Financial Steps to Take Before Buying a Car


car-keys_9140296_xlBefore you begin your search for your next new car, be sure to take a few steps to make sure you are ready to take on the financial portion of the purchase.

Because loans typically come in 12-month increments, we’re talking about a decision that will affect your household budget a minimum of two years and probably more like five or six.

Here are a few things to consider while looking for the best financing option:

Assess your credit

Your credit score is most likely single biggest factor a lender will consider in determining what interest rate to offer you. Your score is based primarily on your credit reports. Remember that you can get a copy for free by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

Check the reports for errors and take action to dispute any that you find, because a higher credit score usually leads to a lower interest rate on a loan.

Decide what to do with your old car

If you are trading in a vehicle, that may be enough to cover the down payment or give you a credit toward you new purchase. Sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds can help you appraise the trade-in value.

Keep in mind that the the dealer may offer you less than you could get by selling your old car privately. It’s your choice if you would like to sell your car privately or trade it in.

Figure out how much you can afford

Take a look at your financial situation to determine how much vehicle you can afford. What other living expenses, such as mortgage or rent, utilities and other recurring payments already have a claim on your income?

Also remember that you will need to purchase insurance and have adequate coverage. Contact the Members 1st Insurance Services division to get your free quote.

Determine the best way to finance your new car

It’s easy to finance the car you want. You can apply for a pre-approval right online. That way you know what price-point you can purchase when you walk into the dealership. Plus, the transaction is smooth and quick.

Or, you may choose to finance with us right at the dealership. Be sure to check out our listing of participating dealers before you begin shopping. After you have chosen your car, simple tell them that you would like to finance with Members 1st.

Check our current vehicle rates here once you determine the year of the vehicle and the length of the loan. Remember that you will need to be able to afford the monthly payments. You may set up automatic payments to make your life easier. Plus, you could qualify for a rate discount with our Member Loyalty Rewards program!

Buying a new car is a major financial commitment, typically second only to purchasing a home. Taking time to figure out how much car you can afford and finding the smartest financing are well worth the effort.

Learn more about vehicle financing by clicking here.


Contact us if you need guidance or have questions.

Visit members1st.org or call TeleBranch (Customer Service) at (800) 237-7288.

You may also contact our Loan Center at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040.


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