Understanding your credit position and auto loan options before you go auto shopping can be one of the most important things you do to help get the best deal.
Credit Score & Report
Before you pursue auto loan options we highly recommend that you have a copy of your credit report and score. Both are used by lenders to determine if you qualify for a auto loan and if so, which rate to offer you. The 3 major credit bureaus are required by law to provide a basic free annual copy of their credit report, which you can obtain at AnnualCreditReport.com, and for more information you can visit CreditReport.com to get a consolidated 3 in 1 report and your actual credit scores.
Auto Loan Solutions
myAutoLoan.com: if you have good to excellent credit you may be able to qualify for a loan for your new or used auto purchase with a "direct" to consumer auto loan from a independent lender (i.e. bank, credit union, specialist auto lender). myAutoLoan helps match applicants with independent lenders. If you get approved, you will have the flexibility to shop at any dealer with your pre-approved financing in hand, which can be very beneficial when negotiating and evaluating auto loan options at a dealer. If you can get a low rate auto loan from an independent lender, and buy a new auto using special consumer incentives like "cash back" offers, you can save a lot of money.
New Auto Loans From the Manufacturer: if you have good to excellent credit and you are buying a new auto, you may also qualify for special rates and auto loan offers from the manufacturer's lending division (often referred to as a "Captive" lender). Using our Dealer Select Pricing Tool, you can identify your vehicle of interest and get in touch with multiple local auto dealers to get more information on these options.
AutoCreditExpress.com (ACE): if you have fair or poor credit you should know that it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase a new auto. If you are a high credit risk, most lenders will only allow you to purchase a lower cost, used auto. To help buyers in this situation, many franchised and independent dealers offer special "sub-prime" or "buy here pay here" loan solutions. ACE helps buyers connect with these dealers.
Local Banks and Credit Unions: if you have an existing relationship with a bank or credit union, you should also check their website to see if they offer loan solutions you can use to purchase your auto. Because of your existing relationship with them, they may offer you special rates as an existing customer.
Comparing Auto Loan Options
Once you have obtained a few finance options you may want to run some scenarios to understand the best options for you when it comes to loan amount, term, and down payment. Using our Auto Loan Calculator can help determine the best auto finance scenario for you to ensure you can handle the monthly payments.
If you have had credit problems in the past, you may find it difficult to get approved for a auto loan at all. In this scenario, if you cannot get approved for financing from a lender or a dealer you should consider modifying your search criteria and trying to buy a auto that you can purchase with cash. You can search through millions of vehicles right now using our Used Auto Inventory Tool.
Before you head off to a auto dealership or to meet with a private party seller, it's smart to get as much information as you can on your current credit position and loan options for purchasing a auto. Even if you end up using a financing source at a auto dealer, getting pre-approved before you go shopping will help ensure you are getting a good interest rate.