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First Time Auto Buyer Program

It's easier than it seems

Our First Time Auto Buyer Program is here to help get you into your first car loan. We've designed this program for buyers who have little-to-no credit and are ready to embark on the purchase of their first automobile. This loan comes with low rates, manageable terms and is an excellent way to establish a credit history.

Apply Online current rates 

Program qualifications

  • At least 18 years of age
  • 1 year on job, or 2 years in same line of work (no seasonal or temporary employment)
  • Minimum $1,500 gross base income (with proof of income)
  • No derogatory credit and previous auto trade line

Loan terms

  • Maximum loan amount $15,000. Max term 60 months.
  • Total amount financed not to exceed 90% of retail KBB or MSRP
  • 10% of purchase price required for down payment (cash or trade)
  • 10 years old vehicles or newer. Under 100k mileage. 

Please note, to apply for the First Time Auto Buyer Program, you must be an Oregonians CU member (or Eligible for Membership).
Click here for eligibility information.

Tips for first-time car buyers

  • Talk to us before you shop.
  • Take your time. Research your options.
  • Review the list of lending definitions
  • Slow Down! Don't think you have to spend a fortune to get a good car.
  • Never buy a used car without having it checked out by a mechanic.
  • Never buy a vehicle without checking out the cost insurance before you buy it.

Auto Calculators

Lending definitions 

There is a lot to think about when buying a car. How do you finance it? What does all the terminology like “lienholder” and "collateral” mean? Hopefully our list below will help to explain certain definitions used in the lending proces­s­ so you can be fully informed about your auto buying decision before you buy.
Credit score
Typically referred to as your “FICO” (Fair Isaac Credit Organization). A credit score is typically between 500 and 800 (the higher the number the better the score). A variety of factors go into your credit score, including if you pay your bills late, how many loans you have paid off, how long your loans have been open, etc. A good rule of thumb for building credit is to just make your payments on time!
Interest is the cost you pay to borrow money. The lower the interest rate, the less your loan will cost you in the long-run. Interest rates are determined by several factors, including the government, economy, the financial institution giving the loan, and your credit score.
Finance charge 
This is the total amount you will pay in interest and fees over the life of the loan. You might purchase a car from a dealership for $10,000, but if you pay 7% interest for 60 months, the total amount you will have paid back will be $11,883. Your finance charge would be:
$11,883 – $10,000 = $1,883.
Collateral is any physical property you are offering your financial institution to secure the loan with, in case you don’t pay back the money you borrow. In this case it will be a car but for a mortgage, it would be the home.
The lienholder is the lender whose name is on your collateral during the term of the loan. For instance, if you take out a car loan from Oregonians Credit Union, until you pay off your loan, your car is the collateral and Oregonians Credit Union is the lienholder.
Debt or debt-to-income ratio
How much money you owe each month (your debt) compared to how much income you receive. For example, if you have three outstanding loans totaling $850 dollars in payments each month, and your income is $2,500 per month, your debt-to-income ratio would be:
$850/$2500 = 34% (the lower the number the better)
Loan term
The loan term is the set length of time you have to repay your loan. Your initial loan amount, interest rate, and loan term will determine your payment amount. A good range for car loans is anywhere from 36 to 60 months. Although it will lower your payments, it's not advised to take a loan term over 60 months.
Remember: "loan term" and "loan terms" are two different things; the loan terms include the loan term and other characteristics of the loan, like interest rate, monthly payment, penalties, and repayment provisions.
When you have finally found the car you have been looking for, it’s easy to get pre-approved. With a pre-approved auto loan, you know how much you’ll qualify for before you visit the dealership. Plus, you’ll eliminate the expense and pressure of dealer financing.