Car Loans - Shop Around, Compare Offers, and Watch The Small Print
Getting a loan to buy your new car is, you would probably think, straightforward. However, there are a few apparently small variations which can be actually cost you a lot of money. So, it is worthwhile checking any loan offer, including the small print, for details that may distinguish the desirability of one loan over another.
In the US, about 90% of all auto loan offers are based on simple interest. A simple interest loan means that the interest is computed only on the original principal of the loan. There are some lenders who are offering loans which are not simple interest. It is best never to agree to an auto loan that is not a simple interest loan.
Another thing to bear in mind when considering an auto loan is pre-payment penalties. If such a penalty is built into the loan contract, the lender will penalize you, by charging a fee, if you pay the loan off early, whether through refinancing or by any other means.
So, if you think it is likely you will want to refinance at some time during the life of the car loan, this is clearly an important consideration. Remember, it is always easiest and least costly, when refinancing a simple interest auto loan with no prepayment penalties.
Avoid a Pre-Computed Auto Loan
Some lenders offer auto loans that are not simple interest loans at all, but pre-computed loans. These types of loans may be "sold" especially by smaller lenders and car dealers. The people pushing these finance deals often target high risk borrowers, or quite simply the ignorant. If you have read this, you are no longer ignorant, even if you were, but if you are a high risk borrower, then watch out for these auto deals on loans. Here are the reasons:
1. If you sign on the dotted line for this type of car loan, you are legally committed to paying back the full principal balance of the loan as well as the total amount of all interest that would accrue over the life of the loan.
2. If you agree to such a pre-computed auto loan, and then wish to pay it off early, either through refinancing or another means, the lender will usually use an outdated and expensive formula, known as the rule of 78s', to calculate a rebate of finance charges. Through this rebate you will pay a very hefty fee for paying the loan off early.
This type of loan allows the lender to apply more of the payment to interest and less to the principal balance of the loan. A pre-computed auto loan allows the lender to collect the majority of the interest due during the first half of the loan repayment period.
Shop Around For The Best Offer
If the first lender that you speak to is not offering a simple interest auto loan, with no pre-payment penalties, at a competitive interest rate, then you would be wise to walk away. There are many other lenders keen to compete for your car loan financing.
With record low interest rates, and the global lenders marketplace being created by the internet, there is a very competitive lending market. In other words, it's a buyer's market! And you, fortunately, are a buyer. Have a good shop around for the best deal: newspaper ads, internet, your bank, and the auto dealer. When checking with the auto dealer, remember to take into account any trade off between loan and price of the auto.
Also, remember not to just compare interest rates, but to look for hidden fees and transfer balances that my not be apparent at first glance. By thoroughly investigating all of your options, you should get the auto loan that is best for you now and, just as importantly, into the future!
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