GECU Money Smart Monday


Last week’s answers

How can I use GECU financing to buy a used car?

The easiest way to purchase a used vehicle and finance it with GECU is to visit any of the dealerships in our indirect lending program. You can find the list by visiting, clicking on “Loans & Credit Cards,” and then clicking on “New and Used Car Financing.” Once you select a vehicle and agree on a price, the dealership will have you fill out a credit application and will submit it to GECU on your behalf. You can sign all of the documents right at the dealership. Another way to arrange GECU financing for your pre-owned auto purchase is to contact us directly. You can apply online at or by calling 778.9221.

Where can I get preapproved for a car with GECU?

Getting preapproved is easy! Apply online at or by calling 778.9221. A loan officer will take your application, answer any questions that you have and get you ready for your car-shopping adventure.

What do I need to get preapproved with GECU?

Any time that you’re applying for a loan, it’s helpful to have your ID, proof of income, proof of residence and contact information for references. When applying, be ready to provide at least two years of employment history as well as prior addresses if you haven’t lived at your current address for at least two years.

How much credit can GECU approve if I make $50,000 a year?

When reviewing a loan application, our analysts consider many factors that go beyond just your income. Good credit history, low debt and collateral are just a few of the factors that will help you qualify for higher dollar loans. Apply to get preapproved by visiting or by calling 778.9221.

What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved for an auto loan?

Prequalified means that the financial institution considers you likely to qualify for an auto loan. Getting preapproved for an auto loan means that you are approved for a specific dollar amount. Once you are preapproved, GECU will provide you with a preapproval certificate so you can start shopping for a car that meets your needs and preferences. If you are shopping at any of the dealerships in GECU’s indirect lending program, give the certificate to the dealership. The certificate will have the loan details and GECU’s requirements. You will sign a contract with the dealership, and the dealership will send the loan documents to GECU. If purchasing from a third party, such as a used car lot or an out-of-town dealership, the certificate is given to you for reference. You will sign a contract with the third party and finance through their options. Visit to get preapproved and to use our car-buying checklist.

How much should I give as a down payment for a car?

When purchasing a vehicle, in addition to the cost of the vehicle, you will also have to pay tax, title and license. Making sure that your down payment covers the cost of these items will help you avoid adding negative equity and will put you in a better position to get approved for a loan. If this is your first auto loan or if you have had credit issues in the past, you may be asked to put more as a down payment. You may also consider putting a larger down payment to help lower your monthly payment. Get started on your car-buying journey by calling GECU at 778.9221.

Is there a difference in the financing of a new car and a used car?

There are several factors that can impact the rate of your auto loan, including how long you decide to finance, the year of the vehicle and your credit score. A newer car will often help you qualify for a lower rate. Depending on the year of the vehicle, interest rates are generally higher for used vehicles. A higher credit score, a newer vehicle and a shorter finance term will result in a lower interest rate. 

What should I do if I am upside down on my current auto loan?

There are many factors that can cause someone to be upside down on their auto loan. This is also known as carrying negative equity or owing more than the car is worth. If you are looking to trade out of a vehicle with negative equity, start saving for a down payment on your new vehicle and look for vehicles with large discounts and rebates. The discounts and rebates can help offset the negative equity.

Does GECU refinance vehicle loans?

Yes. If you are looking to potentially lower your interest rate and monthly payment, contact GECU by calling 778.9221, toll free at 1.800.772.4328.  

How long does it usually take to pay off an auto loan?

GECU offers a variety of loan terms to help fit your budget with options up to 84 months. You can pay off the loan sooner with no penalties by paying extra each month or by applying a large sum to the loan.

What sort of interest rate should I expect?

Interest rates are typically lower on secured loans compared to unsecured loans. At GECU, the interest rate on your auto loan is dependent on your credit score, the year of the vehicle and the length of the loan. Rates currently range from 1.99% APR, as a limited-time offer, to 17.99% APR depending on the above factors.

Is it better to lease or to buy a vehicle?

The answer to this is completely preferential. If you don’t want to worry about restrictions (i.e., mileage, wear and tear, travel areas, etc.) and a set deadline for when you have to trade in your vehicle, then purchasing might be a better option for you. If you like to trade in your vehicle every few years, don’t want to worry about negative equity and don’t mind following certain restrictions, then leasing a car may work better for you.

Does financing a car hurt my credit?

An auto loan with on-time payment history will generally help your credit score and boost your credit history.

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