Watch the Signals: Your Road to a Smooth Financial Ride

Run a red light and you may be stopped by the police and ticketed. If I speed on the thruway, there’s a chance I’ll be pulled over. Drive unfamiliar roads or streets without a map and we do so at our peril and are liable to get lost.

Even when we carefully check a roadmap, we can make a wrong turn, but the chances are a lot less. A similar outcome is possible with our car and other finances.

It is important to read and understand contractual obligations before signing a loan or retail installment contract, just as we would look at a map before driving unfamiliar highways or streets. Don’t run a financial red light and let past-due payments bring you to an untimely stop.

Following are some traffic signals we must observe on the road to paying off a retail credit agreement.

Green Light: If a consumer makes a full payment by the due date – consistently pays on time – that customer’s account will remain in good standing. The customer is on target to pay off the car or truck, and have the good payment history reported to all three credit bureaus.

Yellow Light:  If a consumer pays after the due date, late fees will be added based on the terms of that customer’s credit agreement. When late fees are added to an account, the balance increases, and the total payment amount rises each day the balance goes unpaid.

Red Light: If an account becomes delinquent, the customer may be subject to collections activity. This includes but is not limited to collection calls, written notifications and emails. Every attempt is made to bring the account up to date, but seriously delinquent accounts can result in repossession of the vehicle.

Like a roadmap, a customer’s contract provides very detailed information about specific terms.

If you have any questions, Santander Consumer USA is here to help. Call us at 888.222.4227. Together, the road to ownership can be a smooth ride.

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