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Car Dealerships That Accept Credit Cards
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Buying a car is a big decision that requires a lot of research and planning. Part of that job involves finding a way to pay for your car, which usually means taking out a loan, since most people don’t have enough spare cash to pay off a car right away.
How To Buy A Car With A Credit Card (and The Best Cards To Use)
While most car dealerships have their own in-house financing options, you can also choose to pay for the car with a rewards credit card that allows you to earn points or miles for every dollar you spend. For example, if you have a credit limit of about $20,000, you can easily cover the cost of a new vehicle and possibly earn rewards points at the same time.
If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, here are some things to consider.
There are several factors to consider before charging a new vehicle on a credit card, the most important of which is the interest rate you’ll be paying. Because credit cards have much higher interest rates on average than car loans, you may want to only charge your car off your credit card if you have a plan.
For example, it might make sense to pay for a car with a credit card if you have money in the bank to cover the purchase. You can charge a car on your credit card, earn some rewards, and pay off the balance in full before accruing interest.
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A car top-up with a credit card may also make sense if your credit card offers a 0 percent introductory APR. This will allow you to make interest-free car payments for a limited time and potentially earn rewards. Just be aware that once your card’s introductory offer expires, you’ll be stuck paying the credit card’s ever-changing interest rates.
Whether you decide to buy a car with a travel credit card or a card with a 0 percent introductory APR for a limited time, you should check with your credit card company to confirm the purchase.
Even if your credit limit is sufficient to cover the amount you intend to charge, you will still need to notify your card issuer in advance of the charge. If you don’t, large and unusual transactions like buying a car are likely to be flagged as fraud.
If your credit limit is not high enough, you may need to apply for a credit limit increase. Asking for a credit limit increase can result in a new hard inquiry on your credit report, so you can apply for a new rewards credit card.
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If you take out a new credit card with your purchase, you can earn rewards and generous sign-up bonuses for every dollar you spend.
This next part can be tricky because most car dealers will direct you to their car finance options rather than accepting credit cards as payment. In any case, you need to ask the seller you are dealing with if they allow you to pay for your purchase by credit card.
Some car dealerships do not accept credit cards as payment, in which case you can use another payment method or find another dealer.
Also, keep in mind that some dealerships will let you pay for part of your car purchase with credit if you finance or pay cash for the rest. The only way to know your options is to ask your dealer what they can do.
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Many of the best cash back credit cards allow you to earn rewards on every dollar you spend and secure a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for a limited time, but you should know that these offers don’t last forever. If you plan to pay off your card before the introductory offer ends, but fall behind, you could be stuck paying thousands of dollars in incredibly high interest rates.
Also, be aware of the potential risk to your credit score when running up a credit card balance to buy a car. Your credit utilization—the amount you owe compared to your credit limit—makes up 30 percent of your FICO score.
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