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Cashback Auto Loan Refinancing: What Is It and How Does It Work?

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If you’re paying high monthly car payments and want a bailout in a financial emergency, you can always consider cashout or cash back auto loan refinancing! In this post, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about this auto refinance option.¬†

Let’s face it – not all of us get great deals when we buy a vehicle from a dealership! In the excitement of getting our favorite two- or four-wheeler, we tend to skip over the fine print and sign up for high loan rates. Over time, the monthly payments can be a burden on your wallet – which means it’s time to refinance!

At the same time, if you need some extra money to deal with financial emergencies, then instead of plain refinancing, you can consider cashout refinancing.

What is cash-back auto loan refinancing?

Cash-back auto loan refinancing (also called cash-out refinancing) is the process of replacing your existing car loan with a new loan based on the amount of equity you own in the car. As the name suggests, this allows you to get cash in hand for an emergency. That is, provided your car’s value has not depreciated below a certain price. You’ll be able to get lower interest rates through the refinanced loan while also getting some extra cash to cover a financial need.

Whether or not you’re able to get a cash-back loan depends on the equity you own in the car – the difference between the value of your car and what you owe on it.

If you have negative equity, it will be harder to get a cash-out auto loan. However, if you have positive equity, you’ll be able to borrow up to 125% of the car’s resale value from a new lender.

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How does cash-back auto loan refinancing work?

Let’s imagine that you have a vehicle that is worth $15,000, on which you have a loan balance of $9000 (you have $9000 left to pay on the loan). That means you have positive equity of $6000 (15,000-9,000).

As long as you have positive equity, you can apply for cashback auto loan refinancing whenever you run into a financial emergency.

This means that you can borrow up to 100% of the car’s value from a new lender (i.e., up to $15,000). You can use $9000 to repay your current loan and close it while using the remaining $6000 for your immediate needs.

How much can you borrow as a cash-back loan?

The example given above is an ideal situation: most lenders will only let you borrow a part of your car’s resale value. However, depending upon your credit history, equity, and the lender’s criteria, you may be able to borrow as much as 125% of the car’s value in some cases!

Remember, this only works if you have positive equity. If your car’s resale value is¬†less¬†than the loan balance, you have negative equity. This means you may have to pay the difference up front to be eligible for refinancing.

How can you qualify for cashback auto refinancing?’

As with regular refinancing, you will get the most benefit if you meet some basic criteria.

  • Positive equity:¬†This is the most important criterion for getting a cash-back loan approved.
  • A good credit score: Lenders will be quick to approve any applicant who has a credit score of more than 650. If your score is above 700, you’ll get the most preferential rates.
  • Car in good condition:¬†A car without too many mechanical, electrical and aesthetic issues can get a lower APR rate and more as a cashout amount.
  • An acceptable loan amount:¬†Lenders will be hesitant to refinance if you have a large pending loan amount and if the cashout amount is almost as large.

When should you choose cashback auto refinancing?

You can consider cashback auto loan refinancing if you want to get better loan terms than your original loan, while at the same time getting cash in hand for immediate needs. The amount you can take out as a cashback loan depends on:

  • Your credit score: Lenders will be more inclined to refinance if you have a good credit history
  • Your car’s resale value: This determines if you have positive or negative equity
  • The lender: Some institutions provide only single-digit cashback loans, while others can go as high as 100%

Your credit score may have improved; you may not want to keep paying large interest payments on the vehicle; or you may need immediate cash in hand. This is especially the case if you financed your original loan through a dealership – they usually offer higher rates compared to banks and other lenders.

Always understand the process completely before signing on for cashback auto loan refinancing.

How can you determine your vehicle’s equity?

Image showing a calculator and a car for Cash Back Auto Loan Refinance

Your vehicle’s equity is the difference between the car’s current resale value and the loan balance amount you have to repay. Usually, lenders will only agree to cashback auto loan refinance if you have Positive Equity (resale value is greater than loan balance). Negative Equity often means that you are already ‘upside-down’ on your car loan – you owe more than your car is worth.

Equity = Your Car’s Current Resale Value – Pending Loan Balance

One easy way to find out if you have positive equity is to contact your lender and request a ’10-day payoff’. This is the current total loan amount pending (principal and interest that accrues in the next 10 days. You can find your car’s estimated resale value using an online service like NADAguides, KBB, or Edmunds. The difference between the two will be the equity of the car.

Steps to apply for cashback auto refinance

Once you know your car’s equity, you only need a couple more things before applying for refinancing with a lender.

  1. Research Lender requirements: Different lenders have different conditions for refinancing auto loans and providing cashback loans. For example, Bank of America refinances only those cars lower than 10 years old, with less than 125,000 miles on them, and with more than a $7,500 loan balance. Other lenders like TruChoice Credit Union can offer up to 125% of the loan value.
  2. Ensure your credit score is high enough: Refinancing depends on how much your credit score has improved in the intervening time between loans.
  3. Calculate new loan rates: Use an auto refinance calculator to find your future monthly payments easily.
  4. Research if lenders restrict cashback loan use in certain cases: This is part of the “fine print,” so to say. A few lenders won’t allow your loan to be used to service student loans or gambling debts.

What is cashback auto refinancing and how does it work

Cash-out auto refinancing: Pros and cons


  • You can get everything that regular refinancing offers, like a new loan with lower rates, longer/shorter term, and preferred lenders
  • You can meet any urgent financial expenses with the cashout amount
  • Most lenders offer between 80-100% of the car’s resale value as a new loan. However, if you have good credit, you can borrow up to 125%.


  • You will be taking on additional debt through the cashout amount, which could be a burden in the future
  • Cashout refinancing may help you get lower rates but at the cost of a longer term and more interest charges.
  • Taking out a large cashout amount can result in an “upside-down” car loan
  • Failure to stick to the payments could result in the car being repossessed
  • Cashout refinance loans cannot be used to pay back certain types of loans

Is cash-out auto loan refinancing worth it?

We’d recommend going for cash-out auto loan refinancing only as a last resort because it is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.¬†

Choose it only if you can afford to take on additional debt and are desperate to get cash in hand. Otherwise, you’d be better off refinancing your car the regular way to get a lower APR. Cashout refinancing can also lead you into an “underwater” or “upside-down” loan – so weigh your options carefully before applying.

Alternatives to cash-out auto loan refinancing

It’s always best to look for alternative options before using your car as collateral for a loan. Immediate and unexpected cash expenses can also be handled by other options like:

  • Auto Equity Loans
  • Unsecured Personal Loans
  • Traditional Auto Refinance
  • Debt Consolidation

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