Contrary to popular belief, the best place to get a car loan is not always the dealership. Many dealers do offer financing packages from financial institutions that they work with, but the rates are not always the best. That’s where credit union auto loan rates come into play.
Credit unions operate similarly to banks but have a few key differences. Banks have customers, credit unions have members. This is why credit unions can offer rates as low as they do; as a member, you are part of the ownership tree. Most credit unions are also associated with community organizations and institutions, like military bases, police and fire departments and more.
If you have never financed a car through a credit union, you could be missing out on great rates and even better terms. In fact, car loans in credit unions can be 1% or even 2% lower than the rates generally offered by banks.
Not to mention the fees are exponentially lower than those of banks and large-scale financial institutions, mainly because credit unions are non-profi organizations looking to benefit their members.
Credit unions also offer lower minimum loan amounts, if you are interested in only providing a down payment, for example. They may also be open to working with you even if your credit isn’t the best, so if you have a not-great credit score, you may find rather beneficial terms at a credit union.
While most banks have minimum borrowing requirements, credit unions typically do not. Most also have low loan origination fees, which is the cost you pay to the credit union in exchange for them preparing your auto loan.
If you aren’t a member of a credit union, you may not have access to these great loan rates. Fortunately, it is quite easy to join.
Most credit unions are affiliated with local organizations or groups. To become a member, you must typically work for or be a part of the organization it is aligned with. In some cases, you may be able to join if you have a family member that is a part of the organization.
Even if you don’t think you qualify for membership, be sure to ask your local credit union about joining for a fee. Some allow individuals to pay in exchange for membership, which could still cost less overall if you are offered a lower rate.