Save money by knowing your options before jumping into a dealer financed or new car loan.
Australians have many options when it comes to financing a new car. Two of the most well-known methods are dealer loans and new car loans. It's important to know the difference between these two financing options in order to select the best one for you.
Dealership finance and car loans
Dealership finance refers to the finance options offered by a car dealership. Examples include Toyota Finance, Nissan Finance and Esanda, and usually come with extremely low interest rates or no interest at all. Because of this, dealer finance offers lower repayments, but you will be required to pay a balloon payment at the end of loan term which is usually a couple of thousand dollars.
Some features of dealer finance are:
- Can offer lower interest rates than car loans
- Low interest rates may only be available for specific makes and models
With a car loan you receive a lump sum payment to purchase your vehicle. Your vehicle will be secured to the loan so you can get more competitive rates than unsecured loans, usually between 6-10% p.a. However, if you default on your loan you can lose your vehicle. Car loan terms are usually for between one and seven years and rates can be fixed or variable.
|Dealer finance||Car loan|
|Suitability||Borrowers that want to buy a new car and have a deposit saved.||Borrowers that want to shop around and have the option of buying from a dealer or a private seller.|
Compare Car Loan Interest Rates
You can use the below table to compare a range of car loans from different lenders. Click on the table headings (interest rate, loan amount, loan term etc.) to sort the table by the features you want and find the loan that will most benefit you. You can click on the name of the loan to read more about it, or click the "Go to Site" button to apply directly through the lender.
- Competitive low rate
- Up to 7 years to repay
- New or used vehicles accepted
100% confidential application
Latitude New and Used Car Loan
A competitive fixed rate loan available for new and used vehicles.
- Interest rate from: 6.99% p.a.
- Comparison rate: 8.10% p.a.
- Interest rate type: Fixed
- Application fee: $295
- Minimum loan amount: $5,000
Before you consider dealership finance, learn about balloon payments
One of the main downsides of dealership finance is the balloon payment. To keep your repayments low, thousands of dollars is taken off the purchase price of the car. This is referred to as the "balloon payment". You will not be charged interest on this amount and you will be required to pay the balloon payment at the end of the loan term.
If you can't afford to pay this amount you can choose to refinance it – this is how many dealership finance companies make their money. If you do decide to opt for dealership finance, calculate how much you will need to put away each month to have your balloon payment saved at the end of the loan term and then make sure you save it. This way, you will have your finance paid off and won't have to enter into another refinancing contract.
Dealer financing & car loan side by side
How much can they save?
Two neighbours, Julian and Clay, are both in need of a new car. After researching their options and choosing what kind of car they want to get, Julian opts for a car loan while Clay takes on financing option from the dealership where he made his purchase.
The two cars they purchased ended up being the same price — $20,000 — so who chose the better financing option?
Julian takes out a car loan at a 7.00% p.a. rate for a five-year period. Using a car loan calculator he sees that he will pay $396 in monthly repayments, and will pay a total of $3,761 in interest over the course of the loan term.
Clay, who takes on dealer finance, sees that he’ll be paying $283 over the term of his loan. He’ll be borrowing the same amount of money, but his residual balloon payment of $5,000 means he’ll only be charged interest on $15,000, resulting in lower ongoing repayments.
Julian continues to pay $396 every month and at the end of the five years pays his car out in full. His repayments total $23,761 for his original $20,000 vehicle purchase. Clay makes lower ongoing repayments of $283, but when it comes to the end of his five-year loan term he’s responsible for paying $5,000.
This means he will need to ensure he has this amount saved by the end of his loan term, requiring him to put away $83.33 a month to have the amount saved. All up, with the amount he’d need to save per month and his repayments, he’d be contributing $366 per month to his loan (directly or indirectly). Compared to his neighbour Clay, he’d be saving $1,800 over the loan term.
What else they need to consider
While one financing option saves you more in ongoing repayments, it’s not only the interest and savings that should be considered when weighing up your options. Clay and Julian should also look at the features offered to them by their lenders. For instance, are they able to pay out the loan early or make extra repayments? Do they have access to features such as a redraw facility? Do they have special benefits like discounted insurance? Clay and Julian both need to look at their financing options as an entire package before signing on the dotted line.
Convenience always comes with a price, and that extends to the dealer-financed car loan. Before settling for what they are offering you should compare what outside banks and non-bank lenders are offering. In many cases, the terms offered here will far outweigh the low interest rates the dealer is offering.
Always compare the rates and terms offered by a variety of different lenders before committing to anyone. There are numerous tools available to help you with this such as comparison charts and calculators. If you do your homework first, you can end up not only with a new car in your driveway, but a financing deal that works well within your budget.
Frequently asked questions
Do all dealers offer finance?
Not necessarily. While a lot of dealerships will offer some form of dealer finance, this will not be the case for all of them. You should always talk to the dealer directly if you're interested in financing your car through them.
Am I eligible for a car loan or dealer finance?
You will need to be at least 18 years old and an Australian citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for a car loan. If you do not meet these criteria, you may still be able to apply for dealer finance, but this will depend on the individual dealer.
Can I move from one option to the other?
While it may make sense to switch from a car loan to dealer finance partway through the agreement, this will generally not be possible.
Dealer finance is generally only available on new cars, meaning it will not be available to those who have already taken out a car loan on the vehicle. Furthermore, if you wish to pay off your car loan early, you may face additional fees or charges or may not be able to do so at all. Breaking your dealer finance agreement early may also bring additional fees.
If you encounter financial difficulties or fail to meet your repayments on either a car loan or dealer finance, your car may be repossessed and you may be liable for any outstanding amounts.