Kinecta Federal Credit Union auto loans review: Ability to delay a loan payment each year for eligible members

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In a Nutshell

Kinecta Federal Credit Union offers a range of auto purchase and refinance loans. If you’re eligible, you could delay one loan payment each year, up to three times, with the credit union’s “Skip a Pay” program. But in order to apply for a Kinecta auto loan, you must be a credit union member.

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Pros Cons
Wide range of auto loan options Must be a member of the credit union to apply for an auto loan
Potential to delay loan payments through the Skip a Pay program if eligible Won’t finance more than 100% of the vehicle’s purchase price
Partners with AutoSmart to help you find a vehicle Vehicle details required to apply for a loan

What you need to know about Kinecta auto loans

Headquartered in Manhattan Beach, California, Kinecta Federal Credit Union is a financial institution that offers comprehensive banking services, including credit cards, checking accounts,  savings accounts and mortgages. Kinecta has branches across Southern California along with co-op shared branches and ATMs.

Variety of loan options

Kinecta offers a range of auto loans.

  • Loans for new-car or used-car purchases
  • Lease buyout loans
  • Refinance loans — traditional and cash-out refinancing
  • Recreational vehicle, boat, motorcycle and travel trailer loans

AutoSmart partnership makes car-buying easier

Kinecta partners with online car-buying service AutoSmart to help you shop for a car at a participating dealer and lock in a price. Then you can apply for auto loan preapproval from Kinecta — all in one place.

Before you apply for preapproval with Kinecta, you’ll need to have an idea of the car you want. The application requires info about whether you plan to buy a new or used car as well as the estimated purchase price.

You may be able to delay a payment

If you have a Kinecta auto loan for at least one year, you may be eligible for the Skip a Pay program. Through this program, you can apply to delay a loan payment once every 12 months. If you’re eligible for it and are approved to use the program, you may be able to delay payments up to three times over the length of your loan.

But keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a $25 fee each time you delay a monthly payment. Interest will continue to accrue on your loan balance, and your final payment may be higher to account for that interest. Plus, your loan term will be extended by a month to make up for the month you skipped.

A closer look at Kinecta auto loans

If you’re thinking about applying for a Kinecta auto loan, here are a few more details to know.

  • Before you can apply for an auto loan, you’ll need to join Kinecta. If you’re eligible for membership, you can join Kinecta by opening a savings account with as little as $5. To qualify for membership, you must be an immediate family or household member of a current Kinecta member, work for a Select Employer Group company, be a member of the Consumers Cooperative Society of Santa Monica, or live, work, worship or attend school in certain Southern California ZIP codes. See the eligibility criteria here.
  • Sign up for automatic payments from a Kinecta account to get a 0.25% discount on Kinecta’s already competitive interest rates.
  • Kinecta offers a range of loan terms, from 12 months to 84 months.
  • If you only want to finance a small amount, Kinecta may not be a good fit. The minimum you can borrow is $5,000, according to a Kinecta customer representative.
  • Kinecta won’t allow you to finance more than 100% of the vehicle’s purchase price. This limit is lower than some other lenders who allow for a loan-to-value ratio of 110% to 130%. The lower limit means you may have to find another way to cover additional costs, such as car registration and title fees.
  • Kinecta won’t finance vehicles older than 10 years old or with 100,000 miles or more, according to a Kinecta customer representative.

Is a Kinecta auto loan right for you?

A Kinecta auto loan could be a good fit if you need some help with the car-buying process. Kinecta’s partnership with AutoSmart could help you find a car at a competitive price without the hassle of visiting several dealerships.

And if you’re eligible for membership and get approved for an auto loan with Kinecta, the Skip a Pay feature — if you’re approved to use the program — may help you out if you’re facing a financial emergency and just can’t make your payment for the month. But remember that if you’re able to delay a payment, your loan will continue to accrue interest. Your entire loan will be extended for an extra month to make up for the delayed payment, and you’ll have to pay a fee for the delayed payment as well.

But if you plan to finance an older vehicle or only need to borrow a small amount, the info we got from a Kinecta customer rep indicates that you may need to consider other lenders.

How to apply for a Kinecta auto loan

You can apply for Kinecta auto loan preapproval online. Keep in mind that in order to apply, you’ll need to know whether you want to finance a new or used car and the estimated price of the car you want. And remember that preapproval is a conditional approval — you’ll still have to submit a final loan application. Here’s how to apply for preapproval.

  1. Click on the “Apply” button on the auto loans page.
  2. If you’re already a Kinecta credit union member, click on “Apply Now” and log in. If not, click on “Join and Apply Now” to become a member and apply for an auto loan.
  3. Enter the type of auto loan you want, along with the vehicle’s make and model (if you know it) and estimated purchase price, your down payment and desired loan amount, the loan term and any trade-in information.
  4. Enter your personal information, including your address, contact information, Social Security number, date of birth and income and housing information.
  5. If you’d like to add a co-applicant, click on “Continue with Co-Applicant.”
  6. Review the information you provided to ensure everything is correct.
  7. If you agree with the terms and conditions, submit your application for preapproval.

According to a Kinecta customer representative, when you complete this process for preapproval, Kinecta will perform a hard credit inquiry, which may affect your credit scores.

Not sure if a Kinecta auto loan is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you aren’t sure whether a Kinecta auto loan is right for you, or don’t qualify for membership, here are some other lenders to consider.

  • Capital One Auto Finance: Capital One Auto Finance might be good for someone who wants to apply for prequalification and see an estimated loan offer without affecting their credit scores. (Keep in mind that prequalification isn’t a guarantee of approval — you may see different terms after formally applying for the loan.)
  • M&T Bank: M&T Bank may be ideal if you only need to borrow a small amount.