WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many organizations and companies offer savings for service members and veterans for Veterans Day and throughout the year, ranging from free meals to discounted products and services. AWARE (Americans Well-informed on Automobile Retailing Economics) offers service members, veterans and their families the tools and resources to successfully navigate the vehicle financing process, which can provide long-term savings.
A reliable vehicle is important for all families, but especially for military families during deployment, as it allows spouses to commute to work, run errands, go to the doctor, and visit family members. Doing a little homework can help service members make sound vehicle financing decisions to avoid economic challenges.
"Honoring the military, retired and active, is something we should do each day. We also have the responsibility to teach them money management skills they can use throughout their lives," said AWARE spokeswoman Susie Irvine. "Financial education can help service members make smart decisions that will benefit them and their families for years to come."
AWARE provides the following tips for service members, veterans and their families:
Before financing a vehicle:
- Set a budget based upon your needs and financial situation. If you need help, use the Auto Finance Calculator at www.autofinancing101.org.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report and check it for errors. You can obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. Your credit score can impact your ability to get credit and your interest rate.
- Compare annual percentage rates and other financing terms from multiple finance sources.
- Check if the finance sources offer rebates or special programs for members of the military.
- Become familiar with common terms you are likely to hear or read in the course of purchasing or financing a vehicle, including APR or Annual Percentage Rate, collateral, down payment, and lien. Many of these terms can be found at www.autofinancing101.org/resources/glossary.cfm.
- Understand the difference between buying and leasing an automobile. Be aware that leased vehicles typically are not permitted to be sent overseas.
- Carefully read the warranty agreement to understand its restrictions. Vehicle warranties generally are valid nationwide, but not overseas.
When arranging your financing:
- Stay within the price range you determined you could afford when you calculated your budget.
- Understand the value and price of optional products such as extended service contracts, credit insurance, or guaranteed auto protection. If you do not want these products, do not sign up for them.
- Negotiate your finance arrangements and terms.
- Read the contract carefully before signing it.
After completing the purchase or lease:
- Make your payments on time. Late or missed payments incur late fees and appear on your credit report, which can impact your ability to get credit in the future.
- Contact your creditor if you experience financial difficulty. Repossession can occur if you fail to make timely payments. Financial institutions want to work with you so you can fulfill your financing obligations and reclaim firm financial footing.
Additional information in English and Spanish can be found at www.autofinancing101.org.
AWARE is a vehicle financing industry coalition to help consumers understand how auto financing works. The group provides potential buyers of new and used autos with the tools and resources they need to successfully navigate the auto financing process.
AWARE's members include: American Financial Services Association, National Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers, American International Automobile Dealers Association, Ally Financial, American Honda Finance Corp., American Suzuki Financial Services, AutoNation, Ford Motor Credit Company, GM Financial, Group 1 Automotive, Inc., Lithia Motors, National Auto Finance Co., Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., Saab Financial Services Corp., Sonic Automotive, Inc., Southeast Toyota Finance, Toyota Financial Services, United Auto Group, Inc., and Wells Fargo Dealer Services.