What To Do When You’re Behind on Your Car Payments - Genisys® Credit Union

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What To Do When You’re Behind on Your Car Payments

on 12/27/2023

Woman in car with Santa hat

Life always has its ups and downs. When those downs include financial challenges, it can severely strain even the most well-crafted budget. If you fear falling behind on your car loan payments, don’t panic. You are not alone. Higher prices and inflation are taking a toll on consumers, and loan delinquencies are on the rise. 

The good news is that solutions are available. If you find yourself in this predicament, there are steps you can take to steer yourself back on track without losing your vehicle or damaging your credit score. We’re here to share some tips to help you navigate the financial bumps in the road. 

Communicate Early & Often 

The first and most crucial step you need to take is to reach out to your lender to let them know you are struggling before you miss a payment. Lenders understand that financial hardships can happen to anyone at any time. By reaching out early, you open the door to possible solutions that could prevent a negative impact on your credit score. Inform them of your situation openly and honestly, providing details about the challenges you’re facing. Your lender may offer alternative payment plans, temporary relief, or other options to help you stay afloat. 

Lenders Are Your Allies, Not Adversaries

Contrary to popular belief, lenders don’t want to repossess your car; they want to see you succeed in repaying your loan. Repossession is often the last resort for lenders, and they would much rather help to find a workable solution. Remember, your lender is a partner in your financial journey, not an opponent. Be proactive in asking for assistance; you might just be surprised at the flexibility and understanding they can provide. 

Take Advantage of Skip-a-Payment Options

Many financial institutions offer a valuable tool known as “skip-a-payment.” This option allows you to skip a monthly loan payment without suffering late fees or taking a blow to your credit score. While it’s not a long-term solution, it can provide temporary relief and buy you some time to reorganize your finances and address immediate challenges. If your lender offers this option, take advantage of the opportunity to gain extra time and breathing room to get back on your feet in preparation for the next month. 

Explore Loan Modifications

Some lenders may offer loan modification programs that temporarily reduce your monthly payments or extend the loan term. This option can be particularly helpful if your current financial setback is only expected to be temporary. However, keep in mind that modifying your loan may have long-term effects, such as increased interest payments. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of this solution carefully before deciding. 

Consider Refinancing 

If your overall financial situation and credit score have improved since you bought your car, you may be eligible to refinance your current loan and receive better terms. Refinancing could make your monthly payments more manageable by providing a lower interest rate or an extended repayment term. If your car is financed at another institution, switching your loan to the credit union could be an easy and affordable solution to save money and get your finances back on track.  

Sell or Downsize Your Vehicle

If your financial situation is dire, you may need to consider whether selling or downsizing your car is a viable option. While it is undoubtedly a tough decision, it may allow you to free up funds to cover your outstanding payments and prevent further financial strain. Opting for a more affordable vehicle might reduce your monthly expenses in the long run. 

Getting behind on your car loan payments is a stressful seat to be in, but it’s important to remember that there are steps you can take to get you back on the road to financial stability. The key is to take proactive measures to prevent the negative consequences of missing payments and damaging your credit score. Remember that everyone faces financial difficulties at some point, so you are not alone if you are struggling. What matters most is how you navigate these challenges, and we are here to help you through every step of your financial journey.     

If you want to learn more about the solutions available to those experiencing financial hardship, we’re here to help. Please stop by any of our convenient branch locations or call 248-322-9800 extension 5 to speak with a team member.


© Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org, 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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