I opened an auto loan with Capital One in April 2011. So far, my experience with them has been positive. In fact, I was late one month and they agreed to waive the late fee. I was not required to put any money down on a 2011 Honda CRV. On the other hand, my interest rate is on the high side. When I applied for a loan with them my credit was a mess.
Most people are not going to create a post that say's "I financed with Cap 1 blank check and the process went normally". The ones who experience problems are going to be the only one's that post. Although I don't have hard numbers i would be willing to bet that Cap 1 processes thousands of loans per month and most go smoothly. They generally have dealers within a network that you are directed to based on your purchase requirement and they deal with Cap 1 blank checks all the time.
If you do go that route don't be afraid to see if the dealer can find financing at a better rate if you believe that your credit should be eligible.
I'm an Internet Sales Manager for a Ford Store. We are also a "Platinum Dealer" with Capital One Auto Finance. We hold a number of Cap One "Pre-Approved" sales events during the year where pre-approved customers are directed to our dealership to buy their new or used vehicle. The checks to which you are referring are absolutely legit. However, there are (as you will no doubt find out in reading all the fine print) "Conditions" and "Stipulations" (stips, as we lovingly refer to them) attached to each pre-approval, i.e.. year model range, mileage, vehicle class (Forget about financing a 1 ton truck or Cargo Van, they won't do them, period), etc.
Once you have picked out the vehicle you want, the Sales Manager or Finance Manager has to submit the vehicle and purchase money structure to Cap One for final approval. In most cases, things go smoothly and the customer takes delivery of their new vehicle, but there have been hiccup on occasion.
Also, depending on your score, in most cases we have been able to get that same customer approved with other lenders (including "prime" and not just sub-prime) with whom the customer got better terms and a better rate. So, do your due diligence. A "Pre-Approval" check is actually your opportunity to "better deal" the lender.
I have a capital one auto loan that I opened in Feb of 2011. My credit was not great, so I took a shot and ended up with a 7% interest rate, which is not bad considering my credit score at the time. I planned to refinance after a bit (I will next month, hopefully). The experience was absolutely painless and actually gave me the edge at the dealership.
-I applied and was approved for the loan
-I checked the cap1 website and found a list of dealers who accept the cap1 check in my area, choosing one based on the kinds of vehicles I was interested in
-The particular dealership I chose is big on internet sales, so I looked up the cars they had available and found the one I wanted
-I researched the true value of the car on a couple of websites, looked up what rebates were being offered, etc
-I emailed the internet salesperson and told him I would be paying with a check, and gave him a figure (left a little on the bone for him, and still got a really good deal)
-He accepted and a friend drove me over after work and I tested the car
-Spent about 30 minutes filling out paperwork and then drove the car home
I did let the dealership check into financing for me, but they couldn't come close to the cap1 interest rate due to my credit score. When I got the denial report in the mail, my score was, I think, 650.
They did not ask for any down payment. You don't have to use the full check value. There are no penalties for paying the loan off early. I've had nothing but a positive experience thus far. *knock on wood*
Ok. Thanks a lot. That was really helpful! So are the capital one approvals always sub prime? My score is 665. Up 15 points from 2 months ago. What's hurting me is my credit cards are close to the limits. Once I pay them down I should be in the 700's hopefully by the time I'm ready to buy in 6 months. Thanks again. So are they subprime?
No, thay are not always sub-prime. They actually run the full gamut. Had a guy the other day who had 1.99% preapproval with USAA, and I got him done with Cap One at 1.79%. The guy was a bullet (credit wise). So, no they are not strictly sub-prime, they can be really competitive if they really want the deal. Hope that helps.