How to Apply for an Auto Loan Online

While it’s always a good idea to pay for your new or used car with cash, most people simply can’t afford to do that, which is why it’s so important to learn how to apply for a car loan online.

Luckily, the Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) offers easy ways to get approved for an auto loan online, along with loan payment protection and auto buying services that ensure your complete peace of mind.
If you’re wondering how to apply for an auto loan, then you’ve come to the right place, because this blog post will explain the process from start to finish!

Getting Ready to Buy

Once you have decided to buy a new or used car, it’s time to go hunting for the perfect vehicle
And while we offer auto buying services that can help on that front, what this blog post will focus on instead is how to prepare yourself for that search by finding out how much money you’ll be eligible to borrow.

This will help you narrow down the vehicles within your price range and allow you to shop more efficiently.
If you want our advice, then before you start shopping for the right car, let’s first explain how to get approved for a car loan.

Save Money & Set a Budget

If you are thinking about how to get a car loan, consider a down payment to reduce your loan amount and monthly payments. Budget for a monthly car insurance premium payment, and also consider “gap” insurance (CU SoCal offers it) to cover the difference between what you owe and what insurance would pay you if your vehicle is stolen or totaled in an accident.

Want Help Shopping?

Try CU SoCal’s auto buying service, where dedicated experts can help you find the vehicle you need.
We will look for the best cars that fit your profile, find vehicles that you get to review and approve, and all you’ll need to do is make the down payment, and the vehicle will be delivered to your doorstep!

If you do choose to do the work yourself, consider utilizing the following car shopping websites to help ensure that you make a well-informed buying decision: US News, Car Survey, Consumer Reports, etc.

Review Safety Reports

In most states, all cars are required to have:
  • Seat belts
  • A latch to attach a child seat
  • Electronic stability control
  • Front airbags
  • Parking sensors (where available)
But since the question is about ensuring your safety and also keeping your investment secure — it’s best to perform due diligence on the car’s safety features before you decide to buy it.

Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, enter the vehicle make and model, and see its NHTSA’s safety rating to figure out if the car you’re considering has a great safety record

Preapproval vs. Pre-Qualification

Once you’ve picked a vehicle (or at least developed an idea of what you want, how much it will cost, and how much you’ll need to borrow), the next step in the buying process will be to secure a loan.

This raises questions like how to qualify for a car loan and how to get pre-approved for a car loan? These are the same sorts of questions you’ve been asking yourself ever since you started thinking about buying your next vehicle, right?

Pre-qualification helps determine if your loan application will be approved, and at what rate you’ll get to borrow money.

In contrast, preapproval means that you already have approval from the lender to take out a loan, because you’ve already proven that you meet certain eligibility conditions.

Both of these processes are worth completing when shopping for a new car, as they can help you narrow down just how much vehicle you’re able to afford.

How to Apply For a CU SoCal Auto Loan?

A quick search for queries like how to get a car on finance, or how to get an auto loan will show you that there is plenty of help available online.

But who should you trust for your financial needs?

CU SoCal offers competitive auto loans in Southern California, with rates as low as 3.19% APR, up to 120% finance approvals, no funding fees, quick preapprovals, an Auto Buying Center, and low-cost loan payment protection.

We can even help people with bad credit! In fact, helping those with less than ideal credit is one of our specialties, and for details on how you can take advantage of this program, please visit Credit Challenged Auto Loans.

CU SoCal’s Current Auto Loan Rates

For new cars, including model years 2019-2020 our rates are set at:
  • A 48-month term has an APR 3.19%, and its established payment per $100 is 2.22
  • Up to 60 - 72 months, APR is 3.39%, and established payment per $100 is 1.54
  • Up to 84 months, 3.89% APR, 1.36 is established payment per $100
For used cars, including model years 2010 to 2018 our rates are set at:
  • A 48-month term has an APR 3.39%, and its established payment per $100 is 2.23
  • Up to 60 - 72 months, APR is 3.59%, and established payment per $100 is 1.55
  • Up to 84 months, 4.09% APR, 1.37 is established payment per $100

Loan Protection

One of the best reasons to borrow from CU SoCal is our auto loan protection benefit, which helps borrowers prevent having their cars repossessed.

With a loan from a traditional bank, car dealership or, another auto lender, even missing a single payment or two can lead to repossession, but CU SoCal puts protections in place that secure our borrowers and their vehicles in case the loan isn’t paid on time.

The way the program works is that it offers financial assistance for borrowers facing difficult economic or life situations.

Next, let’s look at the loan protection benefits in detail.

Loan Payment Protection

If you sign up for our loan protection program, then you’ll be protected from a whole series of problems, including:
  • In case of unemployment, the borrower gets six-month coverage
  • In case of an accident or a disability, we offer 12-month coverage
  • In case of death — all remaining loan balance is settled
This program is an excellent option for anyone borrowing a significant amount of money to purchase their vehicle, especially for those borrowers who don’t have enough money saved to pay off the full value of their loan.

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP)

This protection comes into play when your car gets stolen or totaled in an accident.

With GAP insurance in place, you won’t be forced to take a total financial loss should something happen to your car. If your new car was stolen or totaled, your main car insurance will only pay what your car was worth – not what you owe on it. That “gap” can be thousands of dollars, but Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) can protect you from this financial exposure for a fraction of the cost.


Mechanical Repair Coverage (MRC)

If you have signed up for the mechanical coverage plan, you are entitled to a warranty against all significant auto repairs, even beyond the factory warranty on your vehicle. 

What You Need to Get Started

If you’re ready to apply for an auto loan from CU SoCal, make sure to have these documents at hand before you get started with the pre-qualification or pre-approval:
  1. Your Driver’s license or government-issued National ID Card
  2. Your vehicle registration or purchase order
  3. Your proof of insurance
Worried About Your Credit Score? Don’t Fret! We’ve Got You Covered.

Are you concerned that your online auto loan application may be rejected because of a bad credit score?
It’s true that having poor credit makes it more difficult to get qualified or approved for an auto loan, but that’s not the only factor we take into account!

In fact, at CU SoCal, we consider your loan application from a variety of different angles, and a bad credit score is just one of them, so even if you have credit problems, don’t let that dissuade you from applying with us!
If your auto loan application is approved, we’ll then design a plan that works for you.

Apply For An Online Auto Loan Today!

CU SoCal has helped people purchase new vehicles for over 60 years. You can count on us to get you the perfect car loan on favorable financial terms, allowing you to enjoy your new ride and meet your monthly payments without burning a hole in your pocket!

Ready to apply? Get started here!

Building Better Lives

Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


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