When you want a car and you want it today, there are things you can do to get the best rates without having to shop around for weeks on end.
In this 3-minute read, you'll discover the most convenient way to source the best auto financing rates today, as well as strategies for securing the most desirable interest rates tomorrow too.
How to get the best auto financing rates today
While your credit score is important, many lenders look at other factors including your income. So if your credit score isn’t the greatest, there are a few things you can do to ensure the best rates today while setting yourself up for better credit tomorrow.
A.) Get pre-approved
The auto finance pre-approval is a gamechanger for car buyers. Not only does it reduce (or completely eliminate) the time you have to spend at the car dealership, but a pre-approval lets you shop for your new car more confidently. It can even save you money.
Four reasons to get a car loan pre-approval:
1. It focuses your attention on vehicles that you can get approved for
When you’re pre-approved, you can more accurately shop for a vehicle. The total price, your expected payment, your approximate interest rate – it’s all clear upfront BEFORE you start hopping from dealership to dealership and website to website looking at cars you won’t afford. You’ll know your dollar number so you can shop within your means, saving you time and effort.
2. It gives you a better negotiating position
“Let me see if I can get you approved for this car. If I can, do you want to take it home today?”
A favourite tactic by salespeople – especially those who specialize in less-than-perfect credit – is to make your approval the focus, not the best deal on the vehicle. When you’re pre-approved for a car loan, it flips the script. Rather than the narrative being in the seller’s favour, you can focus on getting a better deal on the car. “If I can lower the price to get the payment within your pre-approval, do you want this car?”
3. It gives you access to the best financing rates available
One of the most beneficial aspects of pre-approval is simply knowing. When you know that interest rate you’ve been pre-approved for, you can shop for a car more intelligently. That’s most evident in interest rates for financing.
Let’s say that your flawed credit history means you’ve been pre-approved on a 60-month term. You’ve selected the perfect compact SUV for your needs and budget and you know what your interest rate is going to be. The salesperson might ask, “Do you want to use your financing, or I can see if I can get you a better rate?” What do you say?
Of course, let the salesperson try! With a pre-approval, you aren’t locked into the deal until you’ve signed on the dotted line. Whether the salesperson comes back with a better rate or not, you can be confident you’ll be taking your new car home.
4. It can help you get approved even with low credit
Auto financing pre-approvals are a great idea for shoppers with great credit, but even more so for those with no credit or bad credit. Car dealerships have access to low- or zero-interest loans from the manufacturer but aren’t as well equipped for bad credit car buyers. By getting pre-approved, you can tap into the best rates and terms for your specific credit situation before you visit the car lot.
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B.) Can you offer a down payment?
Decide whether or not you want to make a down payment and how much your down payment should be. The down payment is a percentage of the purchase price paid upfront. Even if it's just a couple of hundred dollars, a down payment can help you secure a better deal. But a down payment isn’t possible for everyone, and there are also no money down options you can explore. Canada Drives can help you find the option that’s right for you.
C.) Can you find a cosigner?
Do you have a cosigner ready to sign or will you be the only name on your car loan agreement? A cosigner is a trusted friend or family member who agrees to share responsibility for your loan. A cosigner can help you get more favourable auto financing rates because the level of risk for the lender decreases. However, like a down payment, a cosigner isn’t a viable option for everyone and you can still get approved without one.
How to get the best auto financing rates in the future
There’s one thing you should be mindful of if you don’t need a car immediately but plan on applying for auto financing in the near future: Your credit score.
A credit score is kept on anyone who has received a credit card or a loan. Your credit score is included on your credit report, a document—administered by credit bureaus companies like Equifax and TransUnion—that contains information about your credit history and financial behaviour.
This information is provided to lenders, employers, landlords and more. This report allows a company or lender that is considering granting an individual a loan to assess one’s ability to pay the money back.
Credit scores in Canada range from 300 points to 900 points. The closer you can get to 900, the easier it will be to secure the best auto financing rates.
If you don’t know where your finances stand before applying for auto financing, it’s best to do some digging to figure out where your credit score lands. You can download your credit report and learn your credit score for free at sites like Borrowell.
If your score is poor or fair, you might want to look at ways to improve it. Here are a few quick tips:
- Be responsible with your credit cards: Your balances should be within 30% of your limits, meaning they should be paid off frequently. Never max out your credit cards, and if you do, pay them off immediately if you can. If you have credit cards that you never use, don’t close them. The older a credit account is, the better it is for your credit rating.
- Do NOT miss a payment: Pay your bills on time and as scheduled. It’s easy to automate bill payments so that you don’t have to remember when every payment is due.
- Build a manageable combination of debt: Be thoughtful and selective about applying for credit. And remember, applying for right types of credit products can help you prove to lenders and credit bureaus that you’re responsible and capable of managing multiple debts.
With a few small adjustments, you could see your credit score increase in as soon as 30 days.
How a car loan actually improves your credit score
Monthly installments on a car loan can help you improve your credit score for more reasons than one:
- Payment history: Reliably making car payments on time will help improve your credit score. This is because your payment history contributes to 35% of your credit score. Good payment history tells lenders if you are a reliable borrower that will pay them back.
- Credit utilization: makes up another 30% of your credit score. If you get cashback with your car loan, you can use that money to pay down other high interest debt, like a credit card. If you max out all your credit cards, your utilization is at 100%, and that’s not good. Keep your balances below 20%-30% utilization and it will positively impact your credit score.
How an improved credit score can help you refinance for a better rate
Essentially, refinancing a car loan is like purchasing your vehicle all over again. There’s no price negotiation though because you’re already the car’s owner and the balance of the car loan is what you still need to pay.
When you refinance your auto loan, the lender qualifies you for credit and assesses your vehicle’s eligibility for financing. Once you’ve been approved, the lender issues a new financing contract for the amount owing and then pays out your current car loan in full.
If you’ve been able to improve your credit score since taking out your car loan, you may be able to finish your term with a better interest rate!
Get pre-approved today!
Canada Drives can get you pre-approved for a car in no time. After completing a quick online application, we’ll will match you with a certified dealership near you that has the best vehicle financing deal for your budget and needs. By doing all the work for you, Canada Drives saves you valuable time and presents the best options for your financial situation.
Get behind the wheel of your dream car with Canada Drives:
- Complete the 3-minute application at home: Online application takes just minutes and can be completed from the comfort of your home.
- Get pre-approved for free: You won’t have to commit to anything until you’ve visited the dealership and taken the car for a test drive. Changed your mind about the vehicle? No problem, you’re free to walk away at any time.
- All credit scores welcome: Get the vehicle financing you need, even if you have poor credit, no credit, or have filed for bankruptcy. Our car loans can even help you build credit!
- Award-winning: Canada Drives is an industry leader for pre-approved car loans and was even named one of Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies and a Technology Fast 50 winner.
- Extensive network: Canada Drives has partnered with over 350 dealers so you can choose from thousands of vehicles and a variety of special financing programs.
- Trusted by Canadians: Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have gotten the car they want thanks to Canada Drives. See what some of them have to say on Trustpilot.
Take the first step towards a pre-approved car loan, go to our 3-minute online application or call 1-888-865-6402.