Pros: FAST approval at loans origination. Competitive interest rates.
Cons: Intentionally Slow At Retaining Your Title/Lien And Overpayments. Texas-Based.
Texas-based Capital One Auto Finance is a Dallas, Texas operation (out of Plano, Texas) with its headquarters in McLean. VA (corporate location).
With some very competitive auto finance rates available to consumers with good credit, Capital One may appear to be an excellent alternative to banks or credit unions.
Its operation is a primary web-based system. Loans are administered via its website with telephone follow-up and the mailing of what they call 'BLANK CHECK' which is a check issued so that you can shop with ease at any auto dealership or private party and be prepared to make full payment at once; thus avoiding car dealership pitfalls, traps and excessive interest rates.
My initial experience was a positive one. The authorization process took less than 5 days before the check was in my hand. I simply signed it over to the auto dealership who tried to compete with the loan but couldn't beat it. Having said that, I beat the dealership overall which is part of the game of car shopping.
There are problems though. It is up to the applicant (that's you) to stay on top of this loan at all times. The payment process is automated and comes from your checking account or atm/debit card. If you find yourself with a card about to expire, make sure you update Capital One ASAP or a hefty fee will be charged against your account and a negative late report to credit reporting agencies will occur against your credit history. That's fair enough and without complaint.
Here's where my complaint comes in against Capital One Auto Finance...
When it is time to payoff that loan or close the loan out, you'll be provided with a 'payoff' figure or amount due. It is essential that you FED EX the payment to Capital One. It changes every week... If you pay too much, they will 'HOLD' your overpayment funds for an excessive 45 days! 45 days also is a warning that if you sell your car off and the buyer issues you a cashiers check for the full amount and you only owe Capital One the loan balance, they will deposit that cashiers check, close out your loan for what is due that day and retain the balance for 45 days, thus preventing many from purchasing another car or applying for another loan.
Capital One also holds what is the LIEN to that loan or auto. Your new buyer needs and wants that LIEN in most cases. Yet, they will delay the process as much as possible with the LIEN being released one month or more after the loan pay-off. Sound fair? Is that legal? Probably in Texas it is...
Texas-based companies have a reputation for inflicting harm against consumers and Capital One Auto Finance is no exception. While Capital One Auto Finance may be lightening fast at approval, they are 100% opposite at closure and with intent. It is 'interest paid' to them while utilizing your money and/or LIEN.
Contact is difficult. Their website is a decent web-site but search and search for address or corporate officer information and you'll find a minimal attempt at disclosure.
Toll-free lines, P.O. Boxes and email contacts are evident. Officers and corporate address information is not.
If you can utilize their better than average interest rates and tolerate their sub-standard service levels, you will be getting a bargain for the term of the loan if you stay on top of it and don't get caught in one of their Catch-22 situations. And if you have the month to wait for your LIEN or TITLE at loans end or can wait the 45 days for reimbursement for any overpayment, then possibly Capital One Auto Finance is a good choice in auto loans.