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Capital One is one of the most well-known banks in the country. And aside from its local branches, credit cards with impressive rewards programs, and a never-ending stream of commercials with famous celebrities, Capital One is also one of the country's biggest lenders. 

Financing new and used car purchases accounts for a significant portion of Capital One's lending, and its online loan application process is pretty straightforward. Read on to learn more about Capital One auto loans, the pros, the cons, and the interest rates you may see. 

Find the Best Rate for You

Capital One Auto Loan Rates

Credit Score

New Car Loan

Used Car Loan

Excellent

3.99%

4.62-5.31%

Average

4.22-6.33%

5.92-8.99%

Rebuilding

7.99-10.28%

9.19-13.97%

Applicants with the highest credit scores get the lowest interest rates on auto loans, but Capital One Auto Finance offers a variety of interest rates to borrowers across the credit spectrum. These are generally broken down into a few categories: excellent, average, and rebuilding. The benchmarks for these categories aren't exactly the same at every lender, however.

“Excellent credit” generally translates to a credit score in the range of 781 to 850. Shoppers in this category may see new-car loan rates as low as 3.99% from Capital One, and used car loan interest rates as low as 4.62%.

Most lenders consider an average – also known as “prime” – credit score to fall within the range of 661 to 780. Borrowers in this category could see new car loan rates as low as 4.22% from Capital One, and used car loan rates as low as 5.92%.

Most lenders consider scores of 660 and below to fall into the rebuilding category. Scores in this range may also be referred to as nonprime or subprime. Shoppers in this category could see new-car loan rates of between 7.99 and 10.2%, and used car loan rates of between 9.19 and 13.97%.

These rates were found using Capital One’s auto financing calculator and are for illustrative purposes only. The rates on this page are accurate as of the date of this publication and we do update them regularly. Auto loan rates fluctuate over time, so you may see different rates as you shop for an auto loan. The rates you qualify for may differ from these depending on factors like your credit history, income, and selected loan terms.

Is Capital One a Good Car Loan Company?

Yes, Capital One is a good auto loan company. It offers competitive rates and flexible loan terms, so you can choose to pay off your vehicle in just three years, or up to five or more years. Capital One's income requirements start at just $1,500 per month, and there are no application fees or prepayment penalties associated with Capital One loans.

Capital One Key Car Loan Info:

 

New

Used

Refinance

Available APR

3.99 – 10.28%

4.62 –13.97%

Dependent on original loan

Loan Length

36-72 months

36-72 months

Dependent on original loan

Prepayment Penalty?

No

No

No

Income Requirements

$1,500-$1,800 per month

$1,500-$1,800 per month

$1,500-$1,800 per month

Min. Loan Amount

$4,000 

$4,000 

$7,500 

Should I Get a Capital One Auto Loan?

New or used vehicle shoppers should consider financing through Capital one, as this lender makes the loan application process easy and relatively painless. The process is handled online using Capital One’s Auto Navigator tool. You can use Auto Navigator to find cars for sale at local dealerships, check dealer ratings, tailor your loan amount and financing terms, and get pre-qualified.

Getting pre-qualified takes a lot of the stress out of car shopping because you'll have a good idea about the loan(s) you're eligible for before you head off to the dealer. Overall, Auto Navigator is a streamlined experience, and Capital One’s rates are attractive for those with good-to-great credit.

It's important to note that these loans are only valid at participating dealers, so not every shopper will want to finance through Capital One. For example, private sales are excluded, so if you're buying a used vehicle directly from its current owner, you can't get a Capital One auto loan for the transaction. The program also isn’t offered for shoppers in Alaska or Hawaii. There are a few restrictions on a vehicle’s age, mileage, and brand as well.

All of these factors can cut down on the number and variety of eligible cars for sale in your area. If you fall under any of these categories, you may want to shop other lenders first.

How to Apply for a Capital One Auto Loan

It's pretty easy to apply for a Capital One auto loan. You simply use the company’s Auto Navigator tool. Here’s how it works: Log in to the website, click the “Get Pre-Qualified” button, and fill in the required prompts. It asks for things like your name, social security number, employer, and home address.

The company will initiate a soft inquiry into your credit file, which won’t affect your credit score. If the bank likes what it sees, you’ll receive a loan pre-qualification offer with your estimated monthly payments and interest rate. The offer is valid for up to 30 days, and there’s no application fee.

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Once you have your pre-qualification offer, you can use Auto Navigator to search through the new- and used-car inventory from local participating dealerships. These search results can be filtered by a number of factors, including vehicle make, model, body style, mileage, age, price, and even dealer rating.

If you find any vehicles that you like, you can save the listings online, making them easy to reference once you're ready to head to the dealer and see the cars, trucks, or SUVs in person. You can then take a test drive, negotiate the final price of the car, and – if applicable – negotiate the trade-in value of your current vehicle. You can also take this time to view or make changes to your financing details using the Capital One mobile app.

One extremely important note: getting pre-qualified for the loan does not necessarily mean that you're approved for that offer. Capital One requires users to submit a financing application at the dealer. This hard inquiry into your credit file can affect your credit score, but the loan offer shouldn’t change as long as there aren’t any major discrepancies with your pre-qualification info.

Like the offer? Great – just sign off on the loan and drive away in your new set of wheels. If you receive other offers or simply don’t like this one, you don’t have to accept it.

What Income Do I Need for a Capital One Auto Loan?

You're required to have a monthly income of at least $1,500 to $1,800 in order to meet the requirements stipulated by Capital One Auto Finance. Applicants with average-to-poor credit will need a monthly income that’s on the higher end of that spectrum to qualify, both for new loan applications and for refinancing an existing auto loan.

What Credit Score Do I Need for a Capital One Auto Loan?

Capital One doesn't disclose the minimum credit score requirements for its auto loans, which is a common practice among lenders. Part of the reason is to avoid giving away too much information to competitors, but it's also because credit scores are only one piece of the loan approval process. Other important factors can include your income and other types of debt, like a home mortgage, personal loans, and credit cards.

Even if your credit score is low, you may still qualify for attractive financing because of a high salary or few debts, so don’t rule out financing altogether. One stipulation that the company does have is that existing Capital One accounts must be in good standing, which means no delinquent payments or exceeded borrowing limits.

What Cars Can I Buy with a Capital One Auto Loan?

You can't get a Capital One loan for just any new or used car; there are some factors that make certain vehicles ineligible. The biggest two restrictions are that a vehicle must be purchased through one of Capital One’s 12,000 participating dealerships, and it must be intended for personal use. 

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Eligible used vehicles are 10 years old or newer with fewer than 120,000 miles; some exceptions exist for models that are up to 12 years old with less than 150,000 miles. Capital One’s minimum loan amount is $4,000, and the maximum amount varies based on the vehicle and your income and credit score.

Some types of vehicles are excluded, as are some automakers. Excluded vehicle makes include Daewoo, Isuzu, Oldsmobile, Saab, and Suzuki. Commercial vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, recreational vehicles (RVs), and camper vans are also excluded. Capital One does not provide financing for those who want to buy their car at the end of their lease, also referred to as a lease buyout.

Capital One offers refinancing for existing car loans, but only for loans that were originated by other financial institutions, such as competing banks or credit unions. To qualify for refinancing, a vehicle must be seven years old or newer. Auto loans refinanced through Capital One must be for at least $7,500, and the maximum loan amount is $50,000.

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What Down Payment Does a Capital One Auto Loan Require?

Capital One doesn’t require a down payment for all of its auto loans, but one may be required if an applicant has poor credit. In this instance, down payments are used to safeguard the lender from financial loss if the borrower stops paying off the loan.

Does a Capital One Auto Loan Have Prepayment Penalties?

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There are no penalties for paying off a Capital One loan early. The company only offers one type of auto loan – a simple interest loan. Here’s how a simple interest loan works.

Interest – the cost of borrowing money – is calculated daily from the beginning of the loan until the day it’s paid off. This interest is based on the outstanding principal of the loan, which is the remaining balance of the amount borrowed. As the principal is paid down, the amount spent on monthly interest goes down as well.

You can save money in the long run by opting for shorter borrowing terms (say, three years instead of five) that carry higher monthly payments. Small monthly payments that are stretched over long terms – like six years or more – may sound attractive, but these terms can cost thousands of dollars more in interest alone. Late payments cause additional interest and potential late fees to accrue.

Capital One handles extra payments in one of two ways. Payments made within 30 days of your scheduled due date are applied to the next month’s payment (interest and principal). Additional payments made over 30 days from the due date are applied directly to the loan principal.

Capital One vs. Other Lenders

Capital One vs. Lightstream

One of the most flexible auto lenders is LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank. Unlike many lenders, LightStream doesn’t restrict financing based on a vehicle’s make, model, age, or mileage. Financing is offered in all 50 states, and there aren't any down payment requirements.

If you get a LightStream loan, those funds go straight into your bank account, whereas most other lenders require you to complete the financing process at the dealership. That means that a LightStream loan lets you shop for a car with all the confidence of a cash buyer.

There are more perks as well. Shoppers can consider a larger pool of vehicles for sale because LightStream doesn’t have dealer restrictions. LightStream also provides loans for those buying a car from a private seller, and the company offers financing for motorcycles, RVs, and classic cars.

Overall, LightStream’s simplicity and lower rates make it a better choice for an auto loan than Capital One. There are a few exceptions though.

Consider a Capital One auto loan first if your credit score isn’t perfect. Capital One isn’t as stringent when evaluating your credit worthiness, whereas LightStream typically offers financing only to shoppers with great-to-excellent credit. The Capital One pre-qualification process also doesn’t affect your credit score. By comparison, applying with LightStream requires a hard inquiry of your credit file, which can lower your score.

 

Capital One

LightStream

New Car Rates As Low As

3.99%

3.34%

Used Car Rates As Low As

4.62%

3.34%

Prepayment Penalties?

No

No

Minimum Monthly Income

$1,500-$1,800

Contact for amount

Capital One vs. Bank of America

Bank of America is another fine option if you’re shopping for a car loan, and its lending practices are a bit more lenient than Capital One Auto Finance.

Unlike Capital One, Bank of America doesn't put any restrictions on which makes and models are eligible for its auto loans, and financing is available in all 50 states. Bank of America also provides loans for shoppers that want to buy a used vehicle directly from a private seller (visit a local branch for details). 

Bank of America also finances lease buyouts, and unlike many lenders, the bank offers refinancing of its own auto loans. Current rewards members with Bank of America may also qualify for a rate discount of up to 0.5%.

There are some similarities between these programs though. Capital One and Bank of America place age and mileage restrictions on the vehicles they finance, and a down payment may be required in some instances. Both banks also complete the financing process at the dealership, which can add some complexity to a car purchase. Both online financing programs are limited to participating dealers as well. Try out the car inventory search tools of both programs to see which offers more vehicle and dealership options in your area.

Overall, Bank of America has fewer restrictions and lower advertised rates, making it a better pick in most cases. Capital One is still a great alternative though, especially if you want a small auto loan. Capital One has a minimum loan amount of $4,000. By comparison, Bank of America only provides auto loans of $7,500 or more.

 

Capital One

Bank of America

New Car Rates As Low As

3.99%

3.59%

Used Car Rates As Low As

4.62%

3.79%

Prepayment Penalties?

No

No

Minimum Monthly Income

$1,500-$1,800

Contact for amount

Capital One vs. Chase

Chase Bank and Capital One have a lot in common when it comes to their auto lending programs. Both programs have easy-to-use online shopping tools, which include auto loan calculators and inventory listing pages. Both also provide shoppers with a good idea of the financing they qualify for before heading to the dealership.

The similarities aren't all positive, however. Unfortunately, both lenders' programs restrict you to the new and used car inventory found at participating dealers, which can really limit the variety of cars available in your area. Neither online program provides financing for private party sales.

Overall, Chase offers a few extra perks that give it an edge over Capital One. Chase doesn’t require any down payment, and the program is available in all 50 states, whereas Capital One doesn’t offer financing in Alaska or Hawaii. Chase also provides financing for those who want to buy their car at the end of its lease.

One of Chase’s biggest perks is its partnership with TrueCar. Shoppers can use this service to see what others paid for similar new vehicles, receive no-haggle price quotes, and redeem these savings at the dealership.

 

Capital One

Chase

New Car Rates As Low As

3.99%

4.33%

Used Car Rates As Low As

4.62%

4.57%

Prepayment Penalties?

No

No

Minimum Monthly Income

$1,500-$1,800

Contact for amount

Find Interest Rates As Low As

New Car Rates2.74%
Used Car Rates2.97%
Refinancing Rates2.49%

Intrest rate data provided by myAutoloan.com. Rates are for comparative purposes only; your rates may differ.