Money Essentials

Shopping for car loans and credit

Having a loan approved in advance lets you focus on price negotiations.


When you go to a car dealership to negotiate for a new car, you're in a stronger position if you have a pre-approved loan. Unless your model has a special low-rate financing offer backed by the manufacturer, a local bank or credit union is likely to give you a better deal on a loan. And in most cases, you can take a rebate in place of any low-rate financing and use that to lower your purchase price.

Credit unions typically charge 0.5% to 1% lower interest than bank car loans. You may have access to a credit union where you work, or may be eligible through a professional organization (teachers, government employees).

If you don't have ready access to a credit union, check out your local bank offerings. Websites specializing in loan information will give you a quick rundown on average rates and the best rates in your area.

When you get a pre-approved loan, that commitment usually is good for a month or more. So you can shop for the car you want knowing your financing is ready to go.

In addition to getting financing before you go to a dealership, you also need to do your price homework. That's our next lesson -- setting your target price.

glossary
Glossary
take the test
Take
the test
more lessons
More Money Essentials
lessons
Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Some Converse copycats cost big bucks A few bargain brands got swept up in Chuck Taylor's net, but others cost a pretty penny. More
Urban infrastructure gets a second life Railroad beds become parks, power plants become aquariums and slaughterhouses are now art centers as an industrial past turns people-centric. More
Boomtown moms From working mothers raising their kids in RVs to stay-at-home moms who spend their days organizing events for the Oil Wives club, meet the moms of North Dakota's oil boom. More

Updated 11/23/2011 with SEO tweaks - abell
Updated 7/25/2012 content - aross

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.