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3 min read Published September 19 2022

Written by Emma Woodward Written by Contributing writer Emma Woodward is a former contributor for Bankrate and freelance writer who enjoys writing to demystify personal finance topics. Emma has contributed to various companies and publications like Finch, Toast, JBD Clothiers and The Financial Diet. Edited by Rhys Subitch and edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping their readers feel confident to take control of their finances through providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complicated topics into bite-sized pieces. The Bankrate guarantee

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Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and when products appear within listing categories and categories, unless it is prohibited by law for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home loan products. Other factors, like our own rules for our website and whether the product is available in the area you reside in or is within your self-selected credit score range can also impact the way and place products are listed on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit products or services. Settling a car loan is a tough decision to take. It impacts your credit score and could hinder your ability to obtain another loan or even open a new line of credit. Most people want to avoid an . But sometimes, there is no other viable alternative. The process of obtaining a car loan requires an agreement with a dealer as a liaison between you and the lender. They may be able to offer a lump-sum payment that is less than the entire car loan in the event that you pay by a specified date. Before making this decision, it’s important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages to your financial and personal goals, and your financial situation before deciding what to do. Making a decision about settling an auto loan could affect your credit score When you pay off on a car loan and it is settled, the immediate effect to your credit scores is negative. Your but the amount it will decrease is different. The higher your score at beginning and the higher it will go down if you settle 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 the loan payment. If you are struggling to keep up with your payments and you aren’t able to do so , settling your auto loan can allow you to start rebuilding your credit. After the loan is paid off and your credit score is restored, it will initially go down however, you will be able to concentrate on . You can work to make the other payments on time, pay down other debts and raise your credit score again. The opening of a new account could affect your credit, so it is best to stay clear of new accounts until your credit score is in better shape. The account that is settled will be on your credit score for seven years following the date of delinquency. That may seem like a long period, but keep in mind that it’s preferable to numerous missed payments piling up on your record. Taxes will also be imposed on the forgiven debt It’s worth noting that if you are involved in an auto loan settlement for less then the total amount of loan in itself, the lender usually writes off the difference. This amount is considered to be taxable income to the IRS that means that you may have to pay federal tax. You should receive a 1099-C cancellation tax of debt notice from the creditor. The notice will let you know how much you need to pay tax on. Since the cancellation is taxed as income, it will be taxed at the tax bracket of your income that you are in. The difference between a settlement of your debt and. repossession The process of settling your auto loan will differ from . In an automobile loan resolution, you sign a contract to the lender to settle a percentage of the debt you incurred. Your debt is then considered to be settled. But, you’ll have to pay taxes on your forgiven debt. When you are repossessed, the lender will return the car and then sell it in order to pay some (or all) of the loan obligation. If the car sells for less than the amount of the loan, you might owe money to the lender. This is known as the deficiency payment. You can turn in your car and . The lender may also be able to take possession of your car without your permission if you do not make payments on your loan payments. Both the settlement of your car debt and repossession will impact your credit score to the detriment of. In addition, because late payments typically precede each other, you may be left with numerous negative marks on your history with credit. Possessions can lower the credit rating by as much as 100 points or more. The most effective option for your credit is always to pay off your credit in its entirety, but that’s often too tall of an ask. If you’re not able to do that, try to cooperate with your lender to come up with the best solution. You might want consider what’s most suitable for your particular situation. 6 options for settling your car loan You can pay off the loan completely. in full is always the best option for your credit. Modify your car loan. Based on your circumstances, you may be eligible to . Contact your lender to find out whether it is possible to modify the conditions for your loan. Sell your car. If your car loan is prohibitive, consider for an older vehicle. This could get you a lower monthly payment for your car loan. Sell your vehicle. If you can get around without a car, even temporarily, you might consider . Let your car be taken away. Vehicle repossession also negatively impacts your credit score, but it’s better than settling your car debt. Consult a credit advisor to learn about the most effective options for your credit. Apply for bankruptcy. If your car payment isn’t your only financial issue then you might be eligible to . This will affect your credit for up to 10 years, which is why it’s not something you’d like to do if you have other alternatives. The bottom line: settling an auto loan could be a bit daunting however, resolving your issue now will improve your finances in the future. Think about your options prior to settling your car loan since it will affect your credit score negatively for the next seven years. If you’re not sure which option to choose, you might want to consider talking with a credit counselor. Find out more


Written by the contributing writer Emma Woodward is a former contributor to Bankrate and a freelance writer who is passionate about writing to demystify personal finance topics. Emma has contributed to companies 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 passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to manage their finances by providing precise, well-studied facts that break down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites.

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