Car Loan Glossary

Acceleration Clause
Allows the finance lender to speed up the rate at which your loan comes due or even to demand immediate payment of the entire balance of the loan should you default on you loan.

Agreement of Sale
Known by names such as contract of purchase, purchase agreement, or sales agreement according to a location or jurisdiction. A contract in which a seller agrees to sell and a buyer agrees to buy, under specific terms spelled out in writing and signed by both parties.

Amortization
Loan payment calculated to pay off the debt at the end of a fixed period, including interest on the outstanding balance owing.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The cost of credit as a yearly rate. The percentage results from an equation considering the total amount borrowed, the finance charges, and the terms of the loan. Usually not the same as the interest rate.

Asset
Property that can be used to repay debt, such as stocks, bonds or a even a car.

Business Days
Find out from your institution to find out what days it counts as business days under the Truth in Lending and Electronic Fund Transfer Acts.

Caps (Interest)
Consumer safeguards which limit the amount the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage may change per year and/or the life of the loan.

Caps (Payment)
Consumer safeguards which limit the amount monthly payments on an adjustable rate mortgage may change.

Certificate of Title
A certificate issued by a title company or a written opinion by an attorney that the seller has good marketable and insurable title to the property which he is offering for sale. A certificate of title offers no protection against any hidden defects in the title which an examination of the records could not reveal. The issuer of a certificate of title is liable only for damages due to negligence.

Collateral
Property offered to support a loan that can be seized if you default on the loan.

Commitment
An agreement, often in writing, between a lender and a borrower to lend money at a future date subject to the stated conditions.

Cosigner
Another person who signs your loan and assumes equal responsibility for it.

Credit Bureau
An agency that keeps your credit record.

Credit Scoring System
A statistical system used to rate credit applicants according to various characteristics relevant to credit-worthiness.

Creditworthiness
Past and future ability to repay debts.

Default
Failure to repay a loan or otherwise meet the terms of your credit agreement.

Delinquency
Failure to make payments on time. This can lead to foreclosure.

Depreciation
Decline in value of a automobile due to wear and tear, adverse changes in the neighborhood, or any other reason.

Disclosures
Information that must be given to consumers about their financial dealings.

Down Payment

Money paid to make up the difference between the purchase price and mortgage amount. Down payments usually are 10 percent to 20 percent of the sales price on Conventional loans, and no money down up to 5 percent on FHA and VA loans.

Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) Systems
A variety of systems and technologies for transferring funds electronically rather than by check.

Equity
The difference between the fair market value and current indebtedness, also referred to as the owner’s interest.

Finance Charge
The total dollar amount credit will cost.

Grantee
That party in the deed who is the buyer or recipient.

Grantor
That party in the deed who is the seller or giver.

Gross Monthly Income
The total amount the borrower earns per month, before any expenses are deducted.

Guarantee
A promise by one party to pay a debt or perform an obligation contracted by another if the original party fails to pay or perform according to a contract.

Hazard Insurance
A form of insurance in which the insurance company protects the insured from specified losses, such as fire, windstorm and the like.

Impound
That portion of a borrower’s monthly payments held by the lender or service to pay for taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments, and other items as they become due. Also known as reserves.

Interest
A charge paid for borrowing money.

Interest Rate
The annual rate of interest on the loan, expressed as a percentage of 100.

Late Payment
A payment made later than agreed upon in a credit contract and on which additional charges may be imposed.

Lessee
A person who signs a lease to get temporary use of property.

Lessor
A company that provides temporary use of property usually in return for periodic payment.

Lien
A claim upon a piece of property for the payment or satisfaction of a debt or obligation.

Margin
The amount a lender adds to the index on an adjustable rate mortgage to establish the adjusted interest rate.

Market Value
The highest price that a buyer would pay and the lowest price a seller would accept on a property. Market value may be different from the price a property could actually be sold for at a given time.

MSRP
Stands for Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. It represents the manufacturer’s recommended selling price for a vehicle and each of its options.

Negative Amortization
Occurs when your monthly payments are not large enough to pay all the interest due on the loan. This unpaid interest is added to the unpaid balance of the loan. The danger of negative amortization is that the homebuyer ends up owing more than the original amount of the loan.

Net Effective Income
The borrower’s gross income minus federal income tax.

Open-End Credit
A line of credit that may be used over and over again, including credit cards, overdraft credit accounts, and home equity lines.

Open-End Lease
A lease which may involve a balloon payment based on the value of the property when it is returned.

Origination Fee
The fee charged by a lender to prepare loan documents, make credit checks, inspect and sometimes appraise a property; usually computed as a percentage of face value of the loan.

Power of Attorney
A legal document authorizing one person to act on behalf of another.

Prepayment
A privilege in a mortgage permitting the borrower to make payments in advance of their due date.

Principal
The amount of debt, not counting interest, left on a loan.

Q-form
A Q-form is series of questions that you complete in order to request a loan. What does the Q stand for? You choose – quality, quick, qualification, questionnaire.

Refinancing
The process of the same mortgagor paying off one loan with the proceeds from another loan. Refinancing is beneficial for the loanee because it usually means a lower interest rate.

Service Charge
A component of some finance charges, such as the fee for triggering an overdraft checking account into use.

Servicing
All the steps and operations a lender perform to keep a loan in good standing, such as collection of payments, payment of taxes, insurance, property inspections and the like.

Special Lien
A lien that binds a specified piece of property, unlike a general lien, which is levied against all one’s assets. It creates a right to retain something of value belonging to another person as compensation for labor, material, or money expended in that person’s behalf. In some localities it is called “particular” lien or “specific” lien.

Term
The period of time between the beginning loan date on the legal documents and the date the entire balance of the loan is due.

Title
A document that gives evidence of an individual’s ownership of property.

Title Search
An examination of municipal records to determine the legal ownership of property. Usually is performed by a title company.

Truth-in-Lending
A federal law requiring disclosure of the Annual Percentage Rate to applicants shortly after they apply for the loan.

Underwriting
The decision whether to make a loan to a potential applicant based on credit, employment, assets, and other factors and the matching of this risk to an appropriate rate and term or loan amount.

Verification of Employment
A document signed by the borrower’s employer verifying his/her position and salary.

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