The top-three car-finance companies turn the majority of their focus to the sub-prime market, meaning they make loans to borrowers with less than perfect credit or match these buyers with ideal financing sources. While these are risky business models, they offer credit-challenged buyers the chance to get into a newer car and they give said buyers the opportunity to rebuild their credit. The three most notable car-finance companies are:
Bar None has specialized in providing second-chance or sub-prime loans to borrowers with less-than-stellar credit since 1995. The company is based in Columbia, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. and stands by its trademarked motto, "Everyone deserves a second chance!" by bringing together borrowers, lenders and dealers. Prospective car buyers know the company for its television ads featuring a sock-puppet dog that holds a microphone. According to the company's website, it has helped 5 million people to date with loans to purchase a vehicle. Information provided through the Bar None website passes the Better Business Bureau's Online Reliability Program. This ensures the safety and protection of information transmitted by individuals through the site.
CarsDirect helps more credit-challenged customers find car loans than any other website in the country. Based in El Segundo, California, CarsDirect was founded in 1998 by Scott Painter on the premise of making car buying easy. The company works with a network of dealers who specialize in financing car loans. The dealer has access to a number of financial institutions and will shop around to find you the best deal. Just fill out a simple application and you will be on your way to receiving a car loan.
Autobytel broke into the automotive world in 1995 and is one of the oldest web-based car-buying services. The company’s home office is in Irvine, California and it trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol "ABTL." It works with a network of dealers to offer a wide variety of new and used models. Through a partnership with Car.com, the company also matches buyers with challenged credit with lenders who are willing to work with them. The site maintained by Autobytel is VeriSign secured, which means that personal information is encrypted for safety and security.
Bar None, CarsDirect and Autobytel are three of the most recognized names in the industry when it comes to sub-prime lending. These companies have played a part in the more than 45 million used cars sold in the country, serving an estimated 40 percent of the population who fall in the sub-prime credit risk pool. The ability to assess risk in this market and make loan offerings is a specialty shared by these three companies.