An Actual Cash Value (ACV) is the value of the car according to widely recognized independent sources such as the National Automobile Dealers Association or Kelley Blue Book .
This value is important for insurance and loan-to-value computations.
Amortization describes the process of gradually paying off your auto loan. In an amortizing loan, for each of your monthly payments, a portion is applied towards the amount of the loan – the principal – and a portion of the payment is applied towards paying the finance charge – the interest.
A greater percentage of your monthly payment is applied to interest early in the life of the loan, and a greater percentage is applied to the principal at the end. Thus, the principal balance decreases slowly at first and more quickly closer to the end of the loan term.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost you pay each year to borrow money, including fees, expressed as a percentage. The APR is a broader measure of the cost to you of borrowing money since it reflects not only the interest rate but also the fees that you have to pay to get the loan. The higher the APR, the more you’ll pay over the life of the loan.
An auto loan’s APR and interest rate are two of the most important measures of the price you pay for borrowing money. The federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requires lenders to give you specific disclosures about important terms, including the APR, before you are legally obligated on the loan. Since all lenders must provide the APR, you can use the APR to compare auto loans. Just make sure that you are comparing APRs to APRs and not to interest rates.
The base price is the price of the vehicle without options.
The manufacturer’s base price excludes charges for optional equipment (like a sunroof) and excludes mandatory charges for taxes, title, and registration. The base price also excludes the cost of optional add-ons such as credit insurance, service contracts, window etching, and rustproofing.
A buy rate is the interest rate that a potential lender quotes to your dealer when you apply for dealer-arranged financing.
Your dealer may offer you an interest rate that is higher than the buy rate. The rate the dealer offers you is called the “contract rate.” Sometimes the lender pays the dealer a fee for arranging the financing that is based on the difference between these two rates. Dealers may have discretion to charge you more than the buy rate, so you may be able to negotiate that interest rate.
Ask the dealer if you qualify for a loan with better terms. In general, dealers and lenders are not required to offer the best rates available. You can save money over the life of the loan by getting quotes from multiple lenders, comparing offers, and negotiating for the best interest rate available to you. This could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.