3. You will know how much car you qualify for before you even visit the dealer.
4. You can avoid having to come up with a large down-payment.
5. You have only to deal with one issue at a time – the money, then the car. Car dealers are trained to close the deal by getting you so excited about the car that you abandon reason and good judgment during the application/negotiation phase. Don’t let this happen to you.
Getting pre-approved for a car loan is fast, easy and simple (in many cases you can expect an answer in as little as a day or two) but there is an important step that you must not skip.
• Know your credit history
As with all loans, rates and terms vary. You can get a general idea of what terms you can expect, or even if you will qualify for a loan if you are familiar with the information contained in your credit report and score. Your credit score is an objective number used by creditors to determine your credit worthiness. Generally those with higher scores fare better in terms of interest rates. Credit scores range from about 300 to 850. If your score is above 600, you will probably qualify for a car loan. Scores of at least 720 qualify for the best rates. Check out bankrate.com to learn what rates lenders are currently offering based on credit score.
Completing the application
You have several options for getting a pre-approved car loan (nominal application fees may apply).
1. You may complete and mail the application contained in the informational loan brochure provided by your bank or credit union.
2. You can also visit the website of your financial institution and complete an online application.
3. You can even pick up the phone. Some financial institutions have extended hours of service available that allow you to call from home or the showroom for pre-approval on your car loan.
4. You may opt/qualify for 100% financing, including costs for taxes, tag and title.
5. You may search the Internet for financial institution you are not currently connected with to learn about available options.
If you choose to make an online application, and particularly if you unfamiliar with the potential lender, be sure to proceed with caution to avoid an unpleasant outcome. Identity theft and fraud are all time highs; protect your credit and personal information at all times.
And don’t worry, pre-approval does not mean you have signed on the dotted line. It simply helps you plan around the best options available to you. If you change your mind you are not obligated to take the loan. You just can’t lose.