auto

How to find the best rate

So how do you find the best auto finance rate? The first place to start is Bankrate's daily update of loan rates. These are averages and will give you a starting point to determine what's high or low when it comes to APR (annual percentage rate), the best yardstick for loan comparisons.

But loans vary greatly, depending on the lender, the borrower's credit and regional factors. This Bankrate.com search tool will help you compare car-loan rates in your area.

Internet comparison

Elsewhere on the Internet, comparison loan shopping has gotten much easier. Most brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions offer Web site auto loan quotes and applications.

Then there are online lenders like E-Loan and Capital One Auto Finance (formerly PeopleFirst), which have been offering highly competitive rates.

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Get three quotes

It's smart to get about three different loan quotes. If one seems especially low, verify that it's an actual offer to lend you money at that price and not just a gimmick to get you signed up before the real numbers appear.

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Tara Baukus Mello

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