Zero Percent Financing: A Consumer Benefit Or A Marketing Trick?

In recent years, zero percent financing has become an increasingly popular financing option offered by most car manufacturers on new cars and trucks. While it does sound great and is extremely appealing to many car buyers, there are few things attached to it that may diminish the benefits.

Commonly, car dealers offer an alternative of a zero percent financing or a cash rebate on the vehicle purchase price. Let us say, that you are confronted with an offer of getting a cash rebate of $3,000 or a zero percent financing. While you are going to have no interest to pay, you will end up paying $3,000 more for a vehicle that you may have saved otherwise. Should you pay off your loan early, the advantage of taking zero percent financing would become null.

It is important to keep in mind that any car is a quickly depreciating asset. Taking a rebate instead of a zero percent financing incentive may help you to reduce the gap between the loan balance and the vehicle fair market value. Since your car depreciates most in the first year of use, having it totaled or stolen may leave you upside down on your zero percent auto loan since your insurance company would not cover extra $3,000 you paid for your vehicle. That means that you would have to come up with the difference to cover the remaining loan balance.

It is important to remember that nothing is truly free in this life. Financing incentives, typically coming from the corporate offices of car manufacturers, are most commonly hidden in the vehicle selling price. Car dealers, sometimes offering zero percent financing on their own, follow the same strategy.

How Does It Work?

While it is somewhat understandable how financing incentives offered by auto manufacturers work, zero percent financing offered solely by a dealer may raise your eyebrows. Obviously, banks are not going to finance you at no interest, no matter how good your credit is, since they have to make money off you to stay in business.

What usually happens is that auto dealers rebate the bank upfront for the interest charges that a customer would accrue and pay to the bank otherwise. In simple terms, your dealer pays your interest for you. Since they are not going to make it a money-losing proposition, they have to compensate these expenses somehow. That is why these costs are built into the vehicle purchase price.

Typically they are offset by a rebate that a car manufacturer would give you on a new car purchase and/or an incentive that an automaker gives a dealer for higher volume sales. What this also means to you that there is less negotiation power on your side, since a dealer would be less eager to go down on a vehicle price in this case.

Financing Incentive or a Cash Rebate?

What this means to you is that a simple mathematical equation needs to be solved. When approached with a choice between the rebate and a zero percent financing, calculate how much interest you would normally pay on a car loan and compare it to the amount of rebate. If your interest charges are going to be greater, it may be time to consider zero percent financing. Should they be not, take the rebate and run away from the zero interest deal!

How To Determine If You Should Lease Or Buy A New Car

It is only normal for people to want to save money, and in terms of acquiring a new car, one of the most common questions is whether or not one should buy a new car or lease one. There are all kinds of experts out there who say one way or the other is “always” the right answer, but the problem is that their “right answers” fall on both sides of that fence.

The real answer is that it depends on you and what you want to accomplish, as well as your car habits. For car habits, we are referring to how often you get a new car. Do you get a new car once every couple of years, or only when the wheels fall off the previous one? If you always need to have a late model car and don’t care that it really never gets paid off, then leasing is probably a better option for you.

How many miles do you typically drive over the course of a year? If you are a traveling salesman or a tech support person covering a large geographic area, meaning you put a lot of miles on your car, then leasing is almost certainly not your best option. Leasing programs are getting more flexible these days, allowing you to specify how many miles you will drive over the course of your lease, but if it works out to be much more than the standard 12,000 miles per year, you will probably find that the cost of leasing actually exceeds the cost of buying a new car.

Look at it like this. On a lease, the dealer needs to figure out what he can sell the car for at the end of your lease period, say two years. At 12k miles per year, a two year old car with only 24k miles on it will still demand a decent price if it’s in good shape, and allow the dealer to make a reasonable profit on the sale. But that same two year old car with 50k miles on it is going to sell for considerably less because of the much higher mileage, and your lease payments will reflect the fact that the value of that vehicle is going to be less, and YOU will be paying the difference in your lease payments.

With a lease, you never build up any equity in the car. It is like having a permanent car payment. Yes, at the end of the lease you can buy the car, but at that point you could probably get a better deal on a better used car, so that is an option that very few people take advantage of. On a lease, you still pay for insurance, tires, oil changes, and all the other stuff that you would pay for if you owned the car. In fact, you will always need to carry full insurance coverage on the car, whereas you can drop the expensive collision insurance on a car that you own after you have paid it off.

On the other hand, if you are using the car for business purposes, a lease will provide you with a bigger tax write-off than a purchase, generally speaking. Also with leasing, your monthly payment will typically be less, depending of course on the model of car you choose.

If your credit rating is less than stellar, you may wish to consider purchasing instead. While you can find car loan programs for people with average credit and even bad credit, it is much more difficult to find a good lease program for people with less than good credit because the risk to the dealer and manufacturer is greater.

You need to do your homework and determine which is the best way to go based on your driving habits and car ownership habits. There is no right answer that fits all people, so make the informed decision that is right for you.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Car Loans

More now than ever before, many people are searching for chapter 7 bankruptcy car loans. With today’s economy, people find themselves filing chapter 7 bankruptcies to relieve themselves of too much debt.

When someone files for a chapter 7 bankruptcy they are filing with the court system asking that they be discharged from all unsecured debt. Unsecured debt includes such things as medical bills or credit cards.

Compare this to secured debts such as your home and your vehicle. Due to homestead protection laws your home is safe from your creditors acquiring it. With a chapter 7 bankruptcy, your car loan may need special consideration.

In some cases, people are finding that they must release their vehicle along with the discharge of other debts. This may be caused by a couple different situations. One reason may be that they have simply fallen too far on the payments. Or another reason may be because the monthly payment is simply too high to make and stay current with the new finances.

If this is the case for you, you may be in the market for chapter 7 bankruptcy car loans. These are considered sub-prime auto loans and you may be able to apply a few months after your discharge has occurred. Depending on some situations you may not have to wait this out and can apply as soon as you are discharged.

Because not all lenders work with those who have recently filed chapter 7 bankruptcies, it will require a little research to find a dealership that may offer you this specialty loan. Doing an internet search will help you locate a couple of resources near your home.

The next thing to do would be to take a good hard look at your new monthly budget and determine realistically what type of payment you can handle each month. Being prepared with this figure can help ensure you are not smooth talked by some salesman to buy a more expensive car. The biggest key after bankruptcy is to be sure that you live within your means and can make all your new payments on time.

Now collect a few pieces of documentation to bring with you when you visit a car dealer or auto consultant that offers chapter 7 bankruptcy loans. This would include a couple recent check stubs to show proof of your income. Also bring your driver’s license and proof of insurance. And the final thing to bring with would be a couple utility bills. This will serve as proof of residency.

You are now prepared to pay a visit to the dealership or the auto consultants office. Tell the salesperson your situation and the particular reasons that you had to file the bankruptcy in the first place. Ask them if there is anything else you can provide to help make the loan process a little better. Use the advice of the expert to give you the greatest chance at getting a chapter 7 bankruptcy auto loan.