Northeast Community Credit Union
Always here when you need us

Serving the needs of Northeast Tennessee since 1952

0% Auto Loan Might Not Be the Best Deal

 

In seeking the best deal on your next car, you might've stumbled upon advertisements or offers to get a 0% interest auto loan. As great as this sounds, you may not save as much as you expect with this type of incentive.

 

Since auto loans can come through either a dealer or a lender, such as a bank or credit union, it's important to note that a 0% interest loan generally, if not always, is obtained through a dealer. Automakers offer them to attract buyers to certain car models, especially ones that aren't selling well. Here are a few things to consider about 0% financing and why it might not be in your best interest to use it.

 

You might be forfeiting a better deal

 

Typically, you can't receive both reduced rate financing and a cash rebate when you buy a car, so you may have to choose one. Manufacturers' cash rebates can range from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. The well-known auto research website Edmunds found that the cost of incentives that automakers pay to attract customers was around $2,300 per car industrywide, which includes cash rebates and cost of reduced financing.

 

While a 0% loan may sound appealing, a cash rebate might save you more money. If you buy a $20,000 car that has a $2,300 rebate, you are really paying $17,700 plus interest. If your interest rate for a five-year loan is 3%, a typical rate, you will pay a total of $1,383 in interest. That brings the cost of the car plus interest to $19,083, saving you $917 compared with what you'd pay with a 0% loan.

 

Rate may not last as long as your loan

 

Some car models may have 0% financing for a limited term, such as five years, which could be less than the length of your auto loan. In the third quarter of 2015, the average loan term for a new car was five years and seven months, and the term for used cars was five years and three months, according to Experian's State of the Automotive Finance Market report. These are the longest average terms calculated since the firm began collecting data in 2006.

 

You may even receive a longer loan if you want lower monthly payments than you were offered initially. If your term is longer than the 0% financing deal, you generally pay interest on the remaining months or years.

 

This offer can be limited

 

A 0% rate might only be offered for a handful of models, especially newer cars, and less for used cars or older models. But even if this deal is available for the car you want, qualifying for it typically requires a high credit score. Check on the eligibility rules for getting this rate before stepping onto the dealer's lot if you can.

 

As you sift through car prices and incentives, remember that trade-offs are part of the process when buying a car. Although a 0% interest rate may save you money in some cases, you might also be letting a better savings opportunity pass you by.

 

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

  Lost VISA Debit Card: 1-800-472-3272, then call us at 423-547-1200

 

  Lost VISA Credit Card: 1-800-558-3424, then call us at 423-547-1200

ABA / Routing #  264278827

NMLS #520867

 

Equal Housing Opportunity Member NCUA

Rates subject to change without notice

Certain Restrictions Apply

 © 2008 Northeast Community Credit Union

 

  Your Insured Shares:

Your shares are insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), an arm of the National Credit Union Association. Not one penny of insured savings has ever been lost by a member of a federally insured credit union. The NCUSIF is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Your money is safe with us.