Military car loans and auto financing for service members

car loan

The following post originally appeared on our RoadLoans blogThe Open Road.

In 1994 when I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., I noticed an abundance of car dealers offering impossibly good terms for military car loans in the surrounding town of Jacksonville.

The lesson was immediately clear to me: Some other Marines stationed here have entered into deals like this, so a slew of car-loan-slinging competitors have come to town and now foist poor deals on unwitting troops.

The cars may have been good or bad, but the military auto loan deals were universally favorable to only the dealers, who provided financing in-house. Go figure.

Today, I make payments on auto loans over the internet, usually through automatic payments that I have set up. And if everything goes right, I don’t even think about them. Thinking back on 1994, I didn’t even have an email address. Without these current online conveniences, financial responsibilities can be much trickier.

Let me describe a plausible scenario:

You are a member of one of our fine U.S. fighting forces. You need transportation while in stateside garrison, and plan neither to spend a lot nor to get anything too flashy. Maybe. Ever the diligent, you go online to learn what you can, and feel that your research is going slowly. Instead, you proceed to a medium-sized, local dealership recommended by a couple of fellow troops, and after a brief conversation with a firm-handshaker, find yourself driving past the secure gate with four wheels and one monthly payment more than you left with.

All goes well. Your loan is sold to a bank that you’ve never heard of, so you start writing the checks to them instead. Six months later, you are given a week’s notice that you will be deployed for at least a year to an unknown location.

For those monthly debt expenses that require you to mail a check, you have made arrangements with friends. The arrangements fall through for understandable reasons, and upon your return, you are informed that you have a financial burden six or 10 times larger than you expected, and that if you don’t handle it by a certain date, your vehicle will be repossessed.

Could you have done many things differently to dodge these bullets?

Sure, but I’m going to propose just one: get financing BEFORE you go shopping, and secure approval for a military car loan that you know you can afford, with an institution you can trust, and with whom you can deal entirely over the phone and on the internet.

With RoadLoans, you can apply and get approval in five minutes, all over the internet. Payments and arrangements can be made online or over the phone, and they can be set up as an automatic payment recipient from any institution you bank with.

RoadLoans will allow you to designate another person to act on your behalf if you are out-of-pocket, and if you are deployed, they comply 100 percent with the SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act). The only time you’re actually required to deal directly with anyone is when signing documents to get the vehicle itself.

So visit and see how easy it is to make a purchase, set everything up, and let the work of buying your vehicle take care of itself.