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Know your new-car financing options

Get the best deal on new-car financing

Before you get new-car financing, take a few minutes to educate yourself on how the process works. That could get you better terms on your loan.

With new-car financing comes an interest rate that you will pay for the life of the loan. Before you decide on which car, you should first figure out your monthly payment with interest. The Bankrate.com auto loan calculator helps you find your monthly payment based on the price, length of the loan and interest rate. It also can show you how quickly you can pay off the loan by making additional payments. Find current rates on auto loans at Bankrate.com.

Improve your credit score

The amount of interest you'll pay on your new-car financing depends heavily on your credit score. The better the score, the lower the rate you'll likely get. Before applying for a loan, check your credit report for inaccurate information that could damage your creditworthiness.

If your credit report is clean, but your credit score is less than stellar, you can take some immediate steps to improve it. Pay down high-balance credit cards and make sure you make payments on time. Keep open credit cards that are at a zero balance since available, unused credit is part of the equation.

Shop around

You'll probably visit several dealerships before settling on the car you want to buy, so do the same for your new-car financing. It will be easier to get a loan from the car dealer, but the dealer is unlikely to have the best rate. Instead, seek a car loan from a bank or credit union.

Get at least three quotes and use the best rate in negotiations with the dealer. Banks and dealers have leeway on the interest rate they can charge, so being armed with a few quotes will ensure that you get the best rate on your new-car financing.

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