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How to Refinance Your Auto Loan
Shopping for a better auto loan — and refinancing your current car loan — has become quick and easy, thanks to the speed and convenience of the internet. The application process often takes less than an hour, and many lenders promise to give you a decision on your loan in a matter of minutes.
Is refinancing your current loan the right move for you? It could make sense under several scenarios. For instance, if you think your credit has improved since you bought your car, there’s a good chance you can lower your interest rate and end up with a smaller monthly payment. You might also be able to shave some time off the loan, or go the other way and extend the term of the loan if you’re having trouble making your monthly payment.
While the refinancing process can be relatively painless, you’ll get better results if you’re organized and focused in your search for a new loan. Here are the steps to take to successfully refinance your auto loan.
1. COLLECT YOUR DOCUMENTS
2. EVALUATE YOUR CREDIT HISTORY
4. RUN THE NUMBERS
5. DECIDE WHETHER REFINANCING MAKES SENSE
6. EVALUATE THE TERMS OF YOUR LOAN
7. COMPLETE THE PROCESS
1. Collect your documents
Find a recent payment stub from your current auto loan and make sure you know the following:
- Your current monthly payment.
- The amount of time left to repay the loan in months, often called the loan term.
- The interest rate you’re paying.
- The customer service number of the lender in case you have questions.
Dig out your original loan contract and verify that there are no prepayment penalties. If you can’t find your contract, don’t worry. The lender’s customer service department can give you the information you need, or even email you a copy of the contract.
You’ll also need the following items to complete loan applications:
2. Evaluate your credit history
If you’ve made all your car loan payments on time for a year or more, your credit has probably improved and there’s a good chance you can benefit from a refinance.
Of course, that’s only true if you’ve also kept all your other financial commitments up to date. The proof is in the numbers, so you’ll have to find out where you stand, and you have two options for doing so. See more