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How to get preapproved for an auto loan and gain negotiation power Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators as well as publishing original and impartial content, by enabling you to conduct your own research and evaluate information at no cost and help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers such as, but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make money The products that appear on this website are provided by companies that pay us. This compensation may impact how and when products are featured on this site, including such things as the order in which they may appear in the listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other products for home loans. But this compensation does affect the information we provide, or the reviews you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial deals that may be open to you.


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4 minutes read Read Published 7 March 2023.

Written by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers to navigate the details of using loans to buy a car.

Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites.

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When it comes to , you must do everything you can to control negotiations. The application process for auto loan preapproval is one method to have an edge when purchasing a vehicle. This means an aspiring lender has reviewed your credit history, application and required documentation and is willing to give you a formal loan offer in a certain amount. This is true, even though the terms are sometimes used in conjunction. If you are prequalified for an loan then the lender only does a soft credit check, and your approval isn’t confirmed until you complete the complete application. Preapproval for an auto loan only takes a bit of extra time, and it ensures that you’ve got a solid idea of how much you’ll be spending when you’ve gone car shopping and what you’ll be offered. Step 1. Organize the necessary documents You can get pre-approved for a car loan through online lenders, banks or credit unions. Whatever option you decide to go with the first step is gathering the for an application. The information you need to gather includes: Personal details, like the name of your child, Social Security number, driver’s license, information about your contact and your home address. Income, including your employer, its contact details and your annual earnings. The income documentation you may be required to supply could include a W-2, tax return as well as pay slips. The amount you want to finance and your preferred auto loan term. Information about the age as well as the mileage on your car in the event that you are purchasing a used. Details about the trade-in, if applicable. Tips from the Bankrate

To make the application process simpler, collect the required financial documents in advance and save them in PDF format on your computer.

Step 2. Shop around for loan options Just like you look around for a vehicle, it’s also an excellent idea to shop around for loan options . The interest rates you pay for are determined by your credit history plus other factors and can differ from lender to lender. If you shop at different lenders, you might be able to , in addition to obtaining better loan conditions. Securing an interest rate that’s just a tenth of a percentage point lower could be a significant difference in the amount you’ll pay on the loan. To get the most competitive rate, fill out applications for multiple lenders. Bankrate tip

Check out Bankrate’s picks to begin your search.

Step 3. Send the preapproval form In the majority of cases the process of applying for preapproval is similar to the typical complete loan application. You can apply online, over the phone or in person. If you decide to apply online, make sure you research the most reliable lenders. However you decide to fill out your application -online or in person — you can expect to spend about 15 minutes completing every application. Certain lenders offer an complex preapproval process and others may require an upper credit score, or information regarding the age of your vehicle and mileage. Find out more information about the application requirements on lender websites before applying. Once you’ve provided the required information, most applications are typically processed within 30 minutes. Bankrate tip

When you have your loan is preapproved and you are approved, you usually get 30 to 60 days to shop for a vehicle before the loan offer ends.

Benefits of auto loan preapproval. Car loan preapproval offers many benefits which include putting you in control when it comes to negotiating the best price and the best interest rates that are available. Trust Dealerships can be overwhelming, and the car-buying process can be a daunting one. Making the decision with a preapproved loan offer in hand gives the buyer a sense of security and convenience. With an approved loan you already have a clear idea of your loan period and interest rate. This knowledge makes it easier to calculate your monthly payments according to the purchase price you bargain with a dealer. Instead of stressing about locating vehicle financing, you can focus on what you want and how you live your life. Protect yourself from unnecessary extras closing a deal on an automobile, particularly when you buy a vehicle with dealer financing, the sales team will often try to maximize the profit they earn. This could involve such things as rust-proofing the vehicle, fabric protection or extended warranties. By coming in with an auto loan and having an established number to think about. This will make it simpler to turn down extra costs that aren’t in your budget for shopping when it’s time to conclude the purchase. A better understanding of the expected price The true tends to be more expensive than you expect for first-time buyers. A solid number for what you can borrow makes it easier to budget and ensure that you are realistic when you shop. It is important to calculate the potential for auto loans prior to time so you know what you can afford to get. Also, when you are calculating your monthly expenses be sure to include the cost of insurance for your vehicle. You could also look for insurance quotes for the vehicle you’re considering buying so that you understand what the true total cost will be. More negotiation power, although dealer financing is beneficial for some drivers, preapproval ensures that you’re not able to utilize the salesperson’s suggested financing options. Dealers will also notice your determination to purchase a car and are likely to seek to win your business. They might even be able offer a more competitive rate from their lenders’ network. Next steps If you’re preparing to shop for a car, getting preapproved for an auto loan will give you an estimate of the amount you’ll need to pay. It also puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes time to negotiate. Before submitting your preapproval application make sure you have all the required documents. And if you plan to submit your application online, make certain to find the credibility of your lender. Some of the best ways to do this include reviewing a lender’s Google reviews of past customers, and analyzing their ratings through Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.


Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the details of taking out loans to purchase the car they want.

Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances by providing clear, well-researched facts that break down otherwise complex subjects into digestible pieces.

Auto loans editor

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