate elsewhere.

  • RoadLoans is a Dallas-based company that was established in 2000 and purchased by Santander Consumer USA in 2009. RoadLoans is the online, direct lending division of Santander and provides financing through Chrysler Capital.

    Santander Consumer USA is not Better Business Bureau accredited and has a customer review rating on the BBB website of 1 star out of 5. Santander has also faced lawsuits for violating consumer-protection laws. RoadLoans is not listed separately on the BBB website.

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