Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL) Calculator

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The average cost of a new car is about $30,000. The average cost of a used car is more than $19,000.

With prices like these, you want to be sure you get the best financing possible. You can go with dealer financing, of course, but you may find a better deal with credit union direct lending.

Our CUDL calculator is an essential tool to help you work out the cost of financing a new car. You can sort through your options and see clearly what is going to be best for you over the long term.


What is CUDL?

Credit Union Direct Lending is a specific type of dealer financing. Rather than working with dealer financing rates, the dealer works with credit unions and are able to offer their rates, which are often lower than dealer financing rates.

There are more than 11,000 CUDL dealers across the country. If you're affiliated with a credit union, you can ask them to connect you with dealers.

What does a CUDL calculator do?

Our calculator helps you determine how your Credit Union Direct Lending offer compares to other dealer financing offers you've received.

Cars are expensive. There's no reason to spend one penny more than you absolutely have to. Check out our calculator and make sure you're getting the best deal for your budget.

Getting Started

You'll need to know some basic information about your loan.

This includes the purchase price, of course. You'll also need to know the terms of the loan and the interest rate you're being offered for each loan.

You can also enter any rebates you're receiving, your down payment, and your trade allowance if you're trading in a vehicle.

Your Results

Once you've entered in all the information, the calculator will compare your offers. It will tell you which offer will give you the lowest monthly payment.

Want More Savings?

Check out our bi-weekly auto loan calculator and see how much you can save on your new car loan with bi-weekly payments.

What's the difference between a dealership and credit union financing?

Dealership Financing

The main difference between dealer and credit union financing is that dealer financing is often marked up. This means they are offering you a higher interest rate than what they're being quoted. On the plus side, this gives you room to negotiate.

Dealers also tend to run specials on financing, but they may only apply to certain models of vehicles. If you're shopping for a used vehicle, for example, you may not be able to get 0 percent financing.

Credit Union Financing

If you already belong to a credit union, you can talk to them about direct lending. They can let you know your financing options before you walk into a dealership. They can also direct you to a dealership they are affiliated with so you don't waste your time and effort.

If you don't belong to a credit union, it might be time to start. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that exist to provide reasonable rates to their members.

Many offer membership to people who live or work near the credit union. Once you have an established relationship with a credit union, they may be able to work with you to find the best auto loan rates.

Unlike dealerships, credit union direct lending does not leave room for negotiation, though. The rate you're offered is firm.

Who has better rates: the dealer or the credit union?

When it comes to who has the best interest rates, it's hard to say exactly. Car loan rates are based on your income and your credit history.

If you have excellent credit and a high income, you may qualify for 0 percent financing with your dealer. This may come with a shorter repayment period, though, making your monthly payments higher.

Ultimately, you should get quotes from both and compare the terms for yourself.

Why Interest Matters

The interest rate you pay on a loan can make a big difference over time, which can either help you or prevent you from saving money. Even just a 1 percent difference can add up significantly.


If you take out a $20,000 car loan with a 5 percent interest rate and a five-year term, you'll pay $2,645 in interest over the life of the loan.

With a 6 percent interest rate, you pay $3,199 in interest. That's more than $500. It may not sound like much, but why give away $500 when you don't need to?


Unless you have excellent credit and can qualify for 0 percent financing you will find better rates with CUDL.

How do you get the best interest rates?

Your credit history makes a big difference when it comes to your interest rates. Anything you can do to boost your credit will help you get a lower interest rate.

If you're behind on payments to a creditor, work to get caught up. Many creditors will work with you to assist you if you're behind.

If you have credit cards that are close to the limit, pay them down. High credit card balances can also hurt your credit score.

You can also get a free copy of your credit report once per year. Review your report to make sure there are no errors.

If you notice anything wrong, contact the credit bureau in writing. Getting incorrect information removed can also help boost your credit score.

How long does it take to get approved?

Getting approved for a car loan is relatively fast. It can often be done the same day you apply, especially if you have all your information ready. They will typically ask for your income, your Social Security number, and a photo ID.

You will need to agree to release your credit information to the dealership. They will enter your information into a computer and get offers from the various lenders they work with.

If they are CUDL affliated, a credit union will review your information and determine what interest rate you are eligible for based on your income and credit history.

In many cases, the whole process can be completed in a few hours at the most. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes. In rare cases, they may need you to provide additional information, which can extend the process by a day or so.

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