When shopping for a new car, a lot of times the question comes up: Should I take the big rebate, or should I take the special interest rate that’s being offered? The rebate is popular for sure – when you look at new car ads, you usually see the rebate advertised. In fact, manufacturers and dealerships like to advertise rebates because it makes their car seem less expensive than competing models. However, for about 75% of us, the special interest rate makes more financial sense than the rebate.
Here’s what you need to know:
1) Special interest rates make sense for most consumers. Most people will save more money in interest charges than they could ever hope to save using a rebate. This is especially true of anyone with less-than-perfect credit. Special rates are usually offered by the manufacturer’s special financing arm which is more forgiving than a regular bank.
If you’re not sure about the rebate or interest rate, find out for yourself and use our payment comparison tool. You can compare the rebate to the financing side-by-side and find out what makes more sense in about 30 seconds!
2) Sometimes the rebates that are advertised are not available to all consumers. Believe it or not, it’s completely legal for a dealer or manufacturer to advertise a rebate that almost no customer will qualify for. Take a look at the fine print in the advertising and make sure you don’t need to be a student, a military veteran, or the owner of a previous model of that brand of car etc. to get the advertised rebate.
Finally, because it’s common for automakers to offer rebates for special groups (like AAA members, people who own competing vehicles, etc), call the auto manufacturer’s customer service line and find out what rebates you qualify for. Unfortunately, dealerships are not very good at figuring out who qualifies for these rebates so you can’t rely on the dealer to find out for you.