Can you refinance an auto loan with a cosigner?

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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.

 

There are many reasons you might want to refinance your auto loan — there are now lower prevailing interest rates or you need lower monthly payments, for example. But even if you previously qualified for an auto loan on your own, you might be able to refinance your auto loan with a cosigner.

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By “borrowing” your cosigner’s good credit, you might qualify for a better rate and terms than you would with just your own credit history. The process starts with seeing if you qualify for a loan refinance. Then you’ll need to determine if both you and your cosigner meet potential lenders’ requirements. From there, you could be on your way to cruising into the future with a better loan.

 

Related: 11 types of personal loans & their differences

How Does Adding a Cosigner to an Auto Loan Help You?

If you’re working with a low credit score or a limited credit history, it can be difficult to qualify for a car loan that has reasonable rates and terms. A cosigner is someone who agrees to share responsibility for paying back the loan. If that person has good credit, you could secure a loan with rates and terms that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you. Some benefits of adding a cosigner to an auto loan include:

  • Improved odds of approval. Even if your credit score shows that you’re considered to be a high-risk borrower, a cosigner can lower that risk by putting his or her own credit on the line to ensure the loan is repaid.
  • A better interest rate and lower monthly payments. Since your credit score is a main factor in the interest rate you’re eligible to receive on a loan, having a cosigner with good credit can help you qualify for a lower rate and, in turn, lower the cost of your refinanced auto loan over time as well as monthly payments.
  • The chance to build your credit. When you add a cosigner to an auto loan, you’re considered the primary borrower. That means that the loan will appear on your credit report, helping you increase your credit history, as long as you make timely payments.

Just remember that your cosigner also bears legal responsibility for the loan, so if you’re not careful about making your payments on time, you can endanger that person’s credit report and your relationship.

Adding a Cosigner During Refinance

If you’re thinking about refinancing an auto loan to add a cosigner, you might be wondering what a cosigner needs to do to qualify. For starters, the cosigner will typically need to have a credit score above 670, with sufficient income and a solid debt-to-income ratio, as it’s called in auto loan terminology. The debt-to-income ratio will determine whether or not a cosigner could afford the monthly payments on the loan if you didn’t pay.

 

Regardless of whether the cosigner actually does plan to pay the loan for you, the lender will want to ensure that he or she would be able to make good on the loan if needed. If your cosigner is able to meet all of the lender’s requirements, he or she can sign the loan agreement along with you to help you lock in a loan with better rates and terms. If you fail to make payments on the loan after driving away from the deal, both your credit and your cosigner’s credit can be negatively impacted moving forward.

What Does a Cosigner Need to Do During the Refinance Process?

When you refinance an auto loan with a cosigner, the process is similar to the process of applying for a loan from scratch. The cosigner applies for the refinanced loan with you (the primary borrower) and the lender checks his or her credit history and financial details to make a decision about whether or not to approve the loan. Upon approval, the cosigner will sign the loan agreement and must be prepared to step in to cover payments if you default.

Refinancing Your Auto Loan With Bad Credit

If you’re considering a cosigner for your auto refinancing, it may be because your credit isn’t great. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may end up with financial difficulties. Refinancing an auto loan, even if you have bad credit, might help you reduce your monthly loan payments and ease some of your financial burdens. Here are a few steps you can take to refinance an auto loan with bad credit:

1. Try to Improve Your Credit History

If you’re considering refinancing your auto loan with a cosigner, think about working on your credit history. While a cosigner’s credit history may be able to help you get a loan with more favorable terms, anything you can do to build a stronger credit record yourself can help, too. Continuing to make regular payments on your current auto loan and any other debt you may have is a good start. You can also pull up a copy of your credit report to check for errors that could be affecting your score. Finally, there’s the option of working with a credit repair service if your credit score is particularly low. Just a few points can mean the difference between being approved for a refinanced auto loan and being rejected.

2. Find a Suitable Cosigner

You’ll want to find someone who will be appealing to potential lenders. That typically means someone with a good, steady income and a good credit score. Your cosigner should also be someone you can trust and who trusts you, since your behavior can affect your cosigner’s credit history. Bear in mind that if you don’t pay timely payments on the loan, you may jeopardize your relationship with your cosigner.

3. Check With Your Current Lender

Before you shop around for other lenders to refinance your auto loan, you can check with your current lender to see what it’s willing to offer. If it’s been some time since your loan originated, you might be eligible for a new loan with better rates, especially if the prevailing rates have changed. Bear in mind, though, that not all lenders accept cosigners.

4. Shop Around for Other Lenders

If the conversation with your current lender doesn’t work out, it might be time to shop around for a different lender altogether. You and your co-signer can prepare by gathering up personal and financial information and other documentation that potential lenders are likely to use, such as:

  • Social Security numbers (for you both)
  • Current address (for you both)
  • Employment information, including company address and contact person
  • Income-related information like W2s, pay stubs and the previous year’s tax returns (for you both)
  • Your current auto loan lender and account number
  • Your vehicle’s make, model, year, mileage and VIN

With this information already in hand, you’ll be a step ahead when it comes time for the new lender to run a credit check and take a deeper look into your financial situation.

The Takeaway

When you refinance an auto loan with a cosigner, you could be taking a step toward lower monthly expenses and a better rate on your car. The process is similar to applying for a new car loan, but can also sometimes be accomplished by talking to your existing lender. Either way, adding a cosigner to an auto loan can improve your odds of getting approved, help provide a better interest rate, and lower monthly payments, and give you a chance to build better credit over time.

 

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This article
originally appeared on 
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Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website on credit (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/credit-and-loans)
The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Lantern by SoFi:

This Lantern website is owned by SoFi Lending Corp., a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license number 6054612; NMLS number 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

All rates, fees, and terms are presented without guarantee and are subject to change pursuant to each provider’s discretion. There is no guarantee you will be approved or qualify for the advertised rates, fees, or terms presented. The actual terms you may receive depends on the things like benefits requested, your credit score, usage, history and other factors.

*Check your rate: To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Lantern conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender(s) you choose will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

All loan terms, including interest rate, and Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and monthly payments shown on this website are from lenders and are estimates based upon the limited information you provided and are for information purposes only. Estimated APR includes all applicable fees as required under the Truth in Lending Act. The actual loan terms you receive, including APR, will depend on the lender you select, their underwriting criteria, and your personal financial factors. The loan terms and rates presented are provided by the lenders and not by SoFi Lending Corp. or Lantern. Please review each lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.

Personal Loan:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Personal Loan product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lenders/partners receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and DisclosuresTerms of Service, and Privacy Policy.

Student Loan Refinance:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Student Loan Refinance product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lender’s receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and DisclosuresTerms of Service, and Privacy Policy.

Student loan refinance loans offered through Lantern are private loans and do not have the debt forgiveness or repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or that may become available, including Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or Pay as you Earn (PAYE).

Notice: Recent legislative changes have suspended all federal student loan payments and waived interest charges on federally held loans until 01/31/22. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans, as in doing so you will no longer qualify for these changes or other future benefits applicable to federally held loans.

Auto Loan Refinance:

Automobile refinancing loan information presented on this Lantern website is from MotoRefi. Auto loan refinance information presented on this Lantern site is indicative and subject to you fulfilling the lender’s requirements, including: you must meet the lender’s credit standards, the loan amount must be at least $10,000, and the vehicle is no more than 10 years old with odometer reading of no more than 125,000 miles. Loan rates and terms as presented on this Lantern site are subject to change when you reach the lender and may depend on your creditworthiness. Additional terms and conditions may apply and all terms may vary by your state of residence.

Secured Lending Disclosure:

Terms, conditions, state restrictions, and minimum loan amounts apply. Before you apply for a secured loan, we encourage you to carefully consider whether this loan type is the right choice for you. If you can’t make your payments on a secured personal loan, you could end up losing the assets you provided for collateral. Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on the ability to meet underwriting requirements (including, but not limited to, a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral) that will vary by lender.

Life Insurance:

Information about insurance is provided on Lantern by SoFi Life Insurance Agency, LLC. Click here to view our licenses.

More from MediaFeed:

How to refinance an auto loan

 

In times of lower interest rates, you may start to wonder about whether you should refinance your auto loan. And why not? According to 2020 data from RateGenius, money saved with a new auto loan is at an all-time high. Auto loan refinancing deals saved borrowers $989.72, on average, in 2020.

 

With that much cash up for grabs, it’s no wonder that auto refinancing loans are in big demand. Key strategies for auto owners who want a good refinance loan experience include being prepared and making sure to understand all the details. Read on for information that may help.

 

Related: Soft vs hard credit inquiry: What you need to know

 

phototechno/ istockphoto

 

When you refinance an auto loan, you’re essentially securing a new auto loan. You use the new loan to pay down the balance of the original car loan. That all takes time, effort and money (for loan applications and servicing fees). That’s why you should be sure you have a good reason before you go to the trouble of taking out an auto refinancing loan.

 

So when should you refinance your auto loan? The fact is that vehicle owners refinance their auto loans for a variety of reasons that can all be worthwhile, depending on the situation. Most often, car owners refinance their loans to achieve the following personal financial goals, such as:

  • To Lower Monthly Auto Loan Payments: Getting a new auto loan at a reduced interest rate can cut monthly payments down, leaving more cash in the till for other household expenses.
  • To Get a Lower Interest Rate: Depending on the loan, a car owner may also be able to save money over the lifetime of the loan by getting a reduced interest rate. Take a vehicle for which the original loan was $25,000 and the refinance loan is $21,000. For a 60-month loan where the interest rate is cut from 7% to 5%, for example, the refinancing could save approximately $6,000 over the life of the loan.
  • To Shorten the Loan Term: Car owners who are cash flush may shorten their loan terms to pay off the car faster, thus saving significant cash with lower interest rate payments.
  • To Extend the Loan Term: Car owners who need some financial breathing room after a job loss, an injury or illness, or a divorce or other issue can extend the term of the loan to reduce monthly (but not overall) loan costs.
  • To Get Some Extra Cash: If you have enough equity in your car, you might be able to take out a refinance loan that’s more than what you owe. That way you could get cash in hand, too. This is called a cash out car refinance. But realize that if you opt for this kind of refinancing, you will still have to pay back both the car loan and the extra money.

Also recommended: If you’re new to the world of auto finance, learning some auto loan terminology may help.

 

istockphoto/demaerre

 

Where does a borrower start with the auto loan refinancing process? Ideally, with a good grip on what a refinancing deal has to offer. Auto loan consumers are best off when they fully understand the entire refinancing. It can help to make sure you have answers to these questions:

  • Do you meet the lender’s financial requirements? While each bank or lender has its own rules and regulations on auto refinancing, many banks have similar lending limits. For example, your auto usually must be less than 10 years old and have less than 125,000 miles on it. While the exact figures may vary from lender to lender, know possible vehicle restrictions heading into any refinancing deal.
  • Are there any prepayment penalties? It’s usually a good idea to pay off an auto loan as soon as possible. Doing so clears the debt and puts more money in your pocket. However, some financial institutions may stick you with a prepayment penalty if you pay off the loan early. Be sure to examine your existing loan contract for any prepayment penalties and factor them into your costs.
  • Do you know the total cost? Before green-lighting an auto loan refinancing deal, you need to know the full cost of refinancing the car. Make sure you know how much you’ll save per month and, even more importantly, over the life of the loan. When you refinance, you may be saving money on a monthly basis but adding more dollars to the overall cost of the vehicle. You’ll want to be sure you’re factoring any fees or penalties, too. A good auto loan refi calculator can be highly useful here.
  • What’s your credit score? Most lenders will expect a minimum credit score from potential borrowers. Typically, a FICO credit score of 700 or more will get you the lowest loan rates on an auto refinancing loan. That said, a FICO score of 660 should ensure that you qualify for a standard auto loan refinancing deal.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

With that prep work complete, now it’s time to figure out the best path to a good auto refinance loan. Get the job done right with these action steps.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Start the auto loan refinancing process with some data-gathering. To file a loan application, you’ll typically need these documents:

  • Your original auto loan: Lending institutions will require the original loan paperwork to process a new loan. The original loan paperwork should include the loan amount, the monthly payment, the interest rate, the payoff number and the up-to-date loan balance
  • Your vehicle information: Auto loan providers will also ask for your current vehicle information (think a Carfax for your own vehicle.) This document should include the vehicle’s make, model, year, mileage and vehicle identification number.
  • Your auto insurance paperwork: Make sure you have your car insurance records, including type of insurance and the amount of the insurance included in the policy. Auto lenders won’t make a loan to an uninsured or significantly underinsured vehicle owner. That’s because the lender has a stake in the vehicle as well. If the car is damaged or totaled, your lender will want to know it was properly insured.
  • Your employment records: Your auto loan refinancing lender may also ask for proof of income and employment, to ensure you have the means to repay the loan.

 

ipuwadol

 

Kick off your auto loan refinancing deal by listing what you want from the loan, such as a lower interest rate, no or low fees, a streamlined application process, and solid customer service. Having a candid conversation with your current financial institution is also a good step to take since it may give you an idea of what kinds of loans you could qualify for. And as you look for refinancing loans, remember that you may also want to explore online auto loan refinancing options since they tend to have fewer fees and competitive rates.

 

gpointstudio / istockphoto

 

When you’ve found the loan you want, follow the instructions to apply. A typical auto refinancing loan application likely includes the following:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address and phone number
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Work status
  • Your bank’s name, address, routing number and checking account number (so the lender can deposit your loan amount, assuming it is not your bank)
  • Your vehicle information
  • Your auto insurance information

Once you complete the application, review it thoroughly to confirm that the information is accurate and up to date. Any discrepancies or missing information may lead to a loan rejection. And know that the lender will likely perform a credit check.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Once your application is approved, your new auto loan provider will pay off your old auto loan or give you the funds to do so, and become your auto loan manager. Future payments will go to the lender who handles your refinanced loan. It is, however, a good idea to confirm with your original lender that the auto loan was paid off and you don’t owe any more payments. After that, be sure you pay the new loan on time and start enjoying the savings from your refinanced auto loan.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Whether you simply want to get an auto loan with more favorable terms or you’re looking to adjust your car loan repayment period, refinancing your auto loan allows you to take advantage of lower rates, put more cash in your pocket, and get a loan that meets your unique personal financial needs. Handled correctly, refinanced auto loans can be a big win-win for vehicle owners, who can gain an auto loan with better terms and potentially save money in the process.

 

Learn more:

This article originally appeared on LanternCredit.comand was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

Lantern by SoFi:

This Lantern website is owned by SoFi Lending Corp., a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license number 6054612; NMLS number 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

All rates, fees, and terms are presented without guarantee and are subject to change pursuant to each provider’s discretion. There is no guarantee you will be approved or qualify for the advertised rates, fees, or terms presented. The actual terms you may receive depends on the things like benefits requested, your credit score, usage, history and other factors.

 

*Check your rate: To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Lantern conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender(s) you choose will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

 

All loan terms, including interest rate, and Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and monthly payments shown on this website are from lenders and are estimates based upon the limited information you provided and are for information purposes only. Estimated APR includes all applicable fees as required under the Truth in Lending Act. The actual loan terms you receive, including APR, will depend on the lender you select, their underwriting criteria, and your personal financial factors. The loan terms and rates presented are provided by the lenders and not by SoFi Lending Corp. or Lantern. Please review each lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.

 

Personal Loan:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Personal Loan product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lenders/partners receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. 

 

More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and DisclosuresTerms of Service, and Privacy Policy.

 

Student Loan Refinance:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Student Loan Refinance product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lender’s receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. 

 

More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and DisclosuresTerms of Service, and Privacy Policy.

 

Student loan refinance loans offered through Lantern are private loans and do not have the debt forgiveness or repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or that may become available, including Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or Pay as you Earn (PAYE).

 

Notice: Recent legislative changes have suspended all federal student loan payments and waived interest charges on federally held loans until 09/30/21. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans, as in doing so you will no longer qualify for these changes or other future benefits applicable to federally held loans.

 

Auto Loan Refinance:

Automobile refinancing loan information presented on this Lantern website is from MotoRefi. Auto loan refinance information presented on this Lantern site is indicative and subject to you fulfilling the lender’s requirements, including: you must meet the lender’s credit standards, the loan amount must be at least $10,000, and the vehicle is no more than 10 years old with odometer reading of no more than 125,000 miles. Loan rates and terms as presented on this Lantern site are subject to change when you reach the lender and may depend on your creditworthiness. Additional terms and conditions may apply and all terms may vary by your state of residence.

 

Secured Lending Disclosure:

Terms, conditions, state restrictions, and minimum loan amounts apply. Before you apply for a secured loan, we encourage you to carefully consider whether this loan type is the right choice for you. If you can’t make your payments on a secured personal loan, you could end up losing the assets you provided for collateral. Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on the ability to meet underwriting requirements (including, but not limited to, a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral) that will vary by lender.

 

Life Insurance:

Information about insurance is provided on Lantern by SoFi Life Insurance Agency, LLC.

 

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Featured Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

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