RealCarTips Logo

Why You Should Never Tell a Dealer You're Paying Cash

Many car buyers assume they will get a better deal if they pay cash - this is definitely not true.

Saving up enough money to buy a car with cash is certainly more difficult than getting a loan, so people assume they should be rewarded for this achievement.

The reason it doesn't work that way is because car dealers make money three different ways when you purchase a new car:

  1. The Sale of the Car
  2. The Financing
  3. The Trade-In

Most people know that dealers make a certain profit on the sale of the vehicle (and the trade-in if you have one), but what most don't realize is that dealers sometimes make the bulk of their profit on the financing - by charging a loan mark-up.

For example, the dealer will set you up with a car loan through one of their finance partners at 5% interest, and will tack on an extra 2% loan markup. You will be paying 7% interest with 2% of that going straight to the dealer's pocket.

For this reason, most salesman will ask you upfront if you will be financing or paying cash.

NEVER tell them you're paying cash!

When asked, just respond by saying "probably". If they keep hounding you, tell them you're interested in financing but that you want to agree on the price of the car first.

If you tell them you're paying cash, they will automatically calculate a lower profit and thus will be less likely to negotiate a lower price for you.

If they think you're going to be financing, they figure they'll make a few hundred dollars in extra profit and therefore be more flexible with the price of the car.

Once you hammer out and agree to the price of the new car, then you can tell them you changed your mind and would like to pay cash.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

Got a Question About This Article?
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
Enter Your Email Below

(Absolutely NO SPAM, easy to unsubscribe)
×