Starting Line for Auto Loans

Money Matters Blog for Cinfed Members

The Starting Line for Auto Loans

Posted on May 23, 2018
Topic Categories: Consumer Help

Boy driving cardboard car

By Michael Mason – Vice President, Lending


It’s fun to dream about the type of car or truck you want – and then to make it a reality as you figure out the financing. A little planning can put you in prime position at the starting line for your new vehicle purchase. Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Down payment: how much will you pay up front - a large amount or none at all? The larger your down payment, the smaller your monthly payments will be. While having smaller payments is attractive, you may want to balance the cost with other living expenses or long-term goals for your savings.
  • Length of loan: how long until the loan is paid off? Longer loan terms, such as 75 or 84 months, mean lower monthly payments, but you will pay more interest over the life of the loan. Shorter loan terms can increase the amount of your monthly payments, but you will have it paid off sooner and therefore pay less in interest. 
  • Interest rate: a percentage point or two can substantially effect your monthly payments, saving you (or costing you) hundreds of dollars. The interest rate available to you is determined by several factors, including your credit score – which is why it’s a good idea to know it ahead of time. 
  • Lease vs. buy: another potential variable is whether leasing or buying the vehicle makes sense for you. If you intend to keep it for a long time, buying is the better option. If you only plan to drive it for a few years, a lease might be preferable. Carefully consider your financial situation, personal preferences, and priorities when making the decision to lease or buy.

A helpful first step in the purchase process is a pre-approval. Come to Cinfed before you start shopping and get approved for an auto loan. This will give you a much better idea of what you can afford. In fact, with Cinfed’s “Fast Lane” program, you literally get a blank check to bring onto the dealer’s lot. 

Pre-approval of your financing considerably reduces stress: you already know what you can afford and won’t spend as much time in the finance manager’s office. In addition, you can negotiate with confidence, knowing that your financing is already in place. 

By completing the “money” side of the car purchasing process up front, you’ll be assured of satisfaction when you cross the finish line. 


Cinfed Credit Union
4801 Kennedy Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 333-3800
Routing #242076656


We've only been members for a little over a month and already feel the difference. I don't want to name names, but let's just say Cinfed is WAY better than our previous institution that rhymes with... 
— Jeff, Dawn, & Jordan, members since 2013
I been a member since 1985 and can not imagine banking anywhere else. This credit union as taken care of my every need. 24/7 services is excellent.
— Edward, member since 1985
Recently I tried to locate the Oakley office using google maps. The google directions did not get me close to Cinfed. I called the office and Liz remained on the phone until I reached the... 
— Debbie G
As a long time member, I have always received great service from all CinFed employees. I just wanted to say a special thank you to Dee Dee Day and Dawn Strickland. I had to make some changes to... 
— John-Member since 1990
Earlier this year my much younger sister passed away and with that many obligations were to be met by my husband and myself ..My sister was survived by a daughter and son. We have since then taken on... 
— Vonda
How lucky I am to have Liz Frey managing the office I use! I live in Florida but maintain Cinfed as my main banking office. Everytime I need special help a simple email or call to Liz and it is... 
— Debbie G
Emily Snyder took the best care of my two auto loans. She was professional, courteous and very knowledgeable of the available services for me. She went out of her way to make sure I felt like I was... 
— Sarah Amyotte
I have been member with Cinfed since 1986. The Roselawn Cinfed staff greeted the customer phone calls friendly and polite willing to help you with your needs. They have excellent customer service.... 
— Marian Dudley
I have been a member of CINFED since about 1981 when I was transferred from SLC, Utah with the US Army Recruiting Command and have always received excellent service and support . Hope Dee Dee is... 
— Robert Olguin

NOTE: You are leaving Cinfed Credit Union's web site. Cinfed is not responsible for content or security policies of this external, linked web site.