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Car deals with 0% APR 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. This allows users to conduct studies and compare information for free and help you 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 Money The products that are featured on this website are provided by companies who pay us. This compensation can affect the way and where products appear on this website, for example such things as the order in which they be listed within the categories of listing and other categories, unless prohibited by law. Our mortgage, home equity and other products for home loans. This compensation, however, does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews you see on this site. We do not include the vast array of companies or financial offers that may be available to you. @VeraNovember/Twenty20

6 min read published March 02, 2023.

Written by Michelle Black Written by Contributing writer Michelle Lambright Black is a credit expert with over 19 years experience, a freelance writer and a certified credit expert witness. Alongside writing for Bankrate Michelle’s writing is published in numerous publications, including FICO, Experian, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and Reader’s Digest, among others. Edited by Rhys Subitch Editored by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down complex issues into digestible chunks. The Bankrate guarantee

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If you have questions about money. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four decades. We strive to continuously provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate follows a strict , so you can trust that our information is trustworthy and precise. Our award-winning editors and reporters provide honest and trustworthy content that will help you make the right financial decisions. The content we create by our editorial staff is factual, objective, and not influenced through our sponsors. We’re transparent about how we are in a position to provide quality content, competitive rates and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products and, services, or when you click on specific links on our site. So, this compensation can influence the manner, place and in what order products appear in listing categories, except where the law prohibits it for our mortgage and home equity products, as well as other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your region or within your personal credit score may also influence how and where products appear on this site. We strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include information about each credit or financial product or service. With the median monthly payment for new cars over $700 and used around $525, based on data from the fourth quarter of 2022., finding a bargain is top of mind. In addition, signing an APR of 0 percent on your vehicle deal is a great option to save on your next vehicle purchase. Numerous automakers offer no-interest auto loans to attract new, highly qualified customers, and also to increase sales of automobiles. However, when shopping for a new vehicle, you should always proceed with caution, even when an offer with zero APR is on the table. In some cases, getting an automobile loan from an institution could be more beneficial over the long term. Are 0% APR deals worth it?

It is worth it if you reduce your monthly bills. However, you must have good credit score to be eligible. Keep both its cost-effectiveness and you’re eligible while driving around for a test.

What is 0% APR? A 0 percent APR or basically means that you can borrow money for no cost. Your monthly payments reimburse the lender for the money it paid the auto dealer, however no additional cash you have in your pocket will go into the lender’s bank account. This differs from the usual approach, where the lender will charge you in exchange for financing. The fees and interest are, in fact, the primary ways lenders make money. Here’s an illustration of the difference in monthly expenses that a zero percent APR could make versus the more common APR. Average rate

0 percent APR

Amount financed



A loan term

60 months

60 months




Monthly payment



Total cost



What exactly is 0% APR? How does it work? The idea of financing a car with no interest seems too good to be true. However, these financing deals can be a tool manufacturers of automobiles can utilize to increase sales of their vehicles. Loan providers that offer zero percent financing are referred to as captive finance firms and are linked to . A few examples of lenders that are captive include Ford Motor Credit, GM Financial, Nissan Finance, Toyota Financial Services and more. If Ford plans to sell more F-150s to address overstock issues, it might provide zero-interest loans to a select group of borrowers via its own financing arm. Zero-interest financing may seem more affordable on the surface however it’s not always the case. If car manufacturers offer 0 percent finance, they might try to make up for “lost” revenue in other ways. For example, a dealership may try to get you on the spot or in conjunction with your vehicle. Also, you may have to forfeit benefits such as rebates which would typically lower your purchase price. How do you qualify for an 0% APR vehicle deal Zero percent financing deals are generally reserved for borrowers with excellent credit generally referred to as a credit score that is 800 or over. You should do this prior to when you begin looking for auto financing. Every lender also has its own definition of excellent credit, and qualification requirements may differ from vehicle to vehicle. Since zero APR qualifications differ in a wide range it is best to call the auto dealership ahead of time. Ask what criteria you need to satisfy to be eligible for interest-free financing on a specific vehicle. Apart from your credit score and your income, an auto lender may consider additional factors in evaluating your application, for example: . Employment record. Verification of income and address. No matter the state of your credit -good, bad fair or outstanding, you should take the time to obtain financing from outside sources too. Preapproval will help you evaluate the options available and provide a backup plan if you aren’t eligible for the automaker’s exclusive offer. Limits on 0% APR financing Interest-free financing can be a fantastic deal for some borrowers. However, there are a couple of potential issues to be aware of when you are considering this type of loan. Limited selection: Interest-free financing is available only for certain types of cars. First, the vehicle you buy will most likely require . Auto manufacturers also tend to offer special financing deals for models of vehicles when there’s surplus stock that must be moved. Limits on repayment options: Depending on the deal the repayment options for the 0% financing option may be limited. Often you’ll be given less time to repay the loan as you would otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with paying back an loan fast, but you should ensure that you can afford the higher monthly payment without putting your budget in jeopardy. A 0% loan vs. bonuses Cash offers from automakers prefer that you purchase the next car from their brand and not from a rival. This is one of the main reasons 0 percent financing offers exist at all. To attract new customers, auto makers frequently offer buyers. Unfortunately, an auto maker might not let you take advantage of both the 0% financing rate and the bonus cash. If you’re in this situation, you’ll need choose which savings option is . Tip from Bankrate

The use of an app is a way to evaluate 0 percent financing versus bonuses in cash. Sometimes taking the cash rebate offered by a dealer along with an increased loan APR can result in better overall savings. In other instances the financing with 0% interest rate could be the clear winner.

Should you take the cash and then refinance it later? You may have to agree to regular financing from Automaker’s own captive lender to qualify for certain cash incentives. In the event of a loan, it’s possible that you’ll get a better interest rate than you might through your bank or an external lender. Based on your circumstances the new car loan within a couple of months might be an effective strategy. However, there are some disadvantages to take into consideration first. Namely that having two loans reverse-to-back both the original one and the one you refinance with — can damage your credit rating for a period of time. A combination of loans can result in at least two hard on your credit reports. In addition, adding the two loans added to credit report, even though one pays on the other will reduce how old your accounts in your credit records. Regarding credit scoring the greater the average account is, the better. Important lesson

Cash incentives can lower the amount you need to borrow — but refinancing it later for a could cause your credit score to suffer a temporary drop.

What is the point at which a 0% APR deal not worth it? It might make sense to avoid special manufacturer financing offers in the following scenarios. The terms of repayment don’t match your budget. Low-interest auto loans usually have shorter terms for financing. Depending on your income, a can make your monthly payments unaffordable. For instance, if the zero percent car loan lasts 4 years but you typically be financing for five years cost could be significant. The average rate

APR 0%

The amount to be financed



Loan term

5 years old

4 years




Monthly payment



You can observe, on the basis of a $25,000 vehicle loan by manufacturers for four years, the monthly payment would be about $520. A $25,000 car loan with a five-year repayment with a rate of 4 percent interest rate would require the monthly payment to be $460. You can use an online auto loan calculator to perform the maths for your possible loan. Financial experts often recommend that you limit your monthly car payments to 20 percent or less of your take-home salary per month. Some experts recommend you pay 10 percent of your gross income. It’s tempting to buy more expensive vehicles. shouldn’t decide to increase your auto budget just to qualify for special financing. If you’re planning to purchase a $10,000 cash payment for an automobile, then taking out the cost of a new car loan with a $30,000 tag just to take advantage of financing with no interest is probably not an appropriate financial decision. Cash rebates provide greater savings. Cash-back rebates typically aren’t available to those who use the manufacturer’s special financing. If you crunch the numbers and cash rebates offer you a bigger chance to save money, a zero percent financing deal wouldn’t be worth the cost. Imagine taking advantage of a $4,750 cash-back offer on a brand new car purchase. For a new car that has an estimated price of $30,000 the incentive could reduce the price of your purchase down to $25,250. If you borrowed $25,250 at a 4 percent interest rate for five years, you’d pay 26561 in interest. In that scenario your total expense is $27,901 in the event that you didn’t add on extra products like extended warranties, or incur other financing fees. You could also pay the full price of $30,000 and then choose a zero percent APR. If you don’t include any additional items or charges, you’d have to pay an additional $2,099 in this case than what you’d take out a cash rebate. Do’s and don’ts for APR-free loans If you’re looking at the options available and determine that an auto loan is the best option to make, the following do’s and don’ts could assist you with the process. Don’t


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

You can take a short-term loan with a high monthly payment that you cannot manage to.

Make sure you are preapproved for an auto loan prior to visiting the dealer.

Opt for a long-term loan to lower the monthly cost of your loan in the event that it will cost you more overall.

Verify that you can afford the monthly payment.

Choose 0 percent financing over a cash-back incentive without comparing the possible savings.

Check if the manufacturer has incentives for cash-back which you can use in conjunction with the financing special offer.

Don’t pay the downpayment when you have the money to make one.

The main point to determining if a zero percent APR deal on a car is worth the price is to assess it with an automotive loan from an external lender and figure out your real monthly cost. In the case of your particular situation, the deal may not truly save you money. There are a few situations where special financing isn’t as good as it seems and obtaining it usually requires a high credit score. Be sure to check the current rates and ensure that you don’t have to pay interest if it will cost you more in total.


Written by Contributing author Michelle Lambright Black is a credit expert with more than 19 years of experience, an independent writer, and a certified expert witness on credit. In addition to writing for Bankrate Michelle’s writing is featured with 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 writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances with clear, well-researched information that break down complex topics into manageable bites.

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