Getting a car financing offer: how decisions are made

At CarMax, we pride ourselves on transparency throughout the car buying process, including the financing process. To this end, we've gathered information to help you understand how creditors make decisions to give you a car financing offer. These decisions are based on four main factors:

  1. Vehicle selection: cost, age, and mileage
  2. Application information: employment, residence, and income information
  3. Credit history: information contained in your credit file
  4. Down payment: total of cash and trade equity

To get the best car financing offer, you should select a vehicle that fits your budget and provide as much down payment as possible. These two factors alone may increase your likelihood of approval, could improve your offer, and will reduce your monthly payment.

Factors affecting your monthly payment
Your monthly payment is determined by three major factors listed below in order of impact:

  1. Amount financed
  2. Term or length of contract
  3. Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The following illustrates the impact of each

Amount Financed: $17,500
APR: 10.00%
Term: 60 months

Amount financed Term in months APR Monthly payment Comments
$17,500 60 10.00% $372 Base example
$15,750 60 10.00% $335 Lowering the amount financed by 10% = 10% payment decrease
$17,500 66 10.00% $346 A 10% longer term = 7% payment decrease
$17,500 60 9.00% $363 A 10% lower APR = 3% payment decrease