Digital Federal Credit Union auto loans review: Same rates for both its new- and used-car loans

Man driving his car, a thoughtful expression on his faceImage: Man driving his car, a thoughtful expression on his face

In a Nutshell

Digital Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of auto loans at competitive starting rates. The credit union also offers the same rates for auto loans for both new and used cars. But to apply for a Digital Federal Credit Union auto loan, you must be a member of the credit union.

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Pros Cons
Wide range of auto loans available No option to apply for prequalification
Competitive interest rates offered based on your application Auto loans available to DCU members only
Allows co-applicants

What you need to know about DCU auto loans

Digital Federal Credit Union, or DCU, is headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, with branches in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But the credit union serves members in all 50 states through its mobile banking app and shared branch locations. If you’re trying to decide whether a DCU auto loan is right for you, here are a few things to consider.

Multiple loan types

DCU offers a wide range of auto loans, including loans for …

  • New cars
  • Used cars purchased from a dealer or private party
  • Classic and antique cars
  • Mobility vehicles
  • Lease buyout
  • Refinancing your current auto loan (at DCU or another financial institution)

Same competitive interest rates for both new- and used-car loans

DCU offers competitive starting annual percentage rates, or APRs, to qualified applicants, which are based on credit history, loan term and other factors. The stronger your credit, the more likely you are to receive the better rates.

The credit union also offers starting APRs that are the same for new- and used-car loans as well as for refinance loans. This is unusual because some auto lenders usually charge higher rates on used-car loans and refinance loans.

DCU also offers a 0.5% discount if you qualify as a member for Plus or Relationship benefits on your checking account and maintain electronic payments. And DCU offers an additional 0.25% discount for qualifying energy-efficient vehicles.

Available to credit union members only

DCU auto loans are only available to members of the credit union. You might be eligible to join if you’re related to a member, work for a participating employer, or if you belong to a participating organization or community. Check out the lender’s eligibility requirements to find out whether you can join.

A closer look at DCU auto loans

If you want to finance the purchase of a vehicle or refinance your existing auto loan with DCU, here are a few more things to consider.

  • DCU offers loan terms of up to 84 months for new, used and refinance loans. If you’re in the market for a classic car or mobility vehicle, loan terms of up to 120 months are available. But remember that while a longer loan term will lower your monthly payment, you’ll end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.
  • You may be able to finance up to 125% of the vehicle’s retail value for new, used and refinance loans.
  • Co-applicants are allowed.
  • DCU doesn’t offer the ability to apply for prequalification. Applying for a DCU loan will result in a hard credit inquiry, which may impact your credit scores.

Is a DCU auto loan right for you?

With a wide range of auto loans to choose from, DCU might be a good option if you’re an existing DCU member — or are eligible to become one — and qualify for one or both of the credit union’s rate discounts.

A DCU auto loan may also be a good choice if you’ve already done some car shopping and know exactly which make and model you want to buy. But if you’re in the early phases of car-buying and just want a sense of the loan rate and terms you might qualify for, you may want to consider other lenders that offer the ability to apply for prequalification.

And if you’re not eligible to become a DCU member, you’ll need to look elsewhere for financing.

How to apply for a DCU auto loan

To apply for a DCU auto loan, first to check to see if you’re eligible to become a member.

Loan applications may be completed in a branch or online.

But before you apply for a DCU auto loan, we recommend checking your credit and doing some comparison shopping. Understanding your credit can help set expectations — in general, lower credit scores will result in higher interest rates. And shopping around can help you find the best loan rate and terms for you. Learn more about the process in our article on how to get a car loan.

Not sure if DCU is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re ready to buy a car or refinance your existing auto loan, but you’re not sure DCU is right for you, here are some other lenders to consider.

  • Capital One Auto Finance loan: Capital One Auto Finance could be good for people who want the ability to prequalify for a loan and see a potential loan offer without impacting their credit scores.
  • U.S. Bank auto loans: U.S. Bank could be a good option if you want — and can qualify for — a low used-car loan rate but don’t qualify for DCU membership.

About the author: Jennifer Brozic is a freelance financial services writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in communication management from Tow… Read more.