Whether you are applying for a student loan, a mortgage, or an auto loan, it pays to shop around for the best interest rates available to you. Before you sign on the dotted line with your bank, check with the local credit union, your auto dealership, or even the federal government. If you are a first-time home buyer or meet certain income qualifications for student loans, you may be surprised to find that there is a federal loan program offering low interest rates to borrowers exactly like you.
You should also check your credit report, which is one of the main tools lenders use to compare you to other borrowers. In 2005, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandated that consumers were entitled to one free credit report a year from the three credit bureaus. If you want to qualify for the best interest rates on a loan, it pays to get your free credit report and make sure you have the highest credit score possible.