Is it OK to make a late car payment?

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On average, Americans with car loans are paying $614 a month in car payments on new automobiles and $500 per month in used car payments, according to data from automotive industry resource Edmunds. Given how steep these payments can be, it might seem difficult some months to scrape together the funds to make them on time. But considering the potential consequences of a late car payment, those with auto loans may find themselves wondering, “When is a car payment considered late?” and “Is there a grace period for car payments?” Read on to learn more.

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Related: Leasing car basics

When Is a Car Payment Considered Late?

As with other banking agreements, a car payment is typically considered late if the amount due has not been posted to the lender on the date it is due. However, it’s always a good idea to check with the specific lender as to when a car payment is considered late. Some lenders may require the payment to be posted by 5 p.m., or the close of banks, on the due date, while others may allow payments to be posted until midnight.

Some lenders may also extend a so-called “grace period” to auto borrowers, which allows a payment to be counted as on-time so long as it arrives within a certain window after the due date.

Because many auto loans are considered “secured loans” — with the car itself used as collateral — timely car payments are especially important in order to avoid car repossession. The easiest way to avoid the consequences of a late car payment is by ensuring that all payments are made on time based on the schedule outlined in the terms of the car loan agreement.

How Many Days Is the Grace Period for Car Payments?

In general, a grace period for a car payment is 10 days past the payment due date. During this time, the car payment typically will be accepted without penalties or other consequences. That being said, there is no legally defined grace period attached to a car loan. Although some lenders may offer a late car payment grace period or be willing to waive late fees and penalties on a slightly overdue payment — especially if it’s a rare occurrence — they’re not obliged to do so.

Is There a Late Car Payment Fee?

Making a late car payment may result in late car payment fees and other penalties. Depending on the car loan agreement, these fees may be applied as soon as the payment becomes past due (for example, after 5 p.m. if the payment deadline is at the close of business), or if a grace period is offered and the payment is not made by the end of that window. However, just like a grace period, late fees on car payments will depend on the specific terms in the car loan contract as well as state laws. The best way to find out whether late car payments are subject to fees, and how those fees are determined, is to check the loan agreement or talk to the lender.

Is Partial Payment Considered a Late Car Payment?

Unfortunately, making a partial payment likely won’t help you out, as a partial car payment is generally still reported as a late payment. That being said, this could vary depending on whether this is your first time making a late payment or it’s become a habit. Depending on the lender, they may accept a partial payment for the time being if you’ve never made a late car payment before.

What Happens If I Still Do Not Pay After the Late Car Payment Grace Period?

If you still haven’t made a payment even after the late car payment grace period comes and goes, you could face consequences like late car payment fees, credit score declines and even repossession of your vehicle. Here’s the rundown on the possible repercussions.

1. Late Car Payment Fees

The first way that late car payments can cost you is in the form of extra fees and penalties. There is no set formula that dictates the cost of late car payment fees — these will vary from lender to lender and depend on the specific car loan as well as your state’s laws. As such, the only way to determine precisely how much a late car payment may cost is to consult the car loan agreement or check directly with the lender. (If an individual is at risk of a late payment due to a lack of cash flow, it’s a good idea to get this information in advance to weigh the full cost implications of missing the payment due date.)

2. Potential Impact on Your Credit Score

An individual’s credit score is a number used to inform future prospective lenders how likely that person is to pay their bills — and that score is determined by their existing credit payment behaviors. One’s credit score takes into account all types of existing debt, including car loans and the repayment history. Late payments are considered a sign of risk and may reduce one’s score, which in turn can make it even harder to get lower car payments anytime down the road.

While paying any bill late can indeed ding a person’s score, overdue payments are not noted on one’s credit report until they are a full billing cycle (usually about 30 days) past due.

3. Car Repossession

Car loans are secured loans that use the vehicle itself as collateral — meaning that if the purchaser defaults, the lender may recoup their loss by repossessing the car. But precisely how repossession works will depend on the car loan agreement and state laws. The car loan should spell out what constitutes a late payment, as well as if there is an acceptable grace period.

Once a payment is officially considered late, the lender may be entitled to reclaim the vehicle or to remotely deactivate it. When a car is at risk of repossession, an individual may have a right to “cure” or reinstate the loan, whether before or after repossession, if state law permits or this is written into the loan contract. If such a right exists, the individual would be able to make up the payment and keep their car.

It’s important to note that repossession does not necessarily mean an individual can walk away from their lease altogether. They may still be required to repay some or all of their loan, and there may also be additional repossession costs. Additionally, a car repossession will also remain on an individual’s credit report for seven years from the original late payment.

Options to Avoid Repossession

The best way to avoid a repossession is to avoid making a late car payment. But given the high cost of buying a car, that may be challenging, especially for individuals whose car loans have less than favorable rates.

One of the benefits of car loan refinancing is that it can give individuals an opportunity to take advantage of more favorable loan terms — such as lower interest rates, a longer loan term or a lower initial payment — to make car payments more affordable. In some cases, such as if an individual chooses to spread their payments out over a longer period, this can increase the total cost of buying a car. But for individuals for whom a car is a necessity, this may be a helpful tradeoff.

It is, however, important to note that there may be costs associated with refinancing, such as an early termination fee on the existing car loan and registration and/or title transfer fees. And for individuals who may be staring down a late payment? It’s always a good idea to talk to the lender before the payment is due to see what arrangements can be made. Some lenders may allow a payment deferral (the option to “skip a payment” may also be written into the lease agreement) or be willing to make accommodations on a case-by-case basis.

The Takeaway

Buying a car can be expensive — and if you’re at risk of a late car payment, it can be even more so. One of the best ways to reduce the risk of late payments (whether or not your lender offers a grace period) is to find the most favorable loan for your individual circumstances. 

Learn more:

This article originally appeared on LanternCredit.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Lantern by SoFi:

This Lantern website is owned by SoFi Lending Corp., a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license number 6054612; NMLS number 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

All rates, fees, and terms are presented without guarantee and are subject to change pursuant to each provider’s discretion. There is no guarantee you will be approved or qualify for the advertised rates, fees, or terms presented. The actual terms you may receive depends on the things like benefits requested, your credit score, usage, history and other factors.

*Check your rate: To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Lantern conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender(s) you choose will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

All loan terms, including interest rate, and Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and monthly payments shown on this website are from lenders and are estimates based upon the limited information you provided and are for information purposes only. Estimated APR includes all applicable fees as required under the Truth in Lending Act. The actual loan terms you receive, including APR, will depend on the lender you select, their underwriting criteria, and your personal financial factors. The loan terms and rates presented are provided by the lenders and not by SoFi Lending Corp. or Lantern. Please review each lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.

Personal Loan:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Personal Loan product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lenders/partners receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and Disclosures, Terms of Service, and Privacy Policy.

Student Loan Refinance:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Student Loan Refinance product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lender’s receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and Disclosures, Terms of Service, and Privacy Policy.

Student loan refinance loans offered through Lantern are private loans and do not have the debt forgiveness or repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or that may become available, including Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or Pay as you Earn (PAYE).

Notice: Recent legislative changes have suspended all federal student loan payments and waived interest charges on federally held loans until 01/31/22. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans, as in doing so you will no longer qualify for these changes or other future benefits applicable to federally held loans.

Auto Loan Refinance:

Automobile refinancing loan information presented on this Lantern website is from Caribou. Auto loan refinance information presented on this Lantern site is indicative and subject to you fulfilling the lender’s requirements, including: you must meet the lender’s credit standards, the loan amount must be at least $10,000, and the vehicle is no more than 10 years old with odometer reading of no more than 125,000 miles. Loan rates and terms as presented on this Lantern site are subject to change when you reach the lender and may depend on your creditworthiness. Additional terms and conditions may apply and all terms may vary by your state of residence.

Secured Lending Disclosure:

Terms, conditions, state restrictions, and minimum loan amounts apply. Before you apply for a secured loan, we encourage you to carefully consider whether this loan type is the right choice for you. If you can’t make your payments on a secured personal loan, you could end up losing the assets you provided for collateral. Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on the ability to meet underwriting requirements (including, but not limited to, a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral) that will vary by lender.

Life Insurance:

Information about insurance is provided on Lantern by SoFi Life Insurance Agency, LLC. Click here to view our licenses.

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How to refinance an auto loan

How to refinance an auto loan

In times of lower interest rates, you may start to wonder about whether you should refinance your auto loan. And why not? According to 2020 data from RateGenius, money saved with a new auto loan is at an all-time high. Auto loan refinancing deals saved borrowers $989.72, on average, in 2020.

With that much cash up for grabs, it’s no wonder that auto refinancing loans are in big demand. Key strategies for auto owners who want a good refinance loan experience include being prepared and making sure to understand all the details. Read on for information that may help.

Related: Soft vs hard credit inquiry: What you need to know

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When you refinance an auto loan, you’re essentially securing a new auto loan. You use the new loan to pay down the balance of the original car loan. That all takes time, effort and money (for loan applications and servicing fees). That’s why you should be sure you have a good reason before you go to the trouble of taking out an auto refinancing loan. 

So when should you refinance your auto loan? The fact is that vehicle owners refinance their auto loans for a variety of reasons that can all be worthwhile, depending on the situation. Most often, car owners refinance their loans to achieve the following personal financial goals, such as: 

  • To Lower Monthly Auto Loan Payments: Getting a new auto loan at a reduced interest rate can cut monthly payments down, leaving more cash in the till for other household expenses.
  • To Get a Lower Interest Rate: Depending on the loan, a car owner may also be able to save money over the lifetime of the loan by getting a reduced interest rate. Take a vehicle for which the original loan was $25,000 and the refinance loan is $21,000. For a 60-month loan where the interest rate is cut from 7% to 5%, for example, the refinancing could save approximately $6,000 over the life of the loan.
  • To Shorten the Loan Term: Car owners who are cash flush may shorten their loan terms to pay off the car faster, thus saving significant cash with lower interest rate payments.
  • To Extend the Loan Term: Car owners who need some financial breathing room after a job loss, an injury or illness, or a divorce or other issue can extend the term of the loan to reduce monthly (but not overall) loan costs.
  • To Get Some Extra Cash: If you have enough equity in your car, you might be able to take out a refinance loan that’s more than what you owe. That way you could get cash in hand, too. This is called a cash out car refinance. But realize that if you opt for this kind of refinancing, you will still have to pay back both the car loan and the extra money. 

Also recommended: If you’re new to the world of auto finance, learning some auto loan terminology may help.

istockphoto/demaerre

Where does a borrower start with the auto loan refinancing process? Ideally, with a good grip on what a refinancing deal has to offer. Auto loan consumers are best off when they fully understand the entire refinancing. It can help to make sure you have answers to these questions:

  • Do you meet the lender’s financial requirements? While each bank or lender has its own rules and regulations on auto refinancing, many banks have similar lending limits. For example, your auto usually must be less than 10 years old and have less than 125,000 miles on it. While the exact figures may vary from lender to lender, know possible vehicle restrictions heading into any refinancing deal.
  • Are there any prepayment penalties? It’s usually a good idea to pay off an auto loan as soon as possible. Doing so clears the debt and puts more money in your pocket. However, some financial institutions may stick you with a prepayment penalty if you pay off the loan early. Be sure to examine your existing loan contract for any prepayment penalties and factor them into your costs.
  • Do you know the total cost? Before green-lighting an auto loan refinancing deal, you need to know the full cost of refinancing the car. Make sure you know how much you’ll save per month and, even more importantly, over the life of the loan. When you refinance, you may be saving money on a monthly basis but adding more dollars to the overall cost of the vehicle. You’ll want to be sure you’re factoring any fees or penalties, too. A good auto loan refi calculator can be highly useful here.
  • What’s your credit score? Most lenders will expect a minimum credit score from potential borrowers. Typically, a FICO credit score of 700 or more will get you the lowest loan rates on an auto refinancing loan. That said, a FICO score of 660 should ensure that you qualify for a standard auto loan refinancing deal.

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With that prep work complete, now it’s time to figure out the best path to a good auto refinance loan. Get the job done right with these action steps.

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Start the auto loan refinancing process with some data-gathering. To file a loan application, you’ll typically need these documents:

  • Your original auto loan: Lending institutions will require the original loan paperwork to process a new loan. The original loan paperwork should include the loan amount, the monthly payment, the interest rate, the payoff number and the up-to-date loan balance 
  • Your vehicle information: Auto loan providers will also ask for your current vehicle information (think a Carfax for your own vehicle.) This document should include the vehicle’s make, model, year, mileage and vehicle identification number.
  • Your auto insurance paperwork: Make sure you have your car insurance records, including type of insurance and the amount of the insurance included in the policy. Auto lenders won’t make a loan to an uninsured or significantly underinsured vehicle owner. That’s because the lender has a stake in the vehicle as well. If the car is damaged or totaled, your lender will want to know it was properly insured. 
  • Your employment records: Your auto loan refinancing lender may also ask for proof of income and employment, to ensure you have the means to repay the loan.

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Kick off your auto loan refinancing deal by listing what you want from the loan, such as a lower interest rate, no or low fees, a streamlined application process, and solid customer service. Having a candid conversation with your current financial institution is also a good step to take since it may give you an idea of what kinds of loans you could qualify for. And as you look for refinancing loans, remember that you may also want to explore online auto loan refinancing options since they tend to have fewer fees and competitive rates.

gpointstudio / istockphoto

When you’ve found the loan you want, follow the instructions to apply. A typical auto refinancing loan application likely includes the following:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address and phone number
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Work status
  • Your bank’s name, address, routing number and checking account number (so the lender can deposit your loan amount, assuming it is not your bank)
  • Your vehicle information
  • Your auto insurance information 

Once you complete the application, review it thoroughly to confirm that the information is accurate and up to date. Any discrepancies or missing information may lead to a loan rejection. And know that the lender will likely perform a credit check.

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Once your application is approved, your new auto loan provider will pay off your old auto loan or give you the funds to do so, and become your auto loan manager. Future payments will go to the lender who handles your refinanced loan. It is, however, a good idea to confirm with your original lender that the auto loan was paid off and you don’t owe any more payments. After that, be sure you pay the new loan on time and start enjoying the savings from your refinanced auto loan.

DepositPhotos.com

Whether you simply want to get an auto loan with more favorable terms or you’re looking to adjust your car loan repayment period, refinancing your auto loan allows you to take advantage of lower rates, put more cash in your pocket, and get a loan that meets your unique personal financial needs. Handled correctly, refinanced auto loans can be a big win-win for vehicle owners, who can gain an auto loan with better terms and potentially save money in the process.

Learn more:

This article originally appeared on LanternCredit.comand was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


Lantern by SoFi:

This Lantern website is owned by SoFi Lending Corp., a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license number 6054612; NMLS number 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

All rates, fees, and terms are presented without guarantee and are subject to change pursuant to each provider’s discretion. There is no guarantee you will be approved or qualify for the advertised rates, fees, or terms presented. The actual terms you may receive depends on the things like benefits requested, your credit score, usage, history and other factors.


*Check your rate: To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Lantern conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender(s) you choose will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.


All loan terms, including interest rate, and Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and monthly payments shown on this website are from lenders and are estimates based upon the limited information you provided and are for information purposes only. Estimated APR includes all applicable fees as required under the Truth in Lending Act. The actual loan terms you receive, including APR, will depend on the lender you select, their underwriting criteria, and your personal financial factors. The loan terms and rates presented are provided by the lenders and not by SoFi Lending Corp. or Lantern. Please review each lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.


Personal Loan:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Personal Loan product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lenders/partners receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. 


More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and DisclosuresTerms of Service, and Privacy Policy.


Student Loan Refinance:

SoFi Lending Corp. (“SoFi”) operates this Student Loan Refinance product in cooperation with Even Financial Corp. (“Even”). If you submit a loan inquiry, SoFi will deliver your information to Even, and Even will deliver to its network of lenders/partners to review to determine if you are eligible for pre-qualified or pre-approved offers. The lender’s receiving your information will also obtain your credit information from a credit reporting agency. If you meet one or more lender’s and/or partner’s conditions for eligibility, pre-qualified and pre-approved offers from one or more lenders/partners will be presented to you here on the Lantern website. 


More information about Even, the process, and its lenders/partners is described on the loan inquiry form you will reach by visiting our Personal Loans page as well as our Student Loan Refinance page. Click to learn more about Even’s Licenses and DisclosuresTerms of Service, and Privacy Policy.


Student loan refinance loans offered through Lantern are private loans and do not have the debt forgiveness or repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or that may become available, including Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or Pay as you Earn (PAYE).


Notice: Recent legislative changes have suspended all federal student loan payments and waived interest charges on federally held loans until 09/30/21. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans, as in doing so you will no longer qualify for these changes or other future benefits applicable to federally held loans.


Auto Loan Refinance:

Automobile refinancing loan information presented on this Lantern website is from MotoRefi. Auto loan refinance information presented on this Lantern site is indicative and subject to you fulfilling the lender’s requirements, including: you must meet the lender’s credit standards, the loan amount must be at least $10,000, and the vehicle is no more than 10 years old with odometer reading of no more than 125,000 miles. Loan rates and terms as presented on this Lantern site are subject to change when you reach the lender and may depend on your creditworthiness. Additional terms and conditions may apply and all terms may vary by your state of residence.


Secured Lending Disclosure:

Terms, conditions, state restrictions, and minimum loan amounts apply. Before you apply for a secured loan, we encourage you to carefully consider whether this loan type is the right choice for you. If you can’t make your payments on a secured personal loan, you could end up losing the assets you provided for collateral. Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on the ability to meet underwriting requirements (including, but not limited to, a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral) that will vary by lender.


Life Insurance:

Information about insurance is provided on Lantern by SoFi Life Insurance Agency, LLC.

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