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0% car finance and 1% car finance: the facts

Written by

Shaun McGowan

0% finance or 1% finance means you make repayments on your loan amount without paying interest, or paying what seems to be a very small amount.

Sounds too good to be true? That’s because generally it is.

There are important factors to consider on a 0% car loan


  • 0% interest may only be applied to part of the loan term
  • You will need an extremely good credit rating to apply
  • You will often be unable to negotiate the sale price of the vehicle
  • 0% may only be offered on some cars - often vehicles a dealership is desperate to sell
  • If you are trading in a vehicle, you may be offered a lower trade-in price
  • You may have to agree to a short term with high monthly repayments
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If you’ve done the calculations and it still looks like a good deal

Compare the purchase price of the vehicle to make sure it hasn’t been inflated.

This tactic is even sneakier because it is guaranteeing a lump-sum payment of your interest charges and other fees to the dealership.

Dealerships will offer 0% car loans for two main reasons:

  • To clear inventory - a dealership may have had the vehicles on the car lot for a considerable amount of time and is desperate to get rid of them. In this case, they may offer 0% interest to ensure they can clear the remaining stock and purchase new vehicles. The dealership may only make a small profit on the sale, but it will still benefit them to sell the vehicle off.
  • To draw in potential buyers - a dealership will know that advertising a 0% car loan will attract customers. However, if the customer doesn’t qualify for a 0% car loan with the dealership, they are already in the mindset of purchasing a car and could be sold on a different vehicle under a standard car loan agreement
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Dealerships are heavily incentivised to sell their in-house finance to their customers

As mentioned above, significant commissions are often attached to these car loans, and this means the total repayment including fees and interest charges, often represent poor value to borrowers compared to applying with a bank or finance broker.

If you’ve seen these “special promotional offers” on vehicles from a dealership, make sure you do your research before committing.

Don’t be lured in by a smooth-talking salesman without crunching the numbers yourself and looking at the fine print of your agreement.

You think you’re saving money, but the truth is that it is costing you more than you would pay with an independent finance arrangement.

Likely, 0% or 1% car finance will not be the best deal.

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About the Author

Shaun McGowan from



Shaun McGowan

Shaun is the founder of and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded and Lend.

*Information about comparison rates Comparison rates are designed to allow borrowers to understand the true cost of a loan by taking into account fees and charges, the loan amount and the term of the loan. The comparison rate is based on an unsecured fixed rate personal loan of $30,000 over 5 years. WARNING: Comparison rates are true only for the examples provided and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.


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Money Pty Ltd (trading as provides information about credit products and is authorised to do so as the holder of Australian Credit Licence 528698. does not compare every Lender in Australia. We are not a broker or credit provider and when we provide information via this website, we are not providing you with a recommendation or suggestion about a particular credit product. When you apply for a credit product via the website, you are not applying with us, you are applying directly with a Lender Partner. Before entering into any credit product from one of our Lender Partners, you should confirm the rates and product information with the Lender. All information on this website is general advice only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether this advice is right for you and we encourage you to seek independent financial advice.