Our review team gave Capital One Auto Finance 4.5 out of 5.0 stars for its easy loan prequalification service and many auto loan financing options.
Capital One Auto Finance Review
In Our Opinion:
Whether you’re worried about subprime credit hindering your ability to get an auto loan or you simply want an auto loan rate estimate, Capital One Auto Finance might be a good option.
Rates and Fees:
Easy loan prequalification process with a soft credit check
New and used car financing, along with refinancing options
Limited selection of vehicles and participating dealerships
Doesn’t allow purchases from private party sellers
Affiliate disclosure: Automoblog and its partners may be compensated when you purchase the products below.
Capital One auto loans are a popular choice for financing and refinancing cars, as the lender is one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Remember, however, that the company is just one of many options for car loans.
To help you evaluate Capital One Auto Finance for yourself, our team took an in-depth look at the car financing provider. We examined the company’s rates, requirements, services, and customer reviews to see how it compares with some of the industry’s best auto loan options.
Capital One is a well-known financial institution with services that include banking, credit cards, and loans. Co-founded in 1994 by Richard Fairbank and Nigel Morris, the company is the ninth largest bank in the U.S., according to the Federal Reserve.
Capital One moved its headquarters to McLean, Virginia, in 2018 and operated over 2,000 ATMs as of late 2020.
Capital One Auto Finance Review
Capital One is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and currently has an A- rating from the group. The BBB has fielded over 10,000 complaints against Capital One in the past three years, a large number even considering the company’s size.
Customers on the BBB give Capital One 1.1 out of 5.0 stars across more than 1,100 reviews. On Trustpilot, the bank has a 1.3- out of 5.0-star rating from more than 1,800 customers.
Capital One Auto Loan Customer Reviews
Capital One Auto Finance reviews range from customers expressing their satisfaction with low interest rates to drivers saying that Capital One lost their car titles in the mail. Below are some Capital One Auto Finance reviews that we found during our research.
Positive Capital One Auto Finance Reviews
While Capital One Auto Finance reviews from customers are mixed, we found plenty of upbeat reviews. Here are two that we considered worth sharing:
“Every time I use [Capital One], I have a good experience. I’ve had two auto loans with them, and both times they worked hard to give me a significantly better interest rate than the other lenders.”
– Reese T. via BBB
“I recently was approved … and now have a new car. That experience alone was the [best] I have ever had. My credit was literally beyond bad, and thanks to Capital One, I am on the right track and my credit score keeps going up.”
– Susie Y. via Trustpilot
Negative Capital One Auto Finance Reviews
Not everyone has enjoyed their experience getting a Capital One auto loan. Here are two Capital One Auto Finance reviews that speak to the company’s potential pitfalls:
“I refinanced my vehicle back in October 2020 and to this day have not received my title. Upon moving to Florida, I had to call and request my title and was told 49 days, and it’s past 90 days, and I’m still being told it’s coming. I have been trying to make a corporate complaint, and it has gone [nowhere].”
– Robert G. via BBB
“After paying on my car loan in a timely manner and paying it off early, [Capital One] lost my title by being cheap and using first-class mail. They now are forcing me to get a duplicate title and [pay] any fees associated with the replacement.”
– John D. via Trustpilot
One rule of thumb with customer reviews is that as a company grows, it receives more complaints. With Capital One among the 10 largest banks in the U.S., Capital One Auto Finance reviews will naturally be somewhat mixed.
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Capital One Auto Finance Pros and Cons
Capital One is an excellent choice for many due to its easy prequalification tool and lack of fees when applying. You can also compare rates without hurting your credit score. This makes Capital One Auto Finance more borrower-friendly than many car loan providers.
Capital One Auto Loan Pros
Capital One Auto Loan Cons
Excellent way to compare rates without lowering your credit score
Many negative Capital One Auto Finance reviews
Easy-to-use prequalification tool
No lease buyouts or private sellers
No application fee
Not available in every state
Easy to consolidate if you already bank with Capital One
Excludes some vehicle types and brands
Capital One Auto Finance Loan Options
As a major financial institution, Capital One offers several auto financing options. Borrowers can reach out to the lender to purchase a new car or to refinance their current auto loan.
Capital One Auto Purchase Loans
You can borrow money from Capital One to purchase a new or used vehicle. This includes cars, light trucks, minivans, and SUVs intended for personal use.
Unlike some other lenders, however, you’ll need to buy your car from a participating dealership. The company provides a tool called the Capital One Auto Navigator to help you find eligible dealers and cars.
Capital One Purchase Loan Vehicle Restrictions
Capital One Auto Finance is not available in Alaska or Hawaii. The company also won’t in any circumstances finance the purchase of cars through private sellers. And like most lenders, Capital One has a few restrictions on the types of vehicles it’ll finance.
You’ll need to look elsewhere for a loan meant for the following:
Recreational vehicles (RVs)
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
Capital One Brand Restrictions
There are several automotive brands that don’t qualify for Capital One auto loans. These include the following:
Capital One Used Car Loan Restrictions
While Capital One will finance the purchases of used vehicles, it sets some eligibility requirements around mileage.
You can’t get a Capital One auto loan for cars with more than 149,999 miles on their odometers. In most cases, the creditor won’t finance the purchase of a vehicle with more than 120,000 miles.
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Capital One Auto Refinance Loans
You can also refinance an existing loan with Capital One if you want to lower your loan payments or receive different financing terms. Vehicles eligible for Capital One auto refinancing include new and used cars, light trucks, minivans, and SUVs meant for personal use.
Refinance Loan Restrictions
As with auto purchases, Capital One has several restrictions when it comes to auto refinancing. These include:
Your current loan cannot be from Capital One Auto Finance.
Your car must be from a manufacturer that’s still in business.
The payoff amount for the existing loan must be between $7,500 and $50,000.
You must be up to date on car payments and mortgage payments, if applicable.
The vehicle must be a model year no more than 10 years old and have an established resale value.
Your current lender must report to a major credit bureau.
Your current lender must be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).
Your current lender must be accredited by the BBB.
Your current lender must be be a state-registered auto lender or auto dealer.
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Capital One Auto Loan Rates and Terms
Capital One doesn’t provide any specific information on its website about annual percentage rates (APRs). Here’s what we do know about the lender:
Loan terms:24 to 84 months (other terms may be available at the dealership when purchasing a vehicle)
Loan amounts:Minimum of $4,000 for new and used vehicle financing, and a maximum of $50,000 for refinances (the maximum for purchasing depends on income, credit score, and vehicle type)
What Affects My Auto Loan Rates?
The rates you receive from auto lenders like Capital One depend on the following variables:
Credit history: Your credit score and other items on your credit report are some of biggest factors in your rates. Borrowers with good credit scores of 690 and up will gain access to some of the lowest rates, while those with fair or bad scores face higher APRs.
Term length: Longer loan terms come with lower monthly payments but higher interest rates.
Amount financed: How much you borrow on a vehicle compared to its total value is known as the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Loans with lower LTV ratios often come with lower interest rates and vice-versa.
Vehicle details: You may face higher interest rates if you want to finance an older or high-mileage vehicle, which are both seen as riskier to car lenders.
Income: Many lenders offer lower APRs to borrowers who make more money compared to their monthly payment obligations.
Capital One Auto Loan Fees
Capital One charges relatively few fees on its auto loans. Here are a few of them:
Origination fee: Many lenders charge a fee for the paperwork and other services associated with opening a loan. Capital One charges this fee to some borrowers but not to others.
Late payment fee: Capital One charges $29 on the first late fee and $40 for late payments within six billing cycles.
Some financial institutions charge borrowers a fee known as a prepayment penalty for paying their loan off ahead of time. This helps the car lender to make up for lost interest payments. Capital One doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty.
How To Apply For a Capital One Auto Loan
The processes for getting car purchase loans and refinance loans from Capital One are simple. There are a just few steps to make sure you get the best auto loan rates:
1. Get Prequalified
The first step in the Capital One Auto Finance process is to fill out the prequalification form available on the Capital One Auto Navigator app. This form asks for information such as your Social Security number, employment status, monthly income, and proposed down payment.
Once you provide this information, the company performs a soft credit check that won’t affect your credit score. This prequalification is the first step and does not guarantee a loan.
2. Get Preapproved
After that, Capital One will show you the offers that you’re likely to receive preapproval for. You can select the offer that looks best to you from these options. Then, Capital One will perform a hard inquiry on your credit to verify information.
Unlike a soft inquiry, a hard credit check does affect your credit score. However, funds for an auto loan are essentially guaranteed once you make it through a preapproval.
3. Choose a Car
Now that you know your budget and have a preapproval in hand, it’s time to go car shopping through Capital One’s partner dealership network. For the most part, you can choose any vehicle that fits your budget and the company’s lending requirements.
When you find a car that you want, make sure to get its vehicle identification number (VIN). Capital One will use the VIN to ensure that the car is eligible for financing. This is also the case if you’re looking to refinance your car.
You don’t have to max out your purchase budget, and most financial advisors recommend that you don’t. Going with a more affordable car leaves room in your budget for unexpected expenses and life changes that could happen over the life of the loan.
4. Sign Your Auto Loan
Once you’ve been approved and have found the car you want, it’s almost time to sign your car loan. As long as the chosen vehicle meets all requirements, you’ll be able to make your loan agreement official with a signature.
The list of required documents to complete the sale varies by state and sometimes by dealer. Many dealerships take care of the paperwork for you, but it’s a good idea to ask what your responsibilities are just in case. Also, be aware that until you pay off the loan, Capital One will own the title to your car.
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Capital One Auto Loan Eligibility Requirements
Capital One doesn’t officially have a minimum credit score for borrowers. In fact, Capital One may be a solid choice if you have a credit score between 501 and 600 and are looking for a bad credit car loan.
In 2016, The Washington Post reported that approximately half of Capital One’s auto loans went to subprime borrowers. So if you’re worried about qualifying for a loan, Capital One may be more forgiving than the average lender.
Capital One does, however, have a minimum monthly income requirement. Borrowers must make at least $1,500 or $1,800 each month to qualify, depending on their credit score.
Capital One Auto Finance: Conclusion
A Capital One auto loan is a great choice for many borrowers, especially for those with less-than-stellar credit scores. The ability to find your rates without having to fill out a credit application means that you can consider the company without hurting your credit score.
Capital One’s system of partner dealerships can make for a smooth shopping experience. It does, however, seriously limit options for the cars that you can purchase.
Our team thinks that Capital One Auto Finance is an option worth considering for everyone. Finding out the APRs and terms available to you comes with almost no risk and some borrowers may find their best rates from Capital One.
Recommended Alternative to Capital One
Capital One is a well-regarded auto lender, but it isn’t the only one. Since rates vary considerably, it’s a good idea to shop around or use a car loan calculator to get more offers. Getting multiple hard credit checks within a short period of time has the same impact as getting one, so there’s little downside to doing so.
myAutoloan: Best Loan Marketplace
Rather than a single provider or car broker, myAutoloan is an auto lending marketplace. Borrowers can enter their information into the site and quickly receive offers from multiple lenders. This makes it easy to compare those offers and inspires lenders to be more competitive with their rates.
*All APR figures last updated on 3/2/2023 – please check partner sites for latest details. Your rate may vary based on credit score, credit history, and loan term.
Capital One Car Loan Review: FAQ
Below are a few frequently asked questions about Capital One Auto Finance:
Should I use Capital One Auto Finance?
Capital One Auto Finance can be useful for seeing what rates you qualify for without lowering your credit score. However, the company has a limited pool of vehicles for borrowers to choose from and it usually reserves the best rates for drivers with excellent credit.
Does Capital One Auto Finance require proof of income?
Depending on your credit score, you must earn at least $1,500 or $1,800 per month to qualify for Capital One auto financing.
Is Capital One Auto Finance a subprime lender?
About half of Capital One auto loans go out to subprime borrowers, according to The Washington Post. Subprime borrowers are consumers with credit scores under 600.
Does Capital One Auto Finance work with private sellers?
Capital One doesn’t allow for purchases from private party sellers or auto brokers, so those who qualify for Capital One Auto Finance are limited to car purchases at participating dealerships.
How accurate is Capital One auto prequalification?
Capital One’s auto loan prequalification process only asks for basic information about the applicant and performs a soft credit check. Since this process isn’t as thorough as a legitimate car loan application, the rates and vehicle options you see after prequalification may not be what you actually qualify for.
How accurate is Capital One auto preapproval?
Getting preapproved for a Capital One loan doesn’t mean that you’ve sealed the deal. Participating dealers can still reject consumers and aren’t tied to all the terms outlined in the preapproved loan offer.
Our expert review team takes satisfaction in providing accurate and unbiased information. We identified the following rating categories based on consumer survey data and conducted extensive research to formulate rankings of the best auto loan providers.
Industry Standing:Trust and reliability are two of the most important qualities in a lender. Our team considers current industry ratings from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) along with factors such as a company’s age.
Availability:We examine how easy it is for borrowers to get a loan from each provider. Lenders that offer loans to meet a variety of customer needs receive high ratings.
Loan Details:Our researchers comb through the fine print to learn about the loan amounts, term lengths, and types of loans each provider offers.
Rates and Discounts: We take an in-depth look at the range of rates each provider offers for borrowers of different credit scores. Our team also factors in the discounts available with each lender.
Customer Service:Our team considers customer reviews and complaints when determining this score. We also consider the ease and availability of help online, over the phone, or in person.