How the Fed affects auto loan rates Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make better financial decisions by providing you with interactive financial calculators and tools as well as publishing original and impartial content. This allows users to conduct research and compare information at no cost to help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The deals that are displayed on this site are from companies who pay us. This compensation can affect the way and where products are displayed on this site, including such things as the order in which they may appear within the listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other products for home loans. This compensation, however, does have no impact on the information we publish, or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not include the vast array of companies or financial deals that might be available to you. SHARE: Adam Parent/Shutterstock

3 minutes read Read Published February 1, 2023.

Writer: Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is an expert in understanding the ways and pitfalls of borrowing money to buy an automobile. Written by Chelsea Wing Edited by student loans editor Chelsea has been working at Bankrate since the beginning of 2020. She’s dedicated to helping students navigate the high costs of college , and simplifying the complex world in student loans. The Bankrate guarantee

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There are money-related questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four decades. We continually strive to give consumers the professional advice and tools required to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct , so you can trust that our content is truthful and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters produce honest and reliable content that will help you make the best financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is factual, objective and is not influenced by our advertisers. We’re honest about how we are in a position to provide quality information, competitive rates and useful tools for you by explaining how we make money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products or services, or through you clicking certain links posted on our website. So, this compensation can influence the manner, place and when products are displayed within the categories of listing and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. We also offer mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, like our own rules for our website and whether a product is offered in your region or within your personal credit score could also affect the way and place products are listed on this site. Although we try to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include details about each financial or credit item or service. It is important to understand that the Federal Reserve is a complex aspect of the American economic system. In the course of eight meetings a year, the Fed determines how much it will cost to borrow money. One of its responsibilities is to establish a benchmark rate for short-term consumer lending that private lenders utilize to determine their rates. If the Fed raises its federal fund rate at the time of one of its meetingsuch as they did at their most recent December meeting — you can expect to be charged more for a personal car loan. How Fed rates impact the cost of auto loans Auto loan rates are determined by the season as well as the type of car, the borrower’s credit score and more. But the Fed decides on the criteria for auto loan lenders . The options discussed members of the Fed meetings are not the exact interest rates consumers can expect to receive however, they affect the cost for banks to lend to one another. This is why lenders and banks may alter the rates they provide to consumers when rates for federal funding is changed. If the Fed raises interest rates and auto loan rates could rise , or in reverse. Feb. 2023 Fed rate increase in response to the economic disruptions that result from the epidemic the central bank aims to reduce inflation by the introduction of a rate increase. The updated target of the Federal Funds Rate was set to 4.5-4.75 per cent as of February. 1st, 2023. This rate does not influence car rates in any way. It is instead tied to the prime rate. In simple terms, this rate increases means that your vehicle financing may result in more cost. However, lenders have authority when it comes to the amount they will charge to the borrowers based on the driver’s credit record. But Sarah Foster, senior U.S economy reporter at Bankrate, notes that currently it’s an unaffordable time to buy a vehicle — with or without this rate hike. “The Federal Reserve raising interest rates for the year is just one of the factors that’s likely to make purchasing an automobile more costly.” The combination of the chip shortage as well as the pandemic led to sky-high prices for new and used vehicles until 2021 and 2022. But this rate hike isn’t necessarily bad for drivers, Foster says, “If you’re seeking some hope, higher rates could be a good thing for those who are thinking of buying a car, particularly when it makes demand balance back out with supply. The easing of the pandemic can also boost production. That means the prices of vehicles in 2022 may fall and even though rates are rising.” Why Fed meetings are important Fed meetings are important because they allow anyone to have a transparent look into the state of the economy, and more specifically, how interest rates fluctuate and are expected to change. If the Fed announces that it is increasing interest rates, you should expect to see more costly loans or see a rise on the variable rate loans that you already have. Learn more about how the FOMC could impact your financial situation and personal finances. How can you prepare yourself for the possibility of future Fed rate changes Preparation is the most effective way to save money. To be best prepared be aware of the changing rates and how they can affect your finances. Federal funds rates and auto loan rates don’t match however there is an effect of dominoes that affects the lenders, which in turn can affect the rates you pay. Even though the current federal funds rate is the determining factor for the general range in auto loan rates, your credit score still serves as the primary factor in determining how much you’ll pay. To receive a loan with the most favorable terms, you must have a prime credit score, typically 660 and above, and good credit history. The Federal Funds rate is out of your control, however you can plan for the possibility of financing your vehicle in the future. The next steps to take when the Fed adjusts rates, the available auto loan rates may be affected too. Even though the Fed’s decision will affect the cost of your auto loan however, the rate you’ll receive is determined by your personal credit history. No matter how the federal rates change, you can improve it to be improved, you must work to improve your credit score and financial situation. It is also important to stay up to date on the most current loan rates prior to applying for an auto loan. Find out more


The article was 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 borrowing money to purchase a car. Edited by Chelsea Wing Edited by Student loans editor Chelsea is with Bankrate since the beginning of 2020. She’s dedicated to helping students manage the steep costs of college , and dissecting the complexity in student loans.

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