Best Car Loans*
Need to finance your vehicle? How to find the best car loan* for you.
Buying a car brings with it a number of decisions, but one of the most essential ones is your finance. If you decide to get a car loan you need to find the most competitive and suitable product for you; That is, you want to find the best car loan.
This guide takes you through all of the features and costs you need to consider when sorting through your car loan options, so you are confident when making your decision.
What’s the best car loan for me?
The best car loan is the one that helps you get the car you want for repayments that are affordable for you and offers features that meet your needs. To find this loan, you need to ensure the loan is competitive regarding its interest rate and fees and that you can use it to buy the car you want (lenders have restrictions on age and value of the vehicle). You then need to look at other features, such as repayment flexibility, to ensure these all meet your needs, which is all detailed in the guide below.
Quick guide to how car loans work
Car loans work much in the same way as other personal loans, except the vehicle you’re purchasing is used to guarantee the loan, which is why car loans come with much more competitive rates – typically between 9-15% p.a. (although rates can vary). If you don’t want to attach your vehicle to the loan, you can consider an unsecured personal loan to finance your car purchase. These loans come with a rate of between 12-29.95% p.a.
A car loan can be offered as a dealership finance loan or as a standard car loan from a bank, credit union or standalone lender. You can typically borrow between $1,000 and $70,000 with a car loan and loan terms extend up to 5 years. The type of loan you are eligible for depends on whether the car is new or used, how much the car is worth and your credit history and financial situation.
How do you find the best car loan?
Here are a few things to bear in mind when comparing your car loan options above, as this helps you find the best car loans for your needs and to settle for one.
- How much does the loan cost? You need to consider both the interest rate and fees when asking this question. When looking at the interest rate, compare similar loans to see if the standalone rate is competitive. Then, look at the comparison rate to see if the loan is still affordable and comparable when the fees are brought into the equation (the comparison rate is the interest rate + fees).
- Are the repayments flexible? See if you can repay your car loan early without penalty or if you can make additional repayments without being charged a fee.
- What are your loan terms? Car loan terms are generally your choice of between 1 and 5 years. The length of time you take out a loan affects your loan repayments and therefore the loan affordability, so make sure you consider this.
- Is your car eligible? Can you finance the vehicle you want with this loan? Some lenders have restrictions on the age of the car or the type of vehicle, so ensure you can purchase the car you want before you apply.
- How much can you borrow? The loan amount the lender offers you depends on a couple of factors. For most lenders, your credit history and financial situation is a determining factor, and for a secured car loan the amount also depends on the cost of the car. Car loans are typically between $1,000 and $70,000, (although other lenders, eg UDC, offer more).
- What is the type of loan?
Take note of the specific type of car loan that you are looking at, as it can be a new or used car loan; low-interest car loan; bad credit car loan or pre-approved car loan. The category type your loan falls under helps you compare it to other similar loans.
Five tips to get the best car loan
- Consider a newer vehicle. New car loans come with lower interest rates than used car loans because the lender is taking on less of a risk. Most new car loans don’t require you to purchase a brand new car; you can usually secure a vehicle less than two years old with this loan.
- Quotes without credit enquiries. While credit enquiries are not always a bad thing to have listed on your file, too many enquiries can have a negative impact on your credit score. If you submit an enquiry for a car loan rate estimate make sure the provider doesn’t list any hard credit checks on your file. If a credit check is required, don’t inquire with too many lenders.
- Detail all of your assets and finances when applying. Some lenders offer lower interest rates if you have a strong net position (assets minus liabilities). So even if you are applying for a secured car loan, listing your other assets may give you access to a better rate.
- Leave a down payment. If a lender sees you don’t need to borrow 100% of the purchase price of the vehicle, you may be eligible for a lower interest rate.
- Compare your options before you apply. Comparing options shows you which lender has the lowest rate car loans available. If you don’t want to compare the loans yourself, you can consider using the services of a car finance broker to help you find the best car loan options for your specific situation. Click on the “speak to a broker” tab above the table.
Have you weighed up the benefits and drawbacks of car loans?
- Depending on the lender, your car loan might have various restrictions on what you can use the loan amount for.
- If the car loan is a variable rate option, then you may find your rate change over the life of the loan, making it difficult to budget for your repayments.
Found the best car loan for your situation? Here’s what you need to apply
The type of information you need to supply depends on the lender and the type of loan you have chosen. You typically need to provide:
- Proof of your identity, with a passport or driver’s licence.
- Details of your finances, including credit, debt and assets.
- Proof of your income.
- Details about the car (if you’ve found it) including make, model and year.
For a secured loan you also have to provide details about the vehicle including the Vehicle Identification Number and the dealership. Check with your lender before you submit your application.
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