Upgrade auto loan review: Quick funding for car refinancing

A smiling person sits in the driver's seat of a car with their dog in the passenger's seat.Image: A smiling person sits in the driver's seat of a car with their dog in the passenger's seat.
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Editors’ take: Upgrade’s auto refinance offering is a quick way to receive conditional loan offers without a hard credit pull. Refinance loans from Upgrade are available for personal-use auto vehicles in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and APRs start in the low single digits. Refinance loans start at $5,000 and could be an option for those looking for lower monthly payments. 

Upgrade auto loans at a glance

Starting APR Competitive
Loan amounts $5,000+
Loan terms Not disclosed
Minimum credit scores required Not disclosed
Loan fees Not disclosed
Prepayment penalty No
Availability Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Ability to apply for prequalification or preapproval? Yes, preapproval
How to apply Online
Other requirements
  • Must be 18 years old (19 in some states) and a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or living with a valid visa.
  • The vehicle must be for personal use and 10 years old or newer.
  • Cars must have fewer than 130,000 miles; trucks must have fewer than 150,000 miles.
  • The existing loan must be more than 3 months old and have a balance of $5,000 or greater.

Note: You may see different terms if you apply on Credit Karma.

Pros

  • Direct payoff of current auto loan
  • Fast, easy way to receive loan offers
  • Fixed interest rates and no prepayment penalty

Cons

  • No new purchase auto loans available — only refinance loans
  • Only available for personal cars and trucks
  • Loan terms not disclosed before application

What you need to know about Upgrade auto loans

Direct payoff of current auto loan

Once you’ve applied for a loan and have been approved for a loan offer, Upgrade will directly pay off your current auto loan and get the vehicle title from your previous lender. This process can take as long as two weeks to complete. In the meantime, make sure you continue to pay your existing auto loan as scheduled.

Fast, easy way to receive loan offers

You can request an auto refinance loan offer from Upgrade by filling out a simple online form providing some personal info along with your car’s make, model, year and mileage. To determine your eligibility and interest rate, Upgrade will run a soft credit check, which should not impact your credit scores. 

If you get an offer and proceed from there, Upgrade will perform a hard credit inquiry, which will affect your credit scores.

Only available for personal cars and trucks

You can only get a refinance loan from Upgrade for a personal-use automobile. Currently, refinancing through Upgrade is not allowed on RVs, motorcycles, commercial vehicles or salvaged vehicles.

How will my APR be determined?

The APR for an Upgrade auto refinance loan will likely range in the single digits, on the lower or higher end depending on your credit scores and loan payment history. But you’ll need to use the company’s autopay feature, where payments are automatically taken out of your account, to get the lowest rate. 

What other loans does Upgrade offer?

Upgrade might be best known for its personal loans, which come in amounts up to $50,000. The lender also offers a secured auto loan: a personal loan that uses your car as collateral. 

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

  • Caribou auto loan: If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for Caribou’s low interest rates for an auto refinance loan. The application is entirely      online, and prequalification takes only a few minutes.
  • PenFed auto loan: If you’re not sure if you want to refinance your current vehicle or buy a new one, PenFed Credit Union offers auto loans for  purchasing a new or used vehicle or refinancing an existing one. Using its car-buying service could save you money.

About the author: Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than a decade of experience as a reporter and editor at North Carolina news organizations, including the Charlotte Observer and the StarNews in Wilmington. In those roles,… Read more.