Does Refinancing a Car Hurt Your Credit?

Refinancing auto loans can be done for a number of different reasons. Whether it’s reducing your monthly payment amount or the interest rate on your loan, refinancing can be in your best interest. However, before you do so, it’s essential to understand how the refinancing process will affect your credit.

How Does Refinancing an Auto Loan Work?

When you seek out a lender to refinance your existing auto loan, they’ll agree to pay off the amount you owe on your current loan. They will offer you a loan for that payoff amount plus any loan origination or other fees. When seeking out a new lender, it’s best to find one that will provide you with a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment.

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If you can find a lender who offers a lower interest rate, you can save yourself money on not having to pay all the interest owed on your initial vehicle loan. Additionally, if you can no longer afford your monthly payment amount, refinancing for a longer loan term can help to reduce the monthly payment you owe.

Why Refinancing Can Lower Your Credit Score

When you’re seeking out new lenders for your auto loan, each one is going to do a hard inquiry of your credit. This temporarily reduces your credit score. In most cases, these inquiries will cause a small reduction in your credit score.

When you finalize an auto loan refinance, the lender will report a new loan on your credit report. This will increase the amount of debt that you owe and can reduce your credit score. However, once the original loan is reported as paid off and the account is closed, you’ll likely see your credit score go back up to where it was beforehand.

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When Is It a Good Idea to Refinance a Car Loan?

Another question that many borrowers have who have recently taken out an auto loan is how long you have to wait to refinance your car. You can literally refinance your auto loan at any point in time. You can do so as many times as you see fit. 

According to Lantern by SoFi, “…refinancing can be worthwhile, saving you money in interest payments over the life of the loan and making monthly payments more manageable.” Probably the most common reason that borrowers refinance their auto loan is to get a better interest rate.

Since interest is simply the amount of money you pay for borrowing the funds, you want it to be as low as possible. You may have discovered that the average interest rate has dropped or your credit score has increased. Both of these will allow you to obtain a vehicle loan with a lower interest rate than your existing loan. The less you pay in interest costs, the more you can save over the life of your auto loan.

Refinancing your existing car loan may have some great benefits for your financial situation. By understanding the basics of car loan refinancing that we went over above, you can better determine if a refinance is right for you.

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