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Get the best interest rate for your loan! Here's how

April 18, 2014 12:25 IST

Get the best interest rate for your loan! Here's how

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A V Suresh

There are ways in which you can get a better deal for the interest rate on your car loan, home loan, education loan, personal loan, etc.

Are you looking to apply for a loan? The first thing you need to do is to compare the best interest rates around. But, are interest rates of banks and other financial institutions fixed? Can't you do anything to get the bank to lower interest rate for you? Yes, you can.

There are various ways in which you can get a better deal for the interest rate on your car loan, home loan, education loan, personal loan, etc.

Let us see 5 ways in which you can get better interest rates on loans.

1. Shop around

Lot of times we just prefer the banks we know in case of a loan. Some of us feel that these banks offer better service and others just go for it because of the brand image.

However, all banks are under the purview of RBI and are well regulated.

Before you jump to a conclusion on which bank to choose, take time to shop around for the best interest rates.

A bank which had offered the best rate 6 months ago may not offer the best now. When RBI tinkers with interest rates, not all banks pass on the benefits to the customers.

You can opt for a bank which passes on these benefits on a consistent basis to its customers.

Online portals offer great deals on the best interest rates, which you can choose from.

Always calculate the loan EMI amount and then check for the amount of benefit from the loan interest rates offered. A difference of 0.25-0.5 per cent may not make much of a difference.

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Photographs: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
Tags: RBI , EMI

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2. Wait for rates to come down

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If the rates are higher now, you can look to wait before applying for a loan. However, do this only if you are willing to wait for a few months from the time you decide to buy a house.

RBI may increase or decrease rates in its monetary policy based on several factors such as inflation, growth and so on. Moreover, this is slightly risky as we discussed above that banks may or may not pass on the benefits to the customers even when RBI reduces rates.

3. Improve your credit score

Credit score is another factor which affects your loan rate. Typically, banks look out for a credit score of about 750+ to sanction loan.

However, your negotiating power increases if this score is still higher. Having a better credit score makes the bank feel that you pay your EMIs on time and there are lesser chances of you defaulting on the loan taken.

Hence, always look to optimise your credit score.

Paying bills or EMIs on time, not being credit hungry, maintaining healthy mix of credit are some of the ways to improve your credit score.

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Photographs: Rediff Archives
Tags: RBI

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4. Fixed or floating?

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The bank would give your two options for choosing the type of interest rate -- fixed and floating. You need to choose one of them.

The first one makes the interest rate fixed for the entire term (specified) and in the second option the interest rate fluctuates.

Which one will benefit you?

I would say it depends on the current interest rate scenario. If the interest rates are high now, there is no point in choosing a fixed option.

You can either wait or go for a floating option. However, if the interest rates are low, do not hesitate in choosing the fixed rate option.

It's always easier said than done, though. It would be difficult to know if this is a high interest rate scenario or low interest rate scenario. You would have to observe the interest rates for the past 6 months or 1 year to be able to judge that.

5. Prefer pre-approved loans

You might have received mails or calls regarding pre-approved loans. Do not ignore them. Banks generally pre-approve loans for customers with good credit history or track record in paying loans, good income level, etc.

The interest rate offered is generally 1-2 per cent lower than the existing one as there is lesser risk faced by the bank. It may not be the same in all cases. You need to cross check other conditions as you do for normal loans.

Conclusion

So, the interest rates given by the bank are not fixed. There are various ways to get better interest rates on loans. But, you should be ready to negotiate with the bank to the extent you can.

If you do not negotiate, the rates will not go down automatically.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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