Jump to main content
CU*Talk: (833) 920-1473

First Time Car Buyer Program

Ready for your first set of wheels?
You've got this with our First Time Car Buyer Program!

Borrow up to $15,000*  -  Terms up to 60 months*

Establish credit history with our First Time Car Buyer Program!

  • Low rates and monthly payments
  • No co-signer needed
  • Optional protection packages available


Here's what you need to know before you borrow for your first car:


Credit Score: Typically referred to as your “FICO” (Fair Isaac Credit Organization). A credit score is typically between 300 and 850 (the higher the number the better the score). A variety of factors go into your credit score, including if you pay your bills late, how many loans you have paid off, how long your loans have been open, etc. A good rule of thumb for building credit is to just make your payments on time.

Simple Interest: Interest is the cost you pay to borrow money. The lower the interest rate, the less you pay back. Interest rates are determined by several factors, including the government, economy, the financial institution giving the loan, and your credit score.

Finance Charge: This is how much you will pay in interest and fees over the life of the loan. A car might be priced at $10,000 but if you pay 7% for 60 months the total amount you will have to pay back will be $11,883. Your finance charge would be $11,883 – $10,000 = $1,883.

Collateral / Security Interest: This describes what property you are offering your financial institution to secure the loan with, in case you don’t pay back the money you borrow. In this case it would be a vehicle.

Lienholder: The lienholder is the lender whose name is on your collateral during the term of the loan. For instance, if you take out a car loan from Illinois Community Credit Union, until you pay off your loan, your car is the collateral and Illinois Community Credit Union is the lienholder.

Debt to Income Ratio: How much money you owe each month (your debt) compared to how much income you receive. For example, if you owed 3 loans totaling $850 each month, and your income was $2,500 per month, you would take $850 divided by $2,500 to figure out your Debt to Income ratio. In this case, it would be 34% (the lower the percentage the better).

Loan Term: This is how long it will be before your loan is paid off. A good range for car loans is anywhere from 36 – 72 months (the majority are 60 months).

Pre-Approval: With a pre-approved auto loan, you know how much you’ll qualify for, before you visit the dealership. Plus, you’ll eliminate the expense and pressure of dealer financing.

Full Coverage Insurance: Refers to liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, but every insurance company may have a different definition for it. It does not usually include additional policies, such as medical insurance or uninsured motorist coverage.

Researching your vehicle: this means looking up the value and history of the vehicle you are interested in. Research can be done online through websites like: NADA, Kelley Blue Book and Carfax

Negotiating vehicle price: Based on the value and history that you have researched, if dealership is asking more than the value, the vehicle price can be negotiated with dealer.

Vehicle depreciation: Vehicles lose value over time. Primarily due to mileage, age and condition.

Repossessions: A repossession is when the loan is not paid as agreed and the financial institution takes the car back. This will not only leave you without a vehicle but will have a negative effect on credit and with that financial institution for possible future loans.

*Tax, plates, title application fees apply. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change and may vary based on creditworthiness and qualifications. Loans are subject to Credit Union approval. New money only for purchases. Restrictions may apply. Illinois Credit Union membership is required. Must be 18 years or older to qualify.

Back to Top