Starting Line for Auto Loans

Money Matters for Cinfed Members

The Starting Line for Car 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.

Getting Started

A helpful first step in the purchase process is a pre-approval. Come to Cinfed before you start shopping and get approved for a car 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


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