July 09, 2012

How to save money with car finance

Buying a car, whether new or used, is always an expensive process. A decent, reliable car is going to set you back a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the model that you opt for. However, there is one way that makes purchasing a car a little bit easier on your bank balance at the time and this is using car finance.

Essentially, car finance is paying for a car over a period of time. You might choose to pay for a car over the period of a year, 2 years, 3 years or even 5 years with some companies. This allows you to purchase the car you want without having to have the whole cost of the car in cash right away.

However, car finance can be an expensive process and if you choose the wrong company/deal, you are going to end up paying over the odds. Here are a few ways that you can make sure you save money when it comes to car finance.

#1 - Check the interest rate

When you purchase a car using a car finance company, you will usually have to pay at least some interest on the purchase. Now, these interest rates really do vary a lot so you need to take a good look at these when you're considering getting your car. Ideally, you want the interest rate to be as low as possible but it is usually affected by a number of factors.

Let's say that you find car finance with an interest rate of 10 percent. If your car costs $2000 initially, the total repayment you will have to make over the allotted time would be $2200. However, if you had an interest rate of just 3 percent, the total cost of the car to you would be $2060. As you can see, the interest rate really does affect the cost of the car. Interest rate is also referred to as APR in some instances, so look out for that too.

#2 - Work on your credit rating

Credit ratings will affect the price you pay for almost everything if you are getting it on finance. Ensuring that your credit rating is as good as possible will usually mean that the interest rate will be lower when it comes to getting car finance. There are a number of ways to increase your credit rating and many of you might already have a great credit rating anyway. However, if you want to improve it more, you might want to ensure that you pay bills on time, pay off credit cards in full and so forth.

You also need to ensure that there are no cases of stolen identity as this can really affect your credit rating badly. If you have ever been made bankrupt or being in any serious debt, chances are that you will need to work on your credit rating before taking out car finance of any kind; unless you want to be paying over the odds.

#3 - Compare car finance deals

As we mentioned briefly at the beginning of this article, interest rates for car finance deals will vary significantly depending on a variety of factors and the company you go for. This is why it often pays dividends to really shop around. You should use car finance comparison websites to check the different rates available as there may be completely different rates available for the exact same car from different companies.

As well as this, you should also think about what you can actually afford in terms of monthly repayments so that you can budget. Failure to do this will often result in late payments and higher interest rates; not to mention a lower credit score overall.

Conclusion

As you can see, following these few simple steps will really help you to save money when it comes to car finance, but will also allow you to get the car you want without having to break the bank (at least not all in one go). Aspects such as improving your credit rating may not be possible overnight, but with a little work, you will see interest rates fall for everything you purchase.

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