If you are a member of the military — whether active, retired, or in the Reserves — you may be wondering what kind of discount you can get when financing your car. You’re in the right place.
Below is the ultimate guide to the best military auto loans of 2018.
Learn all you need to know to get the best deal on your military auto loan.
What is a military loan?
A military loan is just like a regular loan, except it is designed for individuals who are in the military or directly related to someone who is. It can be a personal loan, auto loan, mortgage, or another loan type.
Military loan lenders often offer competitive rates and special features. However, make sure to compare the loan options exclusive to military members with the other options available to all consumers. The more you know, the easier it will be to find the best deal.
Do military get discounts on cars?
Indeed, members of the military can get discounts on cars. Many automakers, such as Acura, Ford, General Motors, Harley Davidson, Hyundai, and Nissan offer discounts, rebates, and incentives for military members.
For example, Hyundai is offering $500 off of 2016 to 2018 models through January of 2018. Harley Davidson offers a no-down-payment deal, flexible term options, and reduced rates to military personnel.
So, after you figure out the car you want, be sure to find out if the manufacturer is offering a discount, and ask what is required to get the deal.
Beyond that, you can also find lenders that offer discounts to military members. These discounts can take the form of low interest rates, low down payments, easier approval, longer payment periods, and other rebates and incentives.
But who has the best auto loan rates and offers? Let’s take a look.
3 Best Military Auto Loans
Looking for military car loans reviews? Here are our top three picks that can help you get into a new set of wheels quickly and easily.
Pioneer Services is a division of MidCountry Bank that has been providing lending and financial services to the military community for over 25 years.
It serves all ranks and branches including veterans, those who are career or medically-retired, those on active duty, and members of the Reserves and National Guard. While the lender offers several types of loans, its personal loans, ranging from $500 to $10,000 can be used to purchase a car.
Pioneer understands that low credit scores or a limited credit history can make it difficult for military families to get the financing they need from mainstream institutions. As a result, it evaluates applicants using its own proprietary Military Scoring Model, which considers unique factors such as how often an applicant has had to relocate.
Further, the loans are set up with a fixed interest rate and fixed payments, so borrowers don’t have to worry about fluctuations. The interest rate you get will be determined by evaluating your credit history, income, and debt-to-income ratio.
Pioneer charges an origination fee and the amount is based on your loan amount and credit profile. Lastly, there’s a 15-day “Change Your Mind Guarantee.” This allows you to return the money and cancel the loan within 15 days of initiating it, without any negative consequences.
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The Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) was established in 1933 and has grown to a community of over 7 million members.
Its goal is to be the financial institution that military members and their families prefer and trust more than any other. It provides a wide range of financial services and loans, including auto loans.
Navy Federal Credit Union’s auto loans provide perks such as low interest rates and 100% financing. However, exact rates, terms, and conditions will depend on your credit and income profiles. Loan terms range from 36 to 96 months, and interest rates start at 1.99%.
NFCU also offers an Auto Buying Program to help you find a low-priced vehicle. To use it, you go the program’s website and enter your zip code. Then, you can browse used vehicles or customize a new vehicle to your desired specifications.
The program has a nationwide network of participating dealerships, and you can find those nearest to you. If you are interested in buying a car while in the military and away from home, there’s also a program to help those who are buying from overseas.
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The United Services Automobile Association, also known as USAA, is a financial services company that serves military members and their families. Founded in 1922 by 25 U.S. Army members, it has now expanded to over 11 million members.
Its auto loan offering includes loans for new cars, used cars, and for refinancing existing loans.
The lowest loan rates are available for new cars which, as of this writing, includes models from 2016, 2017, and 2018. For used cars, you will receive better rates if you finance an amount over $15,000.
Loan terms range from 12 to 84 months. As with the other lenders, the exact rate and terms you get will depend on your credit. While USAA considers applicants of all credit types, you will need to have excellent credit to get the best rates.
Like NFCU, this lender also provides a car buying service that will help you find the right vehicle at a good price. Reportedly, this service saves customers an average of $3,335 on their car purchases. If you use it, you also get a .50% discount on your interest rate. Speaking of which, a discount is also available if you set up automatic payments.
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Other auto loan lenders to consider
While the above are some of the top military auto loan lenders, it’s smart to shop around.
Featured Auto Lenders
|Lending Partner||Minimum APR||Loan Amount|
|3.59% APR (with AutoPay)*||$5K to $100K*||Apply|
|1.99% APR*||$10K to $100K*||Apply|
|5% APR*||$7.5K to $45K*||Apply|
|1.99% APR*||Up to $15K|
Some non-military lenders offer great deals, too. In some cases, they may even beat out what the military-exclusive companies offer.
Here are our top non-military recommendations for all credit types:
For excellent credit: LightStream
LightStream offers some of the lowest interest rates in the auto loan lending business. All its rates are fixed and there are no origination fees. Further, loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000.
To get approved, you will need to have good to excellent credit. Todd Nelson, Business Development Officer at LightStream, explains that excellent credit means consumers have paid bills on time and built several years of good credit history, along with holding assets to cover debt obligations and bringing in sufficient income.
He adds that, as a reward, borrowers will have no restrictions on make or model and can get very low interest rates. If you can qualify, this lender has very good reviews regarding their customer service and offerings.
For fair to good credit: Autopay
Autopay is a great lender all-around. It offers very competitive interest rates, charges no origination fees, has terms up to 84 months, serves all 50 states, and offers auto loans up to $100,000. To qualify, you will need a minimum of a 620 credit score and $24,000 in annual income.
For bad credit: Auto Credit Express
If your credit is not so great, Auto Credit Express is an option worth considering. It offers auto loans for applicants with credit scores as low as 450! Loan terms go up to 72 months, interest rates depend on your credit and financial profile, and there are no origination fees. If you’re searching for car loans for veterans with bad credit, or military members with bad credit, this is one to check out.
Find the right military auto loan for you
Shopping around for the best military auto loans can take more time than you have to give. However, it can save you money that you’d rather not give. So, if putting in time means putting more money in your wallet, it’s worth it.
Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds. You can get the benefits of saving without spending all that time on research because we’ve already done it for you.
Our database of the top auto loan lenders includes all company and product details that you need to know in order to make the right decision. All you have to do is carefully compare your options side-by-side to find the best one.
To make the process even more quick and easy, you can get pre-approved without hurting your credit score. After answering a few questions, you’ll receive personalized offers from lenders competing for your business.
Knowing some of your options ahead of time will give you clearer a direction when researching and comparing lenders.
If you don’t receive an offer from a lender you are interested in, you can then head over to their website, apply, and compare it to the rest of the offers you received.
By doing so, you can cast a wide net, improving the likelihood of paying less. Further, you can discover the features and benefits, like car buying services, that can help you get more for your money.
A little research can go a long way. It can even mean the difference between a loan that puts you into debt versus a loan that puts more money into your wallet.
To achieve the latter, make sure you’re getting the best possible rate you can get before signing on the dotted line.