What To Look For When Applying For A Car Loan

Those customers who have never applied for a loan or who have been turned down previously might find the process intimidating, maybe overwhelming. Today, with the streamlined, straightforward application process, prospective borrowers can find getting approved for a car loan is quite easy. WIth the numerous loan services available to consumers, though, make choosing the one that is the best fit for you possible.

While car loan lenders can assist you in finding a loan, going into a dealership with a pre-approval letter, or better yet, an idea of which loan works best for you can alleviate problems later on. In a market full of competitors, however, finding the best one requires doing your homework. In addition to the loan type and interest rate, prospective buyers also want to pay attention to both the terms and any penalties that go along with the loan.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should pay attention to when it comes to choosing a car loan.

Loan Type

When looking for a loan, consider whether the loan is unsecured or secured. Unsecured loans require the borrower have a good credit rating and an income that can support a monthly payment. Because a low debt-to-income ratio guarantees that you essentially can pay for the car on time, you typically do not have to place any money down, but that is with an excellent credit score. Alternatively, secured loans require some collateral. With the secured loan, borrowers can put down collateral such as your home, another car, or other property of value to guarantee that the financing company is paid.

Interest Rate

The interest rate is also of importance because the rate, if too high, will translate into you paying way too much for your car. Simply stated, the interest rate is the charge the financing company makes borrowers pay for taking out the loan. You want to get the lowest interest rate possible because this amount is included in the repayment so the higher the interest rate, the higher your monthly payment is raised. Typically, though, the interest is determined by your credit score, so the better shape your financial records are in, the more likely that you can snag a low-interest rate and lower your loan payment.


Loan terms can last from as little as three to five years to as long as seven years. Keep in mind, though, that while your payment might drop significantly with a longer payment you end up paying back more over time. Alternatively, loan terms that ask you to pay off the loan sooner will translate into a higher payment but you pay less interest over time. Basically, borrowers have to decide on which term is better for their budget keeping in mind that, while the temptation might be to take out a car loan with a lower payment and a longer loan term and pay it off quickly, there might be a penalty to paying off the loan early.

Penalties And Fees

Pay attention to the fine details in the loan because many come with extra penalties. In addition to early payment fees, some loan programs will require borrowers to pay a loan origination fee. Usually, if the loan is with a reputable lender, the origination fee is not a part of the application.

Factors Of Import In Financing

Of all the things to look for, the above factors will determine the type of loan you get and impact your car-buying experience. Of course, with a pre-approval letter, everything will be streamlined, and in many cases, you know beforehand the terms and interest rate before even taking out a loan. Finally, by doing much of the work before shopping for your car, you can possibly save a lot of money down the road.

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Written by Nathaniel Fried

Co-founder of Fupping. Busy churning out content and building an empire.

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