After a brief hiatus, our monthly rate report is back — and just in time for interest rate savings.
The monthly Auto Refinance Rate Report is an analysis of anonymized completed auto refinance applications and funded (closed) loans in the RateGenius — and now AUTOPAY — lender networks. This is the first report examining data from our combined network of more than 180 lenders.
This Month’s Auto Refinance Highlights
● The current average interest rate has risen to 5.55% (up 0.19% since November) but is still well below the average at this time last year (March 2021: 6.23%).
● Subprime credit profiles are getting much better rates: the average interest rates for approved borrowers with scores below 640 were between 2% and 5% lower than a year ago, depending on loan terms.
● The average interest rate reduction has ticked upward (+0.26%) since RateGenius released its State of Auto Refinance 2022 Report.
Here’s the Auto Refinance Rate Report for March 2022.
Current Average Interest Rate
Current Average Interest Rate Savings
Current Average Monthly Payment Savings
March 2022 Auto Refinance Rates
📝 The current average auto refinance interest rate is 5.55%. This is an average across all loan terms (36 to 72 months) and all credit profiles for loans approved in the RateGenius and AUTOPAY networks over the last 30 days.
Although the current average interest rate rose slightly relative to our last report, there was scattered variance across loan terms and credit scores. Rates for borrowers with Good and Excellent credit scores rose — but they’re still well below the national average. Even those with Fair credit scores (640 – 699) snagged better-than-average rates, so long as they had a 36-month loan term.
Additionally, subprime borrowers are in a much better spot than they were five months ago. The average interest rate of new loans for borrowers with Poor (<640) credit was between 2% and 5% lower (depending on loan term) compared to the same figure in November.
Should I refinance my car loan this month?
Despite the recent uptick, interest rates are still near historic lows. So, it’s still a good time to refinance your car loan. (Especially since the Federal Reserve is contemplating several rate hikes this year, which would trickle down to auto loan rates — and, inevitably, auto refinance rates.)
“With inflation on the rise, consumers are facing increasing financial stress,” says The Savings Group co-CEO Seth Meyer. “For borrowers seeking creative budgeting strategies to help cope with rising costs, refinancing can be an effective debt payoff tool. Right now, borrowers are cutting their auto loan rates by more than 7% on average. It’s likely we’ll see that go up as inflation and interest rates continue to climb.”
Right now, borrowers are cutting their auto loan rates by more than 7% on average. It’s likely we’ll see that go up as inflation and interest rates continue to climb.Seth Meyer, co-CEO of The Savings Group
Perhaps more importantly, used car prices have climbed. The Manheim Used Vehicle Index, a leading indicator for used car pricing trends, hit an all-time high in January. It retreated in February (-2.1%), but the index is still up 36.7% relative to last February.
Why does that matter? When vehicle values increase, borrowers tend to have better loan-to-value ratios (LTVs), which can help borrowers get approved for refinancing.
“More borrowers have equity in their vehicles these days,” Meyer continues. “When there’s more equity in the vehicle, that typically means more approvals, and borrowers qualify for longer terms and/or potential equity rate discounts.”
The loan-to-value ratio
measures the dollar amount of your loan against the value of your vehicle. For example, if your current loan balance is $7,500 and your vehicle is worth $10,000, your LTV would be 75% ($7,500 loan divided by $10,000 vehicle value).
Lenders view your LTV as a risk factor. In the event a borrower stops making loan payments, the lender would have the right to repossess and sell the vehicle to cover the loan. The higher your LTV, the less likely the lender can recoup their investment, if necessary.
Long story short, the lower your LTV, the better.
Car (LTV) Loan-to-Value Calculator
A loan-to-value ratio over 100% means you owe more on your loan than your vehicle is worth. An LTV over 125% can make it harder, but not impossible, to qualify for a refinance loan.
If your LTV is less than 100%, your car's value is higher than what you owe on your loan. The lower your LTV, the better.
February 2022 Auto Refinance Rates and Savings
📝 The average overall auto refinance interest rate in February was 5.86% across all customers approved for refinancing. The average interest rate reduction was 6.46%, payment savings were $101.83 per month, and auto loan balance was $26,121.
Collectively, interest rates for auto refinance loans declined over the last three months. The same remained true when you look at individual credit tiers, with the exception of Poor credit. Borrowers with Fair credit experienced the largest decrease (-0.18%) during this stretch.
Interest rate reductions declined from December to February, with the exception of Poor credit, which rose marginally. Borrowers with Excellent credit scores had the largest reduction dip (-0.74%).
Across all credit tiers, the average monthly savings from refinancing fell in January before resurging in February, trending from $101.23 down to $97.93 and back up to $101.83. As of February, those with Fair credit scores garnered the most monthly savings from refinancing ($110.60).
RateGenius analyzed data from The Savings Group customer applications for auto loan refinancing made between December 1, 2021 and March 14, 2022. This dataset included thousands of anonymized completed auto loan refinance applications. We examined annual savings, changes in interest rates, auto loan debt, broken down by credit tier and/or loan term.
About The Author
Carter Kilmann is a personal finance writer and editor for hire, covering topics like credit cards, mortgages, budgeting, banking, and investing. He's written for The Points Guy, Investing.com, Thrive Global, Day to Day Finance, Money Mini Blog, and more.