Finding the best car loan: Tips and Advice
Your first step to getting the auto loan you need is to collect information. In order to make an informed comparison of the terms and interest rates that will be offered to you, you’ll need to know what is typically offered to those with your specific credit rating. Thus, you need to get copies of your credit report from all three of the major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Trans Union and Experian.
Once you have your credit reports, review them carefully for errors. If you find errors, formally challenge them right immediately. If you have outstanding debts, pay as much of them down as possible before you seek an auto loan. If you have a large number of credit accounts open, consider paying off and closing the ones that you don’t use frequently. The potential to take on a great deal of credit debt quickly, on top of an auto loan, can spook some creditors and negatively impact rates and terms offered.
It’s a good idea to go into dealerships prepared. In addition to being familiar with your credit score, you should know what types of loan rates you are generally eligible for. This can be accomplished by using one of the several online sources that offer free interest rate quotes. Ask questions if a dealer presents to with an offer in which the rates differ significantly. Proceed with caution, as it could be a sign of a dishonest dealer.
If at all possible, take your time in shopping for your auto loan. Compare several offers, and make sure you understand everything. Ask how much the loan will cost you in total, what the annual interest rates are, how long it will take to pay it off, and how much exactly each available repayment schedule will cost in the end, including interest. Find out if there will be any penalties for paying the loan off early. Double check all fees involved in the loan transaction.
What you are looking for is simple — auto loans at a low rate with a fair and comfortable repayment schedule, and no nasty surprises in the small print. Don’t let desire or pressure push you into anything less than your credit history and financial circumstances deserve.
If you have a less than perfect credit history, you still do not have to accept predatory loans. Slow down. Take steps to repair your credit as much as possible. Part of that, beyond the obvious means of paying down as much debt as possible and closing unnecessary credit accounts, is to make yourself look good, dependable. Live at the same address and keep the same job for at least six months before applying for your loan. Do not apply for any nonessential credit, and avoid having your credit report pulled by potential landlords, employers, etc., if at all possible. All those requests, which will be seen by the credit reporting agencies, can look as though you are repeatedly being denied credit. You want to avoid that.
Do not allow yourself to be pushed quickly into a last chance, bad credit type of loan. Sure, you may have made credit mistakes in the past, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept just any terms and rates. With diligence and time, especially if you keep working on repairing your credit, you will find terms and rates that are reasonable for your financial situation.
Planning and information can make a real difference in the quality of auto loan you are offered. If you do the research, make an informed decision about what you are willing to accept and are prepared to stand by it, even if it takes a little longer, the odds are that you’ll find the right auto loan for you.