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If you drive a car, chances are you need to finance it at some point. But you can save money by shopping around for the best car loan or lease terms. You can also reduce the overall cost of your car by buying a used car that holds its value well, and by paying for it with cash. Buying a new car requires financing, but you can save by choosing the lowest price model and getting a competitive financing rate.

How to Score Great Car Financing
There’s no minimum credit score needed to qualify for an auto loan, but lenders use different scoring models and have their own underwriting criteria. A higher score can lead to lower interest rates, a shorter loan term and more affordable monthly payments. To improve your credit, keep your debt-to-income ratio low and pay down existing debt. Consider a credit union: These financial institutions typically offer low car loan interest rates. They also offer other benefits, including personal auto-buying concierge services and low-cost loan protection add-ons.

Car financing can be a complex process, but you can simplify the experience by gathering information ahead of time. Determine your credit score and review the factors that go into your creditworthiness (including your debt-to-income ratio, employment and education history). Also, calculate the total ownership costs of the car you’re considering, to make sure it fits within your budget. This includes the purchase or lease payment, insurance, gas and maintenance expenses. If you’re thinking about leasing a car, figure out the capitalized cost, which is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price plus fees such as registration, insurance and warranty costs. Then use a lease calculator to help you understand how your monthly payments will be calculated. car finance

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