Westlake Financial Auto Loans: 2023 Review

Westlake Financial provides auto loans for new and used vehicles, but borrowers must buy from a network of 50,000-plus designated dealerships.
Shannon Bradley
By
Last updated on August 16, 2023
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Chris Hutchison
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Auto loan reviews

Westlake Financial
New auto purchase loan Not yet rated
The Nerdy headline:

Best for borrowers unable to get an auto loan through other lenders and needing flexible credit requirements, although loans for such borrowers will most likely have a very high interest rate.

New auto purchase loan review

Westlake Financial
Westlake Financial - New car purchase loan

Not yet rated
Est. APR
7.49-29.99%
Loan amount
Did not disclose - $50,000
Min. credit score
None

Pros

  • Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.

  • Has more than 50,000 dealer partnerships, with dealers in all 50 states.

  • Allows co-signers.

Cons

  • Has poor online customer reviews and ratings.

  • Must purchase your vehicle at a Westlake network dealership.

  • The maximum APR possible is much higher than other lenders.

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

Full Review

Westlake Financial offers new and used car purchase loans through a network of car dealerships, with dealers in all 50 states. Applicants complete an online application to pre-qualify on the Westlake website. Pre-qualification does not affect your credit score, but it also isn’t an approval of credit.

Westlake shares applicant information with dealerships, and the dealer then contacts the applicant. Applicants will submit a full credit application at the dealership for final credit approval, interest rate and loan terms. The loan itself is through WestLake Financial.

Westlake has more flexible loan approval criteria than many lenders — such as no minimum credit history, income or credit score requirements. Borrowers who can’t qualify for an auto loan with other lenders can most likely get approved through Westlake, but usually with a very high rate. Westlake provides a rate range on its website, and the highest possible rate is much higher than that of most other lenders.

Westlake does make lower-rate loans for borrowers with good credit (a FICO score of 690 and above), but borrowers with good credit most likely have better options available to them. Online reviews of Westlake are predominantly negative, with complaints ranging from poor customer service to difficulty obtaining a car’s title after paying off a loan.

Westlake may be a good fit for those who:

  • Are not able to finance a car elsewhere. Westlake does provide an option for car buyers who can’t get a car loan elsewhere due to no credit, bad credit or past financial problems, such as bankruptcy.

  • Can make on-time payments and refinance. Westlake can be an opportunity to gain access to car ownership, make on-time payments for six to 12 months and then look into refinancing to a lower-rate loan with another lender.

  • Want to pre-qualify before going to a dealership. Westlake has an online marketplace where car buyers can search for cars at nearby dealerships by desired monthly payment, vehicle price, body type and more. They can then see pre-qualified loan terms and print a voucher to take to the designated dealership to finalize the loan.

Westlake auto loans at a glance

  • Application process
    • Origination fee: Did not disclose.

    • Personal information needed: For the initial application, name, birthdate, phone, email, address, time at address, housing status, housing payment amount. Will need to provide Social Security number later in the process.

    • Pre-qualification available: According to the Westlake website, pre-qualification with a soft credit check is available and should not affect your credit score.

    • Online, in-person or both: Applicants submit a pre-qualification application online. Their information is shared with dealerships, which then contact the applicant. Applicants have to visit a dealership to submit a full credit application.

    • Approval speed: Did not disclose.

    • Funding speed: Can be immediate or up to an average of two days.

    • Minimum FICO credit score: None.

    • Minimum credit history: None.

    • Minimum annual gross income: None.

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

    • Bankruptcy restrictions: Previous bankruptcies and non-Westlake repossessions are accepted. In some cases, open bankruptcies are OK.

    • States covered: Offers financing through dealerships in all 50 states.

    • Maximum vehicle age: No restrictions for borrowers with a FICO credit score of 600-plus. Otherwise 10 years.

    • Maximum vehicle mileage: No restrictions for borrowers with a FICO credit score of 600-plus. Otherwise 120,000 miles.

    • Other vehicle restrictions: Must be purchased from a dealer in the Westlake network of 50,000-plus dealers. Westlake's website provides a locator to find nearby dealerships.

    • Loan amount minimum: No minimum.

    • Loan amount maximum: $50,000.

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

    • Loan terms: 48 to 72 months.

    • Rate discount: Did not disclose.

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

    • Bi-weekly payments: Did not disclose.

    • Late payment fee: Did not disclose.

    • Prepayment penalty: Did not disclose.

    • Co-applicants allowed: Yes. Allows co-signers and co-borrowers.

    • Payment options: Mailed-in check, phone, online portal, mobile app, ACH (electronic bank-to-bank), in person.

    • Selected payment due date: Can change the payment due date one time during the loan term.

    • Hardship plans: Westlake's website says yes and lists the possibility of skipped payments and extended loan terms. Numerous online customer reviews say these options were not available to them.

    • Assistance provided: Did not disclose. Westlake has multiple negative reviews online related to customer service.

    • Availability: Customer service hours are Monday to Friday 5 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 5 a.m.-2 p.m. PT.

    • Contact options: Phone, email, mail or website form.

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
7.74- 15.69%
$5,000- $100,000
660
Visit Lenderon LightStream's website
on LightStream's website
7.74- 15.69%
$5,000- $100,000
660
Visit Lenderon LightStream's website
on LightStream's website
Auto Credit Express
Visit Lenderon Auto Credit Express' website
on Auto Credit Express' website
N/A
$5,000- $50,000
525
Visit Lenderon Auto Credit Express' website
on Auto Credit Express' website
View more

Used auto purchase loan review

Westlake Financial
Westlake Financial - Used car purchase loan

Not yet rated
Est. APR
7.49-29.99%
Loan amount
Did not disclose - $50,000
Min. credit score
None

Pros

  • Offers pre-qualification with a soft credit check.

  • Has more than 50,000 dealer partnerships, with dealers in all 50 states.

  • Allows co-signers.

Cons

  • Has poor online customer reviews and ratings.

  • Must purchase your vehicle at a Westlake network dealership.

  • The maximum APR possible is much higher than other lenders.

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

Westlake auto loan rates

Credit requirements vary by auto lender, but Westlake Financial’s 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.

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 Westlake Financial, NerdWallet contacted Westlake representatives and requested that the company complete our standard auto lender survey. Westlake 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

  • Westlake may be the best option for individuals who can’t get car financing elsewhere and have a critical need for a car, such as getting to and from work. Borrowers who end up with a very high rate through Westlake should make every attempt to make on-time payments for six to 12 months, and then look into refinancing to a lower rate elsewhere.

    For borrowers who can get an approved auto loan elsewhere, other lenders may be a better choice. Westlake is not Better Business Bureau accredited and has a customer review rating on the BBB site of one star.

  • Westlake Financial is a legitimate company that has been in business since 1978. It began as the Buy-Here-Pay-Here division of the Hankey Automotive Group. WestLake Financial remains a member of the Hankey Group of Companies, which includes Westlake Portfolio Management, Westlake Flooring, Wilshire Consumer Credit, Western Funding and Westlake Capital Finance.

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