Let’s share strategies and data points about purchasing new motor vehicles with a credit card.
A quick scan of the usual finance blogs suggests that the sole reason for doing this is getting CC rewards. No doubt that’s nice, and a sufficient reason to use a CC if a dealership will not penalize you for it. While data points about that are interesting, even more interesting would be arguments for using particular cards–for example, a price or purchase protection benefit.
American Express Business Platinum would be an obvious choice, since it pays 1.5x points for purchases over $5K, and has high limits for solid extended warranty and purchase protection provisions. However, it excludes motorized vehicles from these coverages (as do other cards’ protection policies that I’m aware of). See https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/features-benefits/policies/purchase-protection/faq.html and https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/features-benefits/policies/extended-warranty/faq.html .
What say you all, FD members? Are any CCs well suited to buying a motor vehicle?
What data points do you have for buying one via CC?
Probably not exactly the data point you’re looking for, but in July of 2002 I charged $3,000 of a new car purchase to my Amazon NextCard and it worked out quite well for me. $3,000 was the most the dealer would let me pay on credit (this was after negotiating price so it’s possible they would have let me charge more if the price had been higher).
I paid $3,000 by credit and $3,000 by check (financing the rest). The person processing all this screwed up somehow and forgot to process the credit card charge. I saw the initial authorization hit my account for $3,000, but the charge itself never posted. I thought this was odd, but certainly wasn’t going to be the one to mention it. A month or two later I received notice that my NextCard account was being closed by the FDIC. See, earlier that year the FDIC had shutdown NextBank and some credit accounts were being purchased by another bank, while others that bank didn’t want were being closed.
I guess at some point the dealership must have caught that mistake and finally processed the $3,000 charge against my closed credit card account. Curiously, the way the FDIC handled it was by allowing the $3,000 to post, but on the same date posted a $3,000 adjustment zeroing out my account. This was reflected on a statement they mailed me. Since the dealership never reached out to me I gather they must have gotten paid. The FDIC never attempted to collect anything from me and my credit report showed the account was closed with a $0 balance.
Not sure my method is easily replicated, but probably the most profitable way to charge a motor vehicle to a credit card.
LOL NRJ! Who cares if it will never be replicated, it’s a great story nonetheless.
Wow. A $3000 auto finance mistake in your favor! That has got to put you in the hall of fame.
Like NRJ, we’ve been limited by the dealer to $1000 or $2000. We usually pick the card that gives the highest cash back reward.
@NotRonJeremy, not nearly as exciting as your story.
Similar to other posters, I’ve been limited to $2000 - $3000 at different dealers.
However, last car I bought I asked how much I could put on a credit card. I was told $3000. When it came to putting down a deposit, I put $1000 on the credit card and figured I’d be limited to $2000 more later. When I went to pick up the car, I had the blank check from PenFed. I said, “You said credit card limit was $3000? Can I put $3000 on the card and then write the check for the rest?” They went with that - so in the end I ran $4000 of that purchase through the card.
My last car purchase, the dealer let me charge $5k on a credit card. I didn’t have an AMEX platinum at the time so put it on my gold card.
A friend of mine tried to buy a Aston Martin on his Centurion card, they told him they would do it if he paid the credit card fee so he declined.
When I bought mine the “limit” was $3000. However, when I called my bank, I was “$2k short” in my checking account but I was perfectly happy to come back a week later after a transfer posted. Obviously they accepted $5k credit charge, as they weren’t happy to wait a week.
I was told $4,000 at first, but during the paperwork process, the Finance Manager was fine with $5,000.
I have always put the maximum amount I can on a credit card when buying or leasing, for the “due at signing” amount. Strictly for the credit card spend. I have always tried to time a new signup bonus around when I thought I’d be getting a new vehicle.
Of course, I never ever tell them I plan on doing this until I’m sitting in the finance manager’s office, so they can’t penalize me (meaning, the terms of the deal are already negotiated). Also an “of course” is that I always ask if there is a surcharge for doing so. Typically, if there is a cap on the amount you can swipe for, there is no surcharge–in my experience.
i appreciate the data points.
So far, it sounds like no one has used a CC for a car purchase for anything but cash back?
$5000. It was an ad special too basic model domestic brand with little profit so I was a bit surprised that they even allowed it.
That recent thread that popped up on FWF, where the guy bought a minivan for $40k~ and put it all on his credit card, then tried to get a loan at the last minute to cover the CC bill, mentioned that a lot of card terms exclude automobiles for warranty extension.
I purchased a $24k motorcycle on credit card. The dealer was very resistant, but they really wanted the sale and I told him I wouldn’t buy it otherwise.
He put it on a non-0% APR card and didn’t have the cash or loan already in place to pay it off? That’s gargantuanly stupid…
[quote=“jaytrader, post:14, topic:1755”]
a lot of card terms exclude automobiles for warranty extension.[/quote]
This certainly true, I haven’t seen a card yet that does not.
I wonder if it is a motorcycle thing. I bought my last motorcycle and paid the full amount by credit card, but it was only around $12k.
I’ve bought 2 cars on credit card in the last 3 months. Both times I had cash in hand, but bought on CC for cashback. Certain branded credit cards can net up to 10% back. The first dealer I was able to convince to do the deal without any surcharges (Negotiated pricing before mentioning credit card, then said I wanted to pay fully be CC. He was initially not happy, but gave in (a day after I walked away) because he wanted to move the vehicle). The second dealer required 3% extra for the amount over $10,000 after a lot of negotiation. Both cars turned out to be very good deals. I carried the debt for the interest free period on my card and paid them off in full after approx 50 days.
Are those 10% cards FD? Or can you share them?