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Before buying a car, shop around for the best auto loan

If you’re shopping for a new car, it’s extremely important that you shop around for the best loan available. As USA Today reports, the average new car loan interest rate was 5.5 percent in 2018, and the average cost of a new vehicle was $33,000. Those numbers are causing consumers problems. According to a Harris Poll survey of 2,000 Americans, 47 percent of consumers who’ve had auto loan debt reported that it was a stressor in their lives. Here are some tips for making sure you find the best auto loan you can.

Get a Check Up

Before you start shopping for a loan, make sure your credit score is as high as possible. Get access to your annual, free report from each of the three credit bureaus or through your financial institution. If there are any mistakes on the report, fix them immediately. Pay down your debt as much as possible, as your debt-to-income ratio is a significant factor in your credit score.

Call Around

Once your credit score is sky high, it’s time to shop around for the best loan. While making calls and submitting applications, keep the following details the same so comparing is easier:

  • Loan amount. This includes the price of the car, sales tax and fees.
  • Down payment. The more you put down, the less you have to borrow.
  • Loan term. Shoot for a 60-month loan on a new car; 36 month loan on a used car.
  • Consider a Credit Union

    Don’t confine your loan search to big banks and car dealerships. Your best option might be a credit union. Joining a credit union is easy and studies have shown that credit unions offer lower interest rates on auto loans than banks or dealerships. Not only that, credit unions are often smaller than banks and that can lead to better customer service and increased ties to the community. You can find a credit union near you by searching asmarterchoice.org.

    Chris O'Shea

    Chris O'Shea