Getting the lowest interest rate – 0.00% – isn't always possible, even for those with great credit. If your credit score is anywhere below perfect, it's about getting the lowest interest rate you can qualify for now. We got some tips on just what to do, and how to qualify for the lowest possible rate you can in the future, too.
Getting Your Lowest Interest Rate
Getting the lowest auto loan rate you qualify for can take some work – both before you hit the dealership, and after. To get the lowest possible auto loan rate for your situation, you need to have a combination of factors working in your favor.
It's also up to you to do your homework on average interest rates, vehicles, and lenders to know what's out there. Lastly, you have to know what you can negotiate, and how, in order to get a lower interest rate.
Improve Your Credit for a Lower Rate
Credit improvement takes time, but it doesn't have to be difficult. There are several things you can do starting today to begin improving your credit score, which can lead to qualifying for lower interest rates. In fact, you can start improving your credit by simply paying all your bills on time if you don't already.
Knowing where your credit score falls on the FICO credit scoring model, and knowing which steps to take to build better credit helps, too. There are several ways you can get your credit reports and scores. A simple way to do this for free is to visit www.annualcreditreport.com, where, now through April 2022, you can get a copy of your credit reports from each credit bureau once a week.
Have a Down Payment Ready
A down payment is one of the most useful tools you have at your disposal in car buying. The more you bring to the table, the less you have to finance, and the more opportunities open up in your auto loan. In some cases, this can include lower interest rates.
Remember, trading in a vehicle with equity adds to the amount you put down, too.
A Cosigner Can Lower Your Interest Rate
If your credit isn't up to snuff, then getting a cosigner with a better credit score can help put a lender at ease, and not only help you qualify but may help you garner a lower interest rate, too. Cosigners lend you their good credit and promise to make payments if you can't, but they also have to meet the same lending qualifications as you.
Opt for a Newer Vehicle
Your credit score may be the biggest factor that influences your interest rate, but it's not the only one. New and newer cars tend to carry lower interest rates than older, high-mileage models. If you have the choice, opt for a new or certified pre-owned vehicle for a shot at better interest rates.
Keep Your Loan Term Short
A lower interest rate may be a perk of paying off an auto loan more quickly. Opting for the shortest loan term you can comfortably afford is always sound car-buying advice, but often, negotiating for an even shorter loan term may persuade a lender to drop your interest rate.
Compare Car Loan Rates
Another way to make sure you're getting the lowest auto loan rate possible is to rate shop among dealerships and lenders to see which one offers you the better deal. For this to work though, you have to move fast, applying for a few different auto loans within 14 days. When you do this all the inquiries for credit show up on your credit report, but only one of them impacts your credit score.
Interest Rates Explained
Interest is the cost of borrowing money. Interest is charged on a per case basis, and typically the better your credit score is the lower the interest rate you may qualify for. Most auto loans use a simple interest formula, which accrues interest charges daily based on the amount of your loan. The higher your interest rate, the more it costs you to borrow money.
To see an estimate of the interest rate you may get, you first need to know your credit score. This is the first step in any auto loan situation – if you don't know what the lender sees, you don't know where you stand or how you compare to others in similar credit situations. Without this knowledge, you can't do thorough research or fight for a lower auto loan interest rate.
Once your research is done, and you know what you can strive for, you can start to put together the factors that can get you the lowest auto loan rate.
The ultimate formula: have the best credit score you can muster, prepare a large down payment, use a cosigner with better credit than you, and opt for the shortest loan term you can on the newest model vehicle you qualify for (as long as it meets your needs).
Ready to Get Started?
We want to help get you on the path toward an auto loan that works for you. At Auto Credit Express we've built a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that are signed up with lenders that work with all sorts of credit challenges. Let us get you connected to a local dealer – simply fill out our fast, free auto loan request form to get started!