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Find the Best Auto Loan Companies in Baltimore, MD

Baltimore residents take out car loans to pay for a new and used vehicles. Banks, credit unions, dealerships and auto finance companies all offer these loans. The Baltimore Sun has partnered with ConsumerAffairs to create this guide by comparing customer reviews and loan offers of 48 businesses and choosing eight favorites from the top car financing companies in Baltimore.

Companies pay ConsumerAffairs to be accredited, and The Baltimore Sun and/or ConsumerAffairs may receive compensation when you click a link, call a number or fill out a form on this site.

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Compare Baltimore Car Financing Companies

Comparing auto loans in Baltimore

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When shopping for auto loans, be sure to get quotes from various lenders. Compare offers from banks, credit unions, dealerships and auto financing specialists. Be aware of the different car loan types available, including simple interest, secured loans, unsecured loans, precomputed interest loans, lease buyouts and car refinancing. Before signing a loan agreement, make sure you understand the interest rate, length of the loan, amount and frequency of payments, penalty for prepayment and the total cost of the loan (how much you will pay in interest and fees over the life of the loan).

  • Down payment: A car loan down payment is the amount you pay upfront for the vehicle. Some lenders offer deals with no down payment, but that will mean higher monthly payments and most likely higher interest rates. For buyers who can afford a substantial down payment, it lowers the amount you have to take out on a loan and can also lower the interest rate the lender charges. A larger down payment typically saves you money in the long run.
  • Term length: Term length refers to how long you will be paying off the loan. A secured car loan typically ranges from three to seven years, while unsecured auto loans have shorter terms. If you can afford to pay the loan off quickly, a short term length saves you interest. Longer term lengths are good for customers who want low monthly payments. Auto refinancing loans might have a lower interest rate and monthly payments, but could take longer to pay off than your original loan.
  • Taxes and fees: When you purchase a car you pay sales tax on the price of the car, along with fees for registration and title. If you have excellent credit, the lender might allow you to roll the taxes and fees into your loan. If your credit is average or poor, you might have to pay auto loan taxes and fees upfront. Dealership financing typically includes taxes and fees in the amount of your loan.
  • Interest rate: The interest rate is the amount the lender charges you to borrow money. To compare the cost to borrow from different lenders, look for the APR on a loan, which includes interest and fees. Unsecured loans have a higher APR, while secured loans have a lower APR. According to Business Insider, car loan interest rates at the time of publishing typically range from as low as 4% APR for borrowers with good credit to as high as 14% or more for those with poor credit.

When shopping for car loans, many lenders offer calculators that show you your monthly payments and total cost of the loan based on interest rate and term length. Using term length and interest rate from your research, along with the down payment you can afford, plug in the numbers to figure out how much you’ll pay per month and how much the financing will cost you.

As an example, consider the purchase of a 2018 Honda Accord for $22,895. With no down payment, a 60-month loan at 4% interest costs $422 per month. Over the life of the loan you will pay $25,320. If you make a down payment of $3,000, your monthly payment will be $367 and the total cost of the loan will be $22,020.

With interest of 7% and no down payment, the monthly payment goes up to $454, for a total cost of $27,240 over 60 months. A $3,000 down payment will lower payments to $394 per month and the total cost to $23,640. Before you accept a loan offer, carefully look over the numbers to understand the actual cost. Remember that taxes and fees may be additional costs. To make things easier, ask the dealership for the “out the door” price, which includes all costs associated with your initial purchase.

Applying for a car loan in Baltimore

If you apply for an auto loan from the dealership where you are buying the car, you will need to provide your name, address, current driver’s license, Social Security number, income information and proof of insurance. Car financing specialists and banks have similar requirements. The dealership’s finance department or the lender will pull your credit score. Review your credit history first to check for mistakes and ways to improve your score before applying for a car loan.

A lender looks at your credit score, along with your income, to make sure you can afford to pay back the loan. It also looks at any debts you have. Bad credit can affect the lender’s decision. You could be denied a loan altogether or you could be approved at a very high interest rate and wind up paying a high cost over the life of the loan. Many auto loan specialists work with customers who have poor credit to find affordable solutions. Consider financing a used vehicle if you have a low credit score.

After you qualify for a loan, make sure you understand fees the lender charges before accepting it. Depending on what type of car loan you qualify for, you might also have to provide collateral. Secured car loans are typically tied to the vehicle you are buying as collateral: If you are unable to pay the loan, you must surrender the vehicle back to the lender. You might also be able to use another vehicle you own, your home equity or a savings account as collateral for a secured auto loan.

Baltimore auto loan FAQ

What is the average monthly car payment in Baltimore?

The average monthly car payment in Maryland is $330 for used cars and $527 for new cars, according to AutoWise.

How do car loans work?

Car loans can be obtained from the dealership or through a lender like a bank, credit union or auto loan specialist. When you accept financing from the dealer, you complete the process at the dealership when you buy the car. When you take a loan from a different source, you secure the financing and arrange payment to the dealership.

What is a good credit score to buy a car?

A credit score (FICO Score) of at least 670 is considered good. A score of 740 or above is very good, while anything 800 or above is exceptional. You can get a car loan with a credit score below 670, but you should expect higher rates and fewer offers from lenders.

How old of a car will a bank finance?

It’s typically more difficult to finance a vehicle that is 10 or more years old. Some lenders, however, do provide loans for older vehicles.

Baltimore car loan company information

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Auto Approve

Auto Approve helps you compare and apply for auto refinancing loans. When you sign up, a consultant will help find the right loan for you. The company specializes in finding the lowest rate for your personal situation from various types of lenders, including banks, credit unions and finance companies. Customers receive free quotes. Term lengths range from 12 to 84 months. Auto Approve’s rates start at 1.9% APR for qualified customers.

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Auto Credit Express

Auto Credit Express specializes in no credit/bad credit car loans for new and used vehicles. Lenders include credit unions, banks, dealers and finance specialists. You can fill out a form online to request a loan and find out how much you qualify to borrow. The company can help you find an auto loan for as little as $500 down with a credit score below 500. The process can take less than two days. Auto Credit Express provides loans that range from 24 to 72 months.

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Central Credit Union of Maryland

Central Credit Union of Maryland offers car loans and refinancing in Baltimore. There are no fees for refinancing your existing auto loan from another lender. Customers can apply online 24/7. You can get pre-qualified and take the loan offer to the dealership when you’re ready to purchase the car. The company’s car loan terms range from 24 to 84 months. APR for a new or used car loan starts at 2.49%. Visit Central Credit Union of Maryland for more information at 8501 La Salle Road, Baltimore, MD 21286.

Central Credit Union of Maryland

M&T Bank

M&T Bank offers secured auto loans in Baltimore with rates ranging from 3.64% to 14.29% APR at the time of publishing. You can finance new or used vehicles. Terms go up to 84 months. The minimum loan amount is $2,000. You can take up to 30 days to make your purchase after your loan is approved. The bank offers discounts for customers who already have bank accounts.

M&T Bank

Truist

Truist, formerly called BB&T, is a regional bank that offers car loans for purchasing and refinancing. Loans are good for dealers or private party purchases. Customers can use the loan calculator on the website to compare loan costs. Apply for a car loan in person at one of the Baltimore branches, including one at 2530 Quarry Lake Drive, Baltimore, MD 21209.

Truist

Arundel Federal Savings Bank

Arundel Federal Savings Bank offers traditional simple interest auto loans in Baltimore. Rates on new vehicles range from 2.625% to 4.49%, with term lengths from 24 to 84 months. The minimum loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum is $50,000. The bank also finances used cars for rates from 2.87% to 4.865%. Visit Arundel Federal Savings Bank for more information at 333 E. Patapsco Ave., Baltimore, MD 21225.

Arundel Federal Savings Bank

Capital One

Capital One is a national bank offering traditional simple interest car loans and refinancing. Customers can use the online loan calculator to compare payments and loan costs. The company also offers an online car shopping service that allows you to find the car you want and apply for a loan for it. Customers can pre-qualify before visiting the dealer to purchase a car. The company’s auto loans range from 36 to 72 months. Capital One has multiple locations in the area, including one at 6504 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore, MD 21215.

Capital One

Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union

Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union offers auto loan rates as low as 1.9% APR for 60 months. The company offers loans for new, used and specialty vehicles. Customers can get preapproved and take their loan offer to the dealership. Term lengths go up to 84 months. The credit union also provides refinancing, gap insurance, auto loan debt protection and extended auto warranties. Financing is available for vehicles over 10 years old. Customers can apply online and use the loan calculator on the website to compare rates. Ask about discounts for automated payments. Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union has three locations in the area, including one at 8640 Ridgelys Choice Drive, Baltimore, MD 21236.

Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union