The world of car finance can be confusing. This often leads people to make simple mistakes which can cost them lots of money. Don't worry – we're here to give you a few smart tips to making financing your next car a doddle.

Understand your credit score

This is the first thing you need to do before you get car finance. Unlike other loan deals (e.g. mortgages, credit cards) you’re more likely (but not guaranteed!) to get a car loan regardless of your credit score. This is because the lender knows they can always redeem their investment by taking the car. However, this means that you may be willing to accept the first offer a car lender gives you. Normally, car finance will advertise their best interest rate but when you read the finer details, this only applies to customers with good credit scores.

A better indication of interest rate is the representative APR. This is the rate that the majority of borrowers will get (at least 51% of customers).

Conducting a credit score check can give you a better idea of what rate to expect. Many car finance websites have free calculators. These allow you to work out your expected interest rate using your credit score.

Keep the term as short as you can afford

Put simply: the shorter, the better. When you look into finance options you may be tempted to take a long-term contract with fantastically small monthly repayments. However, in almost all cases this isn’t a good option. Essentially, the longer the term is on your contract, the more interest you’ll pay overall. So, whilst it might be cheaper in an immediate sense, you’ll end up paying more. We recommend keeping the term as short as you can afford, but without impacting on your quality of life.

Pay for extras upfront

Most car finance deals come with additional costs. These can include registration fees, documentation fees, as well as any other additional extras you want like extended warranties. These are all normal parts of a loan agreement and are nothing to worry about. However, try to pay them in cash. Adding extras onto your loan increases your monthly repayments and you’ll likely have to pay interest on it.

If you’re looking to finance your car the right way, you should start by conducting a soft search with My Car Credit. Our approach is a great way of finding out about your credit score and the car finance options available to you without affecting your credit profile. We’re ready to help you on your journey to a great car with a great finance plan.

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 23.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 23.88%, 47 monthly payments of £234.69 followed by 1 payment of £244.69, total cost of credit is £3,775.12, total amount payable is £11,275.12.

My Car Credit is a credit broker and not a lender.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!