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0% APR car deals: Are they worth it? 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 financial calculators and interactive tools, publishing original and objective content. We also allow users to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers including, but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Profit The products that are featured on this site come from companies who pay us. This compensation may impact how and when products are featured on this website, for example, for example, the sequence in which they be listed within the categories of listing, except where prohibited by law. This applies to our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home loan products. However, this compensation will affect the information we provide, or the reviews you see on this site. We do not include the entire universe of businesses or financial offers that may be open to you. @VeraNovember/Twenty20

6 min read The publication was published on March 02, 2023.

Writer: Michelle Black Michelle Black Written by Contributing writer Michelle Lambright Black is a credit expert with more than 19 years of experience. She is an author on a freelance basis and an accredited credit expert witness. In addition to writing for Bankrate Michelle’s work has been published in numerous publications, including FICO, Experian, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and Reader’s Digest, among others. Written by Rhys Subitch Editored by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain confidence to control their finances through providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down complicated issues into digestible chunks. The Bankrate guarantee

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You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct policy, which means you can be confident that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and journalists create honest and accurate information to assist you in making the best financial choices. The content we create by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers. We’re honest about the ways we’re capable of bringing high-quality content, competitive rates and useful tools to you , by describing how we make money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for the promotion of sponsored goods or services, or through you clicking certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may affect the way, location and when products appear in listing categories, unless the law prohibits it for our mortgage or home equity, and other products for home loans. Other elements, like our own proprietary website rules and whether the product is available within your area or at your self-selected credit score range could also affect the manner in which products are featured on this website. We strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include specific information on each credit or financial service or product. With the monthly average cost for new cars exceeding $700 and used around $525, based on data for the quarter ending in the last quarter of 2022., finding the best deal is on your the list. In addition, signing the 0 percent APR car deal is one method to save money on your next purchase. Many automakers offer interest-free auto loans to attract new, qualified customers and to sell more vehicles. But, when you are looking for a new vehicle, it is best to proceed with cautiousness, even if the option of a zero-interest rate is offered. In some instances, getting an automobile loan from an institution could be more beneficial over the long term. Are 0% APR deals worth it?

They are worthwhile if you are able to lower your monthly bills. However, you must have excellent credit to qualify. Keep both its cost-effectiveness and your eligibility in mind while driving around for a test.

What exactly is 0% APR? A zero percent APR essentially means you borrow money at no cost. Your monthly payments pay the lender for the amount it paid the auto dealer, but no extra money from your pocket goes directly into your loan’s bank account. This differs from the typical method, in which the lender is charged in exchange for financing. The fees and interest in the end, are the main ways that lenders earn money. Here’s an example of the distinction in monthly expenses that a zero percent APR can bring compared to the more common APR. Average rate

0 percent APR

Amount to be financed



The term “loan”

60 months

60 months




Monthly payment



Total cost



What is 0% APR and how does it work? A car loan that is interest-free appears too good to be true. But these financing deals can be a tool auto manufacturers can use to increase sales of their vehicles. Lenders that offer 0 percent financing are referred to as captive finance firms and are linked to . Some examples of captive lenders are Ford Motor Credit, GM Financial, Nissan Finance, Toyota Financial Services and more. Therefore, if Ford plans to sell more F-150s to address overstock issues, it might offer zero-interest loans to select borrowers through its own financing division. Zero-interest financing may seem to be more affordable in the first place however it’s not always the case. When auto manufacturers offer 0 per cent financing, they may try to cover “lost” revenue in other ways. For example, a dealership might try to convince you , like or , using your car. It is also possible to forfeit benefits such as rebates that would typically lower your cost of purchase. How do you qualify for an 0% APR vehicle deal Zero percent financing deals are typically reserved for those with excellent credit generally referred to as a credit score that is 800 and over. It is important to check this before you begin looking for financing for your car. Each lender also has its own definition of good credit, and qualification requirements may differ from vehicle to vehicle. Since zero APR qualification standards vary in a wide range it is best to contact the dealership in advance. You can inquire about the criteria you will need to fulfill to qualify for interest-free financing on a specific car. Aside from your credit score and your income, an auto lender might consider other factors in evaluating your application, for example: . Employment history. Verification of income and address. Regardless of the condition of your credit -good, bad, fair or excellent — it is important to seek approval to from outside financing sources as well. A preapproval is a great way to compare your options and give you an alternative plan in case you aren’t eligible for the exclusive offer offered by the automaker. Limits on 0% APR financing Interest-free financing can be a fantastic deal for some people. Still, there are a few potential traps to look out for when considering this type of financing. Limited selection: Interest-free financing is only available for certain types of vehicles. First, the vehicle you buy will most likely need to be . Automobile manufacturers also reserve special financing offers for models of vehicles when there’s a surplus in stock that must be moved. Limited repayment options: Depending on the offer you’re offered, the repayment options you have with zero percent financing might be restricted. Often, you’ll have less time to pay back the loan than you would have otherwise. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with repaying the loan in a hurry, but you should ensure that you can manage the greater monthly payments without putting your budget in jeopardy. 0% financing is different from. bonus cash Automakers want you to purchase the next car from their business and not from a rival. This is the primary reason 0 percent financing offers exist to begin with. In the interest of attracting new customers, car manufacturers frequently offer buyers. However, a car manufacturer may not allow you to avail the 0% financing rate and the bonus cash. If you’re facing this situation, you’ll need to determine which savings opportunity is . Tips from Bankrate

Using an is a way to evaluate zero percent financing with cash rewards. Sometimes taking the cash rebate that a dealership offers with a higher loan APR yields better savings overall. In other cases the financing with 0% interest rate could be the clear winner.

Do you need to cash out and then refinance it later? You may have to agree to regular financing from an automaker’s private lender to be eligible for certain types of cash incentives. In the event of a loan, it’s possible that you’ll be offered a greater interest rate than through your bank or an external lender. In the case of your particular situation the new car loan in a few months may be an effective method. However, there are some disadvantages to take into consideration first. Namely the fact that taking out two auto loans reverse-to-back — the original loan and one that you refinance with — could harm your credit rating for a time. A combination of loans can cause at minimum two hard on your credit reports. Adding two loans to your credit report, even though one pays on the other can reduce the average age of your accounts that appear on credit report. Regarding credit scoring, the older the average account is, the better. Important message

Cash incentives may reduce the amount you need to borrow — but refinancing it later for a may affect your credit score and cause it to suffer a temporary drop.

When is an APR rate of 0% not worth it? It may be beneficial to avoid special manufacturer financing offers in the following situations. The terms for repayment aren’t in line with your budget. Low-interest auto loans often have shorter terms for financing. In the case of your income, it might make your monthly installment unaffordable. For example, if the zero percent car loan is over four years and you normally credit for five years in the future, then that cost difference can be meaningful. Average rate

0% APR

The amount to be financed



A loan term

5 years old

4 years old




Monthly payment



It is evident that on the basis of a $25,000 vehicle loan by the manufacturer for four years, your monthly installment would be about $520. A $20,000 car loan financed over five years at a 4 percent interest rate will require a monthly payment of $460. It is possible to make use of an online auto loan calculator to calculate the maths for your possible loan. Financial experts often recommend that you limit your monthly car payments to 20% or less of your monthly take-home pay. And some experts suggest that you at 10 percent of your total income. It’s tempting to buy more expensive vehicles. shouldn’t decide to increase your car budget in order to get a loan. If you’re looking to pay $10,000 cash for a , taking on the cost of a new car loan with a $30,000 price tag just to take advantage of no-interest financing probably isn’t an appropriate financial decision. Cash rebates provide greater savings. Cash-back rebates typically don’t apply to buyers who are using the manufacturer’s financing. If you analyze the numbers and cash rebates provide a larger chance to save money, a zero percent financing offer isn’t worthwhile. Imagine you can take advantage of a $4,750 cash back offer on a new vehicle purchase. For a new car that has a $30,000 price tag, that incentive could bring the cost of purchase to $25,250. If you borrowed $25,250 at a 4 percent interest rate over five years, then you’d be paying $2,651 in interest. In that scenario, your total cost would be $27,901 in the event that you didn’t include additional products such as extended warranties, or incur other fees for financing. Or, you can pay the full $30,000 purchase price and choose a zero percent APR. In the event that there are no additional products or fees, you’d be paying $2,099 more in this scenario than you’d take out a cash rebate. Do’s and don’ts for 0% APR deals If you’ve analyzed the options available and determine the 0% APR auto loan is the right choice to make, the following tips and don’ts can aid you in your decision-making. Do


the purchase price before you request the 0 percent APR the purchase price before you ask for the 0 percent APR.

Accept a short-term loan with a significant monthly installment that you are unable to manage to.

Make sure you are pre-approved to get an automobile loan before visiting the dealer.

Consider a longer-term loan to reduce your monthly payments if it will cost you more in the long run.

Verify that you can pay for the monthly installment.

Select 0% financing over cash-back incentives without comparing the potential savings.

See if the manufacturer offers a cash-back incentive program that you can mix with the financing special offer.

Skip the down payment when you have the money to make one.

The bottom line The key to determining if a zero percent APR car loan is worth it for you is to compare it to an auto loan from an external lender and figure out your real monthly costs. In the case of your particular situation the deal might not truly save you money. There are also a few instances where special financing may not be as good as it seems, and qualifying often requires a high credit score. Be sure to check the current rates and ensure that the interest-free loan won’t cost you more in the long run.


Written by the contributing writer Michelle Lambright Black is a credit expert with more than 19 years of experience, freelance writer, and certified expert witness on credit. Alongside writing for Bankrate, Michelle’s work is published in numerous publications, including FICO, Experian, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and Reader’s Digest, among others. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are dedicated to helping their readers feel confident to take control of their finances through providing concise, well-studied and well-researched content that breaks down complicated topics into digestible chunks.

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