WASHINGTON – In a letter to the editor in Oct. 15′s USA Today CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica cautions consumers to be aware of hidden costs in the low-rate auto financing deals being touted by finance companies. Mica said that low-rate dealer loans can have bigger pre-payment penalties, and can require bigger down payments. Also, financing is typically limited to the dealer’s current stock of cars. The letter also provided a practical example for consumers deciding whether to take a rebate or a lower financing rate, which many finance company deals offer. “If a consumer is offered 0% financing for 36 months or a $2,000 factory rebate on a $20,000 purchase, it may appear an easy choice: take the 0%. But if you take a loan rate of a fixed 7.4% – the current credit union average – and the rebate, financing only $18,000, your monthly payments are the same,” stated Mica. (See related story page 1.)

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