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Feeling Stuck In Your Car Loan? Might Be Time To Shop Around!

February 8, 2018

Some bills can’t be changed. For other bills, though, a little legwork can make a big difference in your monthly payment. Your car payment is a great example. Refinancing your vehicle loan can lead to a lower monthly payment, a shorter payment term or both! It depends on various factors, including the value of your vehicle, how much you owe and your credit standing.

Read on for three common life changes that might mean it’s a good time to refinance your vehicle.

1.) Your credit rating improves

The biggest factor determining your auto loan status is your credit score. When your lender builds a loan package, they pull a credit report as a central part of that process. That number determines your interest rate, whether you’ll pay an insurance premium and what other fees your lender might charge.

Keep a copy of the documents your lender pulled. That can let you see if your credit score has improved. Nine months of steady repayment can boost your credit score, resulting in a less costly loan.

If you didn’t have much credit history when you purchased, refinancing can do you a world of good. Interest rates as high as 18% are common for new borrowers. Just a few months of solid payments may cut that rate in half.

2.) You didn’t shop around initially

Many people feel railroaded throughout the car-buying process. They choose a car, and then are told the price, the monthly payment and everything else. It’s almost like the lender for your car loan is predetermined.

Dealers usually have a smaller range of lenders with whom they exclusively work. Those lenders have limited exposure to competition, so they can charge higher fees and rates. Do your own comparison shopping. Dealer rates can be 1 to 1.5% higher than those offered at smaller lenders, like credit unions.

If you’ve never shopped around for a car loan, it’s worth doing now. Do your shopping inside a 15-day period, though; multiple checks on your credit could negatively impact your credit score.

3.) You need to change your monthly payment

Your financial situation may have improved since you bought the car and you can now afford to pay more per month. You’ll save money in the long term by doing just that. Shorter-term loans usually have lower interest rates. Also, you’ll pay off the overall balance on your car faster.

If money is tight, consider refinancing for a longer term. Although you’ll pay more in interest, you’ll reduce your monthly payment and save the money you need now. You may also be able to reduce the monthly payment if your credit score has improved, interest rates have dropped or if you’re getting a better rate from another lender.

Your Turn: How do you save money on your car payment? Let us know your best tips and tricks in the comments, and don’t forget to stop by TFCU to find out how refinancing can improve your financial life!


Banking Made Easy

At TFCU, we are committed to offering an extensive range of products and services designed specifically with you in mind! We want to make your banking experience as easy as possible by giving you convenient access to manage your accounts on the go, all while providing you with the latest and greatest banking technology.

In addition to banking products & services, TFCU has several affiliate companies known as Credit Union Service Organizations! These companies allow us to offer Insurance Services, Financial Services & Real Estate Services to our members.

TFCU membership is available to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Bristol County, Massachusetts; Bristol, Kent, Newport and Providence counties in Rhode Island; and the Rhode Island towns of Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, New Shoreham, North Kingstown, Richmond and South Kingstown. Membership is also open to immediate family members of existing members.

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Throughout November we collected food for local food pantries and distributed it last week. In addition, TFCU staff donated $100 to support additional food pantries as part of the TFCU Dress Down Program. 
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We encourage you today, and any time you can, to give back to your community and help support those in need. All year round TFCU is involved in the communities we serve and gives back through volunteerism and sponsorships.

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What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
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