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Your guide to low-rate car loans

Our guide to low interest car loans.

We know you want to finally get behind the wheel of your dream car, or simply can’t wait a moment longer to make the most of your day, zipping around town on your own terms. A low-rate car loan can help get you there. 

A fraction of a percentage point may not seem like much now, but over time it adds up. So take stock and you could save dollars in the long run while still getting on the road sooner rather than later. 

There are so many options when it comes to finding a car loan, it can seem overwhelming. Yet, if you do your research, you can find one that offers low interest, no early repayment penalties and minimal fees. And when that’s the case, you’ll be able to pay your loan back over a time period that suits you.

A low interest car loan is also kinder to your wallet than other forms of credit, leaving you more room (and money) to get out there and play. 

Hello? Win win.

But you will need to know what you’re looking for. Low interest is just the start. 

Secure and stable is underrated, literally

Lenders will love you if you reduce their risk, so if you have an existing asset and are prepared to secure a personal loan with it then, voila, instant lower interest. 

Cars, homes, boats and even term deposits are considered security. And you can often use the car you’re planning on purchasing as security, if it meets the lenders criteria. But be warned, you’ll be granting that lender rights over that asset in order to obtain that lower rate. 

What does that mean? Well, if you are unable to make your repayments then the lender can seize your asset and then sell your asset to cover the cost of your outstanding debt. So you’ll want to have faith in your ability to make payments. 

In a nutshell, secured loans reduce the level of risk to a lender,  and less risk and means a lower interest rate for you. 

Additionally, with your assets effectively acting as guarantors, you may then be able to borrow a larger amount, and potentially more favourable terms.  

won’t be able to borrow enough money to buy your dream new Porsche if you’re just securing the loan with a second hand Mazda. 

It’s all about the Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) to ensure your asset has enough equity to cover your loan should you find yourself in the unlikely position of not being able to make payments. 

A secured car loan may have certain restrictions on what cars, new or used, you can buy, so check the fine print. 

Risky business

Ever been lured in by a low interest rate on the internet only to find it mysteriously change to a higher one when you apply? Turns out interest rates are not all created equal. 

Low interest rates can be fluid and dependent upon your personal spending history. If you’ve got a good credit rating then you should be rewarded for your diligence, so ask around and compare rates on offer. If it’s not so great, then you can start to make it great with a higher interest rate paid off earlier.

Speaking of credit ratings, before you ask for car loan quotes, check in with the lender that the quote process is credit score friendly. This means the lender does what’s known as a “soft check” on your credit file so there’s no unnecessary bruising to impact future loan applications. 

Your interest rate for an unsecured loan will then be dependent on your assets, your debts and your life expenses. If you keep your credit card limits low and your debts even lower, then your car loan interest rate will follow. 

The benefits are many and may outweigh the higher rate as you won’t be risking your car, home or assets if you can’t pay your loan due to unforeseen circumstances.  

Ducks in an eligible row

Before you can get that low interest cash to fulfill your life goals, you’ll need to prove you’re eligible. 

Age is just a number, but you’ll need that number to be 18 or over and for some loans you’ll need it to be 21. You’ll also need proof. So polish up that passport and driver's license as it will go on display. If you’re not an Australian citizen then you’ll also need resident certification to prove you are a permanent resident. 

Make sure you have pay slips or similar to prove you earn at least $25,000 per year, dependent on how much you are wanting to loan. 

Those with their own business and a direct line to their accountant will need to provide additional tax information, revenue and earnings to get the lower interest rates. 

If you’re employed then you’ll need to make sure you’ve been in employed for longer than the probationary period and that your employers are confident to give you good references. 

Casually employed? Temporary resident? There may still be loans available for you, but the interest rates won’t be as low. Again, a good way to improve that credit rating. 

If you have debts you’re paying off, or existing loans, and are applying for a non-secured loan then double check the eligibility criteria for any loan you apply for. Then, only submit an application when you know it won’t negatively impact your all-important credit score. 

The better your credit score the more choices you will have available to you, so guard it with the care of a new-born baby. 

Shop around. Shop around.

More lending services means more loans on offer means more competition means competitive rates. Though do your research and always check ratings, reviews, fees, charges and penalties.

It may help to reach out to those you already bank with, that way they’ll have your transaction history at hand and the approval process will be swift and theoretically the interest will be lower. But, again, check fees and charges. Having a low interest loan is great, but not if there’s a ton of fees and penalties that counter that low interest.

Hit me up - fees and charges.

Let’s talk about those fees and charges. Some lenders may charge an application fee, monthly account keeping fees, administration fees, refinancing fees, late repayment fees, early repayment fees. The list goes on.

You can always check the comparison rate for the real cost of a loan. You want that figure and the interest rate figure to be as close as possible as it means you’re spending less.

The comparison rate takes in the amount of a loan, the term of a loan, the repayment frequency, fees, charges, interest rate. It’s a better indicator of what you’ll be up for when getting yourself a fixed term car loan. 

But there’s more to a loan than interest and comparison rates. Everyone’s life needs are different, so you may want to prioritise the ability to pay out a loan early with no fees or you may prefer to have a longer repayment term. 

Whatever works for you.

Length matters. 

This one is simple. No algebra required. 

A longer loan term will mean lower payments and more interest paid out over time. A shorter loan term will mean higher payments but you’ll pay less overall as you’ll pay less interest.  

That’s the long and the short of it and everything you need to know to help decide which low interest car loan is for you.

Just remember, choose between secure (less interest) or unsecured loans (a bit more interest), shop around, read the fees and charges fine print and choose a loan repayment length that will work for your lifestyle.

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