The thought of buying a new car – whether it’s for you, a spouse or a child going back to school – is fun and exciting.
Don’t fall into the trap, however, of only researching the car you want to buy. Unless you’re paying cash, buying a car requires a two-pronged research process of equal importance: the car and the financing.
At Truliant, we encourage our members to do their homework before they buy to ensure that both the vehicle and the financing are right for their needs and budget. Before you buy a car, you should fully understand the cost of ownership – for both the vehicle and the life of the loan.
Consider these tips help you get the best auto loan for your new wheels:
Ensure Your Credit Score is Accurate
It’s an exaggeration to say that your auto loan’s affordability starts and ends with your credit score, but it’s not too far from the truth. (Other factors are taken into account: loan length, year of vehicle, loan-to-value, and vehicle mileage).
Why does your score matter? In 2015, according to Experian, a borrower with a score above 725 had an average car-loan rate of 3.55%. If the score was below 700, the average rate was 6.3%. Depending on the amount and the length of the loan, a higher rate can mean thousands of extra dollars.
Make sure your credit report is accurate for your best credit score. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com – created by credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion as a one-stop-shop for providing your annual credit reports – to check for accuracy. Or stop by your nearest Truliant location and we’ll review your credit report, and your credit score, for you in a No-Cost Credit Review.
Take the uncertainty out of how much car you can afford. Get pre-approved for your loan. Truliant offers its members pre-approved loans1 for the maximum amount that you expect to pay. If you are able to negotiate a lower price for a car, then you don’t have to use the full amount of the pre-approved loan.
Know the Cost of the Life of Your Loan
It’s important to fully understand the cost of ownership for the life of your loan and vehicle. Why? Because if you overpay you’ll have less money to devote to building your financial foundation for the future. While a monthly payment impacts your budget and what you have left to spend on other things, making a smart decision on how that one transaction relates to your overall plan can change the quality of your life in the future.
Ask About Rate Discounts
Rate discounts from your financial institution can add even further savings. For example, Truliant offers members a number of discounts on auto loans, with a maximum discount of 0.50%. We offer 0.25% discounts in the following circumstances:
• If your loan is less than 90% of the vehicle’s value.
• If you make your automatic electronic loan payments through a Truliant account. You can easily open an account with us online, over the phone or in a Member Financial Center.
• For fuel-efficient vehicles getting more than 29 miles per gallon.
• For purchase of Mechanical Repair Coverage and Guaranteed Auto Protection.
• If you purchase your vehicle through the Credit Union Auto Buying Service,2 or CUABS®
Use Vehicle Equity to Your Advantage
If you don’t currently have an auto loan or your vehicle is worth more than you owe, then you have equity in your vehicle. You can use this to your advantage when buying a new car! Equity in your current car, truck or SUV can be applied to the cost of your new car when you trade it in, reducing what you owe overall and lowering your payment.
By doing your homework, you can make the auto buying process easy and save money! To learn more, and find out how you can save with an auto loan from Truliant Federal Credit Union. If you're interested in applying by phone, please call 855-293-2957, or visit Truliant.org/AutoLoans.
Federally insured by NCUA. (1) Offer is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Rates and terms are subject to change prior to consummation of the loan. Additional restrictions may apply. (2) CUABS is an independent NC licensed automobile dealer not owned or operated by Truliant.