Liz Knueven is a freelance writer covering cars and auto finance topics, and she loves electric vehicles. Her experience includes writing for national-level brands and working at a dealership. Find her on Twitter at @lizknueven.
Innovative Funding Services specializes in three types of loans: auto loan refinancing, loans for purchasing a vehicle at the end of its lease and fleet car purchases. While itâ€™s not a direct lender, it is possible to check what rate you might receive through one of its 10 lender partners. Weâ€™ll give you an idea of what you might expect if youâ€™re considering IFS.
Innovative Funding Services: At a glance
Minimum credit score: You might qualify for a loan through IFS with a credit score as low as 525.
APRs: As low as 1.89% for a fleet car purchase, but you may have to complete a full application in order to see what rates are available to you.
Terms: Up to 72 months
IFS functions as a go-between for lenders and borrowers in all 50 states interested in one of three types of loans:
Refinancing: Itâ€™s possible to save money by refinancing your auto loan, especially if you can lower your interest rate. You could check possible rates by filling out a form on Innovative Funding Servicesâ€™ website, but you may not know your exact terms until you complete a full application.
Lease purchase: When your lease is ending on your car, Innovative Funding Services could help with the buyout process. Of course, you always have the option to turn in your vehicle and walk away or lease or buy another. Like refinancing through IFS, you may not know your exact rates and terms until you complete an application. You may be able to request a certain loan term. Rates for those with the best credit may be as low as 4%.
Fleet car purchase: Innovative Funding Services partners with Avis Car Sales to offer financing on its used rental vehicles. In other words, those who buy an Avis vehicle and finance it through the company will actually be working with IFS. Weâ€™ll talk more about the process in a minute, but the rates for buying an Avis car through IFS may be as low as 1.89%.
A plus of working with Innovative Funding Services is that the company works with borrowers who have credit scores as low as 525. If youâ€™ve been struggling to get approved for auto financing through more traditional means, this online company could provide a viable alternative. They do not offer any financing for motorcycles or RVs, but IFS does provide a range of supplemental services:
Warranties: Covers eligible repairs for mechanical breakdowns.
GAP insurance: Guaranteed Auto Protection, or Guaranteed Asset Protection, is insurance that covers the difference (or gap) between the amount you owe on your auto loan and what your insurance pays if your vehicle is stolen, damaged or totaled. There may be times when GAP insurance is useful and others when itâ€™s unnecessary, but itâ€™s always a good idea to compare Innovative Funding Servicesâ€™ rates with other GAP providers.
Road hazard protection: Innovative Funding Services sells a plan covering roadside assistance and damage from certain road hazards, but again, itâ€™s not the only one. Compare rates from other companies, like AAA or other motor clubs or what may already be provided by your insurance company.
How to apply for financing
Before you start the application process, you might want to be sure that a lease buyout, auto refinance or buying a rental car is truly right for you. Checking your credit score can be a good place to start â€” itâ€™s important to know whether youâ€™ve had any major changes going into a new loan.
If buying a fleet vehicle or your leased car or refinancing your current auto loan makes sense for you, Innovative Funding Services offers a convenient online application that allows you to see what rate and terms you may receive without a hard pull on your credit. To fill it out, youâ€™ll need the following information and documents:
Type of loan youâ€™re seeking: IFS gives you several options: auto refinance, lease purchase or company car purchase, or the latter two with cash payment.
Application type: You can apply as an individual or for a joint application with a co-signer.
Personal Information: IFS asks for general information, like your phone number, address, birthday and citizenship status.
Annual income: The application also inquires about your income and rent or mortgage payment.
Once youâ€™ve found a rate and terms you can work with, youâ€™ll need to gather additional information for a full application including:
Current driverâ€™s license and proof of insurance: Youâ€™ll need to have an up-to-date insurance policy on the vehicle.
Information on the vehicle: Specifically, IFS wants to see a photo of the odometer â€” and since it serves lease buyout and refinance customers, youâ€™ll already have the vehicle in your possession. It also asks to see current vehicle registration, as well as a title if applicable in your state.
Proof of residence: IFS may also require proof that tax liens have been paid and previous bankruptcies have been discharged.
IFS will do a soft pull of your credit report for the initial application that allows you to see possible rates, but the full application will mean a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit. But it shouldnâ€™t negatively impact your credit to fill out multiple applications any more than it does to fill out one, as long as you do so within 14 days.
Itâ€™s always a good idea to shop around with several different lenders and types of lenders including online lenders, credit unions and traditional banks to compare their offers so you get the best deal. Remember that itâ€™s about more than the monthly payment â€” youâ€™ll also want to consider the cost of borrowing over the life of the loan, as well as compare terms and rates available to you.
After you apply, youâ€™ll have to wait a few days for the decision. IFS states that its application and approval process requires about three days for results. After you get your approval, it is valid for 20 days, and you can move forward with your refinance or lease buyout within that period.
Shopping and applying for an Avis vehicle
Buying a rental car can offer buyers good deals on well-maintained vehicles without the high pressure of a traditional car lot. But there are several drawbacks, too â€” youâ€™ll be restricted to whatâ€™s available at the rental car sales outlet, plus rental cars often have high miles. Hereâ€™s how it works through Avis, though you can find out more here.
Look for cars in your area: You can search by make, model, style, price or mileage by your ZIP code.
Book a test drive: Once you find a car you like, you can test drive the car on your own for up to two hours at no charge though you will need to provide a valid driverâ€™s license and credit card. A perk of test driving a rental car is that you can keep the car longer and Avis treats it like a rental â€” as little as $46 per day, up to three days.
Apply for financing: If you decide to buy the car and finance it through Avis, your application goes to IFS. An IFS Personal Auto Consultant answers any questions after your test drive and walks you through the application process by phone or via email. It also may be possible to use an auto loan you obtained through your bank, credit union or online lender.
The fine print
But before you start filling out the application, here are some fast facts you should know about Innovative Funding Services so that you can make the best choice for you.
Income requirements: You must earn at least $1,500 per month in order to qualify for financing from IFS.
Be in good standing on other loans: IFS will not lend to those who have open bankruptcies or a repossession on their credit report. They also require that you are not past due on your current auto loan or mortgage.
Vehicle requirements: IFS lenders will only finance vehicles 2010 or newer, with less than 150,000 miles.
Fees: The lender that you are assigned may charge fees.
Itâ€™s important to remember that IFS will not be your loan servicer. Youâ€™ll need to read any offers closely and look for any fees they might include.
Pros and cons of financing through Innovative Funding Services
If youâ€™re looking at doing your fleet vehicle purchase, vehicle refinancing or lease buyout through Innovative Funding Services, there are a few things to consider. While IFS acts as a marketplace that selects the best deal for you from a number of lenders, it shouldnâ€™t be the only place you look. Knowing what is available to you is key to getting the best rates and terms for you.
Highlights of Innovative Funding Services auto loans
Poor credit accepted: IFS is willing to work with those with as low a credit score as 525. According to Experian, a credit score of 525 would fall into the very poor range. Credit scores between 500 and 600 are considered â€śsubprime,â€ť meaning that it could be harder to get approved by other lenders.
Available in all 50 states: IFS works with customers nationwide.
Lowlights of Innovative Funding Services auto loans
Limited information online: IFS does not give much information on its website about its lenders, the fees they charge or the rates or terms they offer until you apply. However, you could apply in order to see rates and terms without a negative impact to your credit.
Limited service offerings: This company is only for those looking to refinance or buy out a lease or a fleet vehicle. Innovative Funding Services does not arrange financing for new or used dealership buying or private party loans.
The bottom line: Who is an Innovative Funding Services auto loan best for?
This service is likely to be a good fit for someone who falls into the lower credit score ranges and needs to refinance for lower payments or to remove a cosigner. As its lenders are willing to take on loans for those with credit scores as low as 525, lower credited borrowers could be approved through IFS.
Those with poor credit and looking for lease buyout services and loans to buy a fleet will also find them here. Oftentimes, it may be difficult to obtain lease buyout loans if you donâ€™t have prime credit, but this service could provide an exception. If youâ€™re interested in buying a car through Avis Car Sales, you may also wind up working with Innovative Funding Services.
However, borrowers need to be careful and do their homework when considering this service. While this is true of any lender, this specific lender makes very little information available to you as a prospective customer on its website. Make sure that youâ€™ve shopped around in addition to using this online service â€” even with less-than-stellar credit, there could be other offers available to you, so comparing them is important.
The rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.
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