More and more consumers are getting their auto financing online instead of from the dealerships where they buy their vehicles. Getting auto financing from a dealership has some benefits:
• Convenience – vehicles and financing are in one place and the dealer is motivated to find financing for buyers, no matter their circumstances.
• More options – a dealer’s relationships with a variety of banks and finance companies mean they can offer a range of loans to fit a buyer’s credit rating.
• Special programs – sometimes dealers can offer manufacturer-sponsored, low-rate programs, but usually only to people with good credit.
But getting auto financing online offers even more advantages:
• Certainty – buyers know how much they can spend before setting foot on a dealer’s lot.
• Clout – buyers with financing in hand are treated like cash customers and are in a stronger negotiating position.
• Cash savings – because of competition, online buyers often get the lowest interest rate possible for someone with their credit rating.
• Calmness – buyers aren’t subjected to the high-pressure tactics of a dealer’s finance department.
Shopping for your financing first can save you a lot of headaches. If you know how much money you’re qualified to borrow, you can limit your search to a vehicle you’ll actually be able to afford. Why set your heart on a Hummer when your checkbook says Hyundai.
Play it safe
Due to advances in Internet security, online financial transactions are for the most part safe and secure. Still, The Federal Trade Commission offers the following advice regarding online transactions:
• Use a secure browser – software that encrypts or scrambles the purchase information you send over the Internet – to help guard the security of your information as it is transmitted to a website. Be sure your browser has the most up-to-date encryption capabilities by using the latest version available from the manufacturer.
• Keep your personal information private. Don’t disclose your personal information – your address, telephone number, Social Security number, bank account number or e-mail address – unless you know who’s collecting the information, why they’re collecting it and how they’ll use it.
• Give payment information only to businesses you know and trust, and only when and where it is appropriate – like an order form. Never give your password to anyone online, even your Internet service provider.