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What Are The Best Car Loans in the UK

Aug 17, 2007
The best car loans in the UK may not be car loans at all. Here are a few facts you should know about taking out car loans at the car lot.

- Car lots make money by selling you financing. Keep in mind that the salesman is not your friend, and no matter what he tells you, he's not there to save you money or help you make your best deal. He's there to make as much money from you as he can. (And yes, these days he is as likely to be a she, but humor me.) Part of the way that he makes money from you is by convincing you to take out a car loan through his dealership, or through a lender he or she recommends. That loan will be secured by your car, and it's unlikely that it will be the best possible loan deal you could make on your own.

- Car loans at the bank will require that you secure the loan with the car you are buying. That's the traditional way of taking out finance to buy a car. As long as you owe the bank money on that car, it does not belong totally to you - and the bank can, and often does, dictate how much insurance you carry on your car.

- By arranging your own financing before you buy your dream car, you may actually save money - not only on the finance itself, but on the price of the car. In essence, when you take out personal or homeowner loans and use the money to purchase a car, you are paying cash for your car. If you have a pre-approved loan from an outside lender or the cash in hand, you're in an excellent position to leverage the best price possible on the car you want to buy.

The trick, of course, is to compare all the loan offers that you can beforehand, and choose the one that makes the most possible sense. You'll sometimes find that a promotional car finance offer will give you an excellent interest rate - but only if you take the option to pay it off in twelve months. Such a short term means high monthly payments - which could make it impossible for you to afford it.

Using a personal loan from your bank or building society is another avenue to take. In all honesty, these often carry higher interest rates than secured options - which is what car loans typically are. The biggest advantage to paying for a new car with a personal plan is that the car is yours - nobody else holds a claim against it. That means you can sell it, give it away, use it as a trade for another car, and determine how much insurance cover you can afford to put on it.

Homeowner loans are another option to finance a new car purchase - but it's not an option unless your finances are rock-solid, since you'll be putting your home on the line to secure your new car. On the plus side, you'll get the best interest rates possible like this. How much better a deal can you get when taking out homeowner loans for a car purchase? Money experts estimate that we Brits are paying out over (GBP)3.8 Bn annually in wasted interest on car loans. A typical car plan will cost you up to 17% in APR - that's higher than most credit cards! By contrast, a secured homeowner loan can be got for as little as 5.3% APR. That's a savings of over 10% APR - over the course of several years, that difference can add thousands to the cost of your new car.

Before you go shopping for a new car, compare your options at comparison websites where you'll find a full range of personal and homeowner loans from many different lenders. Make your best deal with a lender, and then go make your best deal with a car dealer.
About the Author
Jon Francis has worked within the UK financial sector for more than 15 years. He's had over 100 articles published, recognised for his use of plain English to demystify the financial jargon usually associated with secured home loans UK companies offer. If you want a 'plain English' guide to 3 easy steps to compare over 200 loan plans for home owners, in minutes visit "www.moneyeverything.com"
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