Getting approved for a car loan can be difficult, especially for people with low credit scores or no credit history. Research and preparation can help you navigate the loan application process and get the best deal on your auto purchase. ConsumerAffairs researched the best car loans in Boise to get you behind the wheel of your dream car.
Tampa is flush with car buying opportunities. From the used car dealerships along Nebraska Avenue and Highway 50 to the new car dealerships in Brandon and Wesley Chapel, there’s a vehicle available for every lifestyle and budget.
Few people can pay cash when buying a car, so most Tampa residents use loans to purchase a vehicle. Car loans are available from multiple companies, including banks, credit unions, online lenders and dealerships.
If you don’t want to haggle over finance terms at the dealership, get pre-approved for a loan before shopping. After qualifying for a loan, you’ll be able to walk into the dealership with a pre-approval letter or check, which saves time and allows you to negotiate the vehicle’s price from a stronger position.
Applying for car loans in Tampa
To qualify for a car loan in Tampa, you’ll need to meet a few criteria. The Consumer Division of the Federal Trade Commission suggests you take a few steps before applying:
Determine what you can afford: Factor in car insurance costs and ongoing expenses such as gas and maintenance. Be sure to consider additional upfront fees, including sales tax and lender fees.
Do some research before shopping: Think about the type of car you want and where you’re likely to find it.
You’ll be expected to make a down payment, and then the remainder of what you owe is financed over a fixed term. The amount you finance is subject to an annual percentage rate (APR), which is the interest rate plus lender charges. Tampa consumers with excellent credit pay as little as 3 percent while borrowers with poor credit pay 10 percent or more on car loans.
Florida law does have a maximum amount of interest a consumer can pay on their auto loan. According to Chapter 687 of the Florida Statutes, lenders cannot charge an interest rate higher than 18 percent on a car loan under $500,000.
To get financing for a car loan, expect to:
Demonstrate your income
Provide proof of a legal residence
Pass a credit check
Prepare to explain any prior repossessions or credit problems
You’ll also need to make a down payment, and many lenders require that you have auto insurance before they close on the loan.
Your repayment amount and schedule depends on the amount of your down payment, the amount of your monthly payment and your credit score. Most car loans have three- to five-year terms. Some lenders offer a six- or seven-year repayment plan, but consider whether you want to make payments on a car for that long. You’re likely to pay more in the long term.
Getting a car loan with bad credit in Tampa
Getting a car loan with a less-than-perfect credit history is easier than ever. Many lenders specialize in making car loans to Tampa consumers with low credit scores. Examine the loan contract to ensure the terms are fair, however. Even with interest rates capped at 18 percent, additional fees and charges can be rolled into the loan amount to make the total cost more expensive.
You may be able to qualify for a better APR by having a friend or relative with good credit co-sign your loan for you. This lets you leverage their credit for better loan terms, but they’re responsible if you default on the loan.
To improve your car buying experience, make sure you know the value of the cars you’re interested in buying. Understand your credit position and have a budget in place so you know what you can spend. Be careful of 0 percent interest or no-money-down offers. These are attractive but may have hidden costs and fees.
LightStream is the division of SunTrust Bank that handles consumer landing, including Tampa car loans. The lender offers flexible terms, immediate funding and limited fees, making it an attractive option for Tampa residents. Local reviews praise LightStream for its straightforward and seamless application process.
Auto Approve gets Tampa car owners out of high-interest auto loans by refinancing at lower interest rates and better payment terms. The application process is simple and fast, and you won’t have to make a car payment for 45 days. Tampa consumers recommend the company for its competitive interest rates and friendly customer service.
LendingTree offers a way for Tampa shoppers to find an auto loan that meets their needs and budget. The company lets you compare rates and terms from multiple lenders after completing one online application, and the site provides customer reviews for lenders. Tampa customers appreciate the number of lending options and the quick application process.
myAutoloan.com lets Tampa residents compare loan offers for new and used cars or apply for refinancing on the company’s website. The company also helps customers purchase leased vehicles. After providing preliminary information, lenders contact you with offers you can compare. Tampa residents praise the company’s friendly staff.
Capital One offers new and used car financing to Boise customers. Applicants can see if they pre-qualify on the company’s website without impacting their credit score. Customer reviews from Boise praise the company’s refinancing options that allowed them to lower interest rates on current auto loans.