How settling a car loan affects your credit Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make better financial decisions by offering interactive financial calculators and tools that provide objective and original content. This allows users to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has agreements with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn money The products that appear on this site are from companies that pay us. This compensation may impact how and where products are displayed on the site, such as, for example, the sequence in which they be listed within the categories of listing, except where prohibited by law for our loans, mortgages, and other home lending products. However, this compensation will have no impact on the content we publish or the reviews appear on this website. We do not include the entire universe of businesses or financial deals that could be available to you. SHARE Getty Images/demaerre

3 min read published September 19 2022

Emma Woodward Emma Woodward Written by Contributing writer Emma Woodward is a former contributor to Bankrate and a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles that help to simplify personal finance issues. Emma has contributed to various companies and publications like Finch, Toast, JBD Clothiers and The Financial Diet. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans Editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping their readers feel confident to manage their finances by providing clear, well-researched facts that break down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises

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If you have questions about money. Bankrate has the answers. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to strict standards , so you can trust that our information is trustworthy and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters provide honest and trustworthy information to assist you in making the right financial decisions. Our content produced by our editorial staff is objective, truthful and is not influenced through our sponsors. We’re transparent regarding how we’re capable of bringing high-quality information, competitive rates and helpful tools to you by explaining how we earn money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We receive compensation for placement of sponsored products andservices or when you click on certain links posted on our website. So, this compensation can influence the manner, place and when products appear within listing categories and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. This is the case for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other products for home loans. Other elements, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether the product is offered in your region or within your self-selected credit score range can also impact the way and place products are listed on this website. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include the details of each credit or financial products or services. Making a decision to take out a car loan is an arduous choice to take. It affects your credit score, and can harm your ability to get another loan or even open a new line of credit. Many people would prefer to avoid the risk of having to pay . However, sometimes there is no other viable alternative. Making a loan involves an agreement with a dealer to act as a bridge with the lender. They are often able to negotiate a lump sum payment that is less the entire car loan when you pay it by a specified date. Before making this decision it is important to consider the pros and cons for your financial and financial goals plus your current financial situation, when deciding what to do. The decision to settle an auto loan could affect your credit score. When you pay off the car loan, the immediate impact on your credit score is negative. Your but the amount it drops varies. Generally, the higher your score is at the start your score, the more it’ll decrease if you pay off your loan. However, settling your car loan could be your best choice in the long term. Your credit score gets affected every time you miss an loan payment. If you’re struggling to make regular payments and you aren’t able to do so , settling your auto loan can allow you to begin rebuilding your credit. When the loan is paid off and your credit score is restored, it may initially drop but it is something you can concentrate on . You are able to work towards making other payments on time or pay off other debts , and improve your credit score once more. The opening of a new account could affect your credit score, so you should avoid any new accounts until you’re credit score is better. The account that is settled will be on your credit score for seven years following the original delinquency date. That may seem like a long time, but remember that it’s preferable to many late payments that accumulate on your record. Additionally, you’ll be taxed on the forgiven loan It’s worth noting that if you receive an automobile loan settlement that is less that the value of the loan it self, the creditor usually will write off the difference. This amount is considered to be taxable income by the IRS and, therefore, you may have to pay federal taxes. You will receive a 1099-C cancellation of debt tax notice from the creditor. It will inform you of the amount you must pay taxes on. Since it is taxed like income it will be taxed at the income tax bracket that you’re in. Settlement of debt vs. repossession Settling your vehicle loan differs from . In an auto loan agreement, you sign a contract with the lender to pay a percentage of the original debt. Your debt is then considered as settled. However, you will be required to pay tax on your forgiven debt. With repossession, the lender will return your car and sell it to pay off some (or all) of the loan debt. If the vehicle is sold at a lower price than the amount of the debt, you could still have to pay the lender. This is known as the deficiency payment. You are able to surrender your vehicle and . The lender could be able to take possession of your car without your consent if you are unable to pay payments on your loan payments. Both the settlement of your car debt and repossessions can impact your credit score for the worse. And, since late payments are often the cause of each other, you may be left with multiple negative marks in your credit history. Possession could lower the score of your credit by 100 points or more. The best way to protect your credit is always to pay off your credit in its entirety, but this is typically too big of an ask. If you’re unable to do that, try to collaborate in conjunction with your lender to come up with the best solution. It is possible find out what is the best option for you. 6 options for settling your car loan Make sure you pay off the loan entirely. in full is always the best option for your credit. Modify your car loan. In the case of your particular situation you may be eligible to . Speak to your lender to find out if it can help rework the terms for your loan. Trade in your car. If your vehicle loan is prohibitive, consider for an older car. This can result in lower monthly installments for your car loan. Sell your car. If you are able to travel without a car, even for a short time, you might consider . You can let your car be taken over. The repossession of your car can also affect your credit score, but it’s a better option than settling your car debt. Consult a credit advisor to find out the best options to improve your credit. Make an application for bankruptcy. If your car loan isn’t your only financial issue then you might be eligible to . This will affect your credit for up to 10 years, so this isn’t something you’d want to take on if you have other alternatives. The bottom line is that settling a car loan could be a bit daunting, but improving your situation now can help you save money in the long run. Consider your alternatives before settling your car loan since it will impact your credit score for the duration of seven years. If you’re not sure what to do, think about speaking with a credit professional. 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Written by Contributing Writer Emma Woodward is a former contributor for Bankrate and a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles that help to simplify personal finance topics. Emma has contributed to businesses and publications like Finch, Toast, JBD Clothiers and The Financial Diet. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans Editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down complex subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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