Even if your bank or credit card offers zero-percent financing, it isn’t free. Someone has to pay the interest on the borrowed money.
Lenders offer these incentives to attract more borrowers. Dealers and manufacturers also join hands to promote their products.
Let us discuss zero-percent financing and how companies make money with it.
What is Zero Percent 0% Financing?
Zero percent (0%) financing means a loan or credit facility with zero interest charges. It refers to any financing scheme that does not charge against lending money.
Usually, banks, mortgage companies, car dealers, credit card issuers, and other lenders charge interest for lending money. However, for special deals, these lenders may not charge interest.
Although a zero percent deal means zero interest charges, it can combine different packages that may incur interest charges after a specific period.
A typical example of zero percent interest charges is from credit cards. Many credit card issuers charge 0% APR if the cardholder pays within the payback period. After that period, credit cards charge interest on the remaining balance.
Which Companies Offer Zero Percent 0% Financing the Most?
Many companies can offer zero-percent financing, from banks to car dealers and credit card issuers to brokers.
Car dealers, online brokers, and credit cards usually offer 0% APR on specific deals.
Zero percent financing is not uncommon in commercial banks either. However, banks do not offer 0% financing on all loan types.
Their standard practice is to offer zero-percent financing on certain cars, homes, or credit card deals that attract investment for other products.
How Do Companies Make Money with Zero (0) Percent Financing?
Any borrower likes zero percent financing. No one wishes to pay high-interest costs to their lenders. But lenders do not lend for free; otherwise, what’s their incentive?
Although it sounds irrational, lending companies offer special deals with 0% interest rates. The offer can be a straightforward or combined package with other loan types.
Let us discuss a few critical reasons for companies offering 0% financing.
They Get Interest Rate Discounts from Banks/Manufacturers
You will often see a zero percent offer from car dealers and banks that lasts for a few days. But the offer will be back soon for another vehicle soon.
The truth is car manufacturers, and dealers offer these loans for specific vehicle models. Either these models cover their total cost of production plus provide reasonable profit margins, or they don’t sell at all.
The manufacturers will be interested in offering cheap loans to attract buyers. The manufacturer and the dealer would share the interest cost, and the bank or the lending company will get its full share.
The same goes for other products and not just cars. For instance, large retailers may also offer the same 0% financing for some products.
It means retailers would get their share from the manufacturer, who would make enough money from product profit margins.
The Pricing Difference
As mentioned above, lenders would offer zero percent loans on certain products. Even retailers would carefully select products for these loan schemes.
The lenders and the product sellers join hands to attract buyers. They aim to sell more by not charging any interest.
The catch is in the selling price of the product. As the product pricing remains uniform across the region, buyers do not feel the difference in the pricing quickly.
Using It as a Marketing Tool
The lending industry is congested with competitors. There are hundreds and thousands of lending products in the market.
For example, take the credit card industry. Credit card issuers, banks, retailers, dealers, and private lenders offer lending products and financing facilities.
All it means is that it’s getting harder for lenders to attract borrowers with increased competition.
Zero percent financing can serve as a good marketing tool for these lenders. The ultimate goal is to attract borrowers for other interest-bearing loans.
Zero Percent 0% Financing – Used as a Sweetener.
A common theme in 0% financing is to use it as a sweetener for other lending products.
For instance, credit cards offer their users a 0% APR or an interest-free period. Does it mean they do not charge interest at all? No.
Credit card issuers know well that consumers will spend more and wouldn’t be able to repay all borrowed money within the interest-free period. They’d charge staggering interest rates after that.
The same goes for car dealers, online brokers, and private lenders. They aim to offer this scheme as a sweetener so that they can earn interest on other products.
* Followed by “Terms and Conditions” Apply
And last but not least reason for companies to offer 0% financing is to look at the asterisk * mark with the bold zero on the advertisement.
Many lending firms wouldn’t offer a zero percent loan without specific terms and conditions.
The maximum term here can be the credit score requirement. Lenders want to lend money with high credit scores.
Then, they may not offer 0% financing on all products. Car dealers offering 0% APR for specific car models is an excellent example.
Also, like credit card companies, zero-percent financing offers are often available for limited periods.
Is Zero Percent Financing Always the Cheapest Option?
From the outset, nothing can beat a 0% financing loan. You can take a loan and repay it in years without incurring an additional penny.
In practice, that is rarely the case. Zero percent financing is often offered for shorter periods. You’ll get an extended loan term if you get similar financing (suppose for a car).
It means you’ll be paying higher installments due to the shorter period. You may also lose any cashback or rebate rewards from the lender with interest-bearing products.
In short, opting for a 0% loan is a good idea when you can afford it. However, there is no guarantee that it will always be the cheapest option.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Zero Percent 0% Financing for Consumers
First of all, consider your financials before you take a loan, even if it offers 0%.
For instance, if you want to take advantage of a 0% APR credit card, never delay your borrowed money. If you’re late, you’ll incur high-interest costs.
Contrarily, if your finances are in a good position and you can afford to pay the loan installment over the loan period, you should always go for it.
As a precaution, do the maths and calculate your monthly installments over the financing term to avoid any losses later.
Zero Percent Financing Vs. Zero Percent Trade Commissions
Banks, credit cards, and lenders offer zero percent financing. It is a standard loan scheme to attract more borrowers.
Similarly, zero percent trade commissions are commonly offered by online brokers.
Online brokers embed their commissions into trade spreads. They do not need to charge trade commissions separately.
It means although brokers are charging you a commission, they do not reveal it.