Category Archives: Financing

woman shopping for auto loans

How to Get a Low Rate on a Used Car Loan

Shopping for cars is fun. Shopping for car loans – not so much. The good news is that you are in a stronger negotiating position when you shop for auto loans in advance. Many people don’t do this until they find a vehicle, but at this point, you’re at the mercy of the banks. 

Below are the steps to take to get the best rates on a used car loan. 

Shop in the Right Places 

Don’t wait to look for financing until you’ve won your bid. The best way to get lower interest rates is by shopping for car loans ahead of time. This way, you can compare shop and take advantage of available discounts and incentives. 

Where can you shop? Consider large national banks like Chase or Bank of America, as they tend to have special promotions and automated processes. Also try credit unions and community banks. Credit unions usually have lower interest rates than banks, whereas community banks tend to be more flexible and easier to communicate with. Other options worth looking into are online lenders and financial companies. 

Get Pre-Approved on Your Auto Loan 

Once you have shopped around for quotes, take the next steps to get pre-approved. Having a pre-approval in place shows the seller that you are qualified to purchase the vehicle. And, if you choose to use the seller’s financing services, they’ll know what rates they have to beat, which can result in an ever lower rate for you. 

If you find that you’re not approved for a car loan, be wary of dealers that say they can finance your purchase regardless of your credit. You could end up paying very high interest rates. In this case, it’s better to work on building your credit and trying again for a loan at a later date. 

Know Your Credit Score

Speaking of credit scores, it’s important to know how these numbers affect your ability to get a loan and their influence on your interest rates. Credit scores are important because they tell lenders how likely you are to pay back the loan. Having a high credit number is a good sign, resulting in faster approvals and lower rates. 

According to Experian, buyers with bad credit pay four times more than those with excellent credit. Again, if your credit isn’t good, it may be best to wait on a vehicle and work on improving your score. This way, you can get better rates and loan options when it comes time to buy a repo. 

Manage Your Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)

The loan-to-value ratio is the value of the vehicle you’re buying compared to the amount you’re borrowing. For the best interest rates, you’ll need an LTV of 80% or less. If you have an LTV that is greater than 100%, this means that you’re underwater or have negative equity. If something happens to your car, your auto insurance carrier won’t pay for the total loss, which means you’ll still be on the hook for the rest of the loan balance. 

When shopping around for a repo, be sure to check out your options for financing in advance. This way, you’ll have everything ready to go when you start bidding on vehicles. For a full selection of repo lists from local banks and credit unions, visit RepoFinder.com

driving a repo car from a credit union

Is it Smart to Buy a Repo from a Credit Union?

If you’re thinking about buying a repossessed car, truck or recreational vehicle, you’ll find a number of ways to make this purchase. However, not all are created equal. For example, if you buy a repo from a dealership, you are going to pay more because the dealership has taken some time to fix and clean the vehicle. For the best prices and freedom in negotiations, it’s smart to buy a repo from a credit union.

What is a Credit Union? 

A credit union is a financial cooperative that is owned by its members. It exists to serve its members, allowing them a safe place to save and borrow money at affordable rates. Like banks, credit unions also accept deposits and make loans. They also repossess things when their borrowers don’t pay. 

Compared to banks, credit unions don’t have various departments and teams to manage repossessions. This means that in a short amount of time, they can start looking like used car lots. The solution to this problem is to get rid of repossessions as quickly as possible. It’s a win for the credit unions because they get vehicles off their lots, and it’s a win for buyers because they have safe vehicles to choose from. 

What are the Benefits of Buying from a Credit Union? 

Because credit unions are operated independently, there are different procedures that they follow. So, before buying a vehicle from a credit union in your area, ask about their process for listing repossessions. Gathering all the information you can will increase your chances of finding a safe and reliable repo car. 

Here are some benefits to purchasing a repo from a local credit union: 

  • Competitive prices. Credit unions want to get the cars off their lots and recoup their losses. You can find lower-than-average rates on plenty of great cars by browsing lender inventories. 
  • Ability to negotiate. Most of the time, credit unions are open to negotiations. Be sure to do your research so that you can make a compelling offer that’s hard to refuse! 
  • Option for financing. It’s possible that you can get financing directly from the credit union. Typically, credit unions have lower interest rates and fees, too.  
  • Inspect the vehicle. As long as you limit your search to local credit unions, you should be able to inspect the vehicle on their lot. If you find a vehicle in another state, you can have it shipped to you. 

Bottom line: Buying a repossession from a credit union is a great option, especially when you’re shopping for a vehicle on a budget. To browse a full list of repossessions in your area from local banks and credit unions, visit RepoFinder.com. It’s free! 

credit score before buying used car

What Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Used Car?

Whether you buy a new car, used car or repossessed car, you’ll need to pay for the vehicle before you take it home. Unless you have the cash upfront, you’ll have to take out a car loan. One of the biggest predictors in the type of loan you get and the interest rate you pay is your credit score. Knowing how important this three-digit number is, what do you need to get a decent used-car loan? 

Average Credit Scores for New and Used Cars 

According to a 2017 Experian report, the average credit score for a new-car loan was 713 and 656 for a used-car loan. A repossession is no different than a used car in the eyes of a bank. But, it’s your responsibility to do your homework. A used car from a dealership might have a warranty, but a repossession will not (unless it’s from the manufacturer). If you take out a loan for a repo and it ends up not running, you are still responsible for paying back the loan. 

So, what happens if you don’t have the average 656 credit score? You can still get a loan, but you can expect to pay more in interest rates. Someone in the low 700s might see interest rates of 5%, while someone in the low 500s might see 15%. Also, the state you live in makes a difference, as some states give higher insurance rates to those with poor credit. 

To break things down, here is a chart of credit scores vs average APRs on new and used vehicles, courtesy of Experian. 

Credit score Average APR, new car Average APR, used car
Superprime: 781-850 3.68% 4.34% 
Prime: 661-780 4.56% 5.97%
Non Prime: 601-660 7.52% 10.34%
Subprime: 501-600 11.89% 16.14%
Deep subprime: 300-500 14.41% 19.98%

Before You Start Shopping

One of the benefits you have when buying a repo car is the financing. When you purchase a repo directly from a lender or credit union, they are willing to work with you on the financing. They are banks, after all, and they make money by lending money.

Because it can take time to find the perfect repo car, use this period to check your credit profile and make improvements. You can request a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – once a year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. 

Once you know what your score is, you can get a realistic idea of what interest rates you will be paying. If you have to delay your repo car purchase, bring your credit score up by doing the following: 

  • Pay your bills on time
  • Avoid applying for new credit
  • Keep credit card balances low relative to your limits
  • Leave old accounts open 

For a complete list of repossessed cars, trucks, ATVs, RVs, boats, etc., visit RepoFinder.com today. Our list includes banks, lenders and credit unions that have repossessed vehicles and are willing to work with the public to sell cars and provide financing.