First-Time Auto Buyer Program
Guidance and opportunity for every member of our community
Diamond’s First-Time Auto Buyer Program exists to help you build credit and get behind the wheel.
The excitement of buying your first car is huge. So is the responsibility. Educating yourself on the whole process will help you feel confident driving down the road in your first car.
Know how much you can afford
Sit down and make a list of all of your monthly bills and expenses, and see how much is left over for buying a car. Don’t just consider your car payments. If this is your first car, keep in mind that owning a vehicle also requires budgeting for the cost of gas, auto insurance, and maintenance of the vehicle. Once you’ve added those new costs in, see how much is left over for your car payment.
Plan ahead for vehicle maintenance
Planning ahead to pay for your inspections, oil changes, new tires, and unexpected repairs that you may need for your vehicle is easy at Diamond. When you make a car payment each month, consider adding to that sum, by setting up an automatic transfer to a Customizable Club Savings Account. We suggest putting an extra $50 per month aside to pay for car maintenance.
Do your research
Know what kind of car you want. Ask yourself: What is going to be the primary use of the vehicle? What kind of gas mileage do you need? How many people will you need to comfortably transport? Do you want a new or used car?
Once you’ve determined what kind of features you need, choose your vehicle. We suggest doing your homework online before visiting the dealer.
Now that you know what you want and have considered the costs, you’re almost ready to visit a dealership. To be completely prepared, get pre-approved for your auto loan before you go. A pre-approval gives you leverage in the car buying process and makes it easier to shop, because you already know your budget. Plus, you may even qualify for Diamond’s Auto Express Loan which makes the buying process even quicker.
Diamond offers auto and motorcycle loans
View our auto/motorcycle loans page for competitive rates and complete loan details.
Get pre-approval online
You can apply online right now, give us a call or email us. Be prepared to give your personal information, including your last 3 years of employment history. If you are under 21 and do not have a full-time job you will need a co-signer or co-borrower. Ask a trusted parent, family member, or friend with an established credit history if they would be willing to be your co-signer.
More on co-signers
In some cases, a borrower may have poor credit or no credit history. In these cases the credit union needs to have a person with a reliable credit report to ensure that the loan amount will be paid back in full. A co-signer is someone who accepts the responsibility of making loan payments if the borrower defaults on their loan payments. A co-signer is not an active borrower on the loan, and they will not get regular statements. A co-signer will only be notified about payments if the borrower defaults on the loan, and the credit union has to contact the co-signer to get payment. If you have a co-signer on your loan, it is important to remember that this person’s credit will be negatively affected if you make late payments or default on the loan. It is your responsibility to keep up with your loan payments or you would be hurting your co-signer, which is most likely a relative or good friend, if you do not take care of your loan.
More on co-borrowers
A co-borrower is an active signer on the loan, so they may receive loan statements, review the loan details and make payments on NetBranch, and have access to the loan information if they contact a Diamond representative. If your parent wants to help you get your loan, and also wants the ability to monitor the account, this may be your best option.
Zogo app for financial education
Get Diamond’s free Zogo app and learn about car buying and more to be ready to conquer all of life’s financial decisions big and small. Learn more