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Understand Auto Loans

Know The Terms

Before signing any documents, understand the following terms because financing has a language of its own.

Additional Products or Services

Products or services that the dealer may offer in a sale, financing, or lease. Examples include extended service contracts, credit insurance, and guaranteed auto protection (GAP). These products and services are optional. Get the costs and terms of any additional products and services in your contract, and sign only for the specific products you want.

Amount Financed

The dollar amount of the car loan provided to you.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The cost of auto loan expressed as a yearly rate. You may be able to negotiate this figure. Factors that influence your APR: Your credit history, current finance rates, dealership, compensation, competition, market conditions, and special offers are among the factors that affect your APR. Try to negotiate the lowest APR just as you negotiate the price of the vehicle.

Assignee

The bank, finance company or credit union that buys the contract from the dealer.

Auto Loan Insurance

Optional insurance that pays the scheduled unpaid balance if you die or the scheduled monthly payments if you become disabled. The cost of optional auto loan insurance must be disclosed in writing. If you decide you want it, you must agree to it and sign for it.

Credit Report

Document that includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you have been sued, or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting agencies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.

Credit Score

A number that reflects the credit risk you present based on information in your credit file. The better your history of credit, the higher your score. Your credit score may be used to help decide the rate and other terms you are offered.

Down Payment

The initial amount you pay to reduce the amount you finance.

Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)

Optional protection that pays the difference between the amount you owe on your vehicle and the amount you would get from your insurance company if the vehicle is stolen or destroyed before you have paid off your auto loan obligation.

Monthly Payment Amount

The dollar amount due each month on the car loan.

Repossession

If you do not make timely payments on a vehicle, your creditor may have the right to repossess it without going to court or warning you.