Dealer finance? Know what you’re really paying

Dealer finance can seem quick and easy. But it could see you pay a lot more for your new ride.

Article published 24 November 2020

The holiday season isn’t just a favourite for Santa. Motorists know it can also be a good time to pick up a bargain on a new car as dealerships are keen to move current year stock before the latest models arrive. During this busy time, saying ‘yes’ to dealer finance can seem like an easy option, but convenience often comes at a cost.

Dealers can be light on the details

Plenty has changed in the world  of car buying. In the past, offering to pay cash was often rewarded with a generous car-yard discount. Not so these days.  

Dealerships know that by providing in-house finance they can get two bites of the cherry – a profit on the sale of the vehicle, plus interest or commission earned on car finance.

It goes a long way to explaining why ‘the finance guy’ is a regular fixture of car yards these days. 

The problem is that while dealers are very good at discussing vehicle specifications, they tend to be light-on when it comes to explaining the nitty gritty of car finance.

The hidden costs to watch for

Rather than being upfront with the interest rate, dealer finance tends to focus on the weekly repayments you’ll make on a new car. It’s up to you, the buyer, to really drill down and ask about the rate so that you get a true idea of the cost of finance.

Even then, you may not have the full picture. Dealer finance can be structured very differently  to a regular car loan. Read the fine print, and you could find there’s a ‘balloon’ payment involved.

The balloon is a lump sum payable at the end of the loan term, and it can be worth around 30% of the original loan amount. It’s this payment that allows dealers to keep the regular repayments low. But it can be dispiriting, and financially challenging, to discover that after years of paying off the vehicle, you still owe a lump sum of cash. Worst case scenario, the balloon can exceed the car’s market value at the time when the payment falls due.

The truth about dealer finance

If you’re in the market for a new car, chances are at some stage you’ll be offered finance by a dealer.

Showroom car finance can sound tempting – often with very low rates. But scratch the surface because the finance you sign up for may not be what you expected. Watch this short video to find out more.

Convenience plus competitive finance

Fortunately, there is a solution that doesn’t have to mean compromising on either convenience or competitively-priced finance. 

Mortgage Choice brokers aren’t just home loan experts. They can also help you organise the car finance option that’s best suited to your needs. This includes arranging pre-approval for your car loan, which lets you set a budget for your new car, and provides extra negotiating clout at the car yard.

For true convenience it’s hard to go past our Mortgage Choice car buying service. We search a national network of car dealers to get you the best deal, and because we buy so many cars, you benefit from our volume buying power to get a better price. We can even help you with the trade-in of your old vehicle. 

If you’re in the market for a new car, talk to your local Mortgage Choice broker about finance options that are as well-suited to your needs as your new ride.

Posted in: Car loans & lease

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