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Auto Loans

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Why get my car loan at a credit union?

Nationally, credit unions are among the most competitive vehicle lenders. We're not-for-profit, so our focus is on member service, not the bottom line. That allows us to typically offer lower loan rates and fewer fees than the competition. We're also owned by the very members we serve, so you know you'll be treated like more than just a customer. You are an owner, and it is our goal to make you feel that way whenever we can. 

At what stage of the car-buying process should I apply for my loan?

Though you can wait until the very last minute to apply for a vehicle loan, your best bet is to visit Northwest Plus Credit Union or call us before you even begin to shop. The application process will give you a clear idea of just how much you can afford. Armed with this knowledge, you likely won't get talked into a vehicle that's out of your price range. If you have your auto loan pre-approved, you can often save yourself a return visit to the credit union. Ask your loan officer for more information about auto loan pre-approval. 

Is applying for a loan on my credit union's website safe?

Absolutely. NW+ uses state of the art encryption technology to ensure your loan application and personal information remains secure. Upon retrieval of this information, we will handle your web-application with the same confidentiality we administer to all personal documents.

Online Application

The credit union's loan rate is lower, but other financing gives me lower monthly payments. Why is that?

It could be for any number of reasons, you are probably getting a lower monthly payment because you are stretching out the term of the loan. (ie: You are making more payments over the life of the loan) Before getting sold on a lower monthly payment, compare apples to apples. There may be some serious downsides to a loan that on the surface looks unusually affordable...And be sure to investigate the payment-lowering options at your credit union - Chances are, we have an option that will fit your budget, and won't beat you up in the long run. 

What does the phrase 'upside down' mean when referring to owning a car?

A borrower is 'Upside Down' on their auto loan when they owe more than the vehicle is worth. This typically happens in the early months of a loan, especially when little or no down payment has been made. One of the key disadvantages of being upside down comes from an insurance perspective. If your vehicle is totaled, your policy may only cover the worth of the vehicle, and not necessarily the full balance of your loan.

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Mortgage

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Where can I get basic, straightforward home-buying advice on the web?

You've come to the right place. Your credit union is proud to offer MortgageClick, a resource for our members when entering the home-buying market. Basic information can be found in the Home Loan Basics section. Our comprehensive glossary will define the basic and not-so-basic terminology that is frequently used in mortgage lending.

At what stage of the home-buying process should I visit my credit union?

It is best to visit our mortgage department before you even begin to shop for that new home. A basic pre-qualifying exercise will give you a feel for how much home you can afford. Mortgage Pre-approval will take this one step better, and will not only provide you with affordability information, but also will give you a leg-up in the negotiation process. There is no doubt that a buyer with a guaranteed funds has more leverage in a negotiation than one who is still waiting to hear back from their lender. 

What is a first mortgage?

A first mortgage is exactly what it says it is - the first loan on a certain piece of property. No other lien has been taken out on this home. When you first buy a house, the loan you typically receive is a first mortgage. 

What is a second mortgage?

A second mortgage is also what it says - the second loan against a specific piece of property. Consider this example: Let's say you have a first mortgage on your home. The value is $100,000 and you have a $60,000 balance left to pay on your loan. The $40,000 difference is considered equity, or the part of the home that you own outright. If you wish to further borrow against that $40,000, you would be taking out a second mortgage on the home in order to do so. Why borrow against this equity? In many cases, the interest rate you pay on your mortgage is lower than many other types of loans. Interest is also frequently tax deductible for a first or second mortgage, but not necessarily for a car loan or a credit card. (Consult your tax advisor for more information on tax deductibility and home loans.)

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Titling

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How long will it take to receive my title after I pay off the loan?

It should take no longer than 3 weeks to receive your title or affidavit in lieu of title.

What is an Affidavit in Lieu of Title?

Washington state offers the opportunity to do titling electronically and the affidavit in lieu of title is the electronic form of your title. It serves the same purpose as a standard title and you can take that to any titling office. 

Can I get my title right away after paying off my loan?

Yes you can. You can receive your title if you are paying your loan off with guaranteed funds such as Cash or Cashiers check.

I misplaced my title or release of interest, can you send me a new one?

If we are still listed on the title we can send you a new one. If your vehicle was titled electronically we can re print the affidavit in lieu of title and send it to you. If you had just a standard title we would send you a lost affidavit/release of interest which will serve the same purpose as a regular title.

Can you send the title to a different address?

We can, but for your security we would need a letter from you with your signature or a secured email through online banking giving us permission to send the title to the new address.

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Credit Cards

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What cards are available?

  • Visa® Platinum
  • Visa Platinum Rewards 

What is CU Rewards?

Earn 1 point for every dollar charged on purchases and 2 points on gas and grocery. Points expire after 5 years including the year in which they were earned. Points earned during cycle period, total points and the date points will expire are printed on the monthly account statement. Point totals are also available online through the CURewards site. To view merchandise catalog and travel information or to redeem points go to CURewards.com, call 800.900.6160 or download the curewards app. 

When are payments due?

The fixed due date is the 11th of every month. Visa Credit Cards do not have a payment grace period. 

How are the minimum payments calculated?

Required minimum payments are calculated at 2% of the outstanding balance on the last day of the cycle or $25; whichever is greater. 

$25 late fee is assessed if payment is not received on or before the due date.

Note: If the 11th falls on the weekend or a holiday all payments received through the mail or at the branch on the following business day will be effective dated to the 11th. 

Is there a Payment Float?

Payments $1,500 or more are posted to the account when received but the limit will not reflect the payment for 3 calendar days. The exception to this is cash payments or account transfer payments (collected funds) which are made at a CU Branch. 

I need to contact Cardholder Services, how do I do that?

24x7 Cardholder Services: 

866.820.2972 

I lost or had my credit card stolen, what do I do?

Call 800.449.7728

All reports of lost/stolen cards or any unauthorized transactions are handled through the Cardholder services lost/stolen department. Cardholders must call and repost lost or stolen cards as soon as possible. 

I want to access my account online, how do I do that?

Online access to your Visa Credit Card is provided on webpage, via Personal Branch. After registration cardholders are able to obtain balance and transaction information, make payments, enroll in e-statements, view e-statements and enroll in transaction alerts.

What is Cardholder Payment Protection?

Cardholders can enroll in credit life insurance, disability and unemployment insurance. Brochures and enrollment forms are included with cards at account opening and reissue. Inserts are also included in statements four times a year. 

Claims Phone #: 800.445.6500

What is Defense Edge?

Monitors accounts for unusual activity such as an increase in authorizations, changes in the types of transactions or geographic locations which are unusual to the account. The fraud representative will attempt to call the cardholder to confirm the transactions are legitimate. If they are unable to make contact they will leave a message for the cardholder to contact them and will often block further authorizations until contact is made.

What are Travel and Accident and Baggage Delay Insurance?

Loss of life or personal injury sustained while traveling on, entering or exiting a licensed common carrier. The entire cost of passenger fare must have been charged to the travelers Visa Platinum Card. Baggage delay will cover a maximum of $300 for expenses incurred for emergency purchase of essential items needed by the cardholder while on a covered trip.

Brochures are included with the credit card at account opening and reissue (sent out with card), no enrollment is necessary. 

Claims Phone #: 844.245.2503

What are Visa Transaction Alerts?

Signup for E-mail and text alerts for everyday purchases on your Credit Card. Members will sign in to their on-line Visa account and follow the links there. Transaction Alerts are not monitored by the credit union and each member can set their own alert parameters.

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Credit Sense

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What is Credit Sense?

Credit Sense is a comprehensive Credit Score program offered by NW+, that helps you stay on top of your credit. You get your latest credit score and report, an understanding of key factors that impact the score, and can see the most up to date offers from NW+ that can help reduce your interest costs. With this program, you always know where you stand with your credit and how NW+ can help save you money! 

Credit Score also monitors your credit report daily and informs you by email if there are any big changes detected such as: a new account being opened, change in address or employment, a delinquency has been reported or an injury has been made. Monitoring helps users keep an eye out for identity theft.

What is a Credit Sense Credit Report?

Credit Sense Credit Report provides you all the information you would find on your credit file including a list of open loans, accounts and credit inquiries. You will also be able to see details on your payment history, credit utilization and public records that show up on your account. Like Credit Score, when you check your credit file, there will be no impact to your score. 

Is there a fee?

No. Credit Sense is entirely free and no credit card information is required to register. 

How often is my credit score updated?

As long as you are a regular online banking user in Personal Branch or in our Mobile App, your credit score will be updated every month and displayed in your Personal Branch screen. You can click "refresh score" as frequently as every day by navigating to the detailed Credit Sense site from within Personal Branch or through our Mobile App. 

How does Credit Sense differ from other credit scoring offerings?

Credit Sense pulls your credit profile from TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, and uses VantageScore 3.0, a credit scoring model developed collaboratively by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This model seeks to make score information more uniform between the three bureaus to provide consumers a better picture of their credit health. 

Why do credit scores differ?

There are three major credit-reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and Transunion — and two scoring models — FICO or VantageScore — that determine credit scores. Financial institutions use different bureaus, as well as their own scoring models. Over 200 factors of a credit report may be taken into account when calculating a score and each model may weigh credit factors differently, so no scoring model is completely identical. No matter what credit bureau or credit scoring model is used, consumers do fall into specific credit ranges: Excellent 781–850, Good 661-780, Fair 601-660, Unfavorable 501-600, Bad below 500. 

Will NW+ use Credit Sense to make loan decisions?

No, NW+ uses its own lending criteria for making loan decisions. 

Will Credit Sense share my credit score with NW+?

No, Credit Sense is a free service to help you understand your credit health, how you make improvements in your score and ways you can save money on your loans with NW+. 

How does Credit Sense keep my financial information secure?

Credit Sense uses bank level encryption and security measures to keep your data safe and secure. Your personal information is never shared with or sold to a third party. 

If Northwest Plus Credit Union doesn't use Credit Sense to make loan decisions, why do we offer it?

Credit Sense can help you manage your credit so when it comes time to borrow for a big-ticket purchase — like buying a home, car or paying for college — you have a clear picture of your credit health and can qualify for the lowest possible interest rate. You'll also see offers on how you can save money on your new and existing loans with NW+. 

What if the information provided by Credit Sense appears to be wrong or inaccurate?

Credit Sense makes its best effort to show you the most relevant information from your credit report. If you think that some of the information is wrong or inaccurate, we encourage you to take advantage of obtaining free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com, and then pursuing with each bureau individually. Each bureau has its own process for correcting inaccurate information but every user can "File a Dispute" by clicking on the "Dispute" link within their Credit Sense Credit Report. However, The Federal Trade Commission website offers step-by-step instructions on how to contact the bureaus and correct errors. 

There is a section on the site that features both NW+ product offers and financial education articles. Why am I seeing this?

Based on your Credit Sense information, you may receive NW+ offers on products that may be of interest to you. In most cases, these offers may have lower interest rates than the products you already have. The educational articles, written by Jean Chatzky and the Credit Sense team, are designed to provide helpful tips on how you can manage credit and debt wisely. 

Will accessing Credit Sense 'ping' my credit and potentially lower my credit score?

No. Checking Credit Sense is a "soft inquiry", which does not affect your credit score. Lenders use 'hard inquiries' to make decisions about your credit worthiness when you apply for loans. 

Does Credit Sense offer credit report monitoring as well?

Yes. Credit Sense will monitor and send email alerts when there's been a change to your credit profile. 

How do I change my email address or other personal information?

If you access the Credit Sense program through online banking in Personal Branch, you do nothing! Your email address will get updated automatically in Credit Sense when you update it in Personal Branch. However, we always encourage you to inform your financial institution of any contact information updates. 

Can I use Credit Sense through my mobile devices?

Yes, Credit Sense is available through our NW+ Mobile App via mobile or tablet devices and is integrated inside our mobile application. View the Credit Sense PDF for more information.

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Insurance

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How can I provide you with this information?

  • You can complete the Insurance Information Form and we will contact your agent to verify your coverage.
  • You or your agent may contact the Insurance Service Center using the number listed on your notice regarding the required insurance information for your account.
  • You or your insurance agent can mail a copy of your current insurance policy to us. Our address is in the upper left-hand corner of the notice we sent. 

I have insurance — why did I get this notice?

This notice was sent because we have not received a copy of your current insurance coverage. One of the reasons we may not have received your insurance policy is that we are not listed as Loss Payee, or the address that your insurance agent/company has is incorrect. Our correct Loss Payee name and address are in the upper left-hand corner of the notice we sent. You may have received this notice because the insurance policy sent to us had only liability coverage, not the required Comprehensive and Collision coverage. If your notice states that your insurance has expired, we have not received a copy of the renewal. If your notice states that your insurance has been canceled, we have not received a copy of the reinstatement. If you have insurance with the required Comprehensive and Collision coverage, naming us as Loss Payee, please contact our insurance department at 877.481.6849.

What happens if I don't buy insurance?

If you do not buy your own insurance, we may buy insurance to protect our collateral. The insurance we buy will generally be much more expensive than what you can buy yourself. The loan agreement that you signed with us allows us to add the premium for this insurance to your loan and increase your payments to cover the cost. The insurance we purchase will primarily cover our interest in your vehicle. It will not offer you the protection you can get when you buy your own insurance. The insurance we purchase will not provide liability coverage which the State requires you to maintain. Maintaining full coverage is a requirement of your vehicle loan.

What should I do if I don't have insurance?

Since maintaining insurance coverage on your vehicle is a condition of your loan with us, you should contact the insurance agency or company of your choice and purchase at least Comprehensive and Collision coverage naming us as the Loss Payee. You will find our name and address in the top left corner of the letter we sent to you. There are many insurance agents and companies posted on the Web. To find them, enter the words "auto insurance quotes" in your search engine.

Why do I need to provide my insurance information?

As one of the conditions of granting your loan, you are required to maintain Comprehensive and Collision coverage protecting our interest until your loan is paid in full. You will find this requirement in your Loan Agreement. By giving your insurance agent our name and address as Loss Payee, we will generally receive a copy of any change to your coverage. 

A letter was sent to you because we did not receive a copy of your policy renewal or reinstatement from your insurance agent or company. We are asking for your help to show us that you are meeting this requirement. If you have insurance with the required Comprehensive and Collision coverage, naming us as Loss Payee, please call our insurance department at 877.481.6849. 

I've changed the mailing address and/or telephone number listed on this notice. How do I let you know of the change?

Please call us at 425.297.1000 or 800.456.6481.

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Skip-a-Pay

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What are the qualifying requirements?

  • No delinquencies in the last 12 months
  • Members are allowed 1 Skip per Loan each year. Example: if a member loan participates in the Summer Skip program, they do not qualify for the Holiday Skip Program and vice versa.
  • Loans with a balance less than $500 do not qualify. If a member receives a skip a pay flyer because their balance is more than $500 but make a payment prior to the month to be skipped consequently bringing the loan balance below the $500 minimum, the skip will not be accepted.
  • The Skip-A-Pay program does NOT include mortgages, HELOCs, Credit Cards, or other revolving credit such as Timelines. Payday Alternative and Overdraft Protection loans are also not included.
  • Qualifying member loan must be within the loans grace period to process the Skip. A member must also be in good standing's in every and all accounts with the Credit Union to qualify. If a member receives a Skip form but is currently not a member in good standings the Credit Union will not honor their skip.

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