Have you noticed how some laptop models now cost more or are always unavailable?
You can blame the global chip shortage that started in 2020 for those problems. It was so bad that some laptops had price hikes of up to $50. Even the cost of some personal computers jumped by 8%.
Worse, experts believe the shortage will continue through 2022. So, if you need a new laptop now, you better get one ASAP while supplies are still available.
What if you don’t have cash, though?
In that case, consider financing a laptop. That way, you can get the gadget you need today and then pay for it in installments.
While financing programs aren’t free, there are ways to make them more affordable. We’ve listed the top tips you should follow below, so be sure to read on.
1. Set a Laptop Price Range You Can Afford
A 2020 news report found that typical laptop buyers spent around $700 in 2019 to buy their new devices.
Not bad, right? Not at all, especially if you’re only in the market for a general-purpose machine for everyday use.
However, laptop options within the $700-or-under range aren’t powerful enough for hardcore gaming. They’re not that ideal for professional video editing, either. That’s because most of these laptops don’t have the specs necessary for either task.
For that reason, it’s best to set a laptop price range based on the computing tasks you need to get done.
For example, let’s say you edit videos and photos for work and play CPU-intensive games on your break. In that case, you need a laptop with a graphics card powerful enough to run your editing and gaming software.
Fortunately, many laptops priced at $1,000 and below already boast that spec. For example, there’s the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7, the HP Victus 16, and the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED, to name a few.
If you can afford to raise your budget a bit, though, why not go for one of the laptops with the latest Intel Evo platform? For just $200 to $300 more, you can get a device with extreme processor speed and graphics performance. The Lenovo Yoga 9i, the Dell XPS, and the HP Spectre x360 are some of your top options within this line-up.
2. Factor in Financing Charges
Whatever price range you decide on, make sure you can afford to pay back what you’d owe on the laptop. Aside from the sticker price, you may also need to pay interest.
In any case, be sure to take those other fees into account when determining how much you can afford.
3. Look for Money-Saving Deals and Discounts
Before signing a financing contract, check its terms and conditions regarding discounts. That way, you can ensure the lender allows for the financing of products on sale or have a discounted rate. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the lowest possible price on the laptop you want.
Once you’ve confirmed you can finance a discounted laptop, visit computer manufacturer websites. Many of them run weekly and monthly deals on their official online stores.
For example, Lenovo, HP, Dell, Samsung, Asus, and Acer have ongoing promotions on their sites. So, make sure you check their promotions as your dream laptop may be on sale.
While you’re on their sites, consider subscribing to their newsletters. That’s because many of those brands offer new subscribers special discounts or vouchers. For example, you can get a $100 coupon if you join Lenovo, while Dell offers a 10% discount for new members.
Aside from those deals, you may also qualify for a discounted pricing program. For instance, if you’re a student or a teacher, you can get an education discount from Apple, Lenovo, or Samsung. There are also discounts available for military personnel and healthcare professionals.
4. Request a Copy of Your Credit Report
Like traditional lenders, financing companies also usually base their decision on creditworthiness. Being creditworthy, in turn, means you’re responsible enough and able to pay back what you owe.
Financing companies can assess your creditworthiness by pulling out your credit report. It’s a documentation of vital information about your credit-related activities.
For example, your credit report can list active loans and revolving credit accounts. Moreover, it includes current and past employment records, collection accounts, and late payments.
Having a flawless record increases your odds of qualifying for financing. After all, it’s a sign that you manage your finances well and that you’re likely to pay back what you owe on time.
You can’t expect the same thing if you have multiple late payments listed on your report, though. Instead, lenders may deem you high-risk; thus, they may not approve your application.
The thing is, credit reporting mistakes are common. One study even found that these errors affected 26% of participants.
That’s a good enough reason to request a free copy of your report to ensure it doesn’t contain mistakes. If it does, dispute all those inaccuracies before applying for laptop financing.
5. Check Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a three-digit number that also reflects your creditworthiness. The higher it is, the lower-risk you are in the eyes of lenders, so the better your odds of getting approved.
Lenders consider scores of 800 or above as excellent, while at least 700 is good. Anything lower than that can affect your eligibility. While you may still qualify even with a low credit score, you can expect to get charged a higher interest rate.
Another thing to note is that your credit score differs from your credit report, but they go hand in hand. After all, your score comes from your credit report. So, if you have many negative items on it, they will affect your score.
That’s another good reason to check your credit report, as it may be behind a low credit score.
As for your credit score, you can ask your bank or lender or check your statements from them. Another option is to use a free credit scoring service online.
6. Apply for a Computer Manufacturer Financing Program
Once you’ve done steps 1 to 5, it’s time to look into manufacturer financing offers. You’d want to check these first as they often come with no-interest payment plans. Plus, buying a laptop straight from their site can get you extra perks, such as rewards points.
For example, Lenovo offers to finance a new laptop without interest for six or 12 months. However, that deal only applies to orders paid in full within the program’s terms. Failure to do so will result in interest charges.
Other manufacturers with similar no-interest financing offers are Dell, HP, and Samsung.
7. Consider Retailer Financing
Retailer sites sometimes have better pricing offers than official manufacturer stores. So, check retailers before choosing a laptop financing offer from your preferred brand.
You can start with Amazon, which offers 6- or 12-month laptop financing to its members. The zero-interest, 6-month offer is for devices that cost at least $150. If you want to buy a machine worth $600 or more, you can apply for the no-interest, 12-month repayment plan.
Best Buy is another retailer offering a no-interest payment plan with 6- or 12-month terms. Your purchase can qualify for the 6-month offer if it costs at least $200. If it’s more than $399, you can go for the 12-month, zero-interest program.
8. Use a Low-Interest Credit Card
If you don’t qualify for manufacturer or retailer financing, your other option is to use a credit card. Beware, though, as credit cards usually have an average interest rate of 14% to 15%. If you use a card with such a high rate, you can end up paying hundreds more for your laptop.
So, if possible, only use a credit card with an affordable APR. Better yet, check if your credit card issuer has a zero-interest term offer. That way, you don’t have to pay for interest, so long as you make the required monthly payments.
9. Apply for a Low-Interest Personal Loan
If you don’t have or can’t use a credit card, an alternative is to apply for a personal loan. You can then use the funds you get to finance the purchase of your new laptop.
Another reason to apply for a personal loan is that you may get a lower interest rate than a credit card. That still depends on your credit score, though. So long as you have a good to excellent score, a personal loan may be a better method to get that new laptop you need.
Consider Financing a Laptop Today
As you can see, financing a laptop allows you to own a device now without paying for its sticker price upfront. However, unless you meet the credit requirements or secure a 0% interest offer, it can drive up your costs.
So, before applying for one, check your credit report and ensure you have a good credit score. From there, look for discounts and compare brand and retailer financing offers.
Are you interested in other finance and tech guides? Then please feel free to check out our most recent news and blog posts!