Pay Attention to Your Credit Score
It is no secret that banks and credit card companies have tightened their lending practices. Nobody wants to take any risks in this economy. To finance your first car, it is extremely important to keep a good credit score. Lenders use it to determine your rate and whether you’ll get a loan in the first place.
Make sure you pay any credit as agreed. Never slip on any payments. Also, try to pay off as much as you can. If you have a $5,000 credit card limit and racks up $4,500 in charges, you are using almost all of your available credit. Lenders will see that as a warning signal. Try to limit your usage to 30-40 percent of the credit limit.
If possible, also try to limit the number of loans and credit cards you have. It is better to have just a few credit cards and a big loan, rather than many small loans.
Get the Best Deal
There is nothing wrong with trying to get the best deal if you want to a car loan. Just remember, shopping for loan and credits in many different places will result in many inquiries about your credit score. This raises a red flag with banks and credit companies.
Check with your own bank first. They can often give you the best offer. With a credit score above 780, you are likely to get a good rate.
If you know that your credit score isn’t good enough, typically below 600, and can’t pay cash for your car, search for a dealership or a bank that focuses on bad credit consumers. You will be required to make a bigger down payment and can expect a higher APR, usually 5-10% above the lowest rates. So make sure everything fits in your budget. Otherwise, this purchase can damage your credit score even more. Be realistic, it will take a couple of years before your credit score is back on track and before you can refinance your vehicle.
Paper Work Needed for Your Car Loan
Get the following paper work ready: copies of your latest paychecks, driver’s license, and bills that prove your current residence. Often you will also be asked to show bank statements and car insurance.