The best firefighter credit unions for auto financing
Buying a new or used auto? Consider using one of these firefighter credit unions
Rates are current as of October 2016, but are subject to change. Check with each bank, specifically, for their most recent rates.
By Andre Wong and Megan Wells, FireRescue1 Contributors
When we think of auto financing, it’s common to let the dealership find the best rate. But as a firefighter, you are entitled to special rates at many financial institutions. Some of the best rates can be found at credit unions.
Credit unions and banks share many of the same functions. Both can make loans, issue checks and credit cards, and offer investment services. The difference? Since credit unions are owned by their members, they can offer lower fees and interest rates in auto financing.
We measured current starting interest rates at a big bank, Wells Fargo, and compared starting interest rates for nearly 100 credit unions across the country to find the best deals. If you’re on the market for a new or used auto, check these rates out before applying for financing at the dealership.
For reference, here are current starting rates for Wells Fargo:
|New purchase (from dealer)||3.14 percent|
|Used purchase (from dealer)||3.60 percent|
|Used purchase (private party)||6.38 percent|
Why choose a credit union over a bank?
Since banks are for-profit companies, they have a responsibility to make money for their shareholders by collecting fees, charging interest on loans, and reinvesting their account holders’ money.
Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations owned by their members — in this case, firefighters. Since credit unions do not have to pay state or federal taxes, any profit they earn is either given back to their members or reinvested back into the organization itself.
Credit unions will probably charge lower interest rates than banks for auto loans, with fewer fees. Firefighter credit unions also offer lower interest rates on loans and credit cards than national banks.
The firefighter credit unions below all have lower starting at interest rates than Wells Fargo, depending on your credit score and lease terms. If there's one near you and you're comfortable with their terms, switching to a firefighter credit union could cut your auto interest rates by a substantial amount.
Are we missing a credit union? If you’re a member of a firefighter credit union in your area, please let us know in the comments below so we can include them in our list.