Tesla only accepts credit cards for the initial order fee. But Tesla also accepts credit and debit cards for almost everything except the full balance of a car. You cannot use your credit card to make a full upfront payment for a Tesla.

In the article below, I discuss the pros and cons of using credit cards for making down payments for a Tesla. I give you some other payment options. I also give you some tips on how you can maintain the value of your Tesla if you want to resell it in the future.

Using a Credit Card for a Tesla Down Payment

You can use your credit card to make a down payment on a brand new Tesla. States in the US that don’t have an actual Tesla dealership can even facilitate these transactions. 

Tesla has total control over all their showrooms and delivery lineups, so you would want to contact them for down payment inquiries and transactions directly. They don’t do business with any third-party car dealerships nor allow other dealerships to act on their behalf.

However, credit cards are only accepted for the deposit of your Tesla purchase.

Using a Credit Card To Drive Away in Your Brand New Tesla (Any Model)

Credit card perks end at the down payment stage when you’re looking to buy a Tesla. You can only use a credit card to pay the deposit – the rest of the amount will have to be paid differently.

You can’t use your card to fully pay for your vehicle even if you assure them (Scout’s honor, Tesla?) that you’ll pay for the amount in full before its due date.

If you’re buying a regular car from a traditional car dealership, you can drive away on that same day with your brand-new vehicle. Regular car dealerships have their in-house finance departments, and most also transact with local banks concerning car loans and payments. 

So whether or not the car is fully paid for, you can drive away with it if you’re purchasing from a regular car dealership. Unfortunately, that isn’t how things work with Tesla.

Essentially, when purchasing a Tesla, someone – yourself, your bank, a local credit union, or a third-party lender – has to fork out the total price or the balance for the car before you can drive it away.

If you’re on pins and needles and can’t wait for that first spin in your brand new Tesla, you might have to nag people to ensure that Tesla receives the agreed-upon amount on a particular day, or you can wire the money yourself over to Tesla.

To ensure the complete process goes smoothly from payment to delivery, download and use the Tesla app. Check out this video for steps on how to do so:

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty of Using a Credit Card

A credit card can be useful in certain situations, especially in today’s rapidly growing digital age. However, they can also prove to be your downfall when used improperly and irrationally. This table offers some points to consider when using a credit card:

Safer than carrying cash Make pickpockets go out of business by carrying your credit card instead of cash, especially when traveling.OverspendingEncourages impulsive buying.
Accumulate points and rewardsRedeem your points and rewards for flights, travel accommodations, and cash-backs.Interest rates and late payment feesNot paying your bills on time results in accrued charges. You may even end up paying more than the original charge.
Build a good credit historyKeeping your credit card payment history updated and in good standing helps earn you a good credit rating.Annual feesFrom as little as $25 per year or as much as $1,200 annually. Generally, credit cards offering more perks have higher annual fees.
Convenient when travelingCredit cards can generally be used in whatever country you’re in or in whatever currency you need to transact with.Credit score damageIf misused, your credit card may hurt your credit rating.
Online shoppingGone are the days when you have to step out of the house to buy something. Now, everything is just a click away!
Overseas shoppingPurchase products from anywhere overseas from the comfort of your own home.
FreebiesWho doesn’t want freebies? Freebies include free travel insurance, lost luggage coverage, and hotel reservation perks.
This table shows the advantages and disadvantages of using credit cards.

Credit Card Limitations When Making a Payment

Using your credit card to make a down payment is convenient, but it has its limitations. At the top of the list is your card’s credit limit. 

Accumulated purchases should fall within your set limit at any given time; otherwise, your card will be declined. There are also shops, restaurants, and establishments that prefer certain cards, whether Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.

Workaround For Using a Credit Card To Purchase a Tesla

If you’re absolutely inclined toward using your credit card to buy a Tesla, there’s an option to do so. Be reminded that Tesla turns up its nose at customers paying off the whole balance of their brand new car purchases via credit card. This is where third-party lenders step into the picture. 

This is how it works. When you and Tesla enter into a business transaction to purchase a new vehicle, the third-party lender will step in as a middleman who manages transactions between both parties. In this scenario, a third-party lender will take charge of receiving payment from you, the buyer, and forwarding the payment to Tesla, the seller. 

Third-party services can transfer the amount to your credit card plus a fee of about 3%. This additional cost might initially put you off, but think about reaping possible rewards later on. Rewards in the form of credit card points can be redeemed and converted into a family getaway, new gym equipment, or maybe a staycation at that posh new hotel you’ve always wanted to try.

It is important that you weigh up incentives for using your credit card to pay for your Tesla against the finance fees you will have to pay. Each financial situation is different and you might benefit from consulting a financial advisor first.

Financing Options for Your Dream Tesla: What Fits Your Budget?

Alright, buckle up, because we’re diving into the nitty-gritty of how you can make your Tesla dreams a reality without blowing your budget out of orbit. You’re eyeing that sleek Model 3 or the performance-packed Model S, but hey, let’s be real – not all of us have a Tesla-shaped piggy bank just waiting to be smashed open. That’s where financing steps in like a trusty sidekick. I’ve explained the different payment methods below.

Leasing: The Tempting Tease

Leasing a Tesla is like dipping your toes into the electric waters without committing to a lifelong relationship. You pay a lower monthly fee compared to buying, but here’s the catch: you’re essentially renting the car for a fixed period, usually around 2-4 years.

The upside? You get to hop into a new Tesla without the full-on price tag and can upgrade to a newer model when your lease is up. But beware the mileage limits and potential wear-and-tear fees.

Traditional Auto Loans: The Familiar Friend

This one’s for those who like the idea of eventual ownership. Auto loans spread the cost of your Tesla over a set number of months or years, making those high numbers seem way less intimidating. With each payment, you’re chipping away at the car’s price until it’s all yours.

Remember, though, you’ll need a solid credit score and possibly a down payment to nab a reasonable interest rate. But hey, once that loan is paid off, it’s a clear road of ownership ahead.

Third-Party Lenders: The Middleman Magic

Don’t quite fit the leasing mold, and auto loans feel a bit too snug? Third-party lenders swoop in as your financial fairy godparent. They handle the money side of things while you cruise in style.

Think of them as the middleman between you and Tesla. They arrange the funds, and you get the car. Just be prepared to pay a little extra in fees – around 3% extra, to be precise.

Tesla Resale Reality Check: Keeping Your Electric Investment Strong

Alright, Tesla enthusiasts, let’s talk about the dollars and cents of your electric dreams. We’re diving into the world of resale value and depreciation, because hey, even the coolest cars need to hold their value.

The Tesla Resale Roller Coaster: Ups and Downs

When it comes to depreciation, Teslas play a different game compared to their gas-guzzling counterparts. In general, traditional cars start losing value the moment they hit the road, but Teslas have been known to hold their ground better.

Why? Well, it’s a mix of factors. Electric cars have fewer moving parts, which means less wear and tear. Plus, with software updates that can improve performance, you might even see your Tesla appreciate in value – yes, you read that right!

Juicy Factors Influencing Resale Mojo

Battery health is the golden ticket to a strong resale game. Keep your Tesla’s battery in tip-top shape, and you’re golden. Regular maintenance and avoiding extreme temperature swings can do wonders for your battery’s lifespan.

Oh, and those software updates? They’re like giving your Tesla a fresh coat of paint – they keep it modern, competitive, and more appealing to future buyers.

Market Demand: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Here’s the deal: resale value also depends on how badly folks want your ride when you’re ready to part ways. If Teslas are the talk of the town, you’re in luck. High demand means a better resale price.

But hey, don’t stress if you’re driving an older model – the Tesla mystique can still work in your favor. Sometimes, people will even pay more for a Tesla in a specific color that has been discontinued but they really want, for example.

Value-Preserving Wizardry: How to Keep Your Tesla Shiny

To keep that resale value dancing, treat your Tesla like the rockstar it is. Regular service checkups, battery maintenance, and software updates are like giving your car a spa day.

Parking in the shade, charging to 80% instead of 100%, and avoiding deep discharges are small steps that pay off big time when it’s time to sell.

Upgrade Your Tesla: Unleash Your Inner Tech Guru

Since you’re not using your credit card to pay for your Tesla in full, you might want to use it to add some upgrades to your Tesla!

Alright, Tesla aficionados, let’s talk about taking your ride from impressive to downright jaw-dropping. Your Tesla is already the envy of the neighborhood, but did you know you can amp up the game even more?

Buckle up as we explore how you can customize and upgrade your electric masterpiece.

Performance Boosts: Rocket Fuel for Your Ride

You’ve felt the thrill of the electric acceleration, but what if I told you there’s an upgrade that can take your Tesla’s performance to superhero levels?

Tesla does offer performance boost software upgrades that can shave precious seconds off your 0 to 60 mph time. Yep, we’re talking launch mode that’ll make your stomach do flips and your heart race.

Keep in mind, this speed demon mode isn’t free (you’ll probably pay between $1,500 and $2,000) but if you live for that adrenaline rush, it might just be worth every penny.

Note that the ‘Acceleration Boost’ upgrade is only available for the Long Range Model 3 or Model Y.

You may be wondering, how can you access this upgrade? Simply head to the Tesla app, under “Upgrades.” If the Acceleration Boost upgrade is available to you, it will be available to purchase on the app. You can pay for it using your credit or debit card, or use your Tesla credit if you have any.

Autopilot Awesomeness: Let Your Tesla Take the Wheel

Autopilot is already cool, but Full Self-Driving (FSD) takes things to a whole new dimension. Picture this: your Tesla navigating itself on highways, changing lanes, and even parking itself like a pro. FSD keeps getting smarter with updates, and while it’s not quite fully autonomous yet, it’s an exciting step towards a hands-free future.

Just remember, the FSD package comes with a price tag, and regulations on its usage vary by region. Still, who wouldn’t want a car that feels like a co-pilot from the future?

Interior and Exterior Upgrades: Make It Yours

Your Tesla’s interior is sleek, but maybe you want to add a personal touch. Enter custom interior wraps, carbon fiber accents, and premium upholstery options that can transform your ride into a reflection of your style.

On the outside, you can add chrome delete kits, performance wheels, and even aero kits to enhance aerodynamics. These upgrades to your Tesla will not only make your Tesla uniquely yours but some can also improve its efficiency and performance.

Battery Health and Range Boosts: Maximize Your Drive

Your Tesla’s battery is its heart, and you can keep it ticking strong with battery health upgrades. These can help maintain and improve your battery’s capacity over time, ensuring you get the most out of every charge.

Speaking of charges, Tesla offers range boosts that can extend your vehicle’s driving range – perfect for those long road trips without worrying about frequent charging stops.

Frequently Asked Questions

I Just Made a Down Payment on a Tesla: What Should I Do Next?

After you’ve made a down payment on a Tesla, you should next create a Tesla account and provide delivery details to get an estimated delivery time. Then, ensure full payment is made before this date.

What Are Tesla’s Accepted Modes of Payment?

Tesla accepted modes of payment are wire transfer, electronic check/debit, and certified check, where your reference number and full name are references. Down payments can be made via credit card. 

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.