It can be hard to secure an auto loan in this increasingly shaky economic climate. This is particularly true in the case of auto loans. Most lenders, who are already reluctant to lend, are even more hesitant to provide financing for an asset that is guaranteed to depreciate. Even consumers with exceptionally good credit and a large down payment may be forced to apply at multiple places. One of the best alternatives to pounding the pavement in search of a loan is to go through Lending Tree. The online lending site helps match consumers with lenders, and helps borrowers get the best terms.
Lending Tree brokers just about every kind of loan, from mortgages to auto loans. It also handles refinancing, home equity loans, credit card applications and insurance quotes. The site's largest potential market is its auto loans, because more American consumers have a car loan than a mortgage. Lending Tree has grown rapidly since it was founded in 1998. The idea behind the site is simple; a consumer applies for a loan and multiple lenders compete to provide the money. The consumer selects the loan with the best terms. Consumers with good credit get better terms, but even subprime borrowers may be able to get a good deal through Lending Tree.
Auto loans are one of Lending Tree's most popular products. The site allows consumers to request financing for both new and used cars. Refinancing loans are also available. The loan period can be as little as two years or as long as five. The consumer gets to state a preference on the application. He or she can also choose to include a co-borrower, such as a spouse or other relative.
One of the advantages of Lending Tree is the relative anonymity it offers. The would-be borrower doesn't have to sit in the lobby of the bank or dealership, nervously waiting for the answer. He or she fills out the application online and waits for the results. The application must include the borrower's name, address, social security number, phone number, place of employment and income. Applicants must also give their email address and create a password. The desired vehicle, auto loan amount and preferred term must also be included. An applicant who has not decided on a vehicle can use the website's tools to get dealer quotes or search used car listings.
After the application has been submitted, Lending Tree will pull the applicant's credit report and turn the application over to its lending partners. Each lender reviews the application and decides whether or not to make an offer. An offer will include the amount the lender is willing to provide, the length of the loan, the interest rate, the required down payment and any fees or other terms. The consumer gets the offers by email. Each loan application may generate up to four offers.
Results vary and depend on the applicant's creditworthiness, requested auto loan amount and other variables. At the moment, the average interest rate for a four-year auto loan on a new car is 4.26 percent, while the average rate for the same loan on a used car is 4.91 percent. A borrower with stellar credit may get a loan for as little as 2.5 percent, while one with poor or no credit may have to pay as much as 16 percent - assuming he or she can obtain financing. Lending Tree does not guarantee positive results.
Once all the offers have been made, the applicant reviews them and chooses which to accept. There is a handy guide to comparing auto loans on the Lending Tree website. He or she can then fill out the paperwork and close the loan. Most lenders offer both electronic and paper billing for their auto loans. This quick and easy process is probably the easiest way for consumers to get the best loan.