Receive 2% Cash Back When You Finance Your Auto Loan Through the End of 2014!

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When you finance your Auto Loan with First Financial, you will be eligible to receive 2% cash back for a limited time!

Program details include:

  • 2% cash back in the form of a check, issued after the first auto loan payment is made.*
  • Cash back can be used to purchase gas, or use however else you wish!
  • 2% cash back minimum of $100, and maximum amount of $1,000.
  • Minimum Auto Loan amount eligible for participation is $10,000 – which can be a refinance or new Auto Loan.

 Apply online by clicking on one of the links below:

Enter promo code 2% Cash Back on your online application in the Comments section on page 3 of your online application, in the Loan Information section.

Plus – regardless of if you purchase a new or preowned vehicle, our Auto Loan rates are the same! We also invite you to check out our free online car shopping and research tool, AutoSMART and calculate your future car payments in advance using AutoCalcubot.

If you have additional questions, please stop into any one of our branches and speak to a representative or call us at 866.750.0100, Option 4 for the Loan Department.

Happy Car Shopping!

*Offer valid from 10/2/14 – 12/31/14. Cash back amount will be 2% of the approved First Financial auto loan amount, $100 minimum and $1,000 maximum, payable after the first loan payment is made and within 30 days after receiving the title with the perfected lien showing First Financial FCU as lien holder. Minimum loan amount eligible for participation is $10,000 and can be a refinance or new auto loan. All cash back checks must be picked up at the nearest First Financial branch location. This prize or a portion of this prize may be income reportable to the IRS on 1099-MISC and requires completion of a W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

 

Will Paying Off My Car Loan Help My Credit Score?

Credit-Score-325x222There are a lot of different kinds of credit out there. One of the most common forms is the auto loan. Though we are all itching to pay off our long-term debts and own something free and clear, there are a few precautions to know about before racing to get that statement to read zero.

To determine if paying off your car loan will help your credit score, it is important to understand several factors that go into your credit score.

Multiple facets of FICO

First, it’s important to understand the components that make up your FICO credit score. There are five key elements that are used to makeup that all-important number:

  • 35% of your score is weighted toward your payment history
  • 30% is weighted toward the amounts owed on your credit cards
  • 15% is devoted to length of credit history
  • 10% is generated by new credit
  • 10% comes from types of credit used.

The relative importance of each category depends on the consumer themselves.

If you have an auto loan that you’ve been diligent about paying, you’ve benefitted from that 35% devoted to payment history. By paying it down, you are also contributing to that 30% element of amount owed, since theoretically you are decreasing your credit utilization rate. However, if you’ve been increasing the balance on other forms of credit, that may cancel out some of that good behavior.

If you have a 3 to 5 year car loan, you also have length of credit history going for you. The new credit category doesn’t really apply in this scenario.

Did you know First Financial’s Identity Theft Protection program not only protects you and your family members from ID Theft, but it also monitors its users’ credit reports? When you enroll in ID Theft Protection with First Financial, your credit report is monitored continuously for new or suspicious activity. If new activity occurs, an alert is sent via email and text message, allowing you to confirm whether or not the activity is fraudulent. To enroll in our ID Theft Protection services, stop into any First Financial branch or call 866.750.0100.*

Types of Credit

But what’s interesting is the 10% weighted to types of credit used. On a positive note, a car loan alters the types of credit you have, assuming you have things like credit cards or even a mortgage.  However, if you pay it off, you may eliminate this type of installment loan as a type of credit used (this is a very different type of credit than a credit card).

Your ability to pay installment accounts, in addition to others, demonstrates that you are responsible and diligent enough to plan your finances around all these different types of credit.

The Biggest Factor

Weighing against all this, however, is a large factor that requires you to look more holistically at your credit lifestyle. A general rule of thumb is that if you can pay off a debt of any kind, in full, do so (with the exception of a mortgage).

If you have a great deal of debt, we also have a free, anonymous online debt management tool called Debt in Focus. In just minutes, you will receive a thorough analysis of your financial situation, including powerful tips by leading financial experts to help you control your debt, build a budget, and start living the life you want to live.

*Identity Theft insurance underwritten by subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. 

Article courtesy of Nerd Wallet Online

5 Most Common Car Problems – CU Auto Club Roadside Assistance Can Help

roadsideassistIf you’re like most people, you probably take your car for granted. We know you love your car, but it’s easy to overlook its aches and pains until it’s too late. That’s why we’re listing the five most common things that can go wrong with your car. We also have some tips to help you take better care of your “baby” before it needs fixing.

Top 5 Car Problems

1. Battery
Extreme temperatures, hot and cold, could shorten a battery’s lifespan. Also, if you tend to drive short journeys each day, you could lose voltage. Be sure to take a longer trip now and then. A bad alternator, corroded terminals or loose connections could also cause problems.

2. Tires
Although many tire issues can be easily prevented, tires account for 10% of all emergency roadside calls. Be sure to check your tires’ tread and pressure frequently.

3. Check Engine Light
This one little light is intended to alert you to one of hundreds of potential problems. It could just mean it’s time for your checkup or you have a loose gas cap. Or, it could be something more serious like your emissions system, catalytic converter, fuel injection or spark plugs.

4. Overheating
An overheated car isn’t limited to the warmer months and could be a sign that something major is wrong with your car. The main causes of an overheated engine are a stuck thermostat, a leak in your cooling system, a faulty water pump, a bad cooling fan or a clogged radiator.

5. Accidents
It seems like an obvious culprit, but it’s also one of the most easily avoided problems. Stay out of the fast lane, avoid tailgating, keep your eyes on the road – not your phone, be vigilant of blind spots and do what your driving instructor said by keeping your hands at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions on the wheel.

Play It Safe
Having a dependable roadside assistance program will give you peace of mind and help keep you on the road. As a credit union member you can save money while getting excellent service from Credit Union Auto Club.

Credit union members can enroll in Credit Union Auto Club, one of Love My Credit Union’s discount programs, which provides credit union members across the country with a wide range of roadside assistance services and other benefits at a significant savings compared to competing auto club plans. Click here to learn more and to sign-up today! For other exclusive benefits for members, check out the Love My Credit Union site for details on how you can save on vehicles, online shopping, DIRECTV, Sprint wireless services, tax products, and more. 

*Article source provided by Love My Credit Union’s Credit Union Auto Club.

See If We Can Beat Your Current Auto Loan Rate by 2%!

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Take the 2% Challenge and Surf into Savings! Stop into any of our branches, apply online, or give us a call at 866.750.0100, Option 4 – to see if we can beat your current Auto Loan rate by 2%.*

This offer is for a limited time only, so get started by taking the challenge today!

*Not all buyers will qualify – actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness. Loan to value ratio up to 125% based on credit score. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Cannot be combined with any other offer. **APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates as low as 1.99% for terms up to 36 months. For example, a $15,000 auto loan at 1.99% APR with a term of 36 months would have a monthly payment amount of $429.57.

**Two(2) winners will be randomly selected from the individuals who fully completed the survey and notified by the Marketing Department on or about 10/1/14. Winner must pick up their gift card in a First Financial branch.

 

Common Auto Loan Financing Misconceptions

AutoLoans“Don’t believe everything you hear.” How many times have you heard this when you were a kid? Well, everyone grows up and it’s time to actually listen to that little old saying, especially when it comes to buying a vehicle. There are tons of common myths and misconceptions out there, but what is the truth behind these myths? Find out the true answers to some of the most common car buying myths right here:

Myth #1  Auto dealers will always have the best loan rate & payment.

This isn’t always necessarily true. Credit unions and other financial institutions also offer competitive rates compared to dealerships. Those who are looking into buying a car should shop around and not only compare rates, but also compare restrictions, to find the best deal that fits their wants and needs.

Myth #2 Seeking multiple pre-approvals/loan offers will destroy your credit rating.

An individual’s credit score will not be affected negatively if seeking multiple offers. The analysis will have to be made within a certain time period of 14 days. However, keep in mind while shopping around this may cause multiple creditors to request a consumer’s credit report.

Myth #3  Auto loan refinancing is expensive.

It’s actually the opposite. Refinancing can drastically reduce your monthly payments and is an option you should consider. Have you stopped into your local First Financial branch location to see how much we may be able to save you each month by refinancing your car loan? Or give us a call at 866.750.0100, Option 4.

Myth #4 Refinancing isn’t an option on an auto loan.

Most people know that refinancing an auto loan can provide the same benefits as refinancing a home loan. They both can save you a lot of money by lowering the monthly payment or interest rate. Many may not know that refinancing an auto loan is actually much easier than refinancing a home loan. You might want to consider refinancing if your current car loan interest rate is above 6 percent, doing so could save you hundreds of dollars each year if you are approved!

Myth #5 Consumers think that even though Credit Unions have better rates – that you have to have perfect credit to get them, or be part of a union or work at a certain company to get them.

You do have to be a member of a Credit Union to get the Credit Union’s rates, and the rate you qualify for is based on your credit worthiness. However, most people do not realize just how easy it is to join a Credit Union these days, and that Credit Unions will at least try to work with you and help you get on the right track to a better financial standing if you aren’t currently. The majority of Credit Unions how have community charters – where you simply need to live, work, worship, or attend school in a certain area in order to become a member of that particular Credit Union. That’s certainly the case at First Financial – to join $5 in a Base Savings Account is needed at all times, and you must live, work, worship, or attend school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in New Jersey. Plus, once you are a member – your immediate family can join too!

Here at First Financial, Enterprise Car Sales and First Financial are able to offer First Financial Members monthly deals on used vehicle purchases through Enterprise. Get started by getting preapproved by First Financial and search for certified used cars online with Enterprise Car Sales. 

As always, First Financial offers great low rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!  If you need a handy tool to help you figure out those monthly auto loan payments to see what you can afford before you buy, try our free loan calculator application called AutoCalcubot. We also provide a free auto buying and research tool, AutoSMART – a great place to find new and used vehicles!

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Things to Consider Before Signing Up for Zero% at the Dealership

zero%Zero percent financing is something you’ve probably heard before, however, before you sign on the dotted line, here are some things to consider…

What is really your best deal? Undoubtedly you’ve heard about “zero percent financing” offers that many auto dealers like to promote. Although they seem to be incredible deals, and are certainly tempting, you should read the fine print and know the facts before you head to your local dealer.

To help you decide if zero percent (or a low “teaser” rate) is the best deal for you, here are a few facts and restrictions you may encounter:

  • Almost perfect credit may be needed in order to qualify for these offers.
  • You may be required to give up a manufacturer’s rebate.
  • It could mean shorter terms and larger monthly payments.
  • It is usually offered on a limited number of models.
  • You may be limited to dealer stock and not be able to choose the exact vehicle you are interested in.

Research, research, research! By using our free available research tools such as AutoSMART & Autocalcubot loan calculator, you will be better equipped when you finally make that trip to the dealership. You may find that giving up that zero percent financing for a manufacturer’s rebate will save you more money.

And finally…Read any contract carefully before signing it. Ask questions about anything you do not understand and don’t feel pressured into making a decision right then and there.

Happy shopping!