Getting approved for an auto loan is a multi-step process. The good news: Greater Nevada Credit Union is here to help you navigate it with tips, resources, and personalized help. Learn how to get a car loan (and get the one that’s right for your lifestyle) today!
How to Get a Car Loan
Simple Steps for a Successful Borrowing Experience
How to Get a Car Loan from a Credit Union
Not sure where to begin when it comes to car loans? You’re in good company. Thankfully, when you team up with Greater Nevada, you’re never alone in the application process. We believe it should be simple–and we believe it begins with getting informed.
Whether you’re buying your first or fifth vehicle, it’s important to do your research on an auto loan to fund your purchase. We’ve created this handy guide to help show you the way, no matter if you’re a first-time car buyer or simply looking to refinance your loan.
Take some time to assess your finances. Get a feel for what kind of monthly payment would be comfortable alongside your current expenses. But keep in mind: that monthly payment isn’t the only new expense that comes with owning a car. You’ll also need to consider things like…
- Annual DMV registration
- Monthly insurance payments
- Regular vehicle maintenance
As with any loan, it’s most important to determine whether you’ll be able to consistently make on-time payments. You may be pre-approved for a larger loan amount than the purchase price of the car you have in mind–and larger loan amounts generally come with higher monthly payments. If you can’t afford higher payments, it’s a good idea to not use all the money you’re cleared to borrow.
Your credit score is a key deciding factor when it comes to getting approved for an auto loan. Financial institutions use your credit history to determine your loan’s interest rate, as well as the total loan amount. For example, a lower credit score may prevent you from borrowing as much money as you need to buy the vehicle you have in mind. You may also wind up with a higher interest rate (and higher monthly payments).
We recommend checking your credit score three to six months before you try to purchase a vehicle. My Credit Health, available within Greater Nevada Digital Banking, is free to all members offering a powerful one-stop-shop to access your credit score, credit monitoring, credit score simulator, financial tips, and more. All of this without impacting your credit score, and all online.
Get a sneak peek at your projected loan terms by applying for pre-approval. Pre-approval is a great way to expedite your application, as well check what kind of auto loan rates and total amounts you’re likely to receive. Getting pre-approved for a loan can give you more bargaining power with dealerships, and could save you the hassle of having to check out many different auto lenders if you are comfortable with the initial rate you’re pre-approved for.
You know how much you can afford. You know how much you’re approved for. All that’s left is the fun part: deciding what kind of car to buy. Using our free AutoSMART tool can help make shopping easier, with features for comparing important details and connecting you to local dealers.
Before you go shopping, we recommend checking your car loan requirements. Sometimes certain manufacturers or car types are excluded. For example, some lenders don’t allow borrowers to buy electric vehicles with their loans. This is also a good time to check for dealership requirements, where the lender may require that you purchase from a certain network of car dealers.
As you near the end of the application process, here are some key facts to consider about terms, repayment, and fees.
- Your lender technically owns your vehicle and will be noted as the lienholder on the title until you’ve paid your loan in full.
- Offering a larger down payment usually means lower monthly payments and less interest paid over the life of your loan.
- Be prepared to pay registration fees when you purchase your vehicle. If buying from a car dealership instead of a private party, then you’ll also need to be prepared to pay sales tax and any fees they charge (like a destination fee to transport your new car from another location as an example).
Once your application is finalized, it’s time to start driving–and start making payments. Making your monthly payments on-time is essential, especially for your credit score. A strong credit score will help you get approved for other loans (not just auto, but personal and home loans, too).
Failing to make payments, or making late payments, can negatively impact your credit score. Late payments stay on your credit report for seven years. If you miss several payments, your lender may turn your debt over to a collection agency or even repossess your vehicle. Setting up automatic payments can help ensure you’re always on-time, even when life gets busy.
Benefits of Getting a Car Loan from a Credit Union
Greater Nevada Credit Union is on your side when you’re ready to purchase a car. Instead of haggling with a dealership or settling for average rates at a bank, explore what’s possible with credit union car loans. Members of credit unions often enjoy better interest rates and terms on loans–not just with cars, but with homes, personal loans, and others.
1) Low-Interest Rates & Lower Fees
Unlike banks and car dealerships, credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that prioritize members rather than shareholders. This lets us offer a lower interest rate on loans than traditional banks and car dealerships.
3) Higher Likelihood of Approval
At other financial institutions, a bad credit score might mean getting turned away automatically. But when you’re a member of Greater Nevada, you’re a member of our community. That means we’ll work with you to achieve your financial goals by leaving no stone unturned to see if a solution is possible.
4) Lower Loan Minimums
Supporting members, rather than shareholders, means our credit union can offer favorable terms, which include low loan minimums if you’re bringing a large down payment to the table.
5) Strong Community Involvement & More Personalized Service
Greater Nevada Credit Union is made up of your friends, family, and neighbors. These community ties are what make us strong–and they’re what drive us to share our returns with others.
Every year, our annual scholarship program awards $2,000 in scholarships to 30 qualifying individuals. Our Carson High Education Branch helps students get real-world job experience, earn class credits, and learn more about managing money. We also partner with the University of Nevada, Reno, and Western Nevada College on many community initiatives.
As a member, you’ll support these educational endeavors just by banking with us. In return, you’ll gain access to member-exclusive resources, offers, and service to help you Live Greater every day.
Apply for an Auto Loan Today
Now that you’re up to speed on all things auto loans, apply with confidence. Go online or give us a call to start your application (or get pre-approved).
Compare Car Loans from Greater Nevada Credit Union
As a credit union, our reason for being is based on helping more people Live Greater. One of the ways we do this is by offering products that promote financial wellness via lower monthly payments, better interest rates, flexible terms, or all of the above. Below, you’ll find a few important details about different types of car loans available through our financial cooperative.
Traditional Auto Loan
Buying a car is simple and straightforward with this standard car loan, offering competitive rates and flexible terms.
Payment Saver Auto Loan
Drive it like you own it, pay it like you lease it. Enjoy the freedom of lower monthly payments up to 40% less than conventional loans with this flexible and convenient loan option.
First-Time Car Buyer Loan
New to car financing? Start building your credit history with an auto loan designed to help you get started on the right foot.
Credit Rebuilder Auto Loan
If you’re getting back on your feet financially, learn more about our car loan to get behind the wheel and rebuild your credit at the same time.
Car Loan Refinance
Looking to take advantage of a lower annual percentage rate (APR) and possibly lower your monthly payments by refinancing your existing auto loan? We’re here to help you out.
Plan for financial success with our handy loan calculator, which generates projections for monthly payments, interest amount, and more.
Not sure whether to buy or lease your next car? Use this calculator to compare the financial details and make the best choice for your money.