Car Deal Canada

Driving With Steve

Driving With Steve has become an increasingly popular option for Canadians looking to purchase a vehicle. However, some questions have been raised about whether the company is fully legitimate. This article will provide a comprehensive review of Driving With Steve, evaluating the legitimacy of their services.


Driving With Steve is a lead generation company founded in British Columbia that connects customers to a network of certified dealers to help obtain vehicle financing. Customers provide their details through an online application, and then Driving With Steve sells that lead to a local dealership partner. The dealer then handles the financing process directly with the customer.


With mixed customer feedback and some concerns around sharing sensitive information upfront, this article will analyze Driving With Steve’s business model, trustworthiness, risks, and alternatives to determine if it’s a wise option for financing a car with bad credit.

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Driving With Steve’s Business Model

Driving With Steve is a company founded in British Columbia that operates as a lead generation service for connecting customers to car dealerships for auto financing. According to public records, Driving With Steve is legally registered as a business entity in BC and can be verified in the provincial OrgBook BC database.

The core service provided by Driving With Steve is taking customer applications for vehicle financing online, then selling those leads to their network of certified dealer partners located across Canada. Customers begin the process by filling out an application on the Driving With Steve website with their personal and financial details. Driving With Steve then sells this lead to a local dealership partner equipped to assist that particular customer.

Once Driving With Steve passes the customer’s information to the dealer, the financing process continues directly between the dealership and the customer. Driving With Steve itself does not provide direct lending or financing. Their role is to connect customers in need of financing options to dealerships who can potentially provide approved auto loans or leases.

 

Trust and Credibility

When evaluating any company that handles financial and personal information, trust and credibility are paramount. Unfortunately, Driving With Steve presents a mixed picture in this regard.

On the positive side, Driving With Steve has partnered with certified dealers across Canada to provide financing options for its customers. This demonstrates that established dealers are willing to work with the company.

However, with 51 reviews on Trustpilot, Driving With Steve has received mixed feedback from actual customers. While some report positive experiences, others cite issues with miscommunication, lack of transparency, and unsatisfactory outcomes.

As Driving With Steve operates primarily as a lead generation service rather than a direct lender, applicants provide their information upfront without a guaranteed loan approval. This means customers must place trust in Driving With Steve’s system and dealer network to deliver fair financing terms.

Without handling loans directly, Driving With Steve’s credibility depends largely on the reputation and practices of its dealer partners. Since quality can vary greatly between dealers, this raises the risk of applicants getting matched with disreputable or predatory lenders.

 

Terms, Conditions and Requirements

Driving With Steve has strict rules disclosed for the types of vehicles and deals available through their service. Customers must meet very specific qualifications and stipulations to get approved for financing:

 

  • Only certain makes/models of vehicles are offered based on availability from dealer partners
  • Maximum vehicle age is 8 years old
  • Minimum income requirements apply based on debt-to-income ratio
  • Credit score minimums are imposed, with higher scores given priority
  • Down payment is mandatory, with minimum dollar amounts dictated
  • Only 36-72 month loan terms are available
  • Maximum mileage caps exclude some high mileage vehicles
  • Bankruptcy, repossessions or previous defaults may disqualify applicants
  • Proof of insurance is required to complete financing
  • Additional stipulations can apply at the dealer’s discretion

 

These stringent requirements mean applicants with bad credit, low incomes or in difficult financial situations may not qualify for a deal at all. Customers must fit a narrow credit profile to get approved through Driving With Steve’s process.

 

Risks and Downsides

While Driving With Steve does have some legitimacy as a registered business, there are notable risks and downsides to be aware of when considering using their services:

You must submit very detailed personal and financial information upfront when filling out their online application form. This includes your SIN, income details, employment history, address, and more. All of this sensitive data is required before they will attempt to match you with a dealer partner.

Driving With Steve provides no guarantee that you will be approved for a loan or receive the specific vehicle, rates, or terms you may want. The company merely sells your lead to a dealership, but approval is at the full discretion of the dealer.

The quality of dealership partners varies greatly, from reputable established dealers to more obscure and potentially predatory operators. Driving With Steve cannot guarantee which dealer you will be matched with or the fairness of the loan terms.

There is a risk of potential misuse of your sensitive personal and financial information. Once provided to Driving With Steve and their dealer partners, you have no control over how the data may be used, shared or leveraged against you during negotiations.

 

Alternatives to Driving With Steve

While Driving With Steve may seem like an easy option for obtaining auto financing, it’s wise to consider some alternatives that could potentially get you better rates and terms:

 

Bank/Credit Union Direct Financing

Going directly through your bank or credit union can sometimes yield better interest rates than indirect lenders like Driving With Steve. Credit unions in particular often offer special auto financing options to members with lower credit scores. Meet with a loan officer to see what terms they can provide before turning to a third party.

 

Other Online Car Loan Providers

Companies like Rifco provide online applications for auto loans across Canada similar to Driving With Steve. However, working directly with the lender instead of a dealer middleman gives you more transparency upfront and eliminates potential markups on financing. Shop around to compare rates and approval odds.

 

Save Up and Buy From Private Sellers

If your credit is poor, saving up to pay cash from private sellers may be your most affordable option without high interest fees. Building up your down payment also shows lenders you’re financially responsible. And you can often get a better deal buying used from an individual rather than a dealership.

 

Conclusion

Based on the information reviewed, Driving With Steve appears to be a legitimate registered business in Canada. However, applicants should be aware that some risks exist when providing personal and financial details upfront without a guaranteed vehicle or loan approval.

While Driving With Steve does connect customers to certified dealer partners across the country, there is no certainty on the quality of the specific dealer you may be matched with. Dealers ultimately handle the financing process and terms directly with the customer.

Before providing sensitive information, it is wise to thoroughly vet the reputation of Driving With Steve’s partners in your local area. Applicants should also explore alternative options, such as financing directly through a bank, credit union or other online providers.

While Driving With Steve can facilitate connecting customers to dealers, individuals need to carefully weigh the potential risks versus rewards of providing information without guaranteed outcomes. Performing due diligence is highly recommended before moving forward.

 

Background on Bad Credit Auto Loans in Canada

Getting approved for auto financing can be challenging for Canadians with poor credit scores. According to TransUnion, the average interest rate for subprime borrowers (credit scores below 600) taking out auto loans was 10.95% in 2021. For those with deep subprime scores below 550, average rates were a staggering 24.10%.

With higher interest costs, loans become much more expensive for borrowers with low credit. A $20,000 loan at 24% over 5 years costs over $9,000 in interest payments. Those with the worst credit may be declined financing altogether by lenders.

Borrowers with bad credit do have options, but must be cautious of predatory lenders. Payday loans or “buy-here-pay-here” dealers seem appealing but charge extremely high rates. Defaulting may mean repossession and further damage to your credit.

Safer alternatives for poor credit customers include securing a cosigner with better credit, saving up for a larger down payment, or rebuilding credit slowly over time. Shopping around for the best subprime rates and examining all options is wise before committing to any high-interest auto loan.

 

Getting Financing with Poor Credit

If you have a low credit score, getting approved for an auto loan can be challenging. However, it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to improve your chances of getting approved:

 

  • Pay down existing debts – Lenders like to see you paying down revolving balances like credit cards before taking on new debt.
  • Avoid new credit inquiries – Applying for multiple loans and credit cards in a short period can negatively impact your score.
  • Ask for a co-signer – Adding a co-signer with good credit can improve your chances and terms.
  • Make a larger down payment – The more you put down, the less risk for the lender.
  • Consider a secured loan – Putting up an asset like a savings account as collateral reduces the lender’s risk.

 

Lenders have strict requirements when it comes to credit scores:

 

  • Most require a minimum score around 500-600 for approval.
  • The higher the score, the better the interest rate offered.
  • Each lender uses custom approval criteria based on credit history.
  • Many lenders now use alternative data like utility bill payment history.
  • Scores below 500 will likely lead to an outright denial.

 

Improving your credit and putting some money down are key to getting approved for a car loan with bad credit. Shop around and compare options to find the best lender willing to work with your particular situation.

 

Watch out for Car Loan Scams

With the rise of online car financing companies, scams related to auto loans have become more prevalent. Used car buyers with poor credit need to be especially cautious, as they are often targeted. Here are some of the most common online used car scams to watch out for:

 

Advance fee loan scams – This involves a supposed lender asking you to pay an upfront fee before receiving financing. The lender may promise guaranteed approval, but will take your money without actually providing a loan.

 

Yo-yo financing – The dealership lets you drive away in a car before the financing is finalized. Later they call and claim your application was declined, pressuring you to sign a new deal at worse rates.

 

Spot delivery scams – Similar to yo-yo financing, but the dealer doesn’t disclose that the financing is conditional upon approval. The terms can change after you’ve taken possession of the vehicle.

 

Title washing/flipping – Shady used car dealers hide a vehicle’s salvage history by illegally passing it between states and altering the title documents.

 

Odometer rollbacks – The seller deliberately rolls back the odometer on a high-mileage used car to make it appear to have less wear and increase the resale value.

 

Some red flags to watch out for include dealers who won’t allow independent inspections, pressure you to sign contracts quickly, or make verbal promises that aren’t in writing. Only work with licensed, reputable dealers and be wary of online lenders offering deals that seem too good to be true.

 

Questions to Ask Dealerships

When shopping for auto financing, it’s important to ask the right questions to dealerships to understand the full terms and avoid any surprises. Here are some key questions to ask:

 

Loan Terms

– What is the interest rate and loan term you can offer based on my credit score?

– Is the interest rate fixed or variable?

– What is the monthly payment amount based on the loan term?

– Is there a prepayment penalty if I pay off the loan early?

 

Fees

– What fees are associated with this loan (origination fees, documentation fees, etc.)?

– Are there any hidden fees I should be aware of?

 

Contract Details

– Can I review the full loan contract before signing?

– What are the total finance charges over the life of the loan?

– What recourse do I have if the terms change after signing?

– Is there a grace period to return the vehicle if I’m not satisfied?

 

Asking direct questions upfront will help you avoid getting locked into an unfavorable loan. Make sure all terms, rates and fees are clearly explained before signing any contract.

 

Calculate the Total Cost

When taking out an auto loan, it’s important to calculate the total cost beyond just the sticker price of the vehicle. There are additional fees, interest charges, insurance costs, and other expenses that can really add up over the term of the loan.

Breaking down all the potential costs is essential to determine if the loan is truly affordable for your budget. Be sure to factor in:

 

  • Interest rate and total interest charges over the loan term
  • Length of the loan term – longer terms have lower payments but higher total interest
  • Down payment amount – larger down payments reduce the loan principal and interest
  • Taxes and registration fees
  • Dealer fees and documentation charges
  • Extended warranties or service contracts
  • Insurance premiums – collision, comprehensive, GAP
  • Any prepayment penalties if you pay off the loan early

 

Online auto loan calculators can help breakdown the costs by inputting the key loan details. You’ll get an amortization schedule showing the principal and interest amounts for each payment. Use these calculators from multiple lenders to compare offers.

Being informed on the total costs from the start makes it less likely you’ll end up overextended. Carefully consider if less expensive loan options may be available, and if the payments truly fit within your budget.

 

Read the Fine Print

When signing any financing agreement, it is absolutely critical to read the fine print and understand the terms. Here are some of the most important clauses and stipulations to review:

 

Interest Rates – The interest rate is key, as it determines the total cost you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Make sure you understand if it is fixed or variable. Variable rates can rise over time.

 

Length of Term – Longer terms (5-7 years) mean lower monthly payments but higher overall interest. Opt for the shortest term you can afford.

 

Prepayment Penalties – Some lenders charge fees if you pay off the loan early. Avoid agreements with prepayment penalties if possible.

 

Late Fees – Understand the grace period, when late fees apply, and how much they are. Missing payments can incur fees of $50 or more.

 

Default Clauses – Know what constitutes default (missed payments, insurance lapse, etc.) and the lender’s rights if you default. Repossession of the vehicle is possible.

 

Always ask the lender to clearly explain any confusing or concerning clauses. A reputable lender will take the time to ensure you understand the agreement fully.

 

Shop Around for Best Rates

When trying to get approved for an auto loan with bad credit, it pays to shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders. Here are some tips on where to look for the best rates:

 

Banks and Credit Unions: Even if you have poor credit, don’t assume you’ll be automatically denied by banks or credit unions. Many have special financing programs for subprime borrowers. Banks often offer lower rates than buy-here, pay-here dealers. Talk to a loan officer at your bank about getting pre-approved before shopping for a vehicle.

Online Lenders: Online lenders like Rifco and LendingArch specialize in bad credit auto loans. They tend to be more flexible than traditional banks in approving applicants with low credit scores. Be sure to compare interest rates and fees across multiple online lenders.

Dealership Financing: Dealerships often mark up interest rates on financing from third-party subprime lenders. But some dealers may match outside loan offers if you have been pre-approved. Negotiating a lower interest rate could save thousands over the loan term.

Peer-to-Peer Lending: Newer P2P lending networks like LendingLoop allow borrowers and investors to connect directly for financing. Interest rates are set based on your credit profile. P2P loans are unsecured, but may offer more competitive rates than subprime lenders.

 

By getting pre-qualified quotes from multiple sources, you improve your chances of being approved and can compare all options to find the lowest monthly payment and interest rate. Don’t settle for the first loan you are offered without shopping around.

 

Maintain Good Credit

After you get approved for a car loan, it’s crucial to maintain a good credit score throughout the loan term and beyond. Here are some tips for keeping your credit score high during and after your auto loan:

 

  • Avoid missed or late payments – Set up autopay through your lender so you never miss a payment deadline. Late payments severely hurt your score.
  • Keep credit card balances low – Try to keep credit card balances below 30% of the limit to avoid hurting your credit utilization ratio.
  • Limit hard inquiries – Only apply for credit when absolutely necessary, as too many hard inquiries can lower your score.
  • Check your credit report – Review all three credit reports annually for errors that could be damaging your score.
  • Pay down debts – Focus on paying down high-interest debts quickly to improve your creditworthiness.
  • Don’t close old accounts – Keeping accounts open with long payment histories helps your credit mix and longevity.

 

Following credit best practices during and after your auto loan will help you qualify for the best rates on future loans. A strong credit score saves you money over the long run.

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Questions About Driving With Steve

Driving with Steve is a legally registered business in Canada that helps connect customers with dealerships to find financing options for purchasing vehicles. They have partnered with certified dealers across Canada. However, some people have raised concerns over high interest rates or feeling pressured into purchases. Overall, they seem to be a legitimate service but do your research on all financing terms and feel empowered to walk away if something doesn’t feel right.

Driving with Steve offers services to help customers connect with dealerships to obtain vehicle financing in Canada, regardless of credit score. Their services include:

 

– Online application for financing pre-approval

– Access to network of dealer partners across Canada

– Support in finding vehicles and negotiating pricing

– Assistance securing financing approval

 

Keep in mind you aren’t obligated to finance with any suggested dealer and should compare all loan terms carefully before committing.

Driving with Steve does not charge any upfront fees for customers to submit a financing application or get connected with dealerships. Their dealer partners pay Driving with Steve a fee when a successful sale is made. This means their services are free for customers.

 

However, be aware you are still responsible for paying all costs charged by the actual dealership, including the negotiated vehicle price, taxes, licensing fees, and any financing fees from your loan. Carefully review all terms before finalizing a purchase.

No, Driving with Steve cannot guarantee they will secure a car loan or specific financing terms in Canada. They can only promise to connect customers with their network of dealer and lenders partners.

 

It is still up to the individual dealerships and lenders to assess if they will approve financing and what rates/terms they offer. Driving with Steve simply provides a service to potentially make it more convenient to explore financing options.

Driving with Steve aims to provide transparency around loan terms and conditions with their dealer partners. However, some past customers have reported feeling misled on final interest rates or frustrated by pressure sales tactics at certain dealers.

 

To ensure full transparency on your car purchase and financing:

 

– Carefully review all contracts before signing

– Clarify all rates and fees verbally and in writing

– Don’t feel rushed; request time to review if needed

If you are unhappy with the financing experience using a Driving with Steve dealer partner, here are some options:

 

  1. Discuss concerns directly with dealership management

 

  1. File a complaint with Driving with Steve customer service

 

  1. Consult your province’s consumer protection office

 

  1. Contact the lender financing your loan to understand options

 

  1. Seek help from a legal professional regarding any binding contracts

 

The most important thing is not to ignore issues. Document problems and promptly start conversations on next steps.

Reviews of Driving with Steve in Canada are mixed. When things go smoothly, customers praise the convenience and customer service. However, others have run into issues like:

 

– Feeling pressured by dealers into expensive purchases

– Higher than expected interest rates on financing

– Problems contacting Driving with Steve after sale

 

Many reviews advise thoroughly vetting all terms of a purchase in advance to avoid frustrations. Also, follow up quickly on any concerns.



Driving with Steve does cater to customers with bad credit by connecting them to dealers that offer financing to such customers. However, their high interest rates may not provide the best long term outcome compared to alternatives such as:

 

– Secured credit cards to rebuild credit score over time

– Financing directly through your bank/credit union

– Seeking loan approval from online lenders that offer bad credit loans

 

Make sure to compare all options. Don’t assume Driving with Steve necessarily offers the optimal rates and terms.

To qualify for vehicle financing through Driving with Steve’s dealer network, you’ll need:

 

– Valid Canadian ID

– Income over $1,600/month

– Proof of Address

– References

– Down Payment (often 10%+)

 

They work with customers across the credit spectrum but approval and terms vary person to person. Expect a hard credit check during the application process as well.

Yes, like all lenders, the dealership financing your vehicle purchase through Driving with Steve does legally have the ability to repossess your car if you default on the loan by missing payments. This can severely damage your credit standing for years.

 

Be cautious when taking financing terms that stretch your budget. Have a contingency plan for making payments if your financial situation changes to avoid repossession.



Driving with Steve provides services to help connect customers with dealer partners offering vehicle financing primarily in the following provinces currently:

 

– British Columbia

– Alberta

– Saskatchewan

– Ontario

– Quebec

– Nova Scotia

 

Reach out to confirm they facilitate financing connections in your province of residence if uncertain.

No, Driving with Steve’s services will only connect you with dealership financing offers, not private sellers. This means you cannot use them to secure a car loan for a used vehicle found in a private, non-dealer sale.

 

If seeking financing for a private sale purchase, you would need to arrange that independently through institutions like a bank.

Yes, Driving with Steve encourages customers to complete a pre-approval application before beginning the process of searching for a vehicle. This allows you to confirm there are willing lenders and likely terms, giving you more confidence as you negotiate prices on vehicles knowing budget parameters.

 

Just keep in mind any pre-approval would still need to be finalized by the actual financing dealer partner after selecting a vehicle.

If you secure approval for vehicle financing through Driving with Steve’s dealer partners, you can typically purchase and drive away with a car very quickly – sometimes the same day.

 

Their goal is to streamline the financing process so you can effortlessly select amongst dealer inventory and swiftly finalize all necessary paperwork to begin enjoying your new vehicle right away.

Driving with Steve touts access to inventory at over 350 dealerships when searching for vehicles. However, some past customers have complained about difficulty actually finding or securing the specific makes/models they hoped for.

 

While you can browse vehicle listings on their website, there is no guarantee of availability. Be flexible on vehicle selection when working with Driving with Steve and focus more on your budget and ideal financing terms.

Driving with Steve’s dealer partners will very likely encourage you to purchase extended auto warranty policies as part of the finance deal. Dealers can earn large commissions selling these profitable add-ons.

 

Carefully consider if an extended warranty truly suits your needs – they can come with many limitations. If still desired, compare quotes from independent providers as dealers will mark up pricing.

Yes, their dealer partners are equipped to handle auto trade-ins as part of your overall financing package when using Driving with Steve. They will assess the value of your current vehicle and adjust the total financing amount accordingly.

 

Just be aware, you will likely be offered far less than the fair resale value. In some cases, selling privately first rather than trading in can leave you with more equity.



No. Driving with Steve is solely a middleman service to match customers with dealers offering financing options. They do not themselves sell vehicles nor handle any part of the transaction other than making the initial introductions between buyer and seller.

 

You work directly with the individual car dealership on pricing negotiations, trade-ins, paperwork, etc. Driving with Steve will remain hands off beyond the connections stage.

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