Contributor, Benzinga
April 20, 2023
Overall Rating:
securely through Caribou's website

Caribou is an auto refinancing platform that facilitates fast, hassle-free and optimized car financing for car owners. Auto refinancing involves replacing an existing car loan with a new one, typically with different terms, interest rates or monthly payments. With an excellent refinancing loan offer, you could potentially save thousands of dollars through the lifetime of your auto loan. However, most car owners find financing or refinancing auto insurance tiresome and intimidating. This is where Caribou comes in.

Founded in 2016, Caribou, formerly MotoRefi, is a fintech company headquartered in Washington, D.C. Through its network of lenders, primarily community banks and credit unions, the company assists car owners in finding optimal refinancing and insurance options, thereby helping them save on auto loans. The platform handles the entire auto refinancing process, including finding competitive low-interest loan rates, repaying the old lenders and vehicle retitling. Caribou’s partnership with reputed lending institutions enables car owners to enjoy competitive loan rates and maximize savings. 

Besides its borrowers-first refinancing philosophy, Caribou features a sleek operational framework end-to-end. Borrowers looking for auto refinancing can easily shop multiple options without providing SSNs*. The application process is entirely online, and checking your loan options does not impact your credit score**. Benzinga reviews Caribou products and services and how these services can help you save on auto loans.

  • Excellent customer service
  • Competitive or excellent loan rates
  • Leverages soft credit pull for prequalification**
  • No hidden fees
  • Co-borrowers are permissible
  • Online application
  • Not available in some states
  • High processing fee — $399
  • No lease buyout

Caribou Ratings at a Glance

Product Offering
Customer Service
User Experience
Overall Rating

Caribou Product Offering

Caribou's product and service offerings highlight the company's commitment to fast-tracking auto refinancing for car owners and potentially keeping dollars in their pockets via savings from auto loans. According to Caribou, you can potentially save over $110 monthly+.

All you need to access the company's network of trusted lenders bankrolling its transparent refinancing program is an internet-enabled device and a stable internet connection. The auto refinancing process is fast, easy and highly streamlined. You can seamlessly get matched with a suitable lender and get your refinancing options via the following three short steps.

Step #1: Check your rate

This is the first step in the tri-step refinancing process. Here you provide your personal information, vehicle details (including the name and model) and monthly payment, then follow the on-page prompt. You do not need to provide your SSN* or full credit report for this prequalification, meaning your credit score will be unimpacted**. Furthermore, Caribou supports co-borrowing as long as the borrower's state permits it. If you add a co-borrower, you’ll need to provide their information on the application as well. 

Step #2: Select your loan offer

Following your submission, Caribou distributes your information to its network of lenders. This entails a soft credit check that does not affect your credit score but provides lenders with the data they require to make a loan offer**.

You can select a refinancing offer that works best for you. At this point, the lender makes a hard credit inquiry by requesting a copy of your credit report. This hard credit pull may impact your credit score. Keep in mind that your chosen loan offer locks in your interest rate during the application review and underwriting process.

Step #3: Finalize your refinance

The final step involves uploading the required documents and e-signing them. Caribou's framework is online and mobile-enabled. You can easily use your phone camera to scan the necessary documentation from the online platform. The platform also features e-signature tools allowing you to sign your documents electronically. Once the paperwork is complete, Caribou works with the relevant financial institution to finish the refinancing process with your previous lender.

Auto Insurance 

Besides auto refinancing, Caribou provides auto insurance services to car owners through its subsidiary insurance agency, Caribou Insurance Services, LLC and its partnership with leading insurance providers. Vehicle owners can shop, compare rates or view quotes from trusted carriers, saving them the time and hassle of conducting personal research. The company's insurance experts are readily available to provide professional guidance through the purchase of car insurance, from reviewing the available options to selecting coverage and completing the paperwork. 

Caribou's online car insurance marketplace is one of the fastest and most seamless ways to find an auto insurance company. You can request a car insurance quote along with your application for auto refinancing. 

Additional Protection Options

Additionally, Caribou offers various optional protection options. These products include:

  • Total loss protection: Provides guaranteed asset protection (GAP) services. It protects you  in the event of a total loss and will waive the remaining balance on the loan after the insurance proceeds are applied. 
  • Extended protection: Caters to unexpected car expenses like car repairs.
  • Key replacement: Covers the cost of replacing your car keys (without any deductibles).
  • Cosmetic care: Ensures your car stays in pristine condition. Coverage includes small dents and dings, windshields, wheels and rims.

It's also worth mentioning that Caribou's website also features a tool that allows you to look up typical payment savings by vehicle make and model. Benzinga rates Caribou 4.5 out of 5 on product offerings.

Caribou Customer Service

You can reach Caribou's loan officers and insurance agents team via phone, email or online chat. Call anytime from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and you'll get all the assistance you need. Customers can interact with the company via social media, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Besides live customer support, the company provides borrowers with a comprehensive resources library and learning centers covering general auto refinancing and insurance information. 

There's also a glossary and a list of FAQs you can refer to during the application process. However, if you'd prefer, you can book a 15-minute appointment with one of the company's loan officers to inquire about offerings, complete a loan application or check your current application status. These numerous options indicate a robust customer service strategy reflected in the company's overwhelmingly positive reviews across independent platforms, including Trustpilot — 4.5, Credit Karma — 4.3, and BBB customers review — 4.86. Also, the company is rated A+ by BBB. Benzinga rates Caribou 5 out of 5 on customer service.

Caribou Pricing

Caribou charges lenders a $399 processing fee, which lenders may add to the refinanced loan amount or pass along to the borrower. APRs for loans range between 4.99% and 28.55% and often depend on your creditworthiness, income or financial history, loan repayment terms, loan amounts and loan-to-value ratio (LTV)++. Keep in mind that the loan amounts and interest rates differ depending on the lender since the company works with a diverse network of lenders. Borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 or higher) typically enjoy the best rates. Benzinga rates Caribou 4.5 out of 5 on pricing.

Caribou User Experience

Caribou is dedicated to fast-tracking auto refinancing and insurance for car owners in a way that may help them save money. Its client-centered approach to auto loans and excellent educational materials or learning resources enhances user experience. All aspects of refinancing, from application submission to loan funding, are executed online in three simple steps, and customers may finalize their new loan in as little as two weeks. The process is fast and intuitive, making for excellent ease of use even for those with little knowledge of online applications, as reflected in reviews across platforms.

Caribou vs. Competitors

Caribou has a few competitors, like RefiJet and Auto Approve. All three allow borrowers to renegotiate their auto loans for better rates leveraging soft-credit pull for pre-qualification and co-borrowers permitted. They also offer guaranteed asset protection coverage. However, unlike Caribou, RefiJet and Auto Approve also refinance motorcycles and RVs and permits lease buy-out. Unlike Caribou, Auto Approve and RefiJet are not upfront regarding their loan processing fees and other applicable charges. Caribou's transparent fees and low variable APR for credit-worthy borrowers differentiate it from these platforms.

Overall Rating

Caribou streamlines auto-refinancing and insurance through its simplified and personalized application processes enabling auto owners to access optimal refinancing and insurance options while potentially saving thousands of dollars. The entire process is executed online via the company's website, which is highly intuitive, navigable, and user-friendly, facilitating fast loan delivery without hassles. It's competitive rates and flexible loan terms make it a top choice in the auto-refinancing market and a favorite among car owners. 

The insurance add-ons, including GAP, cosmetic care, and extended vehicle protection (EVP), make it even more appealing, as do its transparent fees. While the credit score might be on the higher side of the "fair" credit category, the potential to save at least $110 monthly more than complement the relatively high FICO score+. Especially considering such savings could make a substantial difference in monthly expenses for car owners and contribute to a more stable financial situation. The company's efficient client-centric approach to service delivery is reflected in its impressive rating across independent platforms. 

However, Caribou doesn't refinance motorcycles, RVs, ATVs, boats, and commercial vehicles. The loan processing fee is also relatively high at $399. Based on these facts, Benzinga rates Caribou 4.5 out of 5 overall. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Caribou a reputable company?


Yes. Caribou has an A+ rating on BBB and a 4.5-star rating on Trustpilot, two top independent review platforms.



Is there a downside to refinancing an auto loan?


Yes. It is possible for refinancing interest costs to be higher than the interest you have on your current loan, even if the refinance rate is lower.


*Social security number is required should you choose to move forward in the loan application process.

**To check the refinance rates and terms you qualify for, Caribou conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a loan product and continue your application, Caribou or one of their lending partners will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

+This information is estimated based on consumers who were approved for an auto refinance loan through Caribou between 6/1/2022 and 3/1/2023, had an existing auto loan on their credit report, and accepted their final terms. These borrowers saved an average of $113.78 per month. Refinance savings may result from a lower interest rate, longer term, or both. There is no guarantee of savings. Your actual savings, if any, may vary based on interest rates, the repayment term, the amount financed, and other factors.

++APR is the Annual Percentage Rate. Your actual APR may be different. Your APR is based on multiple factors including your credit profile and the loan to value of the vehicle. APR ranges from 4.99% to 28.55% and is determined at the time of application. Lowest APR is available up to a 36 month term, to borrowers with excellent credit, and only in certain states. Conditions apply. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of 2/22/2023 and are subject to change without notice. Insurance savings will not result from lower APR.

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Chika Uchendu

About Chika Uchendu

Chika Uchendu is a personal finance writer passionate about helping people learn more about managing their finances, making informed decisions, and navigating the complex landscape of finance platforms to find the best options for their financial goals and needs. He has over 8 years of experience writing compelling articles for various reputable publishers across diverse topics. When he’s not writing content, he’s wrangling and analyzing data to help businesses make informed decisions.