Capital One Auto Loan Rates – Why They Are So Hard To Find

By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

Some auto loan lenders will let you see a quick “ballpark” estimate of the interest rate you might get on your car loan based on loan amount, length of the loan, etc. But not Capital One. Capital One runs their auto lending in a way that essentially forces you to get “pre-qualified” to have any idea of what rate you might get on your loan.

This makes sense as a sales tactic — once you’ve pre-qualified, you’re more likely to continue the process with Capital One. But it’s a little frustrating if you’re just trying to do initial research.

How To See Capital One Auto Loan Rates

What you’ll have to do to see Capital One’s rates is to fill out their pre-qualification form, which will ask you a number of questions about your current income, living situation (own vs. rent, time at current residence), Social Security Number, and more:

This information will lead Capital One to do a “soft pull” of your credit report. (A “soft pull” or “soft inquiry” means it will not affect your credit score in any way.) Based on your credit history and the information you filled out, you’ll likely be “pre-qualified” for 30 days:

In theory, this will let you see your auto loan rates from Capital One, but in truth, you don’t see any rates until you actually search for available new and used cars through Capital One’s Auto Navigator:

Once you have searched available vehicles from local dealers, you can then see the current interest rate you would be offered on a car or truck, as well as the monthly payment (based on an assumed down payment and loan term such as 60 months):

The last time I used it, I was seeing auto loan rates of 2.45% for new cars and rates as high as 7.42% for used cars.



The Rules

To qualify for an auto loan through Capital One, all of the following must be true:

  • You are financing at least $4000 of the vehicle’s price.
  • The vehicle is 2011 model year or newer with less than 120,000 miles.
  • You are financing a specific vehicle available at a local dealer within Capital One’s network. (Your prequalification is not for other vehicles you might find on your own.)

Note also that Capital One prequalifications do not guarantee the car loan rate. Until you have settled on a car and your loan application has been approved (which will require a “hard inquiry” on your credit report that will affect your credit score slightly), your actual loan rate with Capital One is not finalized. (Though in most cases it should be very close if not exact.)

In the end, you can get a good estimate of Capital One’s auto loan rates, but you’ll be forced to offer up some personal information to do so. While on one hand this is a hassle, on the other hand it does give you more personalized information.