Ask an Expert: InTouch Credit Union on Texas Auto Loans
Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases you’ll likely make in your life, which is why choosing how to finance it is a decision that should not be made lightly. We interviewed InTouch Credit Union to get their best tips for choosing the best Texas auto loan.
Texas Banking Rates: What are your 3 top tips for buying a car in Texas?
InTouch Credit Union: Get pre-approved for financing BEFORE you step foot on a dealership lot or showroom floor so you’ll be dealing from a position of power. Knowing you’re pre-approved — and what your rate will be — will force the dealer to cut straight to the chase when it comes to rate.
If you pre-determine your maximum borrowing limit and know how long you’ll be financing (aka the “term”), you can figure out the monthly payment, too. Don’t let the dealer herd you into a payment without knowing the rate and term. Compare that to what you can get at the credit union.
Don’t accept a rate that’s even a little higher just for convenience sake. That mistake could translate into hundreds of dollars over the life of the loan.
Car buying can be a very emotion-filled experience and new car fever can diminish your usually sharp instincts. Don’t wait to visit the dealer to learn what the current vehicle prices are. Use websites like Kelly Blue Book (kbb.com) or NADA (nadaguides.com) to get retail and invoice pricing, current rebates and special financing deals. Again, this is dealing from a position of knowledge when the dealer tells you how much mark up is in the pricing.
Try calling the dealer and asking for someone who is in fleet sales or who specifically works with credit union members. Many dealers have salespeople in this role. Even if they don’t, ask for the dealer to provide you with their best price or pricing over invoice (example: 1% over invoice). Calling ahead saves time, gas AND allows introductions without all the hype that comes from visiting the dealer in person.
But don’t worry, this doesn’t replace visiting the dealer in person for that all-important test drive. However, it does allow for a conversation without the distraction of fast talk coupled with lots of shiny vehicles begging you to buy them!
Note: Some dealers are reluctant to provide specific vehicle pricing over the phone for fear that it will be misunderstood as the price for all cars of the same make/model on the lot. However, if you are able to get a general idea of pricing (example: 1% over invoice) you can apply that information to specific pricing you can get via the websites discussed above to get a good sense for what the car will cost when you pick your favorite.
TBR: Do you offer free auto loan quotes? If so, what are the steps a consumer would take to obtain a no obligation quote?
InTouch: Auto loan calculations can be done on our website without obligation. The service is free and you won’t be put on a mailing list.
TBR: What are typical turnaround times for a car loan application to be processed and funded?
InTouch: For the convenience of members, InTouch Credit Union provides an online loan application which use “auto-scoring” to speed up the loan approval process. This allows many car loans to be approved in less than 30 minutes.
Applicants should not be concerned that they might be auto-declined without further consideration. ITCU takes a second look at these loans to ensure the auto decision wasn’t an error. InTouch tries very hard to give a loan request every opportunity to be approved. Funding for auto loans is generally done the same day it is approved.