Capital One Auto Finance review

Capital One Auto Finance: In-Depth Review of Capital One Car Loans

Capital One is a bank holding company that specializes in mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, banking, and savings products.

This review will dig into the company’s auto financing offerings. Learn what is available, how the approval process works, the pros and cons, and other tidbits you’ll want to know before signing up.

Loan products and eligibility

Capital One provides auto loans for the purchase of new and used vehicles, and to refinance existing loans. The application process will vary depending on which loan product you choose.

Many people ask “What about Capital One auto loan credit score requirements or Capital One auto loan income requirements?”

Here’s what you need to know about eligibility.

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid street address in the U.S.
  • Have an income of at least $1,500 or $1,800 per month (depending on your credit qualifications)
  • All an applicant’s Capital One accounts must be in good standing (if applicable)

Note: Capital One has no specific credit score restrictions. It has an underwriting score system that looks at over 200 factors. 

Now, here’s a closer look at the application process for the two loan products.

New and used auto loans

Auto Navigator

Potential borrowers can apply online for new and used auto loans using Capital One’s Auto Navigator. It pre qualifies applicants using a soft credit inquiry, which doesn’t impact your credit score.

When approved, applicants receive an offer summary that includes their estimated monthly payment and annual percentage rate (APR). They can then shop real cars and rates online from participating dealers nationwide.

Once they find a vehicle, an applicant can personalize their loan by adjusting the price, down payment, and loan term up or down. When satisfied with the loan, they can select the offer.

Auto Navigator vs. Blank Check Program

Many people ask about Capital One Auto Navigator vs. blank checks. Capital One’s blank check program preceded the current Auto Navigator financing. With the former, you could get pre-approved and then would receive a blank check to take to an eligible dealer. With Auto Navigator, you work out all the car purchase details ahead of time online and receive an offer to take to the dealer.

A blank check is taken to the dealer to make a purchase after pre approval. Auto Navigator works within a network and is more specific about which dealers buyers can go to and how much they can borrow. It is all worked out online ahead of time.

Participating dealers

If an applicant wants to go ahead with the financing solution, they need to take the offer to a participating dealer within 30 days. The dealer will ask them to fill out a credit application, which will result in a hard inquiry on their credit report. They may also ask for documents showing proof of income.

Once approved, the applicant will finalize the terms and sign the loan agreement with the dealer. Capital One has a Dealer Locator, which can be used to identify participating dealers in an applicant’s local area.


There are limitations placed by Capital One on how much you can borrow and what type of vehicle it will finance. For example, loan amount restrictions can depend on the value of the specific vehicle you are purchasing as well as general minimum and maximum limits.

As for vehicle restrictions, Capital One only finances new or used cars, minivans, SUVs, and light trucks intended for personal use.

Other restrictions include:

  • Isuzu, Saab, Suzuki, Oldsmobile, or Daewoo vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Lease buyouts, lemons, branded titles, or vehicles without a vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Vehicles older than 2005 (or 2007 in some situations)

You will have to ensure that the vehicle you want meets Capital One’s criteria. If it does, you can apply online before heading into participating dealer’s office.

Pros and Cons of Capital One Auto Finance


Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.

  • Quickly and easily find out if you qualify online
  • Get competitive interest rates
  • Get pre qualified without hurting your credit score
  • Shop thousands of cars and see real rates
  • Personalize your financing online
  • Restricted to participating dealers
  • Many restrictions on vehicles you can finance
  • Loan amount restrictions may further limit choice of vehicles

Here’s how the application process works.

Capital One auto finance pre approval

1: Visit the auto financing page of the Capital One website and click “Finance a Car.”

capital one auto finance review

2: Check the eligibility requirements and choose whether you are applying on your own or jointly.

Capital One Auto Finance 2

3: Provide your personal information.

Capital One Auto Finance 3

4: Provide information about where you live.

Capital One Car Finance 4

5: Share information about your employment.

Capital One Auto FinanceCapital One Auto Finance

6: Verify all your information and get pre qualified.

Capital One Auto Finance

It’s very straightforward and only takes a few minutes. Now, let’s look at the ins and outs of refinancing an auto loan.

Refinance an auto loan

Application process

When applying to refinance an auto loan with Capital One, you can complete the entire process online. You’ll first go to the website to get pre qualified. Then, if you like the offer you receive, you’ll undergo a hard inquiry for final approval.

Once approved, you’ll need to provide your VIN and current lender information, sign your contract virtually, and provide any additional supporting documents requested.


To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your current lender must be a financial institution that is FDIC or NCUA-insured
  • Your car can be no more than seven years old
  • The amount you owe must be between Capital One’s minimum and maximum limits
  • Your current loan can’t be with Capital One
  • You have to be current on your existing loan and mortgage (if applicable)
  • The same restrictions on vehicle type and personal use only apply as on the previous loan product

If you meet all of the requirements, you can go ahead and apply online.

Pros and Cons of refinancing with Capital One Auto Finance


Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.

  • Easy pre qualification online that doesn’t hurt your credit score
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Complete loan process online
  • You must meet many requirements to qualify
  • Restrictions on which car you can refinance

Here is how to apply.

Capital One refinance pre approval

1: Visit the auto finance page on the Capital One website and select “Refinance a Car.”

2: Click “See if I Prequalify.”

capital one auto refinancing

3: Ensure you meet the basic qualifications and click “Next.”

4: Provide personal information about who you are and where you live.

5: Provide information on where you work.

6: Provide information about your existing vehicle loan.

7: Review all of your information and get pre qualified.

Capital One auto finance pre approval reviews

Richard Lowe says, “I bought a car using a Capital One auto loan in December. It went perfectly. I applied and was immediately approved for far more than I needed. I wanted to get the car from Hertz sales, and Capital’s website gave me the address of one nearby. Their customer service was great, and the account management is merged into the same account with my Capital One credit card. The rates and terms are pretty standard. I was very happy with the experience.”

Read more reviews here

The verdict

Capital One is a well-known company that provides quality financial products, one of which are auto loans. The pros are that the company looks at a wide range of factors, not just your credit score, to determine your rates.

It also provides a streamlined process for getting pre qualified online without hurting your credit score. With this, you can find out if you want to further pursue financing in just a few minutes.

The Auto Navigator system for purchasing a car can be helpful, as you can easily shop online and personalize your loan. If you find the car you want and it is across the country, you can have it shipped to a participating dealer near you, at an additional cost.

While the network can be restricting, it is vast and offers buyers a wide selection. The hand-off between the online approval and in-store processing by the dealer can present inherent challenges and confusion, but many customers find the process to be seamless. Capital One also encourages applicants to call in if they run into any problems.

Capital One Auto Finance alternative

An alternative to Capital One Auto Finance is SuperMoney’s auto loan offer engine, which allows you to get prequalified offers from multiple lenders without hurting your credit. If you do decide to try Capital One, make sure you check what rates you qualify for with SuperMoney’s auto loan offer engine also. Wondering what other car buyers think about Capital One Auto Finance and other auto lenders? Check SuperMoney’s unbiased auto loans reviews and consumer comments.

Deciding whether Capital One is right for you will come down to what rate you qualify for and how it compares to the competition. To apply and find out, click here.