At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity that will help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we earn money.
Before you decide to go car shopping, make time to get preapproved for an car loan. Along with helping you secure the very best interest rate possible, preapproval gives you leverage in the dealership and peace of mind?regarding your purchase.
It’s easy to get preapproved for any car loan with lending institutions, banks or online lenders prior to you heading to the dealership. Here’s why you need to and how to begin.
Set a realistic budget
Getting preapproved to have an car loan can help you set an authentic budget for your car purchase because you understand how much you can borrow and at what interest rate.
Your cost ought to be less than what you’re actually approved for because you’ll need to reserve about 10% of the amount borrowed for taxes and fees. You’ll also want to consider down payment and trade-in amounts that offset the cost.
With all this information, use an car loan calculator to estimate your monthly payment. You can then make sure your vehicle payment will fit into your budget, and when it does not, you are able to locate a more affordable car. Also keep in mind, your total car expenses – including such things as insurance, gas and maintenance – will be more than just the loan payment.
Get defense against dealer markups
If you haven’t shopped interest rates, you can end up paying 1 or 2 percentage points a lot more than you need to.
Dealer financing is convenient, but if you have not shopped around, an agreement finance manager might try to take advantage of that and mark up your interest rate. That could mean you’re paying 1 or 2 percentage points a lot more than you need to, which can add up to 100’s of dollars within the life of?your loan.
Strengthen your negotiating position
With your lender-approved blank check or certificate at hand, you’re transformed into a “cash buyer,” in the car dealership, and you’re in a much stronger negotiating position.
Preapproval makes you a ‘cash buyer’ in the car dealership, a much stronger negotiating position.
Without preapproval, here’s the way the car price negotiation game is played:
The smiling car salesman asks, “So, what monthly payment are you looking for?”
But when you get preapproved financing, you can avoid this sales tactic.
You can smile back and say, “I’m a cash buyer. Let’s just talk about the cost of the vehicle.”
Get an even better rate and avoid upsells
As you’re negotiating and shutting the deal, when you’re signing papers within the finance and insurance office, you can use your preapproval being an good way to deflect add-ons and guarantee offers you don’t want.
Say, “I’m preapproved with this amount, and i am not going to go over it.”
Or you can see when the dealer will beat your rate. Often, dealers have access to cheaper financing through “captive lenders.” These are banks set up by the car companies just to make auto loans, and they can offer rates that are less than those at other banks.
It’s worth completing financing application in the dealership to determine what deals and incentives you may qualify for, particularly if you have strong credit.
Should you receive prequalified instead of preapproved?
The ‘cash-in-hand’ offer, or preapproval, is what can help you in a dealership.
Delvin Davis, senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending
Getting preapproval for an car loan is not the same as getting prequalified – it’s a little more serious. As you prepare to buy, “the ‘cash-in-hand’ offer, or preapproval, is what will help you in a dealership,” says Delvin Davis, senior researcher in the center for Responsible Lending.
If you have no idea what your credit rating is or what sort of loan you can get, prequalification is really a low-risk strategy for finding out. It only requires a “soft” credit pull, so you can get a ballpark estimate of the items kind of rates you might get without damaging your score. But rates aren’t guaranteed – they can simply be as accurate as the limited information you provide for prequalification, so that your final rate might be higher.
In general, wait to obtain preapproval until you’re serious about buying a car and know your credit score because applying may have an impact on your credit. While neither guarantees funding, both can be good warning signs of your ability to secure financing and help figure out how much car you really can afford.
|Shopping automotive loans: preapproval vs. pre-qualification
|Preapproval means a lender has reviewed your credit report (not only the score) and other information to find out financing amount and rate you’re likely to receive.
Preapproval quick facts:
|Pre-qualification means you likely will get a loan at a given rate (or inside a wide range) based on limited personal and financial information. It isn’t a deal to finance you.
Pre-qualification quick facts:
How to get preapproved for any car loan
You can apply to obtain preapproval for an auto loan online, over the phone or in person at a bank . Since you already have rapport with your current bank, it’s wise to use there.
Aim to get preapproval from 2 or 3 lenders in most so you can pick the best interest rate and apply for all of them within Fourteen days. Despite the fact that preapproval needs a hard credit pull, if multiple lenders request your report within a short time, they count as one. It’s a good idea to check on your reports again afterward to make sure there aren’t any errors.
After that, you can sit back watching the offers roll in until it’s time to head to the dealership.
- Want to take action?
Compare auto lenders
- Want to dive deeper?
Estimate your monthly car payment
- Want to understand more about related?
Learn ways to get preapproved to have an auto loan