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How Do Car Title Loans Work?

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An auto title loan is a secured loan with a lien on your vehicle’s title. How title loans work may seem complicated, but they are much simpler than people think. Before you look into other short term financial options like payday loans, or even credit card cash advances, you may want to consider a title loan. Max Cash® Title Loans is here to tell you how car title loans work.

The amount you can get is based on your vehicle’s make, model, year, mileage, and general value of your car. Title loans use a vehicle as collateral in order to secure the loan funding, this gives lenders the ability to approve people despite poor credit or even past bankruptcy. Ability to repay the loan is also taken into consideration. The online title loan process is extremely simple, and fast. Many title loan borrowers are able to receive their funding the same or the next business day!5

To get started on the process, you’ll first want to gather the right documents. These include a copy of your car title, current insurance, proof of income, and driver’s license. Next, give us a call, text or chat at 855-561-5626 and get approved.5 Or if you prefer, fill out the online application and we’ll get back to you immediately. You don’t even have to have a bank account to get started!

Breakdown of the Title Loan Process and Features

Max Cash Title Loans is always here to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions about your loan terms, proof of insurance, loan payments, refinancing, payment history, or anything else related to your auto title loan, we are here to help. Call us at 855-561-5626 seven days a week!

Here is a breakdown on what to expect when it comes to the title loan process:

Submit your information to apply, even with bad credit! Provide a few simple documents and upload online
Enjoy low payments, and competitive interest rates 4 With some loans, the payments continue to lower every month with every on-time payment 4
Last payments could be 50% less from where they began! 2 Up to 3 years to pay off the loan 3
Potentially Borrow more money at your current APR, annual percentage rate 1 2 No hard credit check until the end of the application process!

So Where Do You Begin?

First thing you need to know is if your State allows you to get a title loan. Some don’t.

Select your state below to see if your state allows title loans:

Select Your State

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Is it possible by law to get a title loan in ALASKA?

Maybe – Tribal lenders

Second Step

You fill out the online form on our site. This will tell us two things. One, who you are and how to contact you and two, information about the vehicle. We then use a couple of programs to figure out the value. Kelly Blue Book and sometimes Black book. These will tell the wholesale value of the vehicle.

Next, we go to our lenders and see which one has the best program. We determine the best program based on the amount they will loan you, the duration and annual percentage rate of the loan, and your ability to make the payments.5 We then inform you and the lender of your inquiry and stay in contact with you until you have either told us that you no longer need the loan or that you have been given the loan and are happy with the result.

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When you get ready to get your money you MAY need following:

 Govt. issued photo ID
 Free and Clean Title
 Proof of Income
 Proof of Residence
 Three references not related to you
 Insurance (some states require this but not all)
 Social Security Card (or a Document on which your name and SSN both are listed)
 Pictures of your car (all 4 sides including VIN and Odometer).

We can help you with the above if you don’t have what your lender needs.

Upon approval, your lender will ask you to sign a loan agreement. They will also verify the condition of your vehicle and the odometer, as well as be placed as a lienholder on the title of your car until the vehicle title loan is paid off.

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In all cases our company believes that you should not take out more money than you need and you should know that car title loans are expensive and you may have other options than taking out this loan. You should consider ALL your options before taking out a title loan. Never take out more than you need and never take out a loan if you cannot afford the payments comfortably within your income.

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Understanding the Interest Rates:

APR (annual percentage rates). This is the interest rate based on an annual, or yearly, total.

EXAMPLE: If you had a 29% interest rate and you borrowed $5000, then your yearly interest would be $1450 ($5000 x 29%).

MPR (monthly percentage rates). This is the interest on a monthly basis. Car Title Loans are often dealt with in terms of MPR since they are meant to be short-term loans.

So what did we learn here?
 Title loans are meant to be short-term loans, and can come with higher interest rates.
 If you can, never take a title loan out and take the full term to pay it off. The more you pay each month, the sooner you will be able to pay off your loan.
 If you have having trouble keeping up with your title loan payments, reach out to your lender as they may be able to give you different terms or rates. 4

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Payment Amounts:

Your payment amount is determined by how long you take out the loan and the loan amount. Some people borrow to the amount they can fit in their monthly budget and not based on how much they need. An example is you are offered $5000 but you see the payment is $532.35 for 2 years. Way too high. You need it $100 less per month. The title loan company would write the contract for 42 months then. Longer terms lowers the payment but raises what you would pay in interest.

So you want to pay off the loan in 24 months, not 42… lower the amount you borrow. If you borrowed $2510 you would have a monthly payment of about $250.

So you can adjust the amount of your payment based on the length of the loan OR the amount you borrow…or both.

Want to customize your amount to match a payment you can afford? Use our car title loan estimator – Max Cash Calculator.

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How Your Car is Valued for a Title Loan:

There are 5 main things the title lender needs to know on the car itself:

Year       Make      Model       Mileage       Trim      

Trim package and extras you have added since purchase of your vehicle, also known as “aftermarket items,” are frequently overlooked, but could make a difference between the vehicle being qualified or not. Also, if you know the VIN number of your car, this will make it much easier an much more accurate to get the correct value.

Your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is easy to find. Open the driver’s door and look on the side of the door. It’s there. It is also found on the driver’s side window if you look from the outside in on the driver’s side and look at your dashboard it’s there too. Also your VIN will be on your car title! You may also find it on your insurance card.

Now that you have all the info that the car title loan company will want for the car, take pictures. Four sides and a picture of the dashboard odometer. Providing this speeds up the process of actually getting the loan and provide it to either us or the lender if we are that far ahead.

So now that the title loan lender has everything they need, how do they use this information to value the vehicle?

Each lender uses different programs. One uses Kelly Blue Book while another might use Black Book while another might use their own software. This goal is simple, to determine the auction value of the vehicle. This is the value vale of the vehicle if it taken to auction and sold. Unfortunately, this is what could happen if you neglect to make your car title loan payments. Car Title Loan lenders typically lend 50%-90% of a vehicle’s full value. 4

What they will not take into consideration is:

  • Sentimental value
  • Aftermarket products that harm the value
  • You thinking that the car is a classic when it has not officially been determined as a classic.

Please note that Salvaged Vehicles (it will say this on the title) has about 50% of its value lost before they even start the process. Some companies will not loan on a salvaged title. Check with us to tell you the lender that will.

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The Loan Contract and What You Will Need at a Signing:

To start, if you are going to sign in person, bring your ID, the title to your car, and anything else that the lender has specifically requested. Some totally online lenders will have you Federal Express your title to them using THEIR label and you MUST go to an actual Federal express store…not a mail drop. In this case you will DocuSign the contract.

Next, it is important to know that the date of the contract MUST be the same date you get the funds. If it is off by a day, you will need to resign another contract.

Depending on the state you get the loan, you may also be furnished with some additional documents for you to read and understand. Typical ones are:

  • Federal Privacy Notice
  • Understand your credit score and where it was pulled and what was the number.
  • An Application (yes even at this stage)
  • State Disclosure notices about Title Loans and loans in general.
  • How to make a payment and any online customer portals they have and how to access them.
  • Federal regulations pertaining to electronic funds.
  • One of the things you most probably be asked to sign is a Power of Attorney. This is needed so that the lender can act on your behalf in regard to the title lien holder addition.

The Contract:

1. The first part is usually your general information such as your name, address, co-borrower, and the lender information.

2. The next part is usually about your car.

3. The next part starts out with the agreement understanding of what you are doing.

4. You will typically see the TILA disclosure which will look like this:

Federal Truth-In Lending Disclosure Statement Image

Something important to remember, the contract and the interest is figured out by the amount of months you schedule to contract. If you pre-pay the interest will be much lower. 3 4

5. You will see an itemization of the amount financed. This will show what you got directly, what was paid to others on your behalf, and others such as DMV fees and admin fees.

6. Then there will usually be a section about your and the place to send your payments.

7. Definitions usually follow, with that companies agreement terms on that Definition. Examples would be Simple Interest, Payments, Prepayment, Late fees, ReturnedPayment Item Fee

8. There is usually a paragraph explaining the security interest the car title loan company has on your vehicle.

9. You should see a section on the use of the vehicle. This paragraph basically is a “no funny stuff” type of verbiage like using it as a rental, intentionally altering it during the duration of the loan, attempt to transfer it and move it out of the country.

10. Insurance clause. Either you have it, or they may get it on your behalf and change you for it. Either way, the car must have insurance.

11. Default clause which is basically if you lied to get the loan or you file for bankruptcy. Also if you violate any part of the agreement.

12. Remedies. Explains what they will attempt to do if they need to collect if you don’t pay.

13. Extensions. Language talking about if they will or will not allow you to extend or skip a payment.

14. Maximum Rate as permitted by law. Usually it is them saying they will not exceed the legal rate allowed.

15. Power of Attorney. This allows them to sign your name on the title. You may also have another power of attorney to sign that the state needs as well.

16. Credit reporting and confidentiality: Most title loan companies report to credit bureaus.

17. Your warranty: Basically saying you have the legal right to enter into the agreement.

18. Severability. If some part of the contract is flawed does not invalidate the other parts.

19. Governing law. This is usually the state which will govern the contract legal rights for both of you.

There is usually an exhaustive “arbitration clause” with many paragraphs. This is done to push any disputes into a cheaper way to handle the disagreement. which is arbitration… then force it to the courts.

There MAY BE a clause from the States Oversight department which will give you information you may need if you have an issue.

…and finally, signature panels for you to sign and maybe also to get your fingerprint.

A typical signing takes about 20-30 minutes. Maybe longer. Read before you sign and make sure you get a copy of everything before you leave. That is your right.

If it’s an online title loan its just a few clicks on your computer.

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How Do You Get Your Money:

Car Title Loan lenders are finding more and more ways to get you your money. There are a few common ways, as well as some alternative ways you may receive your car title loan money.

Common Ways to Receive Funds
1. Go directly to their store or location.
2. Go to a partner store. These are usually check cashing or money exchange centers.
3. If the state allows it, have a notary public meet you at a place of your choosing.
4. Have it wired to your account (same day)
5. Have it ACH’ed to your account (next day)
Not So Common Ways to Receive Funds
1. Go to a MoneyGram location such as Walmart
2. Federal express a check to you Check with the lender to see what options are open for your situation.

Check with the lender to see what options are open for your situation.

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After You Get Your Money:

When you got your loan, the lender would have advised you on how to make the payments. The larger companies have customer portals, just like at your bank, which will tell you your balance, your payments, and what is owed. Most have a gateway to paying online.

Some companies require you to come in and pay in person. This also allows them to make sure you still have the car but again, usually it is the smaller companies who do this and the bigger ones have a customer portal.

Be sure to check and see if you can pay via Western Union to the lender. If you cannot pay online and you have cash and miss the deadline for the payment for that day, you can still pay (if they are set up for it) with Western Union and your payment will be dated the same day.

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What Happens if You Can’t Make Your Payment That Month:

The first thing people do is panic. Don’t. The natural reaction when you know you are about to miss the payment is don’t call and hope you can figure it out before the company repo’s the car. Repo is NOT the first, second or even the third step. Repo is when all the steps prior have ended with you not even trying to fix this.

Get all your courage up and call the title loan company and ask for an extension. That’s it. Not too hard. Most will do this for you.

If it is clear that even an extension won’t work because you had a hardship, ask for the monthly payment to be passed for that month. Explain why. Be honest.

The most important thing is to stay in contact and be proactive. When you hide, the lender will typically try to reach you by any way they legally can and that means possibly calling the people you listed in your references. They will email you, write you and call you. Avoid all this by calling them first and telling them what changed and what you can or cannot do.

Remember that on the other end of the phone is a not a mean collector but a person just like you. If you talk in a nice voice and you do not act aggressively or evasive, you will find a nice voice talking back to you.

A guy hugging his car

Avoiding Repossession:

If you don’t want to end up losing your car, the best way to avoid repossession is to keep the money flowing back to the lender…. even in small amounts. That shows you are trying. Even if it is partial payments, those small payments will help you in your conversations with the lender. They would rather repo a car from a person who is intentionally doing everything they can to avoid the repo by lying about their identity or making sure that they have no way to find the car.

1. First, if you have not defaulted on the loan that means you still have time. Try to catch up on your payments.
2. Stay honest. Keep your side of the road clean by not lying about your situation to the car title loan agent.
3. See if another car title loan company will refinance the vehicle. Do this ONLY if it improves your ability to repay the loan.
4. Propose a new loan with the company you have now but on better terms. It is cheaper than a repo for the car title loan lender.
5. If everything fails, consider working with the title loan company by making it easy to get the car. You bringing it to them will avoid the fees associated with repossession which you ultimately pay for.
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