November 4, 2016

Financing an Automobile



Taking out a loan to purchase an automobile can be a significant part of consumers’ financial lives. And it is a complicated process.  The decision to obtain auto financing includes many factors, including the source of financing, features of the loan, and issues related to down payment, trade-in, and add-ons. To help consumers navigate this process and get the best loan for their situation, the CFPB has released a new set of resources called Take Control of Your Auto Loan.

This web page has easy-to-navigate information and tips on planning to shop for an auto loan, learning to explore loan choices, knowing what is negotiable, and understanding how to close the deal. You can access the website here.

Consumers can use this worksheet to compare loan offers, see the total cost, and negotiate the best deal on an auto loan.  You can access the worksheet here 

Consumers can use this printable guide to navigate the auto financing process, including budgeting considerations, understanding the auto finance process, shopping for an auto loan, negotiating and closing the deal. The guide also emphasizes how to avoid common pitfalls. As a financial educator, you can also use this guide to familiarize yourself with the auto finance process, so that you can provide helpful guidance to those you assist. You can access the guide here.

This report describes the findings of consumer focus groups and consumer complaint data about the challenges of navigating the auto financing process.  We found that many consumers reported they did not shop around and negotiate as much for the financing as they did for the vehicle itself.  The complaint data showed that consumers faced challenges in understanding loan features during negotiations on financing. You can learn more about these findings here.

There are updated questions and answers about auto budgeting and financing in the Ask CFPB database of consumer questions.  The Ask CFPB auto loan questions can be found here.

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