Citizens One Bank Auto Loans Review

Citizens One Auto Loans is a subsidiary of the well-known Citizens Bank, which has been in operation since 1871. The bank’s auto loan offerings are entirely separate from its other financial operations and are handled at the dealership level. This means that Citizens One Auto Loans rates, fees and loan amounts aren’t consistent since they’re all subject to negotiation at individual dealerships. If you’re interested in a Citizens One auto loan, there are more than 6,700 dealership partners nationwide.

Citizens One auto loans at a glance

Lender Loan Amount APR Range Terms Key Benefit
Citizens One Auto Loans Varies by dealership Varies by dealership Varies by dealership More than 6,700 dealerships in its network

What we like about it

Citizens One Auto Loans are easy to find with more than 6,700 participating dealerships nationwide. Because these auto loans are all handled by financing personnel at individual dealerships, buyers can negotiate everything from APR to fees and term lengths.

Buyers can also apply for auto loans from Citizens One for both new and used vehicles, and the company offers an online portal that allows buyers to view their current loan amount, pay their bill or update title information.

Things to consider

While it’s easy to find a dealership part of the Citizens One auto loan program, it’s harder to quantify exactly what terms, fees and APR you’ll get when applying. That’s because dealerships are responsible for individually negotiating these terms and conditions — Citizens Bank simply provides funding for these loans after the contract is complete.

If you’re equipped with information about the best auto loan rates and you’re willing to negotiate on loan rates and term lengths, a Citizens One Auto Loan could be a great fit for your next car purchase. If you prefer fixed rates and ranges, however, Citizens One isn’t the ideal choice. This dealership-based approval model also means Citizens One auto loans aren’t the best auto loans for bad credit, since dealers prefer higher credit scores to reduce the risk of potential loan defaults.

Finally, Citizens One reviews are a bit lackluster, with customers giving the company one out of five stars with the Better Business Bureau. Common Citizens One ratings state customers have problems with billing.

[Read: Best Auto Loan Rates for 2020]

What you need to know

Because the terms, rates and conditions of Citizens One auto loans aren’t set by the company directly, details such as the maximum lending amount, total APR and any extra fees for your loan processing are all handled at the dealership level.

This means that instead of applying at the bank in-person or completing an online form through the Citizens One website, you’ll need to bring the relevant documentation, including:

  • Proof of income, such as a pay stub or recent paycheck statement.
  • Existing loan data, including credit card balances, mortgage amounts or lease agreements.
  • Proof of residency such as a recent utility or credit card statement.
  • Proof of insurance for your new vehicle.

To apply for a Citizens One auto loan, you’ll need to bring all your documents directly to the dealership and negotiate terms with its financing staff. Typically, this includes a credit check, completion of an in-person application form and confirmation of your financial details. Once approved, the loan will be financed by Citizens One and you can make payments directly to the lender online.

Collateral and criteria

Loan eligibility for Citizens One loans is determined on a case-by-case basis at the dealership level. Citizens One personal loans are not secured loans, meaning you won’t need to provide collateral — but you also won’t benefit from the lower interest rates often associated with these secured loans.

While criteria for approval varies by dealership, expect financing staff to perform a credit check and ensure your debt-to-income ratio is low enough to ensure monthly payments are made on time.

Citizens One Bank auto loans vs. the competition

OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial SimpleScore: 1.5/5

OneMain Financial makes it easy to check for offers online and find a local branch to apply for your auto loan in-person. Unlike Citizens One, loan agreements are made directly with OneMain Financial rather than individual dealerships. OneMain has just 1,500 locations across 44 states compared to 6,700 participating Citizens One dealerships. Its best-case APR is 18%, and the company will lend a maximum of $20,000.

Despite higher-than-average APR and relatively low total loan maximums, OneMain Financial provides concrete data about its offerings, making it a better overall choice. Read our full OneMain Financial review.

[Read: How to Get Out of Your Car Loan]

Capital One

Capital One SimpleScore: 4.6/5

Just like Citizens Bank, Capital One has its own auto loan offering. Unlike Citizens One, however, Capital One handles auto loans directly and allows interested clients to pre-qualify online. Approved loans can be used at 12,000 dealerships nationwide, and both new and used auto loans are offered.

When it comes to the details, Capital One offers APR as low as 3.79%, auto loan refinancing rates between 4.33% and 24.99%, terms between 36 and 72 months and loan amounts up to $50,000. There’s really no competition here — if you qualify, Capital One is your better choice for a new auto loan, used vehicle loan or vehicle refinancing. Read our full Capital One auto loans review.

Too long, didn’t read?

While Citizens One Auto Loans are offered by more than 6,700 dealerships nationwide, the lack of consistent APR, term length and fee information makes this lender hard to recommend. Combined with a 2/5 J.D. Power Customer satisfaction score, Citizens One can’t compete with other lenders — such as OneMain Financial or Capital One — when it comes to great auto loan and refinancing options for new or used vehicles.

Keep reading

Editor’s Note: The SimpleScore is our proprietary scoring system to rate and review brands and products. Due to the nature of Citizens One auto loans, we are unable to gather the data necessary to assign it a comprehensive SimpleScore, so it has been omitted from our scoring system.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the auto loans we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

An award-winning finance, technology and security writer, Doug has a knack for distilling complex concepts down into actionable, readable copy that generates interest and drives engagement.

Reviewed by

  • Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.