What is a Car Down Payment?

car down payment

When buying a vehicle, a down payment is the sum of money paid upfront by the purchaser. Down payments are often made on larger purchases to reduce the amount of money to be financed.

People Also Asked

Are car down payments illegal?
No, car down payments are not illegal. While false information has spread on social media platforms, the truth is that it’s perfectly legal for car dealerships to request a down payment. In fact, it often benefits buyers by reducing their credit burden.

For example, if a new vehicle is priced at $29,000, making a $3,000 down payment upfront reduces the amount financed to $26,000. This lower loan amount means you’ll save money over time!

How much do I need to put down for a car down payment?
We recommend putting down between 10 and 20 percent of the purchase price. But as a rule of thumb, the more you can put down, the less interest you’ll pay over the loan term. Consider how much you would like to pay each month and balance it with what you can reasonably afford to put down.

Is it smart to put money down on a car?
Yes, it is a fiscally wise idea to put money down when buying a vehicle – the more, the better. In general, putting down about 20 percent can be extremely beneficial in the long run.

Can you make a down payment with cash?
Yes, cash is an acceptable form of payment.

What are acceptable forms of down payment for a car?
The most common form of down payment is cash or its equivalent. Dealerships typically accept personal checks, money orders, or credit cards. Remember that you can also trade in your vehicle and apply its value toward your down payment.

Does my car down payment go directly to principal?
The down payment reduces the total amount financed, not just the principal. To calculate, add the car’s price with any upgrades, additional fees, and taxes – and then subtract the down payment.

Is a down payment required on a leased car?
No, for most customers, a down payment isn’t required when leasing a vehicle. But in some cases, you may need to put money down if you have bad credit.

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