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February 10, 2021

Buying cars can be trickier than you thought. Next to houses, cars have an average cost of $36,000.00.  Consumers should be forewarned about issues that could arise at car dealerships that could include packed payments, dealer preparation fees, low trade-in values, low credit rating, and so on. Aside from the financial obligation, buyers should always perform their own due diligence.

Consider the following factors when buying a car:

1. Budget

Consider your budget first. Your financial situation should determine the car to purchase, not the other way around. If purchasing your dream sedan will cause financial stress , consider looking for other car models.

2. Shortlist At Least Three Car Dealers

Compare and shortlist car dealers. When you buy new or used cars, keep at least three options based on your set criteria, which could cover affordability, service, and financing options.

Thankfully, these days you can sit comfortably at home and shop for cars online without the in-person commitment.

You can also visit the dealer’s website or use available online comparison tools. Edmunds, a car comparison tool, enables you to filter categories (e.g., price, vehicle type, dimensions, warranty, etc.).

3. Explore Financing Options

Shop around not only for cars but also for financing options. Compare interest rates, modes of payment, refinancing options, extended warranty offerings, and pricing schemes.

Explore all financing options and see where your budget suits you best.

4. Know Your Credit Score

Know your credit rating. Different financing institutions will give you different credit ratings, which are used to determine the interest rate and loan terms.

The average credit score for loan approval of new cars is roughly 700. For used vehicles, it is around 650. A person with a credit score below 600 may obtain loan approval with a higher interest rate .

Knowing your credit score from an independent source in advance sets your expectations and gives you leverage. You can negotiate with a dealership if the loan terms do not seem fair or favorable with your independently acquired credit score.

5. Research About the Car’s Trade-In Value

If you have a trade-in, do some research regarding the car’s trade-in value in advance to help you assess whether any offer price is reasonable. Maximize the use of available online tools (most of which are based on Kelley Blue Book values).

Remember that cars depreciate over time. Knowing the trade-in value of either a new or used vehicle further helps you decide if you can resell it in the future.

6. Ensure the Car is in Good Condition

Perform vehicle checks to ensure that it is functional and in good, working condition. Is the car worth buying? Besides checking the trade-in value and performing history reviews, schedule for a test drive.

7. Check Warranty Features

Ask for the services covered and warranty features. Both new and used cars need maintenance, albeit the latter demands more attention.

Be aware of the routine maintenance that the dealership covers to maximize savings. Remember that these shops may have the right to refuse a consumer for routine checks when the car in question has been serviced by another party.

Go over the details of your default warranty. Also, ask about extended warranties.

Personal loans for new and used cars from Mariner Finance

Need a loan to help with a down payment or to buy a new or used car? A personal loan could come in handy to cover costs.

Apply for a personal loan* , from the comfort of your home.

Blog posts are for informational purposes only.

†We offer personal loans from $1,000 to $25,000, with loans terms from 12 to 60 months. Minimum and maximum amounts dependent on an applicant’s state of residence and the underwriting of the loan. Loans between $1,500 and $15,000 may be funded online. Loans greater than $15,000 or less than $1,500 are funded through our branch network. Specific interest rates and fees are determined as permitted under applicable state law and depend upon loan amount, term, and the applicant’s ability to meet our credit criteria, including, but not limited to, credit history, income, debt payment obligations, and other factors such as availability of collateral. Not all rates and loan amounts are available in all states. Additional fees may apply to some loan offers; some state required and/or permitted fees may be treated as prepaid finance charges. Any such charges shall be in addition to the loan amount requested and/or approved and shall be fully disclosed to the applicant on his/her loan agreement. Not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rates or larger loan amounts, which may require a first lien on a motor vehicle not more than ten years old titled in the applicant’s name with valid insurance. Our loan by phone and online closing process requires a compatible mobile or computer device on which you can access your email and electronic documents. Not all loan types are eligible for loan by phone or online loan closing.


To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. As a result, under our customer identification program, we must ask for your name, street address, mailing address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents.


For any stated annual percentage rate (“APR”), the APR represents the cost of credit as a yearly rate and will be determined based upon an applicant’s credit at the time of application, subject to state law limits. A range of APR’s may be applicable, subject to state law limits and individual underwriting. Not all applicants will qualify for a lower rate. APR’s are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle, and the lowest rates typically apply to the most creditworthy borrowers. All terms and conditions of a loan offer, including the APR, will be disclosed during the application process. As an example, with an amount financed of $5,000.00 the borrower receives $5,000.00 at an APR of 29.99% and an interest rate of 28.77% which includes a finance charge of $3,640.96. Under these terms, the borrower would make 48 monthly payments of $180.02, for a total of payments of $8,640.96. The amount financed may not be the net proceeds paid if charges other than interest are included in the loan.


*The process uses a “soft” credit inquiry to determine whether a loan offer is available, which does not impact your credit score. If you continue with the application process online and accept a loan offer, or are referred to a branch and continue your application there, we will pull your credit report and credit score again using a “hard” credit inquiry. This “hard” credit inquiry may impact your credit score.



California Residents: Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Financing Law license.

VA Residents – Mariner Finance of Virginia, LLC, Licensed by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Consumer Finance Company License No. CFI-114.


Mariner Finance, LLC, NMLS No. 166564 (
8211 Town Center Drive, Nottingham, MD 21236. Telephone Number 877-310-2373.

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