Traditionally, you have to go to a dealership store if you want to buy a car or request quotes. It’s fun but it also takes a lot of effort, let alone that it’s time-consuming. Fast forward to the present, everything we do happens online — thanks to e-commerce and mobile payments. You can now buy most things online, even cars using car-buying apps. However, like with most online shopping, the problem lies in how to find the best car buying apps with substantial credibility. It’s important when you’re buying something as expensive as a car—you wouldn’t want to get swindled!
Good car buying apps are transparent about their prices and payment methods. They should also be able to accommodate queries in a timely manner and help users with the legwork associated with car buying. The presence of the ability to book a test drive is a plus. Most importantly, flexible payment plans like the buy now pay later scheme should be available. In this article, we list down the best car buying apps that have some, if not all, of these features.
14 Best Car Buying Apps
The apps we chose vary based on needs and not all serve the same function. Hence, you may want to utilize more than one. Some apps are great for direct purchases, while others are made to enhance your search. With that said, let’s choose the best car buying app for you from these top 15:
Are you researching used cars? It’s a decent choice compared to buying things brand new because of how expensive new cars can get. However, it’s often quite difficult to reliably research used cars on the internet by yourself. That’s why Autolist gets a spot on our top 15 best car-buying apps.
In a nutshell, Autolist sources from many different websites and compiles it conveniently for you. You can bookmark what you’ve found, compare prices between similarly specced vehicles, and filter through searches. There are even alerts for when prices drop on your searches, making it great for the price-conscious buyer. Unfortunately, it cannot directly buy or finance from the app. If you want that, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Otherwise, it’s available for free on iOS and Android.
It used to be difficult to trade cars with different people and find the exact one you want. Often, you were limited to the dealerships around you and the sellers you get to know through word-of-mouth. However, thanks to modern technology, we can bypass all of these difficulties.
With AutoTrader, you can search for the car you want (new or used) through a variety of filters — including location. Let’s face it, the US is big. It’ll be a bummer to find the perfect car only to find out it’s halfway across the country. In addition to these, the app includes your basic features like adding to favorites. More conveniently than other apps, AutoTrader also allows you to message the owner directly in-app. You can also put up a sale for your old car (although this will cost you money). Otherwise, it’s completely free on Android and iOS.
If you think the best car buying apps require both buying and selling features, then check out Blinker. It’s one of the best apps that allows you to easily sell your car. Of course, you can still also purchase a car you want from another person on the app. Moreover, you can apply for financing and even refinancing through Blinker.
Blinker makes things easy for users. Just snap a photo of your car (for sale or refinancing) and the app will auto-fill your car’s details. You can also easily apply for financing by snapping a shot of your driver’s license. Moreover, the app itself verifies the authenticity of the vehicle and the identities of either party. Once you sell (or buy) on the app, it can even help you transfer the title.
Some apps have limited libraries, making finding the right car difficult. With CARFAX, you don’t have that problem because it has millions in its arsenal. However, it doesn’t overwhelm you with this sheer amount. Carfax eases your experience by sorting their records.
Apart from this, CARFAX gives its users peace of mind because they’re transparent about the deal. Since you’re buying a used car, there might be a certain level of skepticism when looking through offers. You certainly wouldn’t want to fall for a shady deal. CARFAX eliminates this problem by giving CARFAX reports on each used car. You can see its quirks and what damages it has. There are also CARFAX reports on used cars that aren’t listed within the app, although CARFAX charges for those.
The best car buying apps should have all the basics: payment calculations, filtering for options, and saving favorite searches. It’s even better if it has built-in financing applications and qualification measuring tools. What makes CarMax great is that it has all of these and still goes further.
CarMax adds multiple convenient features so you can buy and sell used cars. For example, you can name a price tag that’s marked as not up for negotiation. Moreover, it offers a money-back guarantee for its users for 5 days. If you’re looking to sell, CarMax also helps you appraise the value of your car so you don’t have to. Above all, you don’t have to regret finding a great car that’s hundreds of miles away. That’s because, for a fee, CarMax helps you transfer their cars to a nearby dealership just for you.
You can’t get any better than a domain name that says cars.com. It’s there in plain sight! How could you miss it? Kidding aside, Cars.com has all the features you need in a car buying app. They have a wide selection of cars and easy filtration systems. You can also find reviews, quotations, payment calculators, and even repair service options—all the good stuff. If you’re a seller, you also have built-in VIN scanners.
The only downside to cars.com is probably its massive size. Hence, it can be difficult to sift through spam listings. Moreover, it’s not the most user-friendly car buying app. Still, it’s a decent app considering that it’s free and runs on both iOS and Android.
Let’s face it, picking out the car you want is the fun part of car shopping. When it comes to figuring out your payment plan, things can get dull and even somewhat overwhelming. It’s even more stressful when you don’t have a good credit score that can get you a good loan.
That’s why Credit Karma is great because it helps you understand your credit score before applying for a car loan. You can check your weekly score, monitor your credit, and receive recommendations to improve your overall score. Financial management is the worst part of buying a car but with Credit Karma, you can make it manageable.
Alright, eBay isn’t a car buying app, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s because, along with many other things, eBay also sells cars. Finding one is pretty easy, too. Just run a quick search and you’ll find so many results. You can even filter search results by model, mileage, type, and other metrics to find the car you want. After that, you can easily purchase the car from the app itself. Best of all, you’re sure that eBay will deliver because it already has a good reputation.
The industrial age combined with capitalism brought us what we have now: surplus and variety. Consequently, people have become overwhelmed with the number of things they can buy and choose from. People even suffer from analysis paralysis and can’t make purchasing decisions. How will you choose when there are so many cars to buy?
Enter Edmunds, arguably the best car buying app to give you insight before buying a car. With Edmunds, you can see reviews, check market values, calculate payments, and so much more. Furthermore, you can also see different information about a car, like its specs and detailed info about the deal. You never have to be paralyzed with the right information. See for yourself by downloading it on iPhone and Android.
Are you a first-time car owner trying to understand how much car insurance cost? No worries because with Go, you can get quotations for multiple cars with just one photo. Snap a picture of your license and, within 5 minutes, Go processes and provides you with quotations. If you’re well within the Apple ecosystem, you can also opt to use Apple Pay for monthly payments. Initially, Go is an App Store-exclusive app but it’s now available for Android, too.
Many people prefer used cars over new ones due to how cheap they can be. However, it’s troublesome to find reliable deals because of how many scams circulate. That’s why Instamotor is a great app. It provides you with all the information you need about a used vehicle—all for free. It previews the title type, history, inconsistencies, damages, checking for scams, and everything else you might need to know about. Because of this transparency, you can shop for used cars without fear.
Not many apps offer as many filters as iSeeCars does. It gives you control over 59 different filter options and sorts by market value. Plus, you can weed out unreliable dealers by checking out their ratings and scores. You can get as specific as you want when searching from iSeeCars. What’s more, you can also sell your old car on the app and make some money on your old car. Check iSeeCars out on iOS and Android.
Pricing information is certainly important if you want to find the best car buying apps. With TrueCar, you’re getting just that and more. TrueCar allows you to compare prices with other deals of the same car. Thanks to this feature, you never have to feel like you were hoodwinked into paying more. Best of all, it not only does this for new cars but also old ones up for resale. You can download it now on both iOS and Android.
Maybe you’re temporarily moving to a new city and want a service that is longer-term than car-pooling. If buying a new car is not an option, leasing a car is the last resort. Fair is fairly a good performer in this department. The good thing about Fair is it’s as if you are getting a new car. It partners with car dealers to put their cars on the app. When you get a car from the app, Fair will buy that car from the dealer and lease it to you.
To get started, you can download the app and follow the prequalification. Before you can pick a car, you have to upload your driver’s license and link your bank account. After then, you can sign for the car of your choice and have it delivered to your location.
Fair requires a down payment upon signing up. Your monthly payment will include maintenance, warranty, and offroad assistance. There’s is also an optional insurance plan.
How to Choose the Best Car Buying App
Choosing a car buying app can be tricky because not everyone is looking for the same thing. The best way to gauge whether it’s the best car buying app for you is by writing down your needs. What kind of car are you looking to buy? Is it second-hand or brand new? Are you looking for something to help with pricing and finding the best deals? Do you need a bit more help with financing and managing your credit score?
By answering these questions, you can narrow things down and determine the best car buying apps for you. Keep in mind that it’s not just about the type of car you want to buy, either. You’re looking for the best car buying apps, after all. Consequently, you have to consider whether the features and interface of the app are good enough for you, too. Most of the apps have similar core functions like vehicle history, contact information, etc. However, each one has a unique spin to cater to different needs.
Final Word on the Best Car Buying Apps
The best car buying apps will always depend on your needs. As you can see, different apps cater to different needs and you’re not limited to using only one. Figure out what you need and then you can download the app that’ll help you best. Ultimately, these apps can help you find the best car that can bring you to places.