Car Loan vs. Personal Loan: Which is Better for you?

Published: November 25, 2014 | Updated: August 4, 2020 | Posted by: Moneymax | Personal Loan

When you opt for comfort and convenience, purchasing a car of your own, whether new or second-hand, is a good preference. However, not even a majority of the population in the Philippines can afford to buy a car alongside its daily expenses – it never comes cheap. But as they say, “You only get what you pay for.”

When you purchase a car, you buy convenience, comfort, ease and a big investment. When you don’t have enough money in your bank account to buy a car, you’d only go for car loans. The less widely known option is taking out a personal loan.

So when buying a car, should you go for a car loan or a personal loan? Here are factors to consider:

Car Loan VS Personal Loan

Car loan is actually one of the types of loan, structured to factor in the depreciation of a car’s value over time. Car loans often require you to make a sizable down payment early into the term – the bigger your deposit, the lower your succeeding monthly payments.

Personal loans, meanwhile, can be either secured or unsecured: the former is backed by assets you already own for the lender’s security, while the latter is determined solely on the basis of your credit status.

Payment Terms

In either case, you would need to pay attention to vital details like the cost of your monthly payments, interest rates, and payment terms. Usually, the first thing you look for in-car financing is a monthly payment or interest rate combo low enough to fall within your budget. Banks in the Philippines provides an online loan calculator that can help you figure out the cost of your monthly payments.

Never dive into a deal without factoring in the actual full amount you’re paying for your intended vehicle.

Payment terms are also an important factor: you may be tempted to go for a longer time period so you would pay lower monthly fees, but a shorter term means you pay less piled-up interest over time. Would you stay comfortable paying the same rate for the same vehicle five to seven years in, when the “new car” high has long worn off?

Interest Rates

Interest is what you pay your lender in exchange for letting them finance your car, and can make a huge difference in the ease of your payments. Interest rates are calculated based on the car’s list price and your current financial situation. Personal loans tend to have higher interest rates than car loans, but can be lowered in the case of secured loans. Whenever you can, opt for a loan with a simple interest scheme over compound interest.

New vs. Used Car

Most car loans are packaged especially for brand-new or Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles. When doing research on the car you wish to buy, always check which car loan alternatives are most applicable to your planned purchase. When buying secondhand, work closely with the original owner to see if car loans are an option for your transaction. If you are planning to buy a much older vehicle or if no dedicated car loan options are available, consider getting a personal loan. Learn more about deciding whether to buy a brand new or used car.

Credit Score

If you choose to apply for a personal loan, lenders are likely look into your credit score rating. This is their assurance that you have the ability to make your payments on time. Should you have a less-than-ideal credit score, you will have better chances of getting a car loan than you would a personal loan. Either way, poor credit means you get saddled with a much higher interest rate. Ideally, you should settle as much of your outstanding credit debt as you can before you begin applying for any kind of loan.

The Repossession Question

You want to minimize the likelihood of defaulting on your loan whenever you can. If you’re unable to make your payments, what happens afterward varies depending on the loan you get. When you default on a car loan or an unsecured personal loan, the lender seizes your vehicle.

Applying for a secured personal loan gives you more options on what personal assets are at stake if you default, allowing you to keep your car. Just whatever you do, do NOT stake your house in a secured personal loan for your vehicle.

No matter what kind of loan you apply for, it’s important for you to shop around for lenders with better prices or more flexible terms that work with your current income. If you can, make all your inquiries within a two-week period to prevent any further damage to your credit score. A car may be a huge commitment, but your wallet doesn’t have to suffer for it.

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