When’s the Best Time to Buy a Car?

Happy woman buying a carIt’s a good time to be in the market for a new car – especially if you plan to finance the purchase, as nine out of 10 Americans do. Buyers with good credit can take advantage of some very low interest rates.

Rates for new and used car loans are at “their lowest point in the past few years,” according to a new survey of 157 lenders by the website WalletHub. The average interest rate for new-car loans is currently 4.29 percent and 4.96 percent for used cars.

WalletHub found that car loans at credit unions are 25 percent below average, national banks are roughly average, and regional banks are 40 percent above average.

Jack Gillis, author of The Car Book 2015, cautions buyers that the financing arranged through a dealer may be higher than what’s offered from the manufacturer.

“Often the low interest rates advertised by dealers require extraordinarily high credit ratings and sometimes are accompanied by extra fees,” Gillis told NBC News. “Before you talk financing with the dealer, check with your credit union and banks to see what they offer. It’s the only way to know if the dealers’ financing is a good deal.”

Good credit is a real money saver

WalletHub reports that it will cost you about four-and-a-half times more to finance a car if you have fair credit rather than excellent credit. That translates into additional interest costs of about $5,500 for a five-year, $20,000 loan.

Someone with excellent credit can also get extremely low rates for used car loans now. The average rate for these loans dropped nearly 18 percent from last year, WalletHub reports.

“So a few months before you go shopping for a car, check your credit report,” WalletHub’s Jill Gonzales said. ”Make sure everything is in order and there are no errors that could affect your credit score and drive up that interest rate.”

Car loans are also getting longer

As car prices have gone up, car loans have gotten longer. The average car loan in the U.S. is now 67.2 months – a record high and the average price paid for a new vehicle last year was $32,386, reports Edmunds.com.

“A longer loan will lower the monthly payment, but you will be ‘upside down’ in that loan longer,” noted Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com. “So if you need to sell the car or something happens to it – maybe it’s totaled in an accident – you could owe more than it’s worth.”

A longer loan also drives up the cost of financing that vehicle because you’re borrowing the money longer. The experts at Consumer Reports Autos point out that extended loans also tend to have higher interest rates. Their advice: limit your loan to about 48 months.

First Financial has great low Auto Loan rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!  You can view our current rates by clicking here, and if you like what you see – you can apply right online 24/7.  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!

Article Source: Herb Weisbaum – NBC Contributor, http://www.today.com/money/whens-best-time-buy-car-right-now-survey-shows-2D80507620

 

 

 

The 2% Auto Loan Challenge is Back January 2015 for a Limited Time!

 

2015 2 Percent ChallengeTPNew Year, New Savings! Back by popular demand, see if we can beat your current Auto Loan rate by 2%. Stop into any of our branches, apply online, or give us a call at 866.750.0100, Option 4 – to find out if we can save you money on your current Auto Loan payments.*

Please reference promo code AutoChallenge115 for this promotion when you stop into a branch or call. When applying online, enter AutoChallenge115 in the Comments section on page 8, in the Application Notes section of the application.

  • Rates as low as 1.99% APR
  • New loans only
  • Terms up to 72 months

This offer is back 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.

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, volunteer, 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!

What to Consider When Buying a Car for Your Teen

teen-driverParents spend years teaching their children the art of how to talk, how to walk, how to tie their shoes, how to ride a bike, and much, much more. As a parent, you’re overjoyed with each momentous milestone that passes. But with each step your child takes toward independence, you become keenly aware that you’re no longer able to protect them at every moment (and also that they’re growing up way too fast)!

The day your child gets their driver’s license and you send them off on their first solo drive, you may be tempted to trail behind from a safe distance just to make sure they arrive at their destination safely. Eventually though, you’ll relinquish control and trust that you’ve raised a responsible young adult who’ll behave accordingly behind the wheel, even in your absence. If you’ve taken that leap and now want to buy your teen a car, here are some things to ease your mind that they’re protected even without you there to hold their hand.

Should I buy a new or a used car? Ultimately, whether you buy new or used will boil down to your personal preference and how much money you’re willing to spend, but both have their advantages.

First Financial has great low Auto Loan rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!  You can view our current rates by clicking here.

A new car’s quality isn’t in question – it hasn’t been in any accidents and has no hidden flaws that a previous owner might’ve tried to disguise. Additionally, manufacturer’s warranties come standard on new vehicles, covering the car for at least three years. And New Jersey has a Lemon Law, which protects consumers if an authorized dealer is unable to repair or service the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts.

Cars are built to last longer so a bit of mileage on the odometer need not be a deterrent or intimidating factor either. Used cars are a good option if you’re looking for more “bang for your buck.” It may not come equipped with the latest technology or gadgets, but will likely have a lot of the same features as a new car for less money. (The availability of fewer in-car distractions for an inexperienced driver isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either). An added bonus of purchasing a used car is they tend to be less expensive to insure.

Credit union members can enroll in Credit Union Auto Club, Love My Credit Union Reward’s newest discount program, 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!

What are the best cars for the money? If value is a top priority, U.S. News and World Report publishes an annual list of the vehicles it has awarded “Best Cars for the Money.” Judging criteria include the average price paid and five-year total cost of ownership data, expert opinion on the car’s performance, interior features and comfort, and reliability and safety data.

What are the safest cars to drive? Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates vehicles based on how well they protect their occupants in a collision. The vehicles are rated good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on how they perform in five crash tests: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, rollover and rear. The highest designation that can be awarded is Top Safety Pick+. These cars deserve extra consideration because, in addition to protecting your precious cargo, insurance companies will often offer discounts for car safety features.

Insurance costs. One thing many people forget to consider when purchasing a car is how much it will cost to insure. Young drivers generally have higher premiums because their inexperience can cause them to be labeled as high risk. Used cars tend to be less expensive to insure so purchasing one is a way to reduce your teen’s insurance premium. Mercury Insurance also offers good student discounts in New Jersey to unmarried high school and college students who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, which can further reduce the insurance premium.

Once you’ve decided which vehicle to buy, emphasize to your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and to do it responsibly.

Did you know that as a First Financial member – you may be eligible for a discount on auto insurance through Liberty Mutual? Click here to get started.*

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!

Remember, we’re here to help and with our First Time Auto Buyers Program we can offer an additional .25% APR rate reduction for qualifying members who are looking to purchase their first vehicle. If first time buyers don’t meet the criteria but still qualify for a First Financial Auto Loan, they will receive a $100 gas card – a win-win!**

Click here to view the article source written by Maryann Gowen, an independent insurance agent serving Wall, NJ.

*Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. The descriptions of coverages are necessarily brief and are subject to policy provisions, limitations and exclusions that can only be expressed in the policy itself. Discounts and coverages vary by state and are not available in all states. For a complete explanation of coverages, please consult a sales representative. The TruStage™ Auto Insurance Program is provided and underwritten by leading insurance companies, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA.  A consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and/or motor vehicle report will be obtained on all drivers listed on your policy where state laws and regulations allow. Please consult your policy for specific coverages and limitations. The insurance offered is not a deposit and is not federally insured. This coverage is not sold or guaranteed by your credit union. First Financial Federal Credit Union Client #38361. **Subject to credit approval. Your credit worthiness determines your APR. Not all applicants will qualify.

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5 Reasons to Shop at a Credit Union for Car Loans

car-loansWhen you’re in the market for a new or used car, you’re probably thinking about financing the vehicle. While dealerships make their own financing programs sound especially attractive, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best auto loan rates—starting with local credit unions, like First Financial.

Mike Schenck, Senior Economist for The Credit Union National Association, says there are several reasons why you’ll be better off choosing a credit union over a commercial bank. Here are five of them:

1. You have a better chance of having your loan approved. If you have mediocre credit or have had credit problems in the past, a credit union might be “more likely to listen to your story than a commercial bank,” says Schenck. If you’re worried you might get turned down for a car loan because of your credit history, consider approaching a credit union before you talk to a lender at a commercial bank. Even though the loan application process is the same and the underwriting process is similar, the credit union may make some adjustments that a commercial bank would not. Many credit unions are more inclined to listen to its members’ needs and unique situations—sometimes adjusting terms of a loan accordingly.

2. Lower rates. A five-year term is the most common loan term for a new or used car, and rates at a credit union are typically much lower than the average rate at a competitor bank. According to the latest report from the market research firm Informa, the average rate on a new car loan of $30,000 from a commercial bank is 4.16 percent, while the average rate on a new car loan for the same amount from a credit union is 2.82 percent; that’s more than a 1.3 percent difference and equates to a difference of $215 a year, or $1,100 over the life of the loan.

3. Personalized service. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations and work to provide members with high-quality customer service. Since operations decisions are made by a group of volunteer board members—rather than a group of stockholders—members tend to have a more personable experience at a credit union. You can openly discuss your concerns about your loan, talk about flexible repayment options and review your financial situation with a dedicated professional. This can alleviate some of the pressure of applying and securing financing for your new or used vehicle and you can be more confident that the credit union is working with your best interests in mind.

4. Educational resources readily available. Schenck explains that almost all credit union branches have a dedicated education and resource center, where members can learn more about financing options and how to make the best decisions when assessing the value of their car purchase. If you’re a first-time car buyer and apprehensive about the loan process, you can turn to a credit union for unbiased answers. “The branch can show you how to calculate the real value of your car—not just what the dealership declares as the value of the vehicle— and make a better decision about the deal,” says Schenck.

5. Non-sales approach. Unlike commercial banks, which often grant their lenders bonuses or some type of compensation for the loans they get approved, credit unions work for their members and aren’t driven to sell you anything that equates to extra money in their pocket. All profits from members end up going back to them in the form of better rates on other financial products, such as savings accounts, and more flexible loan options. If you don’t like the pressure of working with lenders from a commercial bank, consider heading to a credit union for a less sales-oriented approach—and potentially rewards in the form of better financial products and services.

First Financial’s goal is to provide the highest level of quality products and personalized services while maintaining financial integrity and stability, thus enriching the quality of our members’ lifestyles. Apply for a new or used auto loan right online – it’s quick, easy and secure! For additional questions, feel free to call us at 866.750.0100, e-mail us at info@firstffcu.com or stop in to see at any one of our branches.

Click here to view the article source.

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