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Wells Fargo Auto Loan review

Wells Fargo auto loans are well suited to those with low credit scores and high expectations for new cars.

Wells Fargo Auto Loan review
(Image: © Wells Fargo)

Our Verdict

While the interest rates are not the best on the market, the services and support that surround the Wells Fargo offering make it a worthy choice, especially if you have bad credit.

For

  • No down payment required
  • All credit scores given consideration

Against

  • Limited dealer choices
  • Lengthy approval process

Wells Fargo Auto Loans is only one of two auto loan companies in this review series to not have an accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. Ordinarily this lack of accreditation should give you pause but this isn’t a pop-up shop that will run away with your money and reputation. Wells Fargo has been in business for more than 100 years. The company determines your APR based on your credit score, the age of your vehicle and the terms of the loan. This can be as low as 3.90% on a new car but can get higher than 5% if you’re looking to purchase a used car from a dealership. 

You are also obliged to purchase your vehicle from one of the bank's approved dealers which does limit your reach. Also, you won’t be able to access an auto loan from Wells Fargo if you’re in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Dakota or Washington D.C. On the plus side, it considers loans to anyone - regardless of credit score - and that means it's one of the best auto loan services for anyone in debt or struggling with other finances.

Wells Fargo Auto Loan review: How the process works

Key specs

Application process:  Direct dealer application or call
APR: From 3.90% dependent on amount, terms and credit score
Fees: Fees apply, not disclosed
Loan terms: New vehicle, used vehicle

  • Locked into a network of authorized dealers
  • Slow and cumbersome enrollment process

Wells Fargo has made a lot of effort to give you a lot of information about its rules, regulations and approved dealers but it doesn’t give you a big red button to push when you want to get started. 

You will have to give the bank a call to find out more about the process, which may or may not remove your will to live depending on how long you sit on hold, or you can go to one of the approved dealers (there are 11,000) and simply start the process from there. Don’t expect it to be quick, either. Wells Fargo can take up to a week to approve your loan – this is not where you go when you need to urgently purchase a car. Someone like Bank of America Auto Loans provide much quicker approval.

However, one big advantage Wells Fargo Auto Loans has, is that it will consider lending to those with lower credit scores. While there's no guarantee of approval, and the rates will be a little higher, you're not completely locked out, as you would be with many other providers.

Wells Fargo Auto Loan review: Ease of use and customer reviews

  • Mixed customer reviews
  • Traditional, steady way of managing your auto loan

Wells Fargo is a good bet for anyone who has already got an account with the bank or for someone who would like to put all their financial eggs in one basket. You can use the online platform to manage all your finances in one and you get the benefit of access to a bunch of other services and loan options. In that way, it's similar to U.S. Bank Auto Loans.

That said, it has had mixed reviews from customers on Best Company and ConsumerAffairs with some praising the customer service and dependable platform and others claiming the customer service is shocking and the telephone waits are lengthy. 

Wells Fargo offers loans for those with lower credit scores

Wells Fargo offers loans for those with lower credit scores. (Image credit: Phil Hall)

Wells Fargo Auto Loan review: Is it transparent, accessible and usable?

  • Accessible FAQ on the landing page
  • Plenty of information to hand

Wells Fargo does offer up a lot of information and has its own dedicated Car Loan FAQ. That doesn’t make the FAQ any good though. You can’t find out about fees – the search function is abysmal and a search for ‘auto loan fees’ or ‘auto loan calculator’ will turn up more than 190 search results and they start with ‘mortgage fees’ and ‘student loan calculator’. 

It’s tedious hunting for information using the website, especially around fees and APR rates. Your best bet is to call, get the information on paper and take it from there. Providers like LightStream Auto Loans or Ally Auto Loans are much easier to use.

Should you choose a Wells Fargo Auto Loan?

Wells Fargo is solid, reliable and comes with a weighty, old-fashioned reputation that is a little stuck in the past (a fact borne out by its lengthy approval process and limited digital engagement options). If you’re already a customer or have a fairly low credit score, then Wells Fargo is a good choice for you. If not, you may prefer to go with someone who lets you buy the car of your choice without being locked into a specific dealer group and who can give you approval in less than 60 seconds, like many Wells Fargo competitors.