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Where to get your car loan: Bank or dealer?

Before the test drive it’s a good idea to understand—and compare—your financing options

Read, 3 minutes

You’re ready to buy a car, but first you need to figure out the right way to finance it. The good news is that you have options: You can get your car loan from a bank or credit union, or you could go through the dealer. Both have their benefits and considerations, and it’s best to be informed about financing options before you ask for the keys.

Car financing at a glance

Bank

  • It’s a good idea to lock in a bank loan approval before shopping for cars.
  • You can use a bank loan at any franchise dealer or private seller.
  • Being a bank’s existing customer may help you get approved.

Dealer

  • You’ll likely choose your car before applying for a loan directly from the dealer.
  • Dealers may offer incentives to use their financing.
  • You won’t get to choose the lender who services your loan.
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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial, tax or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional and tax advisor when making decisions regarding your financial situation.

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