Auto loans-How to Finance a Used Car

Shopping For Credit

A used car buyer may know how to find the best models and how to reach a fair price, yet not know how to buy a car on credit. A buyer who walks into a dealership with insufficient information is likely to accept dealer financing and pay top dollar for it. Savvy buyers need to comparison shop for money just as they do for the car itself.

Before going to a dealership or used car lot, buyers should know the range of interest rates from various sources and answers to these questions:

  • How much will I need to borrow?
  • What is the maximum monthly payment I can afford?
  • How many months do I want to borrow the money for?

Other Web Sites for Current Rates:

Bank Rate Monitor’s site which surveys 2,500 lenders in 125 markets for rates on auto loans.

Comparison Shopping For A Used Car

Since the majority of used cars are financed, comparison shopping for the best finance terms and contract is worth the time and effort and can save you a lot of money. Before signing any finance contract, for your own protection, read it carefully. Make sure you understand every clause of the contract. Also, be sure there are no blank spaces or lines to be filled in later. Do not be afraid to ask questions about clauses that are unclear. You also want to know the creditor’s legal rights for situations such as late payment, default or prepayment. Finally, be sure that you can meet your responsibilities defined in the contract.

Important Financial Terms

Finance managers at the various used car sources are experts in selling money to prospective buyers. By law, the cost of credit is expressed as an annual percentage rate (APR) and the buyer can compare the cost of loans by comparing annual percentage rates. The APR is the standard way of talking about interest rates. The federal Truth In Lending Act requires creditors to clearly disclose all the required cost terms in writing.

The contract must include the APR, the amount financed, the finance charge, the total of payments and the payment schedule. Also required is the total sales price, which is the sum of the total scheduled payments and the down payment. The finance charge is the total cost of the loan including interest, fees and credit checks. The credit contract shows the buyer how much more it costs to buy on credit than to pay cash.

When you obtain an automobile loan the car becomes collateral, which means that the creditor will hold the title to the car until the loan is paid in full. So if you fail to make your payments, then legally the creditor can repossess the car and sell it.