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What to do if you are having trouble making car loan payments

According to a report from TransUnion, about seven percent of all car loans are currently in some type of deferment plan. If you’re not in that group but are struggling with payments, it’s time to consider getting help. A late or skipped loan payment can damage your credit score. Don’t wait around until it’s too late. Here’s what to do if you are having trouble making your car loan payment.

Make a Call

The first thing to do is call your bank, credit union or whoever services your loan and see what options are available. If you financed your car through a dealer, check Edmunds for a list of pandemic relief programs from major manufacturers. The American’s Bankers Association also has a list of bank programs. If your auto loan is through a credit union, contact a rep and see what your options are. Before you make the call, keep in mind that your loan servicer is likely going to work with you. They want to retain you as a customer, and they will typically find a way to make that happen.

Crunch the Numbers

Once you know what’s available, sit down and figure out a way forward. How much can you reasonably afford to pay per month? How long do you expect to need this assistance? Remember that deferment programs can help, but the interest usually still piles up, so you want this help to be temporary.

Consider a Deferment

If you need a break from payments, consider a loan deferment. You’ll need to check with your lender to see if that is an option. This essentially presses pause on your auto loan payments for one to three months. As CNet notes, when the pause ends, your loan payments will either increase slightly or be extended to cover the time of the deferment. Remember: interest will still likely pile up during this pause. So have a plan in place for when the deferment ends.

Chris O'Shea