What effect will shopping for an auto loan have on my credit?
Shopping for the best deal on an auto loan will generally have little to no impact on your credit score(s). The benefit of shopping will far outweigh any impact on your credit.
In some cases, applying for multiple loans over a long period of time can lower your credit score(s). Generally any requests or "inquiries" by these lenders for your credit score(s) that took place within a time span ranging from 14 days to 45 days will only count as a single inquiry, depending on the credit scoring model used. You can minimize any negative impact to your credit by doing all of your shopping in a short amount of time. You could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by shopping for the best rate and terms on a loan.
For example, let's say you are looking around for an auto loan and you authorize five lenders to check your credit score(s) within a 14 day time span. All those inquiries should count as one inquiry. If you shop for a mortgage loan at the same time you are shopping for an auto loan, the shopping you do for those two loans should count as two separate inquiries.
And don't worry about all those promotional offers for credit cards impacting your credit score(s). These promotional offers do not affect your credit score(s).
Read our tips on how to keep your credit score(s) up.