How I Purchased a New Car with No Down Payment and a 0% APR Loan

Back in March of 2015, I accepted an offer to a new job about a thousand of miles away from home. I had no car of my own, so I decided to purchased a 2015 Toyota Camry LE for its reliability and brand. The total cost of the car was $22,079.12 and I did not have to put down a down payment and was also approved for a 0% APR loan for 48 months.

The reason I wanted a new car (not needed) was because I did not want to rely on my family’s resources and finally “own” something of my own. I originally planned to purchase a used car because of how fast a new car depreciates once driven off the lot, but I was convinced by my parents to buy a new one “just in case” something wrong happens.

Another reason I wanted a new car was because my parents might have bought a new car if I didn’t purchase one. At that time, my family had three cars, two for my parents and one for my brother. If I had taken one of the cars, my parents would have to carpool together to work, but since they work different shifts, it was not possible.

That’s why I believed that it would be better to put the financial burden on myself instead of on my parents as they had paid for most of my and my brother’s college living expenses.

Now how exactly was I able to purchase a new car with no money down and still get approved for a 0% APR loan for 48 months?

Brief Disclaimer: Some of the products and services on this post may offer compensation for referrals. For the products and services that do not receive compensation, there are referred simply because I think these products and services and useful and will be convenient to have.

I Had Good Credit

At the time of purchase, my credit score hovered around 720 and I only had a few credit cards and student loans under my belt.

Related: The 5 Factors That Affect Your Credit Score

Luckily, I was smart with my finances and never missed a single bill payment, which allowed my credit to increase because the financial institutions and credit bureaus trusted me to pay off my debts on time.

Additionally, I was only looking at cars that offered a chance at getting approved for a 0% APR loan.

From my research, Toyota had the majority of cars that were eligible for a 0% APR loan with their own Financial Service Division, Toyota Financial Services, whereas other car manufacturers like Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and more only had lower APR loans.

Furthermore, after checking with Toyota Financial Service’s Credit Section, they stated that my credit score of 720 was Excellent, which meant that I most likely had a very high chance of getting approved for a 0% APR loan.

I Called All Toyota Dealerships Within 50 Miles

After I knew I was going to stick with Toyota and confirmed that I wanted a Toyota Camry, I started to e-mail and phone all of the Toyota dealerships within a 50 mile radius.

There were two main questions I asked:

  1. Can I purchase the car with zero money down?
  2. What is the lowest price you can sell the car for?

After comparing answers between dealerships, I sent one last email to the dealerships stating the lowest offer I received and if they can beat it. If they could, I would head straight to the dealership and purchase the car on the same day.

Because of this, I was able to lock in my car’s expected price with a dealership and don’t have to pay any money down.

Understand What You Want and Stick With It

Now comes the tricky part.

Even though you are able to lock down the car’s expected price with a dealership, you won’t know the true details until you go in.

Once you head into the dealership, you can test drive the car to see if you really like it and then proceed to signing the forms for the car. I had test driven the Toyota Camry before I entered the dealership, so I was 100% sure I wanted one. Furthermore, I brought in a paper copy of my e-mail exchange with the dealership to confirm that I will be purchasing the car at this price.

The salesman will try to sell you some additional add-ons, but these are usually unnecessary, so you can ignore this and stick with what you had previously agreed on (this is why I had a paper copy of my e-mail exchange).

Once the forms are filled out, the salesman will perform a credit check on you.

At first, when the salesman checked my credit, he said I was only able to qualify for a 3.50% APR loan for 48 months.

Fortunately, I knew that there was a 0% APR loan promotion going on for the Toyota Camry and that I had Excellent credit according to Toyota Financial Services website.

I asked the salesman to check whether or not my credit was good enough for the 0% APR promotion and he was able to confirm that I was after 15 minutes.

Finally, after all the paperwork was done, he handed me the keys and I drove off the lot with a brand new Toyota Camry.

Final Words

When purchasing a car, check your credit score and see how the dealership’s loan division would rate your credit.

After checking your credit score, make sure to check with several dealerships to see if you could purchase a car with no down payment.

Finally, stick to your guns and don’t be sold on additional add-ons.

This was the story on how I purchased my Toyota Camry in March 2015 with no money down and how I got a 0% APR loan for 48 months. My car is no longer with me, but that is a story for another day.

I hope this guide will help you all if you plan to purchase a new car. If you are purchasing a used car, that’s also good too as it is much lighter on your pocket and is a better deal than a new one. Finally, when purchasing something big like a new car, make sure you budget enough for it.

If you aren’t already budgeting, tracking your accounts or net worth, check out Personal Capital! It’s an amazing online tool that provides great visualizations and is easy to use!

What do you guys think? Got any cool tricks and tips I missed for buying a car? What do you think about the whole new vs used car purchase ordeal?

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4 thoughts on “How I Purchased a New Car with No Down Payment and a 0% APR Loan

  • February 22, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Good tips. I bought my first new car a few years ago and used pricing through Consumer reports which I believe is powered on the back end by TruCar. It really lowered the over price point from what the dealers were telling me in the showroom. You’ll get 3 quotes from dealers in your area. I even used it at dealers who werent part of the TruCar program just to see what they could do. I also used a lower quote on my TruCar print out against a TruCar dealer that was closer to me, but they couldnt match the price. I ended up buying it from a dealer that was 1.5 hours away but it saved me about $1300 off the price from the closer dealer. And I think you can still negotiate a bit off the price thats on your printout. You can configure the exact car you want with accessories and they will do almost anything to find it and get it to you. Many of the accessories are dealer installed add-ons anyway. WIth my car, they ordered a few things to install for me before I picked up the car. Dont let them just try to sell you whats on the lot if thats not the color etc that you want. And dont be afraid to negotiate.

    • February 22, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      $1,300 off is definitely worth the 1.5 hour drive!

      I agree with you! Don’t be afraid to negotiate! You’ll never know what happens, the worst thing that can happen is they’ll say no.

  • March 1, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I love hearing how people shopped for a car from their living room and headed to the dealership after they had already had multiple dealerships compete for price. Awesome job!!! I have never owned a brand new car so I don’t know what it’s like to haggle with a dealership but I definitely wouldn’t mind having the perks of the new car smell 🙂

    • March 1, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Oooh, yes, the new car smell! That smell is super awesome and I would like to experience it again if I could — maybe some test drives could sate my hunger for that smell.

      If you ever do purchase a new car, the best thing to do is to have multiple offers to compare with each other. After you get a lowest price, head into the dealership and stand your ground on exactly what you want and how much you want. Don’t be tempted by them on the add-ons and extra stuff. If you can do that, then you’re already better off than most people!


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