Driva’s smart platforms allows you to access your best available rates from our panel of lenders, all without impacting your credit score
The answer to this question varies significantly from person to person.
Technically speaking, the lowest interest rate of all the lenders on our panel is for Westpac's secured car loan, which comes in at a fixed rate of 3.94%.
However, the advertised starting rate is not the best guide when comparing car loans. This is because rates change depending on your credit score, age of the vehicle you're buying, living situation and loan term.
The best way to compare rates for your new or used car loan is to look at a personalised comparison rate, which accounts for all fees and charges and is tailored to you. The lender with the lowest comparison rate will vary from person to person, which is why it is so critical to compare multiple lenders when taking out a car loan.
A comparison rate is considered the true interest rate that you will pay, because it accounts for all of the fees and charges associated with car loans. Because of this, it is considered the best measure of car loan interest.
Driva clearly specifies the comparison rate of every quote we provide to you so you can quickly see which car loan will cost you less. Our tip is to rely on either the comparison rate or monthly repayment figure instead of the quoted annual percentage rate or interest rate, as these can be very misleading!
For example, some lenders might advertise a very low interest rate to appeal to new customers looking for the best deal. But these same lenders often have high establishment, monthly or termination fees associated with their car loans which then lead to a significantly higher comparison rate.
It's important to take caution when relying on online resources like a car loan calculator, which might not accurately account for all fees associated with a particular new or used car loan. This might lead to a rate comparison made on an interest rate, instead of a comparison rate, and overall a poorer outcome for the consumer.
When applying for a car loan, it is also critical that the comparison rate you are looking at is tailored based on your credit history, the age of the car and other personal information that lenders look at to calculate the rate you'll be charged. If not, you might be in for a nasty surprise when your interest rate (and therefore loan repayments) increase when it comes time to sign the contract.
Learn: car finance terminology explained
There are all kinds of places across the internet that will suggest they'll help you find your best loan options. However there's a few things to consider when comparing car finance with third parties.
Comparison sites publish great content and guides that can help you on your journey to buy a car. However, when comparing finance options on comparison sites, it's important to note that the low rate car loan offers that you see are very unlikely to be the rates you end up with. Make sure you check with the product provider directly to see what your rate will be based on the car you're buying and your personal details to avoid disappointment.
Traditional car loan brokers
Old-school car loan brokers are plentiful in Australia, but they often won't compare multiple options to make sure you're getting the best car loan. Unlike Driva, most brokers have one or two "go-to lenders" they'll rely on, because they don't have the technology to scan countless lenders instantly to minimise the cost of the loan.
With Driva, you can compare secured and unsecured car loans from 20+ lenders by filling out a 60-second online form. This is completely free, and you can apply with confidence knowing that you've found the best deal. You also know that the rate you're seeing is inclusive of all fees and charges, and fully personalised to you so it won't change later in the process.
Generally speaking, the higher your credit score, the better the rate you'll receive.
However, this is not true for every lender. Some providers look purely at vehicle age and other personal factors when pricing your loan, so as long as you're above a minimum threshold you won't receive a higher rate for having bad credit.
Use Driva to see which lender has the best option for you based on your credit history.
If you're applying directly with a lender, they are likely to pull a hard check on your credit file before giving you personalised rates. This means the only way you can know exactly how much you'll be paying on your car loan means a mark on your credit file.
With Driva, we run what's called a "soft credit check", which allows us to give you accurate loan interest rates without a trace on your credit file.