3 Reasons to Refinance Your Car Loan

Some bills can’t be changed. For other bills, though, a little legwork can make a big difference in your monthly payment. Your car payment is a great example. Refinancing your vehicle loan can lead to a lower monthly payment, a shorter payment term or both! It depends on various factors, including the value of your vehicle, how much you owe and your credit standing.

Read on for three common life changes that might mean it’s a good time to refinance your vehicle.

1.) Your credit rating improves

The biggest factor determining your auto loan status is your credit score. When your lender builds a loan package, they pull a credit report as a central part of that process. That number determines your interest rate, whether you’ll pay an insurance premium and what other fees your lender might charge.

Keep a copy of the documents your lender pulled. That can let you see if your credit score has improved. Nine months of steady repayment can boost your credit score, resulting in a less costly loan.

If you didn’t have much credit history when you purchased, refinancing can do you a world of good. Interest rates as high as 18% are common for new borrowers. Just a few months of solid payments may cut that rate in half.

2.) You didn’t shop around initially

Many people feel railroaded throughout the car-buying process. They choose a car, and then are told the price, the monthly payment and everything else. It’s almost like the lender for your car loan is predetermined.

Dealers usually have a smaller range of lenders with whom they exclusively work. Those lenders have limited exposure to competition, so they can charge higher fees and rates. Do your own comparison shopping. Dealer rates can be 1 to 1.5% higher than those offered at smaller lenders, like credit unions.

If you’ve never shopped around for a car loan, it’s worth doing now. Do your shopping inside a 15-day period, though; multiple checks on your credit could negatively impact your credit score.

3.) You need to change your monthly payment

Your financial situation may have improved since you bought the car and you can now afford to pay more per month. You’ll save money in the long term by doing just that. Shorter-term loans usually have lower interest rates. Also, you’ll pay off the overall balance on your car faster.

If money is tight, consider refinancing for a longer term. Although you’ll pay more in interest, you’ll reduce your monthly payment and save the money you need now. You may also be able to reduce the monthly payment if your credit score has improved, interest rates have dropped or if you’re getting a better rate from another lender.

Your Turn: How do you save money on your car payment? Let us know your best tips and tricks in the comments, and don’t forget to stop by Utah Community Credit Union to find out how refinancing can improve your financial life!

SOURCES:

http://www.bankrate.com/loans/auto-loans/10-steps-to-your-best-deal-on-a-car-loan/

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/long-improve-credit/story?id=33695732

https://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/ask-credit-karma-how-does-my-auto-loan-refinance-affect-my-credit/

https://www.creditkarma.com/article/refinancing-credit-effects

http://www.bankrate.com/auto/5-situations-when-it-makes-the-most-sense-to-refinance-your-car/

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Rising Interest Rates: What Do They Mean For You?

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If you read financial headlines, you’ve no doubt seen the news that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. These headlines can be accompanied with all sorts of hyperbole about the end of the stock market, the boom of bonds or any of a dozen other possible predictions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when there’s this much information and so much of it is conflicting. Let’s set the record straight on what rising prime interest rates mean for you and your:

  • Adjustable-rate Mortgage
  • Portfolio
  • Savings
  • Debt

The prime interest rate is the rate that the Federal Reserve charges financial institutions to borrow from it. It influences a lot of other financial prices. Many of these are only of concern to investment bankers, professional investors and other economic enthusiasts. Here are some key ways the prime rate hikes can affect you!

1.) Get out of your ARM

Many people opted for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) when interest rates were historically low. These mortgages often have much better rates for an introductory period, usually five years, before they adjust to a new rate. That new rate is determined in large part by the rate the Federal Reserve charges.

The Federal Reserve is planning to continue to increase interest rates as the economy continues to improve. This means the rate on your ARM may go up as well. Worse yet, the rising rates could make your monthly mortgage payment unpredictable, putting you in a bit of a budget bind. Fortunately, you can refinance your mortgage into a fixed-rate loan and take advantage of still-low interest rates. You may still be able to secure a low rate on a 10-, 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. As interest rates continue to rise, your fixed-rate mortgage will stay the same, meaning your savings will increase as time goes on.

2.) Balance your portfolio

The historically low interest rates over the past six years have done wonders for the stock market. Because companies could borrow at affordable rates, they could expand rapidly. That expansion fuels growth in stock prices.

As interest rates rise, that credit availability will decrease. Companies will find it more difficult to expand, and their growth will slow. This slowing of growth may lead to a decline in stock prices.

However, as interest rates rise, bond rates will also increase. That will lead to an increase in their price as more investors chase those rates. Individual investors need to ensure their portfolios are properly balanced to take advantage of changing market conditions. Speaking to a financial adviser to ensure your assets are where they need to be will help keep your investments growing at a healthy rate.

3.) Save more

The Federal Reserve interest rate also affects the rates that financial institutions are able to offer account holders. As it becomes more expensive to borrow from other institutions, it’s more profitable for those institutions to “borrow” from their members in the form of certificates and savings accounts. As interest rates continue to rise, it’ll be increasingly more profitable to sock your money away in an interest-bearing account.

If you’ve been putting off opening a certificate or increasing the deposits in your share account, now is an excellent time to consider it. With a 12- or 24-month certificate, you can take advantage of rising interest rates while still leaving yourself the flexibility to re-invest once interest rates rise again.

4.) Refinance your debt

The service charges on several kinds of debt are tied to the prime rate. Notably, credit cards and private student loan rates may increase as the prime rate continues to climb. That makes now a great time to think about refinancing.

Take advantage of currently low interest rates with several strategies. A home equity line of credit can help bundle your high-interest, unsecured debt with your low-interest mortgage. A personal loan for refinancing can also help secure a better interest rate. Other options exist, and the sooner you speak with a debt counselor or other financial professional, the better off you’ll be.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the financial terminology surrounding news events like rate hikes. That’s why it’s best to have an advocate in your corner to help you figure out what to make of a changing economic landscape. Utah community Credit Union can do just that. Call, click or stop by to speak to a member services representative about how you can take advantage of this opportunity and put yourself on the path to financial wellness.

Find your nearest UCCU location here: http://www.uccu.com/home/uccu/locations

Your Turn: Got questions about rising interest rates? Leave your questions in the comments. Or, if you’ve got a handle on all things economic, share your wisdom with others!

Sources:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/consumers/2017/01/19/bit-bit-rising-interest-rates-making-impact/96560462/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/your-money/increases-in-interest-rates-on-savings-accounts-remain-slow-to-materialize.html?_r=0
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/12/28/what-2017-may-mean-your-personal-finances/95736736/

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How to Build Good Credit in College

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You have most likely heard people talk about the importance of having good credit. It’s also likely you were never taught what “credit” even means or how to improve it. Let’s face it, you probably didn’t learn about it in high-school, and you probably didn’t learn it in college either!

Simply put, credit is your ability to buy things now, based on the trust that you will pay for it later. Of course, you can cross your heart and hope-to- die that you will pay for that 70-inch TV later, but without a proven track record, no one can believe you.

Credit is developed by consistently fulfilling that obligation on time (like your monthly credit card bill, car payment, mortgage payment, etc.).  Credit is expressed on a numerical scale from 300 – 850 (850 being a perfect score).

Don’t worry, no one is perfect, but the optimal score that banks and credit unions want you to have is about 720-740. The higher your score, the more a financial institution can trust you. What this means for you is higher trust equates to better benefits.

You might be tempted at some point to simply ignore the whole credit game altogether and go through life on your debit card. I know I was, and sometimes I still am! However, poor credit scores can make health, car, and life insurance more expensive. It can become difficult to get a cell phone contract or even an apartment!

Good credit is important to avoid problems while moving through life, but it is absolutely necessary to progress financially. You don’t want to live in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life or drive that beater multi-colored Honda Civic your dad drove while he was in college. Good credit is necessary to make big purchases like a that 70-inch TV, a new car, or a house.

Okay, so it’s important, but what should you even do?  Here are 3 things college students can do to build good credit.

1. Get a credit card. 

Get a credit card and stay on top of it. Getting a major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) helps get your credit score into the 700’s and enables you to apply for car loans, house loans, and others.Try to find a credit card that offers no annual fee that also has a low interest rate.

Use your first credit card to pay for small, frequent purchases like gas and groceries instead of big purchases like a mattress or the TV. Using the credit card for the frequent little purchases makes it easier to pay off every month because that is money you would spend no matter what.

What if your credit is too low to even get a credit card? Don’t worry, there’s a way out of that.

Most banks and credit unions offer secured credit cards. Secured credit cards are low limit credit cards meant to help those with bad credit recover. They are similar to prepaid credit cards – you pay a certain amount to open the card, that amount is now your credit limit.

Then you pay off the balance like any other credit card, allowing you to rebuild your credit. That amount you paid to open the card in the first place is the collateral the institution holds in case you fail to make payments. That is how the institution protects itself.

Utah Community Credit Union offers a special “Build Good Credit Loan” for those looking to recover from bad credit or strengthen the credit the already have. To learn more, come into to any of the 15 locations http://www.uccu.com/home/uccu/locations.

2. Keep debt low 

When you have a credit card, keep the balance well below the limit. Most financial institutions recommend staying below 70% of the credit limit, but staying around 30% of the credit limit is optimal.

You may have heard the term “maxed out my credit card.” Maxing out a credit card means using your credit limit, and this can make it very difficult to pay off. It can also get the credit card locked, which will deny any further use until it is paid off.

Keeping the balance low (by paying it off frequently) shows that you are living within your financial means and that you could handle more responsibility (like a car). Credit Cards will have a minimum monthly payment required on all standing balances. Be sure to pay more than the minimum amount in order to pay off debt faster.

Tip: If you are unable to afford the minimum monthly payment, you have taken on too much debt and need to curb your spending.

If you already have a credit card, you are paying it off, and you are keeping the balance low, the next step is to get another credit card. Two credit cards working to improve your score is better than one. The same principles apply to the second credit card as the first. Keep the balance low and pay it off every month on time.

Don’t become a credit card collector- don’t get a second credit card and then never use it, an inactive credit card can actually push your credit score down.  You could buy a pack of gum, then pay it off that next day and the credit card will stay active and keep building your credit.

Many credit cards offer special benefits like miles or points for airline ticket purchase and other products; shop around a bit to find the best one. Start your search by visiting the UCCU credit card page here: http://www.uccu.com/home/loans/visa

3. Stay consistent 

Stay at the same job for longer periods of time. Financial institutions want to see reliability and stability. If they see that you change jobs every couple months, you will look too risky. While still in school, it is not uncommon to change every 5-6 months. After college, however, it is best to stay for at least 1-2 years.

Stay in one place. Again, the goal is stability and reliability. Moving apartments every few months looks risky. You could be moving for perfectly legitimate reasons, but the creditors won’t know that. Frequent moving could indicate inability to pay rent, as well as other financial irresponsibility.

Of course, the most important way to stay consistent is to pay all bills on time and in full. Late payments on things like utilities, phone bill, credit card, and other loans can all negatively impact your credit score.

Your turn: What are some other tips and tricks for building good credit? Be sure to share this article with your friends and family so they too can progress financially!

By Kelby Gatrell

Kelby Gatrell is the Social Media Marketing Intern at Utah Community Credit Union. He currently attends Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is double-majoring in Business Marketing and Russian Studies.

Sources

http://www.uccu.com/home/loans/visa

http://www.wikihow.com/Build-Good-Credit

How to Build Credit

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Black Friday Loan Sale

Visit uccu.com/blackfriday on November 25th for a chance to lock-in these awesome rates! 

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The 5.99% Personal Loan

 

Personal-Loan-page
Are you looking for the best personal loan but having trouble finding the best rates?  Well look no further!  To celebrate our 60 year anniversary, we want to show our appreciation by offering an incredible deal for a personal loan.  Trying to find a low fixed annual percentage rate (APR) can be stressful, overwhelming, and difficult.  We are offering a 5.99% APR personal loan for our members!

Personal Loan Benefits:

  • Unsecured loan (no collateral required)
  • Low rate
  • Online application
  • No application fee

Personal Loan Uses:

  • Consolidate debt
  • Home repairs
  • Home improvements
  • Auto repairs
  • Medical expenses
  • Vacations
  • Elective surgery
  • Taxes
  • And much more….

So don’t wait any longer and get the loan you’ve waiting for!  Fix that home that needs  repairing, pay for those over due medical expenses, or get assistance for your taxes this year.  Whatever you  need, talk to one of our experts today or visit us online for your next personal loan!

Click here to visit our Personal Loan Page  or Call us at 801.223.8188 

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Home Buying With An Expert

 

Buyer-Relax

How a UCCU home buying expert helped George West of North Carolina buy a home without the stress.

George West was ready to come home. “I was born and raised in Provo,” said George. “I met my future wife in junior high school, was a proud Bulldog at Provo High, and received my degrees from BYU. I even bought the house I grew up in from my parents.”

After college, George’s career took him all over the world, including New York, Beijing, and Hong Kong. Finally, after living and working in North Carolina, George and his wife were ready to move back to Utah Valley to retire. “By that time, my kids were living in my house,” George said. “So we needed to find a new home. I just didn’t know we’d find one so fast.” After only three days of searching, the Wests found a house that had just arrived on the market… a house that was perfect for them.

George needed help and he needed it fast. Fortunately, he knew that UCCU had Home Buying Experts at work in every branch. “I just picked the closest branch, in Pleasant Grove, and walked in,” he said. “Actually, the branch was already closed. Fortunately, Brandon Searle, one of UCCU’s home buying experts working in Pleasant Grove, opened the door and let me in.  He didn’t mind staying after hours, just to help me.”

From there, Brandon began the process of helping the Wests into their home. “Brandon was wonderful,” George recalls. “He was very knowledgeable, not only with mortgages but with the whole buying process. He even gave us guidance that helped us save thousands of dollars. I would never have saved all of that money otherwise.”

For many, the home-buying process can be filled with obstacles, and Brandon helped the Wests navigate easily through them all. “We had to deal with our bank in North Carolina and Brandon made that so easy,” said George. “In the case of this home, there were also issues with the city and non-standard documentation needs, and Brandon took care of everything. He went out of his way to make it a smooth process for us. We’ve now closed on our home and we’re very, very happy.”

To read more stories, click here to read more articles from our BeMoneySmart Magazine.

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Transfer Loans and Support Local Schools

group of students talking and writing at school

Up to $125 in cash for you and the same dollar amount for the school of your choice!

Looking for ways to support your local schools?  Here at UCCU, we are always trying to find creative ways to give back to the community, so with your help, we can make that possible!  Simply transfer your existing loan(s) to UCCU.  We’ll pay you a .5% balance transfer cash rebate, up to $125, for every loan you transfer PLUS donate that same cash rebate amount to the school of your choice, in your name.

For 60 years, we’ve worked together with our members to build UCCU into one of the most progressive and fiscally stable financial intuitions in the nation. We’re celebrating our 60th Anniversary with cash donations to schools in Utah and we believe the best way to do that… is together.

Simply transfer your loan balances to UCCU, receive your cash and then select any public, private or charter school (K-12) in Utah to receive your donation.

Together, we can continue to build our community, our schools, and our future.

Click HERE to learn more information.

 

*Loan Transfer Cash Rebate: Transfer an existing loan to UCCU for 1/2% cash back up to $125.   1/2% cash back rebate applies to each auto, recreational vehicle, ATV, motorcycles, snow machine, credit card, home equity or personal loan (i.e. RC Willey, Sears, KOHLs, etc.) that are transferred from another lender to UCCU. The cash back amount is calculated by multiplying 1/2% (.005) by the loan balance transferred to UCCU, or $125, whichever is less. Rebate may be awarded in cash or as credit to the loan. Cannot be combined with any other loan offer. Equal Housing lender. NMLS # 407653. Federally insured by NCUA.  Limited time offer. During 2016, members may authorize UCCU to match their Loan Transfer Cash Rebate (dollar for dollar) and donate it to a Utah public, charter or private school of their choice (Kindergarten thru 12th grade: K-12).  School donations can be anonymous. Subject to normal credit approval and terms; UCCU may withhold offer from individuals who do not qualify for credit under UCCU’s guidelines. Offer expires 12/31/16. Some restrictions may apply.

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Recreational Vehicle Loans

RV1

Need some toys this summer but don’t have the cash?  Our RV loan rates make it possible for everyone to afford a summer full of exciting activities!  Imagine cruising on a lake on your new boat this summer or taking your family on that trip you’ve always wanted to take in your new Motorhome.

So what vehicles do our loans cover?

  • Trailer Homes
  • Boats
  • Trailers
  • Motorhomes
  • ATVs
  • Motorcycles (no dirt bikes)
  • Scooters

Benefits we also provide:

  • New and used recreational vehicles
  • Up to 100% of high book financing
  • Terms up to 12 years
  • Fast loan approval

Our fixed rates and terms are top of the line and easily affordable.

RV loansDon’t be a couch potato this summer!  Come into UCCU and purchase that new motorcycle you’ve always dreamed about or that ATV you’ve always wanted and have a fun summer!

Click HERE to apply for your RV loan today.

For more information, please click HERE to visit our Recreational Vehicle loan page!

 

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Meet your Mortgage Loan Officer

Here at UCCU, we have been helping people buy their homes in our community for decades.  We have experienced home buying experts that will help you every step of the way through the home buying process.  When it comes to real estate, most people have a lot of questions, your mortgage loan officer can help with any question, big or small.

With over 50 mortgage programs offered through UCCU, it’s important to have a mortgage loan officer you can trust.  Our loan officers view each client as a unique individual, along with the value of understanding regulatory changes to ensure each client gets the best financial plan for them.  While everyone’s situation is different, your mortgage loan officer can help you find the perfect solutions to your mortgage loan needs.

We provide 3 easy steps to follow as you prepare to purchase your home:

Finding your price range

The key to finding the perfect home is to find the right price that fits your budget.  A home buying expert will help you determine your price range.  Online calculators may be convenient, but they may not tell the whole story.  Other questions may arise such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, etc.  Getting help from a home buying expert is a quick and easy process.

Shopping for your home

You’ve been looking for months for your dream home, but having some complications along the way?  Your home buying expert will help you find the home you’ve been dreaming of.  We have the right information that makes searching for you home simple and stress free.

Closing your loan 

Finally, you have found the right home for the right price!  But now gathering all your documents and getting your loan ready for final approval can feel overwhelming.  That’s why your home buying expert will be right by your side every step of the way.  From ordering a home appraisal to locking the lowest possible interest rate and seeking approval from an underwriter.  UCCU has full time underwriters, which is a huge advantage for home buyers.  Your home buying expert will even be there when you close your loan.

So relax!  Our home buying experts make the home buying process easy, simple, and stress free.  We have all the tools you need to purchase your home from start to finish.  So make your home buying experience a fun and pleasant one with your UCCU home buying expert!

Ready to get started?  Visit our UCCU Buyer Relax page to take your first step!

Ready to apply? Visit our Home Loan Center page to get started!

Click here to search for a Home Buying Expert near you!

For questions, please call 801-223-7640

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Auto Smart: Concierge Service

Casey Paint

Are you tired of the stressful task of trying to find your next vehicle? Let us help you! UCCU’s Concierge Service helps you find the best car for the best price.  With Concierge Service, we take all the stress out of buying a car. With a no-hassle, no-haggle price, all you have to do is sign on the dotted line.  We have trained auto specialist that are eager to answer all of your questions.

The Auto Buying Program is a no-cost service offered exclusively to UCCU members. We refer you to a participating dealer near you that has agreed to our low, “no-haggle, one-price” Auto Buying Program on new vehicles and members-only special purchase incentives on a huge selection of pre-owned vehicles.

With our help, we can help you build your own car from a Cadillac to a Chevrolet.  We have many options to choose from.  Our website has countless pages full of inventory that you can search until you are satisfied.  Compare hundreds of vehicles and prices on our site and enjoy all of the benefits that the Auto Buying Program has to offer.

Our step-by-step process makes it easy to find the right vehicle for you.  We offer member testimonials for those who have tried our concierge service, we offer new car reviews, a loan payments calculator and much more.

So do not hesitate and call today 800-790-9612 and visit our AutoSmart site for all of your auto buying needs. From MPG to horsepower, AutoSmart can help you make a smart decision.

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