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Capital One Auto Navigator

Our Two Cents: Capital One Auto Navigator Review

Looking to apply for an auto loan? Let Capital One Auto Navigator help you navigate the car buying process. Don't go to the car lot not knowing what kind of buying power you have. Nothing is more disappointing than falling in love with a car, only to find out that you can't afford it. Capital One has taken the guessing out of the equation with their auto loan product, Auto Navigator.

Step One: Know Your Budget

Before you start looking at cars, it's important to know what your monthly budget is. The average price of a used car is going to be right around $20,000, but what are you prepared to spend? Don't worry. Capital One Auto Navigator has your back here. The first step is going to be a quick payment estimator. Plug in the basics that your're considering for your car purchase. Are you looking for a new or used car? What price are you considering? What is your estimated credit score and how long do you want to make payments for? Someone with average credit, looking to buy a car worth $15,000 can expect a payment of around $380 for 48 payments. Play around with this number until you get to an option on Auto Navigator that you are comfortable with.

Don't forget to include the cost of car maintenance in your budget. If you have a make and model in mind, Edmunds will estimate what your annual insurance, gas, and repair fees are likely to be. Make sure you can afford to drive that car you're about to buy!

Step Two: Know Your Options

At the time of writing, Capital One is offering APRs as low as 3.24%. These are pretty competitive rates, but don't forget to look around. See if your current bank has any auto loan options. Credit Unions are also a solid place to either finance an auto purchase or refinance an existing auto loan. Good auto loan APRs range from 3-5% for well qualified buyers. Fair/Good borrowers can expect to pay between 6-10%, while customers with poor credit can expect to pay north of 11%. On a $15,000 car loan, that can be the difference of $60 or more dollars a month in interest ($720 a year), so make sure you're getting the best rate you can.

Step Three: Get Pre-Qualified

Now that you know how much you can afford, get pre-qualified. Capital One Auto Navigator will request some basic information from you and get your consent to run a soft credit inquiry. Soft credit inquiries don't damage your credit, but they allow the bank to get some information about  your credit score. This allows them to do some basic filtering to see if you are likely to be approved for a financial product. Even if you are pre-qualified, you'll still need to submit a full application for financing. This is when the bank will perform a hard credit inquiry and actually review your full credit profile. Your pre-qualification will be good for a window of time, generally 3-4 weeks. This means you won't be in a rush to find the car of your dreams.

Step Four: Find Your Car

Capital One will display an auto budget if you've been pre-qualified through Auto Navigator. In order to see payment terms, you need to find a car! We'd recommend sorting by the monthly payment you're willing to commit to and a body type. For example, we were searching for a coupe that cost less than $350 a month. Going this route allows us to stay in budget and we only look at cars we can afford. This stopped us from falling in love with that Jeep we know we cannot afford. Instead we found a nice Mustang for $237 a month for 48 months with an APR of 5.47%. Under budget and fun. We'll take it.

Step Five: Buy Your Car

Awesome. Now that you've found your next ride, head on in to a Capital One Auto Navigator dealer. You'll need to show them your Capital One Auto Navigator offer. This will allow the sales person to pull up your customized offer. This is when you'll submit a full on application. Hopefully you'll be driving away in your new car in no time.

Final Thoughts

Capital One has set out to make the car buying process as easy as possible. By removing the guess work, Capital One Auto Navigator has developed a process that helps you narrow down your pool of potential autos based on your buying power.

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