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Fixed rate car loans
Lock in a competitive rate and budget for your loan term with a fixed rate car loan.
Found the car you want to buy? Whether it’s new or used, you can find a rate that stays low for the entire loan term when you opt for a fixed rate car loan. Terms of between one and five years, (longer with some providers) are available with these loans, and you can find car finance for a range of budgets. Read our guide to discover more about how fixed rate car loans work, and compare your options below.
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How do fixed rate car loans work?
Fixed rate car loans come with an interest rate that remains the same for the duration of the loan term. As this protects you from rate fluctuations, these loans may come with more restrictions. You may not be able to make extra repayments or repay the loan early, or you may have to pay a fee to do so.
Lenders typically require you to use the entire loan amount for the car purchase, although some allow you to borrow extra to cover additional vehicle costs, such as insurance. Once you receive approval for the loan, you make ongoing repayments throughout the loan term, which may be anywhere between one and seven years, until you repay the loan in full.
What are the types of fixed rate car loans?
There are two types of fixed rate car loans, a secured fixed rate car loan and an unsecured fixed rate car loan.
- Fixed rate secured loan.
With a secured fixed rate car loan, the lender uses your vehicle as a guarantee for the loan. These loans typically come with lower rates as they are a lower risk for the lender.
- Fixed rate unsecured loan.
An unsecured fixed rate car loan means you do not have to use your vehicle as security for the loan. As the loan is more of a risk for the provider, the rates are higher, but you have more freedom with how you use the loan amount.
How to compare fixed rate car loans
When you plan to take out a fixed rate car loan, it is essential to examine the fee structure, interest rate and other features on offer by different lenders in the market:
- Interest rates.
Fixed interest rates differ from one lender to another and determine what your repayments are. The loan provider may also give you the option to reduce your interest payments, by providing your asset, ie the car as a security against the loan.
- Comparison rates.
A comparison rate is a tool that helps you identify the actual cost of a loan. You determine the comparison rate by taking into account the interest rate, plus other charges and fees related to it. However, it does not include additional contingent payments, for example, redraws or early repayment fees. You can calculate comparison rates on the basis the loan term; loan amount; repayment frequency, (ie fortnightly, monthly or weekly), interest rate and other charges.
Choosing the right lender is critical when you plan to take out a fixed rate car loan. Different brands offer various features, such as extended loan terms; minimum loan amount; insurance cover; flexible repayment schedules; early repayment options; lower interest and comparison rates to attract borrowers. If you’re loyal to a particular lender, be mindful that it may not have the best deal for your specific situation.
There are different charges such as early termination fees; monthly administration cost and establishment fees. Charges may vary from lender to lender, and it is wise to choose one who offers minimal fees to reduce the overall cost of your fixed rate car loan.
Benefits and drawbacks of a fixed rate car loan
- Fixed repayments can help you budget throughout your loan term.
- Car loans typically come with lower rates, so that you can lock in a competitive option.
- A fixed rate loan does not offer flexibility, ie your repayments do not change.
- If market rates change your interest rate does not drop.
Things to avoid with a fixed rate car loan
Although fixed rate car loans offer many benefits and attractive features, there are specific issues you need to consider when you apply.
- Always read the fine print.
The essential thing to avoid is not understanding the terms and conditions of the loan. Make sure you’re aware of all fees, charges, terms and conditions before you apply.
- Early repayment fees.
There may be early termination fees or early repayment penalties with a fixed rate car loan if you want to finalise your loan payment earlier than the agreed term.
- Car eligibility.
Check the car you plan to purchase is eligible under the terms of the loan. Most lenders set a maximum age limit on vehicles, but it may also have to be of a specific condition.
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