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Tips for Smart Car Shoppers

Car season is here and the best way to be a savvy shopper is to know what you can afford. Decide what type of car you really need and set a price range that fits your budget.

You have a PAL at PHFCU.

PHFCU offers a PAL Certificate that can help you choose a car you want within a budget you can afford. Before visiting a dealership, see us and we can help you.


Gather all the information you can find including safety, quality, fuel economy, and insurance information to learn about the vehicles on your short list.

Review your credit report.

Get free copies of your credit report once a year by calling 1-877-322-8228 toll-free or visiting

Understand the difference between buying and leasing.

A consumer lease is for the use of personal property to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. Leasing a vehicle is different from renting a vehicle in that a lease has an agreed-upon term, has an early termination charge if the full term is not completed, has an end-of-term residual value, and usually has a purchase option.


Educate yourself.

Become familiar with common financing terms and practices so that you’re able to make informed decisions.



Take time negotiating the vehicle’s price as well as the financing. Make sure the terms are acceptable before signing the contract.


Understand the meaning, value, and price of optional services.

Examples include credit insurance, guaranteed auto protection, and extended service contracts. PHFCU offers these products at discounted rates.


Read contracts carefully before signing.

Ask questions about anything you don’t understand, and be aware of any laws that are specific to your state.


Make your payments on time.

Avoid late or missed payments. Repeated missed payments could lead to repossession and damage your credit. A negative mark on your credit report could affect your ability to get credit in the future.