7 Easy Steps to Finance Your Next Vehicle

1) Decide where you want to finance your new or used car. If you are buying from a dealership, ask about special rates (usually incentives programs offered by the manufacturer for new car financing). Check the rates of banks or credit unions in your area.

2) Have all vehicle information handy before contacting the bank to apply for a loan if financing outside of a dealership. Contact the bank you want to use once you've decided who to use and tell the representative that you want to apply for an auto loan.

3) Give the representative the vehicle's cost, identification number, year, make, model and features (such as sunroof, alloy wheels, navigation or other options). Provide your credit and personal information to the bank or the dealer to apply. This includes your date of birth, Social Security number, address and employment information including a contact number.

4) Provide your gross annual income and how much you pay for rent or for your mortgage. You'll also have to know how long you've lived at your address and how long you've been on your job. Make sure your gross annual income is accurate--banks often ask for proof.

5) Wait for your approval. Approvals can be immediate or take or up to several days. Follow bank or dealer instructions and supply any necessary documentation if required, such as your proof of income, previous tax forms (common for business owners) or proof of residency, such as a utility bill.

6) Have insurance placed on your vehicle (once you have confirmed approval) and have the proof faxed to the bank or dealer that you are using; this is required before you can receive your loan check. Sign all contracts at the bank or dealership. You'll receive a check made out in the buyer's or dealer's name if you are using a local bank.

7) Pay the seller of your new or used car. If buying from a private seller, go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles to finish necessary procedures to receive your plates and registration (rules differ by state) before picking up your car. If buying from a dealer, all motor vehicle paperwork should be provided by the dealer.

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