With the expansion of the Internet, it’s become easier to get the lowest rate available for your car loan. It just takes a little bit of research and you’ll get the best possible rate for your credit bracket.
Compare and contrast multiple lenders. Look for information posted online about lenders you are considering. In today’s web 2.0 world, dissatisfied customers often post their bad experiences on public message boards. If a particular lender has a history of upsetting its customers, move on to the next lender.
You’ll also want to investigate if there are any FTC (Federal Trade Commission) or BBB (Better Business Bureau) complaints against a particular lender. The FTC has been cracking down hard on companies that engage in bad business practices, such as opening mail days after it’s been received in order to assess late fees against consumers.
One of the best ways to get a better deal on a car loan is to increase your down payment. Always try to come up with the largest down payment you can afford. Put off a car purchase for a few months if you need time to get together a bigger down payment. You should always try to put at least 10% down. If you can swing 20% that’s even better. Once you get into the 25+% range you can really start to negotiate with potential lenders.
The more money you put down on a car purchase, the more you reduce the risk the lender is assuming. This makes the deal more appealing to the lender and they are more likely to offer you a better interest rate.
Always try to keep the contractual term as short as possible. You will receive a better interest rate on a 36-month contract versus a 48 month contract. Your monthly payment will be higher in the 36 month contract, but the overall amount of interest you’ll be paying will be much lower. You will be much better off in the long run. Plus, if you’ve put together a large down payment you can often structure a loan term that is both affordable and short.
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Try to get pre-qualified if you can. If you walk into a dealership with a letter of pre-qualification, the dealership sees you as a cash buyer. The dealership will be more likely to cut you a better deal on the overall purchase price of the vehicle. Nothing frustrates a dealer more than spending time and energy negotiating a deal and then having the deal fall through because the consumer cannot secure financing.
If you research lenders and find a reputable company, come up with the largest down payment possible, negotiate a short contract term, and get a letter of pre-qualification from a lender, you will get the best possible deal on a car purchase and car loan. The process should not be rushed. A car purchase is a major asset purchase. Take your time, do your homework, and you’ll be the best off in the long run.