Car Loan Ratings
RateCity allows you to search through hundreds of car loans from Australian lenders. With so many car loan options to choose from, rating the available offers and working out which ones will most ideally suit your finances can sometimes be tricky.
Car loans can be rated by their interest rates, fees and charges, features and benefits, and their flexibility. By rating car loans by each of these categories, and getting a better idea of their potential impact on your finances, you can make a more informed decision when selecting your car loan.
Car loan ratings by interest rate
One of the simplest and most straightforward methods of rating different car loan offers is to compare their interest rates. The lower the interest rate, the less extra money you’ll need to pay back to the lender on top of your car loan’s principal.
Many car loans come with fixed interest rates, where you pay the same amount of interest with each repayment for the full term of the car loan. Fixed rate car loans can help to keep your repayments consistent and your budgeting simple. However, if you have a fixed interest rate, you won’t enjoy any savings if your lender cuts its interest rates.
Variable interest rates are also available for certain car loans. If you choose a variable rate car loan, your lender may raise or lower the interest it charges from month to month, based on the current economy. While this could lower your repayments if rates are cut, it could also mean paying more if rates rise, which can make preparing a budget more challenging.
Rating secured and unsecured car loans
It’s worth considering whether you’d prefer a secured or unsecured car loan, as this can affect your interest rate.
Many car loans are secured loans, where the money you borrow is guaranteed against the value of the car you’re buying. This can help to reduce the lender’s risk, and therefore allow you to enjoy a more affordable interest rate. However, with some lenders, these loans may not be available for used cars over a certain age, where the vehicle’s value isn’t likely to be enough to guarantee the loan over the full term.
On the other hand, unsecured car loans don’t require the borrower to provide an asset as security, making them flexible enough to purchase a wider variety of vehicles. However, because of the greater risk they represent to lenders, unsecured car loans are more likely to have higher interest rates than their secured counterparts.
Rating car loans for new or used cars
When you’re rating the available car loans, it’s important to consider whether you’re planning to buy a new or used car.
While it’s no secret that new cars tend to be more expensive than used cars, new cars can often also offer significant value for money. New cars may integrate new technologies that can help to provide longer-lasting performance and retain the vehicle’s value for longer, which can be important when rating your choice of secured car loans.
Used cars tend to be more affordable than new cars, but that’s not their only appeal. Their value also tends to depreciate more slowly than new cars, allowing you to enjoy greater value from your car loan, and a well-maintained used car can also provide reliable performance. However, for used cars beyond a certain age, you may have trouble applying for a secured car loan with some lenders, who may not feel confident that these vehicles will retain sufficient value to guarantee the loan. In these cases, you may need to pay a higher interest rate for an unsecured car loan.
Rating car loans by fees and charges
Many lenders charge fees as well as interest on their car loans, which can make a big difference to your household budget. A car loan with a low interest rate and high fees and charges could ultimately turn out to be more expensive in total than a car loan with a higher interest rate and lower fees.
To work out the total cost of different car loan offers, you could add up each loan’s upfront and ongoing fees and combine them with the estimated interest payments, but it might be simpler just to look at each car loan’s Comparison Rate instead. The comparison rate expresses the approximate combined total of a car loan’s advertised interest rate and its standard fees and charges, allowing you to quickly and easily get a better idea of how much a car loan is likely to set you back.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Comparison Rates are best used as general guidelines only when you’re looking at car loans. Some lenders charge nonstandard fees for some of their car loan features, which can make these loans more expensive than what their Comparison Rate indicates. On the other hand, some lenders offer extra features with their car loans, which can provide additional value beyond what’s indicated by the comparison rate, depending on your financial situation.
Car loan ratings by lender
A wide variety of different lenders have car loans available, ranging from the big banks to non-bank lenders such as credit unions and building societies. There are benefits and drawbacks to borrowing with different types of lenders, which can affect how you rate different car loan choices.
Banks are popular lenders, capable of offering a variety of financial products along with their car loans. Plus, they can often offer a variety of ways to access information about your car loan, from phone and internet banking to dropping into your local branch. However, banks are more likely to have fixed lending criteria for their car loans, which can make it more difficult for some borrowers to successfully apply for a car loan from a bank.
Non-bank lenders are more likely to offer car loans with competitive interest rates and flexible lending terms, which can make them appealing to a wide variety of borrowers. However, these lenders may not be able to offer the same range of features and benefits with their car loans as those offered by certain banks. And if you take your car loan out from an online-only lender, you won’t have the option to visit a local branch or shopfront to discuss your car loan in person.
Car loan ratings by flexibility
Depending on your financial situation, you may rate car loans that offer greater repayment flexibility more highly than those with fixed repayment schedules. While keeping car loan repayments consistent can help you to manage your budgeting, having additional options available for paying off your car loan can also prove valuable in the right circumstances.
Some lenders allow you to make extra repayments onto your car loan, on top of the scheduled repayments. The more of your car loan’s principal you pay off, the closer you’ll come to exiting the loan early, reducing the amount of total interest you’ll need to pay, and ultimately saving you money.
If you do plan to plan to pay off your car loan ahead of its scheduled term, keep in mind that some lenders charge early exit fees to make up for the interest payments they’d be missing out on. Make sure that paying off your car early doesn’t accidentally cost you more than you expected!
Another flexible option to keep an eye out for when rating different car loan offers is a Redraw Facility. If you make extra repayments onto your car loan, a redraw facility will allow you to withdraw any surplus balance in excess of your scheduled repayment total. This can come in handy in case of emergencies when you’ve already paid you’re available money onto your car loan – just use the redraw facility to withdraw what you need, subject to the lender’s terms and conditions.
Checking your car’s history
Regardless of the car loan you choose, it’s important to organise a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) report when purchasing a car. This report, formerly known as a REVS check, looks at the financial history of your vehicle and confirms whether or not it’s being sold with a financial encumbrance (money still owing on it from a previous owner). You can organise one of these reports for yourself, and some lenders can save you time and hassle by organising a report for you as part of your car loan, though some lenders charge a fee for this service.
Car loan ratings at RateCity
Depending on the type of car loan you’re looking for, you may rate different car loan deals more highly based on different criteria, ranging from car loans offering interest and comparison rates to help you save money, to car loans with flexible features and options for managing your finances.
Whatever your budget, RateCity puts a wide variety of a car loans from different lenders all in the one place, allowing you to rate and compare offers however you choose. By rating the available car loans by the most useful criteria, you’ll be able to narrow down your choice of car loan providers until you can make an informed decision about which lender you’ll choose when you buy your new or used car.