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Credit union advisers to give tips on car buying

It may be possible to spend more than necessary when buying a car. Today at 6:30 p.m., two USF Federal Credit Union auto advisers will present a seminar that could help make the car-buying experience less expensive.

The credit union is looking to give students a realistic picture of car buying. Felice Lee, auto adviser for the USF Federal Credit Union, said the first step is for students to get their finances in order, including obtaining the proper loans. It is also important to do research ahead of time so as not to waste your’s and the dealer’s time.

Acquiring a good credit history is important in securing future purchasing power. Lee said students are often talked into having their credit run at the dealership. Each time someone runs a credit check, the credit score drops, and it does not reflect well on the purchaser’s credit.

Lee said credit checks contain three things that assess what is going on in a person’s life. One is the capacity to pay back a loan, the second is character and the third is collateral (the car). Credit checks also show instability. If a person’s credit is being run all the time, it makes them look unstable, Lee said.

She said this can be avoided by not purchasing items that require a credit check, such as cell phones and apartments.

Lee said that students are often ambitious to buy a new car because of the excitement. Many times the credit union is not able to approve them due to the lack of a credit history.

“Credit follows you for all of your life. It provides for a lot of privileges, and if you have bad credit, it looms over your head forever,” Lee said.

Lee interacts with a variety of people on campus, such as professors, newly established graduates and younger students.

“When we sense that someone is uncomfortable with buying, we’ll go to the dealership with the student.” Lee said.

Most students need a letter of commitment when applying for a car loan and have their parents co-sign for them. This helps both the parents’ and the students’ credit as long as the payments are made. If payments are not made, negative consequences affect the credit of all parties involved.

Auto advisers, such as Lee and Pescatore, set students up with contacts the credit union has already done business with. The credit union has prices on most vehicles to give the students an idea of the cost.

Lee provides advice on the car-buying experience and said many students get swept away with new car syndrome.

When it comes to buying a car, many students do not realize that advertising for the car can be misleading. “When you see an advertisement at a dealership, it is designed to get you in the door, not to sell you that car,” Lee said.

Lee suggests that students maintain their current car, save their money and make a big down payment on a new car after doing lots of research.

For those who cannot make the seminar, Lee encourages students to come in and speak with her at the credit union.

  • Contact Kelly Icardiat