How the Fed affects auto loan rates Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make better financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators as well as publishing original and impartial content, by enabling users to conduct research and compare information at no cost – so that you can make sound financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers, including but not restricted to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Money The deals that are displayed on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation can affect the way and where products appear on this site, including such things as the sequence in which they appear within the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law. This applies to our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. This compensation, however, does have no impact on the information we provide, or the reviews you read on this site. We do not include the entire universe of businesses or financial offers that may be accessible to you. SHARE: Adam Parent/Shutterstock

3 minutes read Read Published February 01 2023

Written by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ways and pitfalls of borrowing money to buy cars. Written by Chelsea Wing Edited by Student loans editor Chelsea has been working at Bankrate since the beginning of 2020. She’s committed to helping students navigate the high cost of college as well as simplifying the complex world of student loans. The Bankrate promises

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If you have questions about money. Bankrate has the answers. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four years. We are constantly striving to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate follows a strict policy, therefore you can be confident that our information is trustworthy and accurate. Our award-winning editors, reporters and editors provide honest and trustworthy content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial team is factual, accurate and uninfluenced by our advertisers. We’re honest about how we are in a position to provide quality content, competitive rates and useful tools to our customers by revealing how we earn money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We receive compensation for placement of sponsored products andservices or when you click on certain links posted on our site. So, this compensation can influence the manner, place and in what order items are listed in the event that they are not permitted by law for our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own website rules and whether the product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact the manner in which products are featured on this website. We strive to offer the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. The Federal Reserve is a complex component of the American economic system. At what’s typically eight times a year, the Fed determines the amount it is to lend money. One of its responsibilities is to set a benchmark interest rate for consumer loans that are short-term, which private lenders use to determine their own rates. If the Fed raises its federal fund rate during the time of one of its meetinglike they did at their most recent December meeting -you could be expected to be charged more for a personal or auto loan. How do Fed rates affect car loans Auto loan rates are dictated by the time of year and the kind of car, the credit score of the borrower and many more. But the Fed determines the conditions for auto loan lenders are able to lend . The decisions made members of the Fed meeting aren’t the rates that consumers can expect to receive but rather affect the cost banks pay to lend to each other. Because of this, banks and lenders may change their rates offered to consumers when they see that the Federal Funds rate is changed. If the Fed increases interest rates then auto loan rates may rise , or reverse. February 2023 Fed rate change In response to the disruptions in the economy caused by the pandemic, the central bank is trying to reduce inflation by a rate hike. The most recent target area for federal funds rates has been set as 4.5-4.75 percentage as of Feb. 1 2023. This number does not control auto rates directly. Rather, it is tied to prime rates. Simply, this steep rate hike means that car financing may be more expensive. However, lenders still have the power to determine the amount charged to customers based on their credit record. However, Sarah Foster, senior U.S economy reporter at Bankrate and, says at present, it’s an expensive time to buy an automobile regardless of this rate hike. “The Federal Reserve raising interest rates this year is only one of the factors that’s likely to make buying cars more costly.” The combination of the chip shortage and the pandemic caused sky-high prices for both new and used cars through 2021 and 2022. But this rate hike can be beneficial for drivers, Foster says, “If you’re hoping for an opportunity to make a difference rising rates may be a positive thing for those who are thinking of purchasing a car, particularly in the event that it forces demand to even out with supply. A receding pandemic could increase manufacturing. All of that means that vehicle prices in 2022 could decrease, even though rates are going back up.” What is the reason Fed meetings are important Fed meetings are crucial because they allow anyone to gain a full view of the economy — more specifically, how interest rates shift and are likely to change. If the Fed announces it is raising the interest rate, then you could expect to see more costly loans or notice a rise in any variable rate loans you have. Learn more about how the FOMC will affect you and your money. How can you prepare yourself for the possibility of future Fed rate changes. Preparation is the most effective way to save money. To be prepared learn about the changing rates and how they could affect your budget. In the case of federal funds and automobile loan rates don’t match but there’s the domino effect, which reaches the lenders, which then affects the rates you pay. Even though the current federal funds rate determines the range in auto loan rates, your credit score still serves as the primary factor in determining how much you’ll pay. To get a loan with the most favorable terms, you must have an excellent credit score, typically 660 and above, and good credit history. The federal funds rate is not within your control, but you can to prepare for future vehicle financing. What next steps should you take after the Fed changes rates, your available auto loan rates could alter too. Although the Fed’s decisions impact the rate of your auto loan, the rate that you’ll receive is determined by your own financial history. Whatever the Federal funds rate is changing, you can benefit from the by working to improve your credit score and financial situation. It’s also important to stay up-to-date with the most current loan rates prior to applying for an auto loan. Learn more


Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely taking out loans to purchase a car. Edited by Chelsea Wing Edited by Student loans editor Chelsea has been with Bankrate since the beginning of 2020. She’s dedicated to helping students to navigate the daunting costs of college and dissecting the complexity of student loans.

Student loans editor

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