Auto Loan Archives - Common Trust FCU

Drive a Good Bargain: How to Get Your Best Auto Loan

Congratulations—your car search has come to an end and you’ve settled on a shiny new vehicle to call your own. Whether you choose to invest in the luxury or base model, neither decision will make a difference if you don’t have the cash to fund your new purchase. That’s where an auto loan comes in—to provide you with the money needed to buy a vehicle outright and avoid hefty dealership fees or interest rates. From purchasing a used vehicle for your newly-licensed teenager to budgeting for a better model, here are the top five strategies to finding an auto loan to fit your needs.

Search Around

Before you start test-driving potential models, always search around for running averages for interest rates, loan terms, and repayment options. Don’t go into the deal blind, and know what to look for to detect potential scams or hidden fees. Around the holidays or new year, loan promotions may be available with low-interest rates and flexible repayment options. Ask around—friends and family may know about discounts or promotions with their local bank. Give potential lenders a call to make terms a little clearer and ask any questions you need to get started. 

Understand Your Financial Standing

Before you even think about setting foot in a bank or credit union, understand your current financial standing to know what to expect before the conversation starts flowing. Important things to research are your credit score, credit report, and financial history. Knowing the range of these numbers can help you to understand what kind of rates you’ll be presented with when you start discussing. Some lenders will offer a discount, lower-interest rates, or a more flexible repayment period if you are in good financial standing. You may even get pre-approved if your credit is insufficient, eliminating the need for hard-inquiry credit-checks entirely.

Read All the Terms

When you sit down with a financial advisor to review terms, be sure to read all the fine print. Avoid loans that present surprise fees or interest charges, and stick to those that have a non-fluctuating period of repayment. Points like these will allow you to rest easy knowing that nothing will change over time and leave you underwater. Before signing anything, make sure you are fully aware and understand what you’re agreeing to.

Ask Away!

When it comes to anything financial, never be afraid to ask questions. This is a long-term investment, so make sure all terms and statements make sense and are clear in your brain. Financial advisors and advocates are here and want to help you make the best decision. If they’re a little sluggish in making your contract easier to read and understand, it may be time to find a new source of funding. No matter how silly the question may seem, don’t be afraid to perk up and ask—it could be the difference between short-term funding and a lifetime of debt. 

Not sure where to start looking for your ideal auto loan? For President’s Day, Common Trust is proud to be offering an auto loan promotion to get you in the front seat of your dream car. With a rate of 2.99%, you can focus more on enjoying your new ride and less on technicalities and fine print. Don’t miss out—this exclusive offer is only available until March 31st. Give us a ring or reach out via email today!

Dealership Don’ts: 5 Tactics to Get the Best Deal on Your New Vehicle

Car dealerships, like all businesses, are out to make as much money as possible — and as soon as you enter the showroom, their target is on you. There’s a reason in-person vehicle negotiations average about 3 hours: The dealership assumes that once you’re captive, you’re there until they make a deal. But don’t let this process force your hand. Strategize up front with these 5 “Dealership Don’ts” to ensure you have the right defense and tactics to successfully negotiate the right car for you at the right price for your budget.

Don’t Talk Too Much

Dealerships know how to make you more comfortable — friendly smiles, soft chairs, weekend tryouts, even free popcorn for the kids. But take care not to let your guard down: Every bit of small talk offers a salesperson more insight into how much they can manipulate a vehicle’s price. Just changed jobs? Trade-in not in great shape? Kid going to college? Absolutely in love with the test drive? Not great at math? Really, don’t mention it.

Don’t Agree to an Up-Front Credit Check

Six out of 10 shoppers are undecided when they walk into the dealership. Don’t agree to a credit check until you are sure that you’ve found the vehicle you want because every “hard pull” lowers your overall score by a few points. It’s also important that you know your credit score before negotiations begin — shady dealerships can sometimes manipulate that number to increase your payments and their profit.

Don’t Be Oversold

You walked into the dealership looking for mid-sized hatchback; don’t leave in an overpriced SUV. The salesperson’s job is to upsell you with fancy features, fully loaded extras, and “exclusive” deals, but don’t buy into it. Studies show 59% of car buyers research their purchase online before walking into the showroom; staying confident in your purchase decision will make you less susceptible to suggestion.

Don’t Discuss Payment Options Too Soon

Dealerships make a lot of money on financing deals. If you’re not using their financing, they will try to compensate by raising the price, lowering your trade-in, or bundling add-ons (keyless entry, free oil changes, etc.) that you didn’t ask for. If you are planning on paying cash or have come to the table with your own pre-approved financing deal (we offer those at CTFCU!), it’s in your best interest to keep that to yourself until you’ve locked down a price.  

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

There’s a lot of power in being able to walk away from a deal that won’t suit your needs — even if you’re still tempted to sign off. Your trade-in value is low-balled, the monthly price is higher than you’d like, the color isn’t for you — whatever your reason, know that you can at any stage leave when you’re not 100% happy with a proposed deal. The dealership might be upset, but knowing they are losing business could entice them to lower your costs or add free incentives.

The best tool to take with you while vehicle shopping is pre-approved financing from Common Trust Federal Credit Union. Our ongoing auto loan promotion offers you rates as low as 2.49% with terms at 60 months, 72 months for 2019 models, or 84 months for loans of $50,000 or greater. Visit our auto loan promotion page or stop by the branch today to get started!

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